How United Rentals Made Great Sales Negotiations a Part of its Culture

United Rentals has dramatically changed the selling culture in the company, and the shift is yielding some exceptional results. In a breakout session for the Three Value Conversations track, United Rentals’ Shelley Robins spoke with Corporate Visions’ Cheryl Geoffrion about how the company has successfully embedded Situational Sales Negotiations into its DNA.

Here are three tips from the session:

  • Turn your managers into models – Once training ends, studies show that most sales organizations revert back to their old methods and messages within nine months. But United Rentals refused to be part of that statistic—instead, they asked sales management to become their trainers and model new sales behaviors. This strategy created alignment from the top-down and contributed to maximizing the success of their investment.
  • Know your worth – Customers have no qualms asking for more, so why do sales teams often struggle to do the same? Because United Rentals had confidence in their products and value, they felt comfortable doing just that, anchoring higher targets that asserted their unique value and expanded the customer’s range of reason. By setting higher targets and encouraging their reps to embrace the tension and avoid unnecessary discounting, they’ve been able to create more opportunities and increase their average deal size.
  • Convert and dedicate – There’s a difference between being convinced and being committed. For example, everyone knows exercising is essential to a healthy lifestyle, but not everyone is committed to maintaining the routine. Once United Rentals was convinced they had the right formula for sales success, they committed themselves to making it part of their company DNA. This led to widespread adoption, positive behavior changes in the field and tremendous success at executing the negotiation skills and techniques their sales team was trained to.
Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer

Chief Strategy Officer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management”, “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, “Three Value Conversations”, and "The Expansion Sale", focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals. As chief strategy and research officer for Corporate Visions, he sets the direction and develops products for this leading marketing and sales messaging, content and training company.

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