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Air Force Veteran Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, "The Negotiator," Helps You Sell More

Posted by Wes Schaeffer | Jul 8, 2014 12:50:00 PM

About Today's Guest on The Sales Podcast

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez is the CEO of Dynamic Vision International, Inc. After a 23 year career in the Air Force as a contracting specialist - she “flew a desk” - negotiation and administration is her speciality.

While in the Air Force she spent five years on the Honor Guard and started riding motorcycles across England and Europe for 4 years. After she retired from the Air Force she worked for a Defense Contractor for 4 years when she realized professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners and entrepreneurs need to understand how to negotiate.

Hear the rest of her story on this episode of The Sales Podcast.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Did Mary-Kay while in the Air Force. Did photo albums on the side, too. Love Mary-Kay’s work ethic and story and looks to her as a role model.
  • Began speaking for a non-profit in 2006 for women in crisis and her story resonated.
  • Understand that “everything really is negotiable.”
    • Find some way around whatever rule is holding you back.
    • It’s like chess. It’s a game.
    • The buyers are playing with you. They do this by not talking or ranting or relying on ruthless tactics or acting rude to get what they want.
    • Step back and analyze the situation and either match their tactics or kill them with kindness.
    • Recognize that the buyers are under pressure as well, too, but they won’t reveal that to you.
  • The military wouldn’t allow their buyers to go to lunch to prevent favoritism. She worked on building relationships to get good prices and get better treatment.
  • “Deflection By Rant” is one of her 50 principles in her book, "Think Like A Negotiator, 50 Ways to Create Win Win Results by Understanding the Pitfalls to Avoid."
  • Be authentic as a salesperson and help the buyers to get close to them. Be reliable. “Know, like and trust.”
  • Buyers hate having to meet with the salesperson when they first come around so put them at ease. Let them know you’re there to serve.
  • Eldonna grew up around addiction and that pain spread through her entire family.
    • Mother died at 12 of alcoholism. Her father died emotionally. Her setup was that women get abused and that’s what you do.
    • Her dad moved from Texas to Florida and didn’t leave a forwarding address.
    • She got her GED and saw an Air Force commercial and jumped in.
    • It saved her life professionally.
    • But personally she was still a train wreck. Her parents fought physically so she created that chaos in her own life. She was beaten in domestic violence and was ashamed of it and paralyzed and traumatized and hid it.
    • Just 9 years ago she was engaged and he left her for someone else and he cut her out of the business they had started together and she saw the problem looking back at her.
    • So she started working on herself.
    • Worked with counselors and pastors and yoga and massage and attended conferences until she became.
  • Resentment...
    • is the poison we take that we think
    • It’s like taking arsenic and hoping it kills the other person.
    • Get rid of resentment.
  • The power is in the work.
    • You can’t flip a switch and become an expert.
    • The solution is you have to do the hard work.
    • “Drill My Skills”
    • Honor Guard - had to be perfect.
    • She marched next to the Color Guard commander so she learned to become the commander.
  • No Power Points in her 3-day “Think Like a Negotiator” training.
    • Experiential games like the Yard Sale Game, Pirate Game (rum runners), presentation skills are also part of the training, actually connect with people vs. “network in the hallways in passing.”
  • Negotiation does not have to be confrontational.
    • In America we don’t like confrontation.
    • Stop looking at your phone and connect.
    • The more connected you are the better your life and negotiation.
  • Women are not taught to ask for what they want.
    • Even asking seems confrontational.
    • Get comfortable with the discomfort. “Never accept the first offer.”
  • “Dare to suck. It’s okay to screw up and be bad.”
    • You only learn when you DO IT.
    • Rejection is not personal.
    • Learn to get your language clear and get your “ask down.”
    • “Stop talking. Once you put the offer out there, shut up. He who speaks next loses.”
    • Get comfortable with the silence.
  • Master the art of forgiveness.
  • The inner game is so important, which is why Eldonna Lewis Fernandez blogs about this so much.

Links Mentioned

If you liked this episode, please let Eldonna Lewis Fernandez and me know on Twitter .

Tools To Thrive

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If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:

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Topics: Veteran, Negotiation Skills, The Sales Podcast, Marketing Automation

Written by Wes Schaeffer

Wes and his wife just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have seven kids, which means Wes is motivated to find what works and help you apply it to grow your sales so he can buy diapers, groceries, braces...and bourbon.

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