During the trade-show season, some exhibitors shell out as much as six figures to wine, dine and dazzle prospective clients. For their reps, the pressure to close a sale or generate leads is intense. Meanwhile, dealers are trying to score a bargain that gives them a leg up on the competition back home.

Pool & Spa News wanted to learn what separates the winners from the also-rans when the stakes are high. So we recorded a live sales pitch from the floor of the 2005 International Pool & Spa Expo in Orlando. We also asked expert negotiator Alex Hanafi, director of program development and international operations at SAB Negotiation Enterprises, to critique the process. His Cambridge, Mass., company has represented clients such as Barnes & Noble and Daimler-Benz in negotiating multimillion-dollar transactions.

Here, he analyzes critical excerpts from a 45-minute negotiation between a sales representative for Bullfrog Spas, a manufacturer based in Bluffdale, Utah, and a dealer who is new to the pool and spa business. The dealer recently acquired her first shipment of spas and attended the Expo to examine alternative brands. Though the name of the sales rep and the dealer have been changed, their words remain intact.