A sales negotiation is a strategic discussion (or series of discussions) between buyer and seller that ideally leads to a deal being closed. Negotiators should think about how to develop strategies that will help both sides to get more of what they want.
Emotions get in the way of looking at the problem for what it is. Taking turns to express your feelings without interrupting lets you listen better to what is being said and can prevent arguments from getting out of hand. When technical sales reps listen to prospects, they can also learn about other alternatives the prospect may be looking into. Your reps can then show the prospect how your company’s products or services fulfill their company’s needs better than your competitor’s products or services.
Serious buyers usually come to the negotiating table armed with knowledge, research, and certain expectations. Sales professionals need higher-level skills that equip them to navigate the negotiation process.
The main goal of the negotiation process is to reach an agreement that’s acceptable to everyone. No matter the mood of the prospect sitting across from you, do your best to stay calm and grounded and to keep the conversation as light and friendly as possible.
Negotiation skills are one of the toughest areas to master since it requires the salesperson to really pay attention to the needs of the prospect and be genuinely interested in their views, logic, and beliefs. We no longer live in a world of black-and-white and each potential client wants a unique deal catered to them. The client needs to know that you will take care of them and that they can trust you beyond that moment. For them to believe that you must nurture the relationship as you go.
The opening of a negotiation sets the tone for the rest of the exchange. This tone should be one of cooperation. The negotiation is an opportunity to highlight areas of agreement and create positive momentum. Once the common ground is clear, sales professionals can position their offer. During the negotiation, the sales professional should seize the opportunity to make the first offer then handle the customer’s response.
Make sure you also understand your sales numbers and company requirements so you can decide in advance about any price or condition concessions you’ll be willing to offer or accept.
Many salespeople make the mistake of negotiating with a prospect only to find out they aren’t the final decision-maker. This mistake then leads to a delay in closing a deal as the prospect needs to seek guidance from someone else. This can even lead to the loss of the sale to a competitor who did manage to get to the real decision-maker.