In complex sales, skilful negotiation is a key tool in the salesperson’s repertoire. Experienced procurement officers are trained to extract the lowest possible price from you and your company. Unless you are well prepared, you may end up striking a deal you may later regret! Rather than being caught off guard, here are three non-negotiable principles to equip you for every sales negotiation:
The above capitalisation is intentional. If you are committed to giving more value than your price, your client will always be the bigger winner in the deal. Note however, that this is not the same as “lose-win.” To be a viable business, you must also profit in order to continue serving your clients at your best. The outcome of the deal must be a win for both parties, where your client believes they are the bigger winner. The win-WIN mentality flies in the face of past negotiation mindsets of battling with your opponent. Rather than finding ways to defeat your prospect, find ways to help them solve their problems and get what they want. Remember that once they sign the dotted line, you are entering into a business relationship. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine beating someone into a relationship!
Do your homework
Knowledge is power. Doing thorough research about your prospect’s opportunities, pains, and politics are just a few examples of increasing your leverage in the negotiation. These insights will also raise your confidence and posture, allowing you to frame yourself as a subject-matter and negotiations expert. Once you have this knowledge on board, pre-emptively raise potential areas of concern during your presentation. Doing so will demonstrate that you understand what your client cares about and give you a stronger stance. For example, you may point out that “many of our clients initially thought our prices were high, but found us to be lower cost in the long run.” This will reduce the price issue at negotiation time.
Be willing to walk
The more desperate you are, the less power you have to negotiate (and the less desirable your deal will be!). You may be asking: “When your cash flow isn’t flowing, how do you hide your neediness in a negotiation? What is the cure to desperation?” My answer is to be willing to walk away. Determine in advance what concessions you are prepared to give, and what you expect in return for them. Qualify your prospect to ensure that they demonstrate the kind of qualities you are looking for in a business relationship. If they don’t meet your criteria, be prepared to put your walking shoes on!
In what ways can you think win-WIN in your negotiations? What information do you need to strengthen your posture during the negotiation? What criteria must your prospect meet in order to become your client? Answering these questions will help you become a more effective negotiator, and enable you to serve more and better clients! If you enjoyed this article, click ‘like,’ leave a comment, or share it with others!
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