Sales quote: “Success is the study of the obvious. Everyone should take Obvious 101 in school.”
At some point during your sales process you will get to some level of negotiation. It is often price, but can also be delivery, terms, accessories, or even items unrelated to this sale. Understanding there are no guarantees in anything we do, here are a few simple tips that will help you reach a positive outcome.
Acknowledge going in that the probability of negotiation is relatively high. Your buyer is going to want a lower price, or something extra if he cannot get a lower price. Therefore, when you arrive at the point of negotiation have a few items you are willing to give up. Maybe you can shorten delivery, add an accessory, or something else of higher value to your customer than it is to you. Having said that, don’t give these items too quickly. Your customer wants to feel they have “won” something.
Using terms like “non-negotiable”, “deal breaker” or “non-starter” sets up an adversarial relationship and why would you want to do that? Come to the negotiation with options; lots of them. These allow you to demonstrate you are willing compromise and work to a solution that benefits both sides. Using highly charged, negative phrases does not demonstrate confidence as much as it demonstrates stubbornness.
As we have told hundreds of clients, make sure you are negotiating with someone who can say YES. Do you have the ultimate decision maker at the table? Going through a productive negotiation only to find out your counterpart cannot give you the YES you want is a colossal waste of time! The result is when the true decision maker arrives, your starting point is where you left off with the guy would couldn’t say YES. Now, you are in a bad situation.
Rushing to the final negotiation is never a good idea. Spend most of your time understanding what is important to your customer. During those early conversations you learn which points you can give comfortably and which will be the real sticking points. Not every customer wants the lowest price and shortest delivery. Maybe some option you didn’t think of is his big winner in the negotiation. Keep listening, you will learn more.
Finally, not all battles are won and not all negotiations are good ones. Always, always know your limit. The single, most powerful tactic you have as a sales pro is knowing when to walk away. Many a salesperson has been much happier knowing the deal was not never going to a good one and walked away.