Negotiating is among the most feared and stress-inducing functions for a sales professional, and also among the most important. If you struggle with negotiations, there may be bad habits undermining your success in this role:
Viewing negotiations as a battle – Negotiations should be about finding solutions and adding value for all parties, not about winning or losing. As soon as we view the customer as the opponent, we compromise our ability to empathize and get into their “Odds Are” to identify mutually beneficial outcomes.
Not asking enough questions – Nowhere is the power of the Exploratory Process more evident than when negotiating! Your responsibility is to ask the right questions to find out what your customer really values. Skilled use of the Exploratory Process will help you guide the discussion and potentially uncover value considerations that the customer was not even aware of.
Focusing on price – Sales professionals identify price as the number one objection in the sales process and the most significant barrier in negotiations. Don’t give price more weight than it deserves! Be sure your Exploratory Process and discussion encompass all value considerations, including consultation, quality, service, delivery, customization, response time and payment terms. This practice not only prevents unnecessary price concessions, it actually improves the overall satisfaction of customers via a comprehensive value solution.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of your relationship with customers during negotiations. A high level of trust will eliminate emotional barriers, facilitate openness and idea sharing, and pave the way for a productive discussion centered on mutually beneficial outcomes.