Negotiating is one of the most feared and stress-inducing functions for a sales professional and among the most important. Having a repertoire of sales negotiation strategies in your tool belt can help you successfully navigate various sales situations.
Many sales professionals struggle with negotiations, in part because of bad habits that undermine their success. A few of the bad habits that could be hindering a sales professional's sales negotiations skills include:
- Viewing Negotiations as a Battle - Negotiating should not be about winning or losing. As soon as we consider the customer the opponent, we compromise our ability to empathize and get into their "Odds Are" to identify mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Failing to Ask Enough Questions - A significant pitfall in sales negotiations is assuming you already know what your customer wants. When you do this, you are limiting your discussion and creating a huge barrier to success.
- Focusing on Price in Your Negotiations - Sales professionals identify price as the number one objection in the sales process and the most significant barrier in negotiations. Don't assume that price is the only thing your customer cares about or give a price more weight than it deserves!
3 Sales Negotiation Strategies for Breaking Those Barriers
- Quantify the Intrinsic Value of the Offer - Negotiations should be about finding solutions and adding value for all parties. View negotiations as an exchange of value between you and your client instead of a battle. The negotiation tactic of value-exchange places both parties in an interdependent relationship which will set up the negotiation for success and strengthen the partnership at a foundational level.
- Get to Know Your Customer and Their Needs - To prevent a faulty assumption from taking your negotiations off course, you need to ask questions! Nowhere is the power of Carew's Exploratory Process more evident than when negotiating. Your responsibility as a sales professional and negotiator is to ask the right questions and uncover what your customer truly values. Skilled use of the Exploratory Process as a sales negotiation tactic will help guide the discussion and potentially reveal value points that the customer had not even considered. Reaching a mutually beneficial solution is hopeless if neither party shares what they hope to get out of the negotiation.
- Build Rapport to Become a Trusted Partner - Instead of focusing on price, be sure your Exploratory Process and discussion encompass all value considerations, including consultation, quality, service, delivery, customization, response time, and payment terms. By taking the time to have a two-way discussion with your customer, you are positioning yourself as a trusted resource. Averting price from becoming the main topic of conversation is a powerful sales negotiation tactic that prevents unnecessary price concessions and improves overall customer satisfaction via a comprehensive value solution.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of your relationship with customers during negotiations. Avoiding these barriers to negotiation and incorporating some of the sales negotiation strategies mentioned above will cultivate a high level of trust, facilitate openness and idea-sharing, and pave the way for a productive discussion centered on mutually beneficial outcomes.