Understanding scope and impact is first step to achieving excellence
In the world of professional sales, negotiations are viewed as an unfortunate fact of life and often assessed in terms of gaining, preserving or forfeiting margin. But the impact is actually much broader and deeper than your bottom line on any one deal. Negotiating is a complex and essential skill set. It is a vivid reflection of our position with customers and the quality of those relationships.
It is also worth noting that our customers are continually becoming better negotiators, thus, giving us more incentive to hone our skills on this front. There are two factors driving this trend: First, within the business world, there is universal pressure to continually improve profitability. The easiest way for customers to improve profits is to squeeze better pricing from suppliers. Second, customers are more informed than ever, and that knowledge is power at the negotiation table.
Effective negotiations start with the right mindset. Negotiation is not about winning or losing; it is about finding solutions. Specifically, it is about finding mutually beneficial solutions. For this reason, the following are prerequisites for effective customer negotiations:
- Interdependent relationship
- Trust, credibility, respect and rapport
- Common ground
- Emotional maturity
Without these foundational elements in place, it will be impossible to engage in effective, productive negotiations. Considering our ability to negotiate has profound effects on all aspects of our life, both personal and professional, it is in our best interest to achieve excellence in this arena.
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