A sales negotiation is considered successful when differences are adjusted while ensuring credibility, customer value, and profit margins. In fact, most sales professionals are likely to spend most of their time negotiating with either their customers or employees.
The art of negotiation involves getting other people to see your point of view while considering their concerns in an equally respective manner. This is a key aspect of acquiring new customers, retaining profit, and building lasting relationships in business. The sales negotiation step is the most important to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement.
Hence negotiators have the responsibility to develop strategies that will help both sides to get more of what they want. Sales people should avoid looking at sales negotiation as a competitive battle where you inevitably settle into bad deals in order to avoid conflict.
When negotiating in sales, you can achieve better results by keeping in mind the following tips:
Set your Bottom Line
The bottom line can be defined as the limit you are willing to give in for getting business. Defining your bottom line is essential to set what you are willing to settle for and beyond which is unacceptable. In this way, sales people won’t be manipulated by prospects. Not setting your bottom line will result into accepting negotiations and compromises on the fly which will leave you unhappy at the end of the day. This is not an effective practice since compromising means shedding a portion of the margin the company should have earned. In fact, the absolute bottom line is your worst-case scenario, anything less should be blindly refused.
Be well-prepared before Sales Negotiations
Studies have shown that being prepared before entering a negotiation accounts for 90% of negotiation success. In fact, the more and better prepared you are, the more likely the outcome of the negotiation will be positive. Sales people need to prepare for detailed sales negotiations and plan strategies for every encounter. The key is to get all the information you can about the prospect with whom you will be negotiating, think through the entire negotiation process, and be fully prepared for any eventuality.
Allow Your Counterpart to Feel Appreciated
A good way to help your counterparts open up during the negotiation process is by expressing appreciation. It is important to make the latter feel understood and highlight key points in what they are trying to communicate to show that you are actively listening. Additionally, it also shows that you respect what they are saying and their interests.
Offer Alternatives to Cash Discounts that Cost Less
Prospects typically demands discounts and rebates in the price during every negotiation. At the end of the day, we can only hope that they are reasonable. However, to counter such claims and demands, offer prospects with alternatives to cash discounts that cost little or less in comparison. The key is to make sure that your offering has high-value perception for the customer. Hence, the best way to do that is by designing a list of alternatives that resonate high value to the prospect.
Get Something in Return for Discounts
Very often, a straight price reduction is the most expensive discount a company can offer, and it is quite usual in a negotiation. Therefore, despite trying to justify the price or offer alternatives to discounts, there will be a deal where you will have no other option other than discounts. The good thing is that you can still turn that around. It is certain that giving away discounts will definitely hurt your company’s bottom line; hence make sure you get something in return. Here are some things you could ask in return: Shorter payment terms/Prepayment, a larger order (Up-sell), purchase additional products/services (Cross-sell) or opportunities for recurring revenue (business).
Sometimes, important decisions are made that might need drastic changes to what was previously agreed upon. The best way to deal with such situation is not to rush into finalizing. For instance: request some time to think it over and schedule a follow-up meeting. Major changes might cause you to rush into decisions that can only hurt both you and your company’s bottom line. The key is to slow down and get back to them after you have assessed the whole situation.
Know when to Walk Away
The best thing to do if your prospect demands huge price reductions or unprofitable adjustments to the contract is to simply walk away. For example: gradual withdrawal is a good way in which you send signals to the other party that you are dissatisfied with how the negotiation is going.
It is certain that succeeding in sales negotiations takes experience and a strong foundation of core negotiation skills. One of the best ways to improve your sales people negotiation skills is by providing them with an innovative sales training program.