06 May 5 tips for mastering negotiation handling
The negotiation stage of the sales process is the moment of truth. Here are five tips to help you find that win-win situation, every time.
Negotiation can be a worrying time when you’re in sales. It’s when you have to switch from being Mr or Ms Nice and Helpful to Mr or Ms Serious. You want to get the deal over the line, but the terms have to be right. Get it wrong and you risk disappointing your manager, your team and yourself. However, the best negotiators will do the following five things consistently.
1 — Prepare
90% of what makes a successful negotiation takes place before you pick up the phone or leave for the meeting. Knowledge is absolute power in a negotiation.
Find out as much information you can about your prospect, their company and their industry. Why do they need your product? What will be the impact when your product solves their problem? This will help you know your value.
You should also use this information to anticipate how the negotiation will go; identify issues before they happen. Play out possible scenarios so you can be prepared for all eventualities. Roleplay with your manager or a colleague if you can.
2 — Take Control
You’ll have more success in your negotiation if you lead the process. Now is not the time to be passive; waiting to see what happens hands the other side so take the initiative. You need to be in the driving seat, and your prospect needs to know it.
You must set the agenda for the meeting, talk about goals and impact, then name your price; all before they do.
As well as being more professional, this makes your product or service more desirable in your prospect’s mind. You want their business, while they want your approval.
3 — Trade
You never need to discount in a negotiation, provided you have qualified your prospect suitably and built value in their mind. Many salespeople will drop the price at the first hint of an objection. Of course, this is the wrong approach.
So, instead of dropping the price, what can you do instead? At SaaSGrowth in 2018, Jacco from Winning By Design put it this way:
‘Discounting in SaaS service doesn’t exist.’
‘If you are adjusting the price, you must trade.’
‘If I’m able to help you with the price, would you be able to introduce me to 2 other people that can benefit from our solution?’
‘Those are hot SQLs that are going to come in. Immediate value.’
Have some ideas for trades in your head before you go into the meeting. Your preparation and research will help with this.
4 — Be creative
Although the key to negotiation is preparation, there will always be something you can’t (or haven’t) prepared for; a time when you need to think on your feet.
Remember you’re there to solve a problem. What can you do (other than discounting) to overcome the objection and get the deal over the line? Whether it’s a creative trade or just an original answer that shows your prospect why your product is the solution they need, don’t be afraid to push the limits.
You should also not be afraid to take a creative approach to the process. For example, there is value in not saying anything at all, at times. You could speak as little as possible; using silence to add impact to what you do say, and giving your prospect time to think about your offer. It’s likely your prospect will hate your silence, it will worry them and cause them to fill the silence with their own words. Advantage you.
5 — Be confident
Of course, we’re not going to forget the power of confidence. Your confidence will make you a much better negotiator and will make you more effective when you try any of the other tactics. Everything we have talked about so far requires confidence.
Perhaps the ultimate in negotiation confidence is the willingness to walk away. You don’t want to do it, but your confidence will tell you when it’s time to walk. You want to do the deal, but you don’t need to do it. Be clear about your bottom line; be aware of your prospect’s approach. Don’t let them bully you, or waste your time.
Over to you
Now, we want to know what you think. What are your keys to negotiation success?
Share your tips with the Sales Confidence community by leaving a comment below.