How to master your sales negotiation skills


Negotiation is hard to master and easy to get wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are four ways to keep your negotiation muscle strong.

Negotiations in sales are inherently dangerous. That’s why they’re hard. A lot hinges on the negotiation stage of the sales process. You’ve got the deal close to the line and you don’t want to let it go. You don’t want to let yourself down or disappoint your manager and your team. However, often the prospect may want something you can’t give them. It’s when the excellent relationship you have built with your prospect gets tested to its limits.

You know what it takes to negotiate well, but how can you make sure you get it right more often? Here are four ways to master your sales negotiation skills.

1 — Training and coaching

Negotiation is one of those topics where you can never know everything. There are always new things you can try and better ways you can handle different situations. Training and coaching are brilliant for upskilling your negotiation, and there is no better way than listening to live negotiation calls.

Listen to as many calls as you can, with your manager or your team. Listen to calls you made, as well as ones others have done. Listen to negotiations that went well. Why? Listen to ones that went wrong. What could you have done differently?

There are also great books, videos, podcasts, articles and more on negotiation skills. When I think about negotiation I often think of the talk Jacco from Winning By Design gave at SaaSGrowth in 2018. You can watch it here.

‘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.’

2 — Communication

As with most thing in sales, communication is everything. Make negotiation something you talk about regularly with your sales leaders. Keep them in the loop on how your negotiations are going; they may be able to help you. They may help you anticipate potential pitfalls and help you overcome them.

Your leaders will also be able to give you a steer on what your bottom line is, with their blessing to walk away if you can’t get your prospect there. The revenue needs of a business can change frequently, so regular communication can help you stay ahead.

3 — Preparation

Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiating. The more you know about your prospect, their business and their industry, the easier it is to have a business conversation with them.

When you have the right in-depth knowledge, you know why your prospect needs your product. You see the impact that your solution can make on their business. You know your worth. That gives you a tangible advantage at the negotiation stage.

You must also try and play out how you think the negotiation will go before you pick up the phone or arrive at the meeting. Where might there be areas of contention? What will you do to get the deal over the line?

4 — Practise

Practice makes perfect in negotiation and in life. The more you do it, the better you get. Negotiation skills will improve with experience.

The more negotiations you take part in, the more you’ll learn the essentials skills:

  • Patience — Negotiation takes time. You want to do the deal, but there’s a danger in shaking hands too early.
  • Confidence — Know that you have the skills to make this negotiation work. Be confident in yourself, your business and the solutions you sell.
  • Trading — What can you offer (other than a discount) to seal the deal?

Get into the room as many times as you can.

Over to you

Now, we want to know what you think.

What do you do to improve your negotiation skills?

Let the Sales Confidence community know with a comment below.

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