How to improve sales negotiations

Posted in Sales techniques and processes.

There is a misconception around the word “negotiation”. A lot of salespeople think of it as a power struggle wherein they should come out on top. Instead, it should be seen as a discussion between two people in order to reach an agreement that is beneficial for both parties.

It is not necessary to feel anxious about entering into a negotiation as there are simple guidelines you can follow that will ensure a win-win situation every time.

Have more than one option

You are more likely to walk into a negotiation with confidence if you have other options waiting for you. Having more than one possible outcome prepared makes one feel less pressured and anxious, and can lead to a favourable conclusion. The less pressure, the less desperate one comes across to reach a settlement. Also, if you seem less dependent on what the client is going to potentially offer you, you will become appealing to them. The client will end up trying to sell to you, rather than you trying to sell to them.

Small victories

Get the easy negotiations out of the way first. Negotiate with clients to place a small order first to show them that you are trustworthy, can provide good products or services, and so forth. A small victory like that helps to get a foot in the door to bigger orders. It also aids in establishing a long-term relationship with the client.

Listen up

It is often said that whoever talks the most during a negotiation loses. Listening skills is essential for anyone who wants to be a great negotiator as well as a great salesperson. Listening builds trust as the client feels valued and as if their opinions are important to the other person. Ways you can show your client that you are listening to them include:

*  Leaning in while listening as this shows interest in what the other person is saying.
*  Nodding your head regularly as this signals that you are following what they are saying. However, do not overdo this as it may come across as insincere.
*  Telling the client that you have something important you want to talk about, but that you want to hear their opinion first. This gives them the feeling that they are the priority in this situation and make them more open to what you have to say.
*  Finding common ground. Listen to who they are as a person and talk about a subject that they find interesting before diving into serious matters.

Silence is golden

This tip fits in perfectly with what was said above regarding listening. Try to use silence as a tool to steer the negotiation in a favourable direction. For instance, if you make an offer and the client doesn’t agree, don’t react immediately. Rather, keep eye contact and see where it goes. Oftentimes, silence makes people uncomfortable and they will want to fill that silence with words. What the client says in moments of silence can be great for discovering what the client’s needs are in general, which you can then use to help forward the negotiation.

Form a partnership

You shouldn’t see your client as your opposition when going into a negotiation. Rather treat them as your partner. This way the negotiation becomes about reaching an agreement that is advantageous for both of you instead of just getting something from the other person. If both parties feel like they are working towards a mutual goal, they will want to work together instead of against each other.

Giving means getting

Giving up something for the client can be a good way to nudge them towards reaching an agreement. However, this is a negotiation which means that there needs to be compromise from both sides. Only give something up if you are going to get something in return that is of equal or greater value. Don’t simply give something up for the sake of giving.