All entrepreneurs are in the sales business. And for a salesperson, negotiations are an important part of the role. Not only do salespeople have to talk to clients and negotiate the sale of their product or service, they also have to make sure the deal is made at a reasonable price.
Furthermore, salespeople come across a wide variety of clients that have their own set of needs and demands. These clients may not always want to buy a product or service at a given time, hence, it all falls on the negotiation skills of a salesperson, because that is what generally defines the success of a sales deal. Fortunately, companies like The Gap Partnership offer sales negotiations training to help sales professionals get the results they want from key situations.
With the pressure of having to constantly shift gears from consultant to negotiator, every salesperson should have adequate negotiation training. Here’s a look at essential negotiation tips in which every sales representative should exhibit basic proficiency.
1. Listen first, then speak
In their haste to close a deal, some salespeople say more and listen less. However, listening to what the client has to say is often paramount to the negotiations process. Understand what the client wants through what they are saying, and then give them feasible options based on what they are looking for.
You won’t be able to give the right bargain to your prospect, if you don’t give them the desired talk time. One of the worst sales pitches that often lead to failure is when a sales rep keeps talking and does not allow for a pause to give the prospect enough time to speak their mind, or ask questions. In short, don’t be tempted to show your hand, before you have heard and understood what the client wants.
2. Share one figure, not ranges
One mistake most freshly minted salespersons make is that they share an inconclusive price range with prospective clients. Instead of saying, “We could offer you a 15 percent to 20 percent discount,” try saying, “We can offer an exclusive 15 percent discount for you.”
Who in their right mind would want to get a 15 percent discount, when a 20 percent discount is also offered? So, don’t give ranges, but share a direct figure with each prospect. Keep a record of your offer and avoid the using the word “between” at all costs.
3. Negotiate with the decision maker
Another common mistake many salespeople make is negotiating with a person sitting at the wrong end of the org chart. If you’re selling to B2B customers, every organization has certain decision makers within their ranks, and you need to identify them. Failure to identify key decision makers can make selling extremely difficult.
A novice salesperson would negotiate a bargain with the wrong person, and then when it comes to finalizing a deal with the decision maker, they may have to further bargain on the discounted price. While this could be a great prospect for your client, it isn’t ideal for your company’s bottom line.
4. Negotiate beyond price
Although as a salesperson you may be motivated to negotiate based on price; it is vital to realize the importance of going beyond the price to include value (e.g. product add-ons and service features). Your negotiations should never be restricted to price alone.
For example, instead of giving a massive discounts to a prospect, try offering a value added service (e.g., a 1-year extended post sale service agreement). This way, you can go beyond the price, and close deals on even better terms.