It’s time to make a deal with the prospect, so you unleash your negotiation skills – but by then, it may be too late to make a meaningful difference. You need to incorporate strategic negotiation into the entire sales process, from start to finish, for each lead you qualify.
Be Curious and Ask the Right Questions
Begin by analyzing the key issues from the prospect’s standpoint. Be curious about the person’s intentions, goals, motivation, limits, and areas he or she can be flexible. Some questions to ask:
“What are your intended results?”
“What type of agreement would make you look good to colleagues at your company?”
“What are your priorities when making this purchase, e.g., price, service, or duration of contract?”
“On what terms can you be flexible?”
Listen carefully to the responses, and at various points during the negotiation, summarize the other side’s point of view out loud so there are no misunderstandings. These practices may also help you uncover a hidden agenda and recognize when your negotiating partner is ready to close. Plus, you’ll be able to shape your negotiation strategy throughout the rest of the sales process.
Practice 8 Steps to Successful Negotiation
Clarify your objectives and develop wish and concession lists, while anticipating what will be important to the client.
Rehearse your opening statements, ask questions, listen carefully to the answers, and exchange additional information.
Be alert to the prospect’s signals (verbal and nonverbal), which may reveal needs that you didn’t pick up in prior sessions.
Trade with the prospect to secure specific and practical items of greater value to you (e.g., higher prices, longer-term contract, and later deadlines) while conceding items of lesser value.
Give those on the other side what they want – on your terms – and shape your proposal based on any uncovered needs.
Set a price for the prospect’s demands, and put conditions before offers with this type of statement: “If you agree to sign a two-year contract, then we’ll provide delivery at a 25 percent discount for the first twelve months.”
For a trial closing, you can ask, “Are you saying that if we agree to provide delivery at a 25 percent discount for the first twelve months, you’ll sign a two-year contract?” This type of question encourages the prospect to reveal any hidden issues and should enable you to close the negotiation.
Clarify potential ambiguities, and confirm that the terms of the agreement are acceptable and can be implemented by both parties.
Negotiate So Both Sides Come out Smiling
Don’t view success as “we win, you lose,” an approach that won’t lead to long-term relationships. Instead, seek to understand the prospect’s needs so you can offer a practical solution while at the same time getting what’s important to you, such as a longer-term contract, flexibility in service, and ultimately higher revenue.