Every sales negotiation is different. Each has it’s own nuances and objectives – and each set of objectives requires different tactics and strategies for success. There are many studies you can review on this subject, but nothing replaces experience when it comes to dealing with negotiations.
So to help move negotiations along, we organized a few tactics that have worked for our team in the past. Next time you enter a conversation, consider these seven strategies to ensure your negotiations run smoothly:
- Know Your Prospect – Before you start your negotiation process, study up on the other party. The more you know, the better. If you can make a personal connection with your right off the bat, a like a common school attended or state lived in, you will improve the quality of the conversation and ultimately the negotiation.
- Be Prepared With Objections – Everyone has common objections with their product or service, it could be negative reviews about the company or common product objections. Either way, be prepared with quality answers for them. You should include any relevant statistics proving that the issue was a rare issue, etc. Even better change the subject to talk about the positives of the company and don't allow yourself to be pulled down in that conversation.
- Arm Yourself With Endorsements – Quotes and success stories from customers and partners can really add to your credibility. The assets will have an even higher impact if you can bring a story specific to the industry or project the other company is working on. When you are selling a product that other customer are raving about, your credibility instantly gets a boost.
- Push Back on Terms – Information in a sales negotiation is extremely valuable, and when you push back on things correctly, you can learn a lot. If you push back on something like price for example, you can learn if your contact has the authority to lower the price. This will also give you some intel if you’re negotiating with the decision maker or if they have to go back and talk to someone else. If you never push back on anything you miss the opportunity to gather information about the negotiation.
- Use Questions Effectively – If a concern arises, follow up with a question to promote different thinking. Say your software product takes eight weeks to implement, but a competing product takes only four weeks. The other person may ask, “Your competitor’s product can be implemented in half the time. Why should we go with yours?” Try pushing back to get them thinking about their questions. Ask them "Why is that shorter implementation important to you?" You may find that they are just curious on the different implementation processes and don't care if it takes an extra month. Its always good to probe and understand their motivations before jumping to conclusions.
- Play To Your Strengths – There are always unforeseen factors in a negotiation that can put a company or a product in a negative light. If you encounter negativity about your company or product, try to reverse the situation by focusing on the positives. If your opposition is concerned that your software product takes an extra 20 seconds to load, you could respond with, “Yes, I agree that it takes a little longer than our competitor. But with our product, the extra 20 seconds allows another advanced feature to load that the competitor’s product doesn’t have. That feature will save you much more time in the long run than the extra load time will cost.” Just like in the last point, this response gets your opponent thinking differently. Nothing is perfect, but if you can get the conversation focused on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, the conversation is more likely to end on a positive note.