Are you looking for the best sales negotiation techniques? Then this is the blog for you.
Hi Friends, this is Prabodh Deolekar, your B2B sales mentor. Before writing this blog, I had conducted a short survey. My question was simple. ‘What is that one area that salespeople need to be good at to excel in their jobs?’
The topic with the most votes on was, ‘Sales Negotiation.’
Out of all the stages in a B2B sales cycle, sales negotiation is one of the most dreadful stages for many sales professionals.
There is always this uncertainty surrounding the sales negotiation processes which stress out most of us. Many times there is so much pressure and anxiety to close a deal that a small waiting time between sales negotiation and closure feels like a decade.
One of the reasons sales negotiation can have a mental toll on sales professionals is we have not learnt how to deal with it in a structured way.
So today I am going to talk about five sales negotiation techniques that can help you close your next deal.
If you are ready to learn, get your pens and paper or open any note-taking app on your mobile phones and take lots of notes.
WHAT ARE THE FIVE SALES NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES?
1: Plan your sales negotiation process:
There is an old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This applies to all walks of our lives including sales negotiations.
So before you enter a sales negotiation stage, plan and make yourself ready for it.
In my case, I have this list of 5 points that I make sure of before getting into any sales negotiation:
1. I make sure I am negotiating with the decision-maker
2. I am aware of or have attempted to know the procurement process
3. I make sure I close all discussions regarding products or services, and I have demonstrated the value of my offering.
4. I also make sure that whatever I have proposed on the table is the best and final solution for the customer’s current requirements.
5. I have done all my internal calculations and I am ready in terms of pricing and discounting.
2: Build Rapport with your clients during the sales negotiation process.
This is a continuous process and one of the most basic requirements to get into professional sales.
As a sales professional, you need to have a knack for building rapport with strangers. Not only at a professional level but also at a personal level; especially if you are negotiating with someone with whom you have not negotiated before. In that case, don’t directly get into a business discussion; get to know that person, introduce yourself, try to build a rapport.
This helps in breaking the ice and creates a warm environment for a sales negotiation.
3: Actively listen to your clients :
In sales negotiations where stakes are so high, we need to let our customers talk and listen to them. We must then respond with empathy and curiosity as that’s how we can show our customers that we are flexible. We respect their point of view and we want to make this a win-win situation.
Many times if you are a subject matter expert, your abundant knowledge comes in between your listening ability. We want to impress our clients with our knowledge.
There is a famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Listening is the perfect way of letting your client know how much you care. Listening to your clients will always help you be in a favourable position during the sales negotiation process.
4: Sales Negotiation is a joint problem solving :
There is a famous book on negotiation “Getting to Yes” written by William Ury and Roger Fisher. I would highly recommend reading and also watching William Ury’s videos on YouTube.
Find the video here –
He is a professional negotiator and has negotiated on behalf of governments and businesses where stakes were really high. He defines negotiation as a joint problem-solving process.
If we step back and detach our emotions from the negotiation process, we will realise it is indeed a joint problem-solving activity.
Our job as sales professionals is to solve problems for our clients by figuring out the best possible option in concurrence with them. As a seasoned sales professional, you use your problem-solving skills to close the gap between your and your client’s expectations.
This step is where you take action, be creative, facilitate a solution and ensure you close the negotiation and win the deal.
How do you do that?
Through negotiations based on logical criteria instead of negotiations based on ego.
At times, when you come across hard negotiators, they push salespeople to the wall and ask them to lower their prices if they wish to close the deal. You might have heard such statements from customers. “Let’s talk if you want to give it for x Rs or else leave it.”
Sometimes this might push you to give a significant discount to win the deal and continue the relationship. This kind of negotiating behaviour is wholly ego-based and it is best to completely avoid it.
One way of avoiding ego-based negotiations is to introduce logical criteria.
Types of objective criteria for Sales Negotiation are as follows:
1. Market value
2. Past purchase
3. Fair and real competitive price
4. Price build-up
Trying to negotiate based on wish and ego is painful. No negotiation is efficient if you or your customer pit your will/ego against each other.
A win-win deal always has good logical criteria. So whether you are negotiating with your friend to choose a place to eat, closing a deal or negotiating a salary you are unlikely to reach a wise agreement if it’s not judged based on a logical standard.
Looking at the entire sales negotiation process objectively and approaching it with a problem-solving mindset can help us find innovative and creative ways of being successful at negotiations.
5. NBA – Next best alternative
We all know what distracts us during our daily life, so if we just plan consciously and ensure we take care of it, we can easily find a way to work it out. It might be your surroundings, it might be your peers or anything else.
Instead of taking customer phone calls in an open area in the office, we can plan to take calls in a quiet place.
We can plan our meetings in advance and ensure that there are the least distractions in our environment.
Practise patience :
Sales is a time-bound goal-oriented profession.
In B2B sales, sales professionals are expected to close deals every week, every month, every quarter and every year. This might change depending on organisation to organisation. But the end statement remains the same; CLOSE DEALS!
These expectations at times can result in desperation to close the deal in stipulated time. If the deal doesn’t come in within that time it leads to pressure, anxiety and stress.
As a salesperson, you shouldn’t forget you are just a facilitator & influencer of the deal. You have your limits to what you can do to close a deal. Sometimes even if you put the best of your knowledge and skills to use some things are beyond your control.
However, it’s easier said than done.
That’s, why you need to be patient. Having patience doesn’t mean you are complacent. It doesn’t mean you are not going to work hard to achieve your goals.
It means you accept current circumstances, you have empathy towards your customer and you are not hard on yourself.
Patience gives you the ability to look at your entire sales negotiation approach strategically and course-correct wherever needed. Having patience keeps you calm but thoughtful about your actions.
At times closing a deal feels like winning a war and unknowingly it makes your customers or competition look like your enemies. But, practising patience makes winning the deal look like reaching a mountain peak.
When you want to reach a mountain peak the only person you need to win over is yourself
Sales Negotiation is an advanced sales skill and if you intend to be a seasoned professional salesperson you need to internalise this skill. The best way to internalise any skill is to practise it consistently.
So practise this framework as much as you can.
Let me know if these 5 sales negotiation techniques work for you. If you are getting stuck at any step, please mention it in the comments and I would love to help you.
Also if you have read this article till the end, do write in the comments section what is your biggest takeaway from this. If you liked this article, give it a thumbs up and share it with people who would find it relevant.
Till then signing off, this is Prabodh Deolekar, your B2B sales mentor, keep hustling, keep selling, stay safe and God bless.
And hey! For those of you who stayed till the end, I am launching my online sales course for B2B sales shortly. One of the topics I will be covering is … ding ding ding … Sales Negotiation.
If you are interested to improve your sales negotiation skills sign in using the link and I will notify you when it is live.
Until then, be patient and keep nailing your negotiations.
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