Negotiation. The word strikes fear into the hearts of some salespeople, gets other reps geared up for a fight, and excites some others.
Regardless of your reaction, negotiation is a non-negotiable part of the sales process. You might think the hard work is over once a mutual agreement has been made, but that’s when the wheeling and dealing really begins.
Negotiation doesn’t have to be painful, but unfortunately many salespeople follow flawed best practices and advice that introduce unnecessary difficulties into the process.
If you’re doing any of the 5 things below, it’s time to change your mindset and your negotiation strategy:
1. Assuming that something is not negotiable
When you think like a negotiator, everything is negotiable.
When you decide that the terms for anything can be changed in your favour, a world of opportunity presents itself. Rules can be modified if you simply propose an ethical, viable, and mutually beneficial alternative solution. Powerful negotiators are rule breakers.
2. Not building relationships first
One of the biggest mistakes individuals make in negotiations is not getting to know their opponent. Slow down and make connections with people and you’ll glean useful information that can be used to identify what they value in life, what motivates them, and what annoys them.
You might be surprised how well you can leverage what you learn through a genuine conversation with someone.
3. Talking too much
Talking too much is a sure-fire way to kill a deal. It’s not unusual for a salesperson to talk so much about a product or service that they talk right out of purchase.
Never underestimate the power of silence. According to an old adage: ‘He or she who speaks next loses.’ When discussing a deal, if you simply stop talking and get comfortable with the awkwardness of silence, your ability to win your argument, sell the product, or a get concession in the negotiation increases significantly.
4. Not listening
A negotiation isn’t simply offering a deal and accepting either a “yes” or a “no” after a chance to persuade the other side. Good negotiators are the ones who walk into a deal in listening mode. Ask plenty of questions to understand where the other side is coming from and what they’re trying to get out of the deal.
You should be trying to gain the upper hand through the accumulation of knowledge regarding the deal at hand rather than just focusing on the sound of your own voice.
5. Failing to prepare
Even if you have a clear idea about what you want from a negotiation, you still need to prepare and rehearse your arguments carefully.
When you prepare, you feel more confident, which is important in any negotiation. If you can demonstrate your knowledge of the subject in question, the other party will take you seriously. And you’ll be less likely to forget something if you’re fully prepared – it’s important to include everything in your negotiation as it’s extremely difficult to get new demands accepted after the negotiation has taken place.
Which of these mistakes have you been making?