Sales negotiation is a work of art. You need more than theoretical knowledge, you need to have the instinct, tenacity and drive. While you can learn how to deal with customers, and their demands overtime, here are some pointers that we’ve learnt through experience, and these are points that you can store in the back of your mind. So, the next time you are conversing with a potential customer, maybe you can try these tricks that you’ve stored up your sleeve!
- The pre-sales preparation work
Well, when we say ‘pre-sales prep work’ it might talk about anything, from the product to the setting. But what we are talking about here, is the actual sales prep work. When you are in the process of negotiation, you might face a customer who is hell bent on getting a concession. These are moments when you can appreciate yourself for your preparedness. Before you begin a negotiation, set up the amount indicating the maximum concession you can provide. This will make sure you have not struck a deal that is not useful to you all at once it’s done with. So, if a 5% discount is all that you can afford, do not step down from that.
- The initial approach
The initial approach matters more than anything else. How you present yourself to the customer. If it is a face-to-face scenario, make sure you appear content, and you have a smile on your face. Even if you are drowning in debts, do not let that smile falter. A desperate salesperson becomes a prey. If your conversation is through a phone call, make sure your voice is light. Speak in a calm and clear voice. One that is not too loud, one not too so. Another key rule for telephonic conversation is to never cut your customer when they are talking. It is rude under normal circumstances also, so it seems worse when it’s a sales call. So, keep the 3 C’s in mind. Cool, Calm and Confident. These are important for coaxing the customers subconscious.
- Listen more talk less
Always let the customer talk about their requirements, find out about their necessities. This will help you find out what it is they are looking for, and therefore serve them beer. But we’re talking about Sales Negotiations here. How will listening help there? More than you can imagine. As you listen to your customer, you get a chance to learn your customer. How they speak, how they emote and how they respond are crucial factors. When you understand the pulse of the customer, you can outsmart them, and thereby convince them to your way of thinking or pricing easily. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason – that reason being twice the listening and half the speaking.
- Price options are bad
Providing range whilst any negotiation is not a great move. When you are giving a range, you know you have to give this or that. Now, let’s consider an example. Suppose you tell your customer, “Sir, we can give a discount of 15% to 20%” you unknowingly provide them with a bigger discount than you intended. So, fix up a specific rate you can concede, and stick to it.
- Verbal Communication & Written confirmation
While negotiations are on, the prices, the concessions and add-ons may change from time to time, so the best thing to do would be to get verbal confirmation and then finally get a written one, probably through an e-mail. The problem of having multiple written confirmations is, that it will look both sloppy and confusing. that you can afford, do not step down from that.
- Make it a Win-Win negotiation
There will be times when you give in to your customer’s requests, and that is when your mission should be to make it a win-win situation. When it comes to selling a product, or even getting a project, make sure it happens on an equal footing. A salesperson-customer relationship is borne out of mutual respect, so make it profitable for the both of you.
- Be mentally strong
Negotiation is purely a psychological strategy. Psychologically, a sales professional must be the master of his or her own mind and emotions. You need to enter the negotiation prepared, knowing the needs of the potential customer through research, listening, spending time and paying attention. When you enter a negotiation well-informed, you can keep your expectations under control. The most effective working relationships, which can then evolve into long-standing partnerships, are always based on trust between partners. In this way negotiation is not about winning but rather about mediating for the best outcome for all involved. So be strong mentally, and do not let any signs of emotion get the beer of you. Remember, a desperate salesperson does not win.
Established in United Arab Emirates, E-cube has been successfully delivering leadership, management and softs skills training programs to corporate. Its training titles include situational leadership, time management, stress management, customer service and sales training. Every training session is preceded by a training needs analysis and is followed by measurement of training results.