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Sales Training - Negotiating like a sales professional.

 

Negotiating is one of the most important skills you can learn.  While it is a skill, it’s an art as well.  Learn to negotiate like a pro and your sales career will be much more rewarding, in all aspects.  Negotiating is a topic that covers much more than we can cover in a 33 minute lesson.  However, here are some points to remember:

·         NEVER negotiate for something for which you aren’t prepared to walk away.   Once the person you are negotiating with knows you have to have what they are holding from you, they have the upper hand.  Make sure before you start the negotiation that you have alternatives or you can live without whatever they have.  If you learn nothing else from this lesson, please learn and understand this point.  Everything else follows behind it.

·         Be patient.  Most people aren’t.  Many times you will get what you want by just waiting out the other party.  This point follows closely behind the second point. If you can live without whatever you are negotiating for, then you do have the luxury of being patient.  Along those lines, when talking over the phone or face to face, don’t respond immediately to an offer.  Many times your silence will be taken as a sign that you do not care for their offer.  This can be difficult, but you must bite your tongue.  Many times, having used this approach I have had the other party come back with something like, “Well, I can see you don’t like that idea, how about this…” and offer something better.

·         Be professional and courteous.  You don’t want to appear confrontational.  Never give someone a reason to want to “stick it to you.”  I hear this frequently from sports coaches before big games.   They don’t want their players “trash-talking” about their opponents.  They don’t want the other team to have any additional reason to fight harder to win. 

·         Be willing to listen.  You have a better chance of being heard if you really listen to the other person.  Sometimes this requires parroting back to the other person what you believe you heard.  If the other person thinks that you are not listening or paying attention, they will become frustrated and either physically or mentally quit negotiating.  There are plenty of books and articles on listening.  Check one out before you start negotiating.

·         Find out exactly what the other party wants early by asking them.  “What do you want out of this negotiation?” is a legitimate question that shows you care.  It also helps you prepare what you are going to offer or concede before you open your mouth.  You may get someone trying to be coy with you and say something like, “I want to get the best deal possible.”  You can respond with, “Come on, Joe.  Let’s get it all on the table so we can work together to get this done.” 

·         Figure out how to let the other party win something from the negotiation.  Decide ahead of time what you can live without and keep that in your back pocket.  If you believe it may be of value to the other party, let them “win” it.  Everybody likes to “save face” and be able to walk away feeling as though they won something. 

·         Never negotiate when either party is angry or distracted.  You will be wasting your time.  And, if you do go ahead with the negotiation, you probably won’t get what you want.

·         If you are the one starting the negotiation by making the first offer, be certain you convey your excitement about your offer.  You are thrilled you could offer this to them and nobody else.  Many times people will accept this as they don’t want to disappoint you or start the relationship off on a negative note.

 Sales Homework – There are excellent books on negotiating.  Get a few of them and read or listen to them.  One I can personally recommend is, Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher. 

Sales Managers – You want sales reps that aren’t going to cave in the first time a prospect throws something at them that’s just a negotiating technique.  Encourage them to learn negotiating skills and situational role play with them.

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