Outside of the business world being a good negotiator is a useful skill. Being able to get a good price on a new car or convince someone to do something for you, are both helpful. However, in the world of sales being a good negotiator is necessary.
In the business world, your job is centered around your ability to negotiate. You have to be able to successfully sell yourself and your company to a potential client. You may feel like you’re an expert negotiator, but are the people that work for you? What could their sub-par negotiating be costing the company? You need to give your team the sales training necessary to ensure that when they try to close a deal, they’re the best negotiator in any room they walk into.
What is a Sales Negotiation?
It may seem like an obvious question, but a sales negotiation isn’t as black and white as other negotiations. A sales negotiation is a series of discussions where one party tries to get the other(s) to move in their direction. This could be on a variety of different sticking points such as: overall pricing, delivery costs, timing of transaction, length of the contract, etc. On each of these sticking points companies will have their own position in mind. Since in most sales negotiations companies don’t have the same starting position, they must find a way to work towards each other and come to an agreement.
The most important thing to understand going into a sales negotiation is the most valuable position to each party. To one group getting low delivery costs maybe what they value most, and to another it may be landing a long term contract. In successful sales negotiation, you want to be able to move the other party closer to you on as many of your valuable positions as possible.
Why are Sales Negotiation Skills Important?
Sales negotiation skills are so beneficial for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that it can directly improve your company’s bottom line. The most relevant goal of any sales negotiation is to get the best deal possible for you and your company. If in a business negotiation you are able to land a deal that will reduce your company’s overhead by 5% or land a contract that will increase revenue by 10%, you’re directly positively impacting your company’s bottom line.
Another reason sales negotiation skills are critical is because you can create win-win scenarios. The goal of sales negotiating is not always to ‘beat’ the other party. The most successful negotiators are the ones who can produce an outcome everyone is happy with. Nobody likes to feel like they got swindled. If you can leave clients feeling happy about their end of the deal, they’re far more likely to do business with you again in the future or recommend you.
Being a skilled negotiator is also valuable because of the intangible things it can bring you, like respect and confidence. Respect is a crucial part of this industry. The reputation you earn at the negotiating table may be a lasting one. Whether you’re viewed as a pushover who will give up anything, or someone whose arrogance stops them from fairly compromising, your reputation is important. Sometimes this can be challenging and requires walking a thin line. So how can you become a great sales negotiator?
Tips to Being a Great Negotiator
- Great listening skills: Are you listening or just waiting to speak? The best negotiators are great listeners. This allows them to read between the lines and understand which issues are most significant to each party.
- Preparation: The best negotiators prepare fully by studying every aspect of the negotiation. This includes: who’s attending, the other party’s history, other deals they may have, and what their most important positions may be.
- Possible Concessions: If the negotiations reach a point where concessions must be made on your side, you need to be prepared. What are the first things you are willing to concede? What is not up for debate? You must map these things out ahead of time.
- Starting Positions: Where is the negotiation going to start? The best negotiators set the parameters for debate by outlining their company’s starting figures on key topics. If you are able to start discussions closer to your opening figures it leaves you with an advantage, given the fact you are already closer to your goal.
- Beware of Counter Tactics: The best negotiators are able to identify and avoid the tactics and traps of the opposition’s argument. These include: saying they won’t even consider something, passing their problems onto you, like budget constraints, and trying to flex their authority or leverage.
As the best sales training company, we have numerous resources such as virtual sales training, books, and podcasts that will turn you into the best negotiator in any situation. Find it on our website or, contact us at (866) 833-9939 to learn more.