A good sales process is underpinned by a strong negotiation process. Negotiating skills are the oil in the machine that minimises heat and dissipates friction (i.e. reduces conflict).
The difference between seller and buyer interactions that work and those that don’t is trust. Not necessarily the trust that takes five years to create, but trust built up over a short period of time (sometimes in just a few minutes) by good use of process and skill, and most importantly, an attitude of openness and sharing of information.
The question every seller should be asking themselves is not, “How can I sell my stuff to this customer?” but rather, “How can I give this customer what they want, on terms that are acceptable to me?”
To summarise, our four top tips for better negotiations are:
1. Prepare well
Prepare questions which will help you to uncover the real commercial issues facing your customer’s organisation, and also the issues of concern to the person you’re dealing with.
Before you engage with anyone, though, know what your priorities are and where you can be flexible. Build a comprehensive list of items you can ask for and trade with, which (in the event you need to make a price concession) will recover, or even improve, the overall deal for your company. In other words, what you’re going to ask for if you have to make movement.
The easiest way for you to get what you want is to find out what the other party wants and then give it to them, but on terms acceptable to you.
An attitude of openness will build trust – the key difference between seller and buyer interactions that work and those that don’t.
3. Get creative
The more variables there are in a negotiation, the more opportunities there are to keep re-packaging your offer to meet the needs of both the customer and your organisation. If you focus solely on price, you’ll simply end up in an unseemly haggle that results in less than you wanted.
4. Develop your negotiating skills
Having a great product or service is fine. A strong sales process gets your customer motivated to buy, but it’s the ability to negotiate effectively that will actually make you and your business money.
Anyone can drop their prices to get business, but that’s not good business and it’s not sustainable in the long term.
Negotiation is a skill, and like any skill is best learned by practice and receiving feedback from a coach. Scotwork runs intensive training courses that do exactly that.
We have worked with a massive number of small business owners and their staff around the world for the last 40 years. The training and advice Scotwork provides is pragmatic, practical, easily applied and makes a significant difference to client relationships, deals and ultimately profits. If you’d like to know more, please contact us at www.scotwork.co.nz.