In many negotiations, the side with the more skilled negotiators will likely rule the day.
Expert dealmakers get to learn master tips over time which give them an edge in sales negotiations. The good news is, newcomers can learn and implement these tips in sales negotiations training. Sales negotiators can practice these five expert tips in sales negotiation simulations with a coach or partner as part of their preparation for each negotiation.
1. Invest Enough Time Preparing
Amateurs lose out because of lack of preparation. An amateur negotiator without the best sales negotiation training may believe having enough leverage and bringing significant value will give them the upper hand without further preparation. However, what if you don’t have the luxury of more leverage and a compelling value proposition, and even if you do, are you gaining maximum leverage and missing some more important elements of the deal?
Master negotiators take time to prepare for strategic negotiations ahead of the scheduled meeting. Most expert negotiators research every aspect of the deal long before they get to the negotiating table. Through sales negotiation training and work experience, expert negotiators ensure they research industry standards, expected price points, best practices, competitors, and associated baseline costs. Also, an expert sales negotiator takes time to study individual team members on the buyers’ side to learn what motivates the other side’s team and identify who makes the final purchase decision.
As a general rule of thumb, an expert negotiator invests at least three times more time preparing than negotiating. For example, if the negotiation is expected to last an hour, invest at least three hours in thorough preparation. To get the facts right and on time, an expert negotiator can involve colleagues and even stakeholders from the buyer’s team in the preparation process.
2. Don’t Negotiate Alone
Master negotiators understand there are many aspects to the negotiation process they should avoid tackling alone. A finance expert can enrich discussions around money issues. Someone from the legal department can clarify the legality of terms in the offer. If you and your company can afford to, consult with two or three subject matter experts to ensure you’re prepared effectively.
Team negotiating training and sales training videos optimize individual members’ strengths. A trained sales negotiation team can more accurately discern the buyer team’s interests and intent. Sales negotiation skills training helps your team create a better strategy and present a great original offer or counteroffer.
Research by Northwestern University shows team negotiations enjoy approximately a third more of an advantage when facing a sole negotiator. In comparison to solo negotiators, sales team negotiations bring on board a broader knowledge base, more creative solutions, better planning, and more time to reflect before committing to a deal.
3. Keep Control Through Questions
Expert sales negotiators are usually asking probing questions to provide more insight and better understanding. Questions also help the negotiator establish and keep control of the conversation. You want your prospective buyer to open up and share more about what you need to understand better. You also want to direct the sales negotiation to what you feel brings out the best results for your team and creates a win-win resolution.
During preparation, write down your questions so you don’t forget to ask. Writing down questions gives you an opportunity to sharpen, refine, and order queries in a way which controls the negotiation flow.
4. Send Your Agenda
Over time, expert negotiators develop a keen sense of what’s important in making a sale. It’s important to set your agenda early on and send it out to your client before the meeting. Of course, bring your copy into the meeting, too.
Having a clear agenda sets the pace and rules of the meeting and boosts your ability to control the negotiation’s flow. The agenda sets out what to negotiate, the sequence of negotiations, and details of the deal offered. Set your most important items at the top of your agenda. You want to hash out those first before any disruptions and before anyone develops a hard stance on a contentious issue.
5. Be Personable
Adversarial negotiations bring out the worst in some people, especially inexperienced negotiators who come into the meeting tense and long-faced. A quality sales negotiation skills training course can equip you to adopt a master negotiator’s attitude and give you an edge in persuading potential buyers.
A master negotiator knows to be friendly and understanding yields better results. An expert negotiator should build rapport early on by engaging in non-business small talk before the meeting. During the meeting, a smile, friendly body language, and an empathetic tone of voice helps to instill a sense of fellowship in your client and put the client in a positive frame of mind.
When you’re personable and welcoming, the sales client will be more amenable to giving you a deal you should like. A personable sales negotiator also deflects any hostility, deescalates negative confrontations, and suggests solutions in a way which doesn’t inflame the situation. Skilled negotiators know the secret that being personable gives you authority, as others tend to gravitate towards you and treat what you say with respect.
Some expert sales negotiation tips are learned through practice and experience. As you engage in more sales negotiations, you get to master these five negotiation tactics which should give you an edge.
Advance preparation can shield you from negative surprises and enable you to make offers which your buyers should love. You will likely have a better understanding of what your client needs and how to optimize for a profitable relationship. Having a team enables master negotiators to lean on the expertise of others. Teamwork also frees up members to capitalize on individual strengths and competencies.
Expert sales negotiators gain control over those with less experience by asking probing questions which set the direction and flow of the negotiation. Questions help negotiators have an in-depth understanding of the customer’s needs. An expert negotiator sets questions in advance and aligns their questions with a pre-determined agenda. Send your agenda prior to the meeting to guide the flow so you arrive at a structured agreement faster.
Sales negotiation is not an argument to work on being personable and likable. If you are personal, your negotiation will likely have a positive atmosphere, free of adversarial tension. If you master these five sales negotiation tactics, you will likely find you’re closing more deals on better terms.