The art of negotiation

If you've read our article on “Must-know techniques for your sales appointments”  you are already familiar with sales. And it is not that hard, is it? 😊

Once your prospective client has expressed his needs to you, you will make him a proposal. This is where your negotiating skills will be useful.

In this article, we will offer you a number of tips for leading a negotiation like an expert!

1. Always adopt a constructive attitude

During your business meetings, you will have to deal with rejection. Never dig your heels in, it will only make the situation worse. Keep calm, always seek to collaborate. Your prospect is not an "enemy", never leave on a bad note!

As we mentioned in our previous article, empathy is essential. However, be careful not to show your emotions too much. You must remain subjective and focused: if you look embarrassed, you will have difficulty to lead your negotiation.

2. Anticipez les objections

It is only natural for the person you are speaking to to express what are called "objections". Your role will be to anticipate, listen, understand their basis and of course ideally, respond to them.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of common objections and their possible answers:

Objections

“Now is not a good time."

Possible answers

  • "When would be the best time for you?"
  • "How will the situation be different if I get back to you next month or quarter?"
  • "Why is this not a good time?"
  • “What are your priorities at the moment? "

"I don't need your product/service."

  • “What are your needs at the moment?"
  • "Is there something that makes you hesitate?"
  • You may also convey one of your offer’s benefits in the form of a question, for example: "You don't need to acquire more customers right now?"

"I already have a similar product/solution."

  • “Is there anything you would like to improve compared with what you are currently using?"
  • "Are you satisfied with X, X elements?"
  • "On these elements, I could offer you ..."

“Your prices are too high."

“Compared to which reference frame?"

  • You can discuss the quality here, and also grant a discount when it seems possible.
  • Always make sure you leave some leeway before announcing your prices. Show savings, return on investment, time saved and all other gains.
  • Know that you need to quickly have a clear vision of your client's budget, so as not to waste time.

Reassure your prospect about the potential risks.

"I am not the one making the decision or I am not the only decision maker."

  • “What information would you need to exchange with the decision-maker(s)”
  • “Maybe we could organize an exchange with your colleagues?"

Before starting a negotiation, make sure you are in front of the person who can make the decision.

Certaines objections cachent des motivations plus profondes telles que des opinions ou des valeurs. Il faut comprendre rapidement les motivations de votre prospect en lui demandant de détailler ses propos.

3. Act methodically with "SNAP selling"

SNAP selling is a sales technique that allows you to put yourself in a prospect's shoes and understand / influence their path to purchase.

Here are the key points of this technique:

  • S is for simplicity, it cannot be said enough: no one likes wasting time. Your speech should be concise and clear, suited to the person you are talking to and to his/her level of knowledge on the subject.
  • N is for invaluable: you must position yourself as an ally, your clients will not only buy a product or a service, they expect an “experience” matching their needs. Together, find the best answer to your client's problems (even if it is not necessarily the most profitable one).
  • A is for aligned: in a negotiation, it is essential to be in line with your interlocutor’s beliefs. You can of course find arguments to convince your client but without ever going against his values.
  • P is for priority: quickly understand your client's priorities, reformulate them if necessary. Anticipate the questions and reluctance of your prospects1, provide them with real service and real expertise.

This method is also intended to encourage your client into thinking that the final offer comes from him/her and not from you. At the end of your negotiation, you can plan two proposals both containing the element(s) that are key for you, but which will give your prospect a choice.

4. Choose the right arguments

Only state the most important points of your offer. Always set aside other arguments. When your interlocutor reacts, build on the less important elements that he or she raised, this helps "to alleviate" the really problematic arguments.

5. Set limits and find a "plan B"

Before going to meet a prospect, you must know your minimum price, below which negotiation will no longer be possible. Negotiations are not only about price, but also about delivery, additional services, quantity, quality, guarantees, maintenance, etc.

In the event that no agreement is reached, plan alternatives. In negotiation, this is called a "Batna"2 (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement), which is the most advantageous solution available to you if an agreement is not reached.

6. Make silence work for you

Although they may confuse the person in front of you, intentionally leaving silences during a negotiation can be beneficial. This technique is interesting when you are told about a price being "too high"; leaving a silence can allow your prospect to explain himself further. It is also relevant when your client begins a succession of shaky justifications.

You can also take time to think it over and suggest another meeting to think about a relevant offer.

7. Always stay in a “win-win” partnership

A good negotiation requires concessions from both parties. If you make a gesture, your interlocutor must also make one, so you will be in a fair partnership. While it may be tempting to concede everything to your first clients, it is not necessarily a lasting solution!

Now that you’re holding all the cards, you just need to practice and you will be good to go 😊.

See you soon for our next articles dedicated to sales!

References:
1 : Snap selling / 2 : Batna

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