The secret to successful sales negotiations is all based on knowing what the customer is trying to accomplish, converting demands into needs, and then demonstrating and justifying your value.
Richardson teaches the following sales negotiation framework to help sales professionals to structure their dialogue with customers:
- Preparation for the Negotiation — It all begins by planning the strategy and tactics, including bottom-line terms, to achieve the maximum outcome that meets the needs of both parties.
- Opening the Negotiation — The sales professional should set the stage and lay out terms at the outset.
- Counter-opening — This step draws out the customer’s opening terms and demands in order to maintain control and avoid negotiating elements in a piece-meal fashion.
- Converting Demands to Needs — The customer’s real requirements may not surface without probing more deeply to convert demands to needs and gaining insight into their true agenda.
- Value Justification and Concessions — At this point, sales professionals need to protect essential terms by trading expendables, positioning value to persuade the customer that it is worthwhile to make concessions, and trading concessions to achieve essentials.
- Closing the Negotiation — The last step is to maintain the momentum of a win-win negotiation, solidifying what has been accomplished, and allowing for a successful implementation.
By honing negotiation best practices, sales professionals can build more profitable customer relationships, learning to handle price resistance and objections more effectively. These steps can help to make sure that no money is left on the table or, conversely, that no undue discounting occurs.
The sales negotiation process itself can be a positive experience that inspires greater trust and customer loyalty, while strengthening the sales professional’s position to win future opportunities.