How to Prepare for Sales Negotiations
Some people may seem like "natural negotiators", able to close deals quickly with limited push-back from their clients - but despite appearances there is no such thing as a "natural negotiator". Successful negotiators work hard throughout the sales conversation to set themselves up for success at the close of the deal. They also spend hours behind the scenes preparing and planning.
Preparing for a Sales Negotiation
To become more effective in your sales negotiations follow these guidelines throughout your next sales deal:
- Build a foundation of trust that can sustain progress during the heat of negotiations.
- Define the issues and potential barriers to reaching a deal.
- Identify and understand what the customer needs and what you need. Determine what is at stake in the negotiations.
- Gather facts and data to control the negotiation, reduce pressure, and open what otherwise would have been a "closed book" of valuable information during the negotiation. Go on the web to research the client.
- Establish a pattern of trading and fair dealing on the part of both negotiating partners.
- Marshall support within the potential client company; develop relationships with influencers and decision makers in the company.
- Marshal support within your own company. If possible, get stakeholders within your company to sign off on your negotiating range and details.
- Determine the customer’s real degree of interest in doing the deal.
- Strive for equilibrium in strategy and tactics (not being too easy or too hard).
- Establish the relationship and two-way communication patterns between you and the client that will be carried into the negotiation phase.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Develop your negotiation objectives
- Develop your proposal – the written proposal and the verbal summary to present during formal negotiations.
- Prepare information and materials needed to open negotiations.
- Determine opening cost and scheduling figures.
- Build flexibility into your proposal (if the negotiation cannot bend, it will break!).
- Develop alternatives (think "what if... "); consider options you might bring into the negotiation.
- Analyze your customer's strengths and weaknesses. Find out their buying process and who is involved.
- During lead time it is often advantageous to meet with customers and influencers (both inside and outside the company) such as lawyers, accountants, and so on, so that you are sure all interests are being considered. A good customer will appreciate this as a way for you to better meet their needs.
Richardson Sales Performance offers customized sales negotiations training programs that can help your sales team learn how to prepare for the negotiations process. Our programs help sales professionals learn how to position their product in order to avoid having to offer steep discounts to close the sale.
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