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Understanding Selling Challenges in 2017: Negotiation Insights

In our 2017 Selling Challenges Survey, more than 350 sales professionals  were asked: “What will be your toughest negotiation challenge in 2017?” The top responses included: Gaining Higher Prices (24%); Closing Win-Win Deals (20%); and Maintaining Profitability (11%).

“Gaining higher prices” has been the top negotiating challenge for three years running. This year’s top challenges indicate a laser-sharp focus on negotiation outcomes — prices, wins, and profits. “Closing win-win deals” shows the value sellers place on building trust and credibility in order to develop long-term, productive relationships. “Maintaining profitability” is a challenge made visible by the greater availability of real-time sales data, which allows organizations to be smarter about decisions affecting profits. “Managing procurement” is another response worth noting, rising from 4% in 2016 to 11% in 2017. This reflects the increasing involvement of procurement staff as they join the decision-making team late in the process without any emotional attachment to the deal. Their role is to drive down price or get additional products or services for the same price. While this specific challenge didn’t make the top three, its impact is reflected there.

Richardson’s Negotiation Insights

Trust and credibility are keys to managing relationships with customers and closing win-win deals. Sellers can’t claim trusted advisor status; it has to be earned. Being a trusted partner begins with integrity but also requires skill and strategy, which can be learned and practiced.

Sellers need a process for how to negotiate a win-win deal, understanding when and how to unlock a deadline and when it’s best to walk away.

In closing a negotiation, be prepared for the “nibble,” in which clients expect something extra without additional cost. The response should depend on how the change affects the seller, profitability, and the relationship. Throughout the negotiation, sellers need to stay in control of the process, follow up thoroughly and quickly, deliver on the agreed deal, and check for satisfaction.

About the Author

As Richardson’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andrea is responsible for demand generation and value creation through strategic marketing, brand awareness, digital optimization, product launch initiatives, and market-facing thought leadership to drive sustained, organic growth. With a passion for sales and customer-centric activity, Andrea and her team work to inspire customers across the engagement lifecycle and support them in their journey to market leadership by delivering fresh perspectives to their sales challenges.

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