If someone is negotiating with you, they probably want what you have! So, what should you do? Here are some ideas:
- Slow down, and allow yourself time to think.
- Negotiating starts at the beginning of the sales process. Successful negotiators learn what their prospects and customers value about their solutions all along the way.
- Ask questions! For instance, if someone asks for a lower price, ask questions to understand why a lower price is important. Is it for budget reasons? Is it because they are comparing your solution to another alternative? Do they need to see the value? Are they unable to financially justify your solution? Did you present a financial justification? Are they just throwing it out there to see what you will do?
- Listen! When you ask questions, ensure you listen for verbal and nonverbal responses.
- Anticipate and recognize negotiating tactics that can be used against you. A tactic is any skillful action used to achieve an end. There are two types of tactics, overt and covert.
Overt tactics are easily recognized, aggressive, tension-oriented methods the prospect uses to get what they want. These tactics can be intimidating, making you feel defensive and fearful that you will lose the business.
Covert tactics are subtle, sly, tensionless methods. These are especially dangerous because they are often hard to recognize but help the prospect get what they want.
- Prepare counters for tactics. How are you going to respond? What are you going to ask? Be ready.
- Limit your authority. "I don’t have the authority to approve that.” This response protects one from making hasty mistakes and gives time to ask questions and understand why they want what they are asking for.
- Silence is your most powerful tool because it keeps others talking and sharing information. Information is power.
- Change the deal, and have alternatives.
- If they give you numbers, ask how they arrived at those numbers.
- Plan your concessions, and know what you are willing to give!
- Ask what-if questions. If we do X, will you consider Y?
- Sometimes, you have to say no. Remember that you always have the power to gracefully and respectfully walk away.
Don’t be intimidated. Remember, prospects want what you have. You have power. But to use this power, successful salespeople know why the prospect or customer wants their solution. Don’t sell what something is, but what it does for your prospects and customers. That is value, and people buy value.
If negotiating is an ability you want to enhance, join our Value-Added Negotiating virtual course.