This blog on The 6 sales skills you can acquire offers a prelude to the negotiation side of the sales process. The sales rep, having fulfilled their sales obligations culminating in an agreement, has to now negotiate the final terms which satisfy both the buyer and seller.
B2B negotiations can be complex and challenging, requiring careful consideration on the part of both parties – in particular, the sales team. But this is not to say that negotiation cannot ensure a basis for a healthy and successful partnership.
With the knowledge and insight of the best tactics in negotiation, sales professionals can improve their negotiating abilities and achieve the best result.
Here are some basic tips to help you secure a winning outcome.
- Reach an agreement in principle before proceeding with negotiation
Monetary concerns such as discounts, costs and pricing do not form part of the initial negotiation conversation as they serve as both a distraction and potential obstruction; they are brought up later in the negotiation process.
At this stage, the buyer must be convinced that the product solves their problem in order to justify the purchase. Any questions raised by the buyer will have been answered by you before the deal on purchasing your product or service was made. Once the agreement has been made in principle, negotiation ensues.
When entering the negotiation phase, being open and willing to offer information usually meets with a positive exchange, encouraging better negotiation outcomes. It is constructive for both vendor and purchaser to outline and classify their top priorities for the other to view and make comparisons before coming up with feasible means of resolution.
As a sales rep, you should have in mind beforehand what kind of concessions you are willing to make and what you expect in return – a ‘give and take’ if you like. However, concessions should not be made lightly and are recommended if you are looking to receive something of equal or greater value in return.
- Bring non-fiscal elements into the discussion
Benefits do not always have to focus on money. The provision of non-monetary information, in the form of enticing offers during the discussion, guides both parties towards gaining value in the sales-purchase process.
But what kind of negotiation points could we be talking about? For starters, add-on professional services such as customer support and training programmes can add value. Another could be the offer of a shorter contract or concessions on specific contractual terms, for example, auto-renewal. The more creative, the more attractive the offer is.
- Be mindful of concessions in contrast to trade-offs
Hoping for the best deal may not always pan out.
The success of negotiation also relies on good research beforehand – one of the qualities of an effective salesperson. The availability of solid data and back-up information allows you to negotiate confidently and effectively.
The possibility of the purchaser threatening to withdraw or dominate the negotiations can take you by complete surprise and so preparation is key. Otherwise, it opens you to continually conceding points without receiving anything in return – making it all on-sided.
Therefore, armed with the trade-off terms whereby you offer something and receive something in return helps you make reasonable and sensible concessions.
- Identify and enter negotiations with the decision maker
Are you negotiating with the person who ultimately makes the purchasing decisions?
It’s surprising how many salespeople believe that they are investing time in negotiations with the client’s decision-maker only to discover that the person that they have been in discussions with actually has no authority to make decisions and concessions.
If you are unsure whether the person opposite you has authority in making the purchasing decisions, it’s best not to lay all your cards on the table. Otherwise you’ll use up all your selling influence before finally speaking to the authoritative figure who will use leverage in persuading you to lower your offer price.
B2B sales negotiation is not entered into lightly and, as a sales rep, you have your own expectations. The negotiation process is intended to deliver an arrangement that both parties – vendor and buyer – can maintain successfully. One key contributory factor in a successful deal is……. preparation.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.
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