During a recent role-play workshop for sales teams, a salesperson was asked to negotiate with a “client” played by his manager.
The negotiation quickly devolved into an intense battle: the client wouldn’t yield, while the salesperson was determined to close the deal no matter what.
Many of us have experienced this scenario at least once. How can you emerge from a such a situation successfully and efficiently?
The art of negotiation goes beyond closing a deal, and begins earlier in the sales process than you would think. Here’s how considering mindset, acumen, and capability at three critical stages of the sales process will help you and your sales teams refine your skills, identify the right deals, and strengthen customer relationships.
At this preliminary stage in the sales process, ask yourself: what do you need to know about your customer, their industry, and the financial circumstances of both organizations involved in the deal?Applying mindset at this stage means preparing yourself for a variety of possible reactions to your every statement by “climbing the logic tree” of a sales conversation and assuming a collaborative stance. As for acumen, develop familiarity with the industry and define the financial value of your offer for your client. A specific capability required at this stage is stakeholder management: be mindful of both your own and your customers’ positions and focus on the interplay of your interests.
Throughout the course of the conversation, ask yourself: how can you present an offer optimally, address customers’ concerns constructively, and define a strategy compellingly? The correct mindset at this stage is a tactical one: having anticipated objections throughout the preparation phase, you’re now prepared assert yourself with confidence, no matter the direction your customer steers the conversation. Incorporating acumen into the negotiation process means clearly articulating the financial impacts of each option you’re presenting. Uncovering your customers’ interests through questioning allows you to handle objections capably.
- Going deeper.
Throughout the final stages of a negotiation, ask yourself: What’s the best way to deal with procurement people, and what are their interests? How do you successfully negotiate a price increase?
The right mindset remains one of confidence, especially when speaking with regards to procurement and negotiating price increases. Having acumen at this stage means understanding the greater procurement environment, as well as the effects of every possible change in pricing on said environment. Confidence and knowledge, of course, set up the conditions for you to form additional sales capabilities (such as trust-building), or the ability to pivot from negotiating pricing to other variables (such as volume or share achievements, specifications on certain products, warranties or guarantees, contract terms, delivery terms, and more).
By strengthening your own sales mindset, acumen, and capabilities in addition to the deal-closing skills you already possess, you can head into any negotiation knowing that the right response is always within reach.