terms, pricing, shipping terms, service levels, quantities – all
kinds of items end up being negotiated during the
sales process. This is often the case once a client and sales
professional have agreed to the basic components of a sale.
Yet, far too many sales professionals struggle when a sales opportunity
is log-jammed in a unproductive or difficult
negotiation. Since sales negotiations are more often the rule
rather than the exception, it pays to know a few simple rules on
negotiations. The Seven Ds of Sales Negotiations will enable
you to work around obstacles and find solutions that are mutually
satisfactory to both you and your customer.
Do Your Homework
into a negotiation
without preparing can be downright disastrous. We always advise
that a sales professional spends time researching the customer,
their needs and the company before heading into a negotiation.
better feel for where a customer’s interests and needs will
enable you to anticipate possible issues and know how to deal with
them if they come up. This strategy
will also help you stay out of trouble. Imagine selling a large
order and negotiating for very favorable financing terms for the
customer. Two days after the products are shipped, the customer
declares Chapter 11. If the sales rep had been paying attention,
he would’ve seen that the client was in deep
Determine Where You Stand
you go into a negotiation, do you know what concessions you are
willing to make? Do you know what you would want from the customer
in return? Are you aware of your best
price and what you’d really like to get? Sales professionals
need to know as much about what they expect as they know about the
customer. Before going into a negotiation, know what you want to
get, what you are willing to accept and the least attractive option
that is still doable. You should also know at what point it makes
sense to walk away from the negotiating table. Determine any interests
you might have that will come into play in a negotiation.
Deal with Those Who Have Authority
an old saying, “don’t talk to the monkey if the organ grinder is
available.” It’s a funny saying but it is very profound. Ultimately,
there’s no sense negotiating with those who don’t have the authority
to make decisions. If you’re
negotiating with someone who doesn’t have the final word, ask them
to bring in the decision maker. It will save everyone a lot of
time and frustration.
are in the midst of a negotiation and the customer has made an unreasonable
request. Perhaps they’ve hit with some terms that are out of
left field. Why did they do that? Well… that’s the point. You’ll
come across all kinds of information in a negotiation. Rather than
accepting it at face value, ask questions to find out why a customer
needs something. Is there a reason they need specific payment terms?
When you are presented with new or unexpected information, dig deeper
to find out the who, what, when, where, why and how of the situation.
Don’t Let Time be Your Enemy
Time can be used
to your advantage or your disadvantage. If you’re trying to close
a big deal on December 31st in order to make your
numbers for the fiscal year, time is to your customer’s advantage.
Don’t let yourself get tripped up by impending deadlines or time
restrictions. Know how to use time to your advantage.
Discuss with the Future in
Whenever you are negotiating, you need to stay focused
on the long-term
aspects of the deal. Most of us care about building long-term
relationships that are mutually beneficial. Don’t try to rake your
client across the coals in order to get the big sale. Work together
with your client to come up with solutions that will allow both
of you to walk away happy. Slash and burn tactics work but they
usually only work once. After that, the customer will be calling
Deal with Difficulties
negotiation situations come up all the time. Realize that when
you deal with a difficult negotiator, there may be more than meets
the eye. Some customers are simply having a bad day and are inadvertently
taking it out on you. Others may be trying to rattle your cage to
see if it will affect you. Some just don’t realize that their personality
is difficult. Whatever you do, stay calm and don’t act irrationally.
Don’t take difficult behavior personally. If a topic is getting
out of hand, sometimes it helps to simply call for a break or ask
if the topic can be shelved for the time being. Sometimes, briefly
walking away from that situation is all it takes to get things back