Time to Negotiate!

Negotiations – they’re a part of life. As salespeople, we need to be great negotiators to be successful. So how do we approach the process? Two things are extremely important when it comes to negotiating – the outcome and the relationship.

When it comes to outcomes, there are five possibilities:

1. I win – you lose. Compete. This is not beneficial for a long-term relationship.
2.  I lose – you win. Accommodate. You are not operating from a position of strength.
3. I lose – you lose. Avoid. This is the weakest outcome.
4. I win/lose some – you win/lose some. Compromise. Picking your battles is good, but still not ideal.
5. I win – you win. Collaborate. This is the most desirable outcome!

So how do you position yourself to get to the fifth outcome? Negotiations start from the very moment you begin talking to a prospect or customer. Trust must be built. Without trust, there is little chance that your sales relationship will work.

There are basically four levels of sales relationships. The lower-level sales relationship categories are “Seller” and “Vendor.” With these relationships it’s difficult to negotiate effectively because everything is based on price. Price is the lowest form of negotiation and at least one party will lose.

If someone does try to push you to a lower price, don’t just automatically discount. Pause and ask them two questions. First question: “May I ask, what price did you expect?” Wait for the answer. Second question: “How did you come up with that number?”  You want to hear the story. They might not be comparing apples to apples when comparing your pricing to the competition’s pricing. If they won’t budge and you decide to discount in order to get the deal, make sure you always take something away from the original offer to show the value of your offer.

The higher-level sales relationship categories are “Supplier” and “Partner/Trusted Advisor.” With these relationships you have the ability to negotiate more successfully because you have built a level of trust. Price alone is rarely the debate. They want to do business with you. There is a collaboration of ideas and strategies to make sure the final outcome benefits all parties.

  • Here are some tips for negotiating at the Supplier or Partner level:
  • Focus. Ask great questions and be an impressive listener.
  • Be prepared with more than one good option.
  • Be empathetic. Show your feelings, if appropriate.
  • Keep things simple. Sometimes presenting too many arguments can backfire.
  • Don’t let your competitive nature cloud your thinking. Be open to walking away if an agreement is not in the cards this time.

When it comes to closing a deal, practice makes perfect. Good selling and good luck with all of your negotiations, big and small! \


ETIQUETTE CORNER
It’s time to hit the links!

Well, it’s that time of year when the sun is shining and the golf clubs are swinging. If you get the opportunity to play in a company outing or a charity event, the way you conduct yourself on the golf course might determine if someone will do…or continue to do…business with you.

With the help of Peter Post (great grandson of the legendary Emily Post) and his book called The Unwritten Rules of Golf, here are a couple of tips to help you make a good impression, no matter what your final score.

1. Don’t be guilty of slowing down play for everyone. 
Slow play is arguably the biggest frustration in golf. Make sure you’re conscious of the pace of the groups in front of you and behind you. The average hole should take twelve minutes to play.  If you are slowing your group down, tweak what you are doing. Play ready golf. Limit yourself to two practice swings. You’re probably not a pro, so taking five or six practice swings is unnecessary. If you’re really struggling on a hole, after a certain point pick up your ball and start fresh on the next one. Your fellow golfers will appreciate it.

2. FORE!!! Control your reaction if a stray ball almost beans you in the head.
If someone from the group behind you hits into your group, do NOT hit the ball back at them in anger or pocket the ball to prove a point. Two wrongs don’t make a right! In most cases the guilty party didn’t think they had that kind of strength or simply miscalculated.  It’s okay to take a minute before going to the next hole and calmly let them know about your displeasure. More times than not they will apologize and be more careful in the future. If you’re the perpetrator in this situation, sincerely apologize to the people you endangered.

3. Be aware of the appropriate time to talk business. 
So when should you talk business if this is a business outing?  The best time to talk business is not at the golf course at all, unless your customer or potential customer brings it up. Once the game is over, and you have made it to the 19th hole, this is the time to set an appointment to discuss business at a later date.  Remember, part of sales is building strong relationships.  This is your chance to get your prospect or customer out of the office to relax and have some fun. Keep it light and enjoy!

Remember, on the golf course and on the job, manners do matter. Good luck with your game!