My motto when it comes to sales negotiation is
You’re either selling or you’re being sold.
Have you ever had that happen to you? Where literally five minutes into your sales presentation, your prospect went right from talking about who they are and what they need into what they can do for you. What the heck? Who called who to set the appointment? Attempted hijack.
What is your sales negotiation style?
How comfortable are you with negotiating? Remember, there is no room for meekness in sales. Don’t be the one being sold to in your sales presentations.
Before I talk about the five different sales negotiation styles, I’d like to share
Three quick and easy tips for painless negotiations.
Friends, if you are new to sales negotiation, be careful not to approach it as if it’s an argument.
Negotiation is simply a discussion between two or more people who are seeking a mutual outcome of providing the best possible solution for your prospect … Less expensive is not always the best option.
Create the value of your product or service. In order to do this, you need to know your competition, and what you and your company can do better, or different, or something that you can provide that they cannot. Don’t talk about your competition, just share your value.
When you treat negotiations like a conflict, it might cause you to become unnecessarily aggressive or tense, creating a block for what you are trying to accomplish – helping the prospect.
Instead, be patient and kind to the person or group you are negotiating with. Listen carefully to their needs. If you can’t come to an agreement, be prepared to respectfully decline.
More than once in my career, this has led to me giving a “take away” close, where you close the door completely for negotiations. The prospect doesn’t expect a this and it takes them off guard! But you must be ready to walk away from the sale. Usually, when the prospect understands that they’ve pushed as far as they can, you will be able to come to an agreement.
2. Be prepared.
Be over-prepared. Know your prospects needs and options. Know and be prepared to answer the five most common objections that the sales people in your company get.
Respond quickly and confidently. Your prospects will find confidence and believability in you when you answer their objections confidently.
Before you begin negotiations, reflect on your own goals for the negotiation. What is your ideal outcome? Where can you compromise if necessary? This way, when you meet with the prospect, you will be more likely to stay true to your goals and boundaries, and be able to give the prospect what they originally told you they wanted.
3. Don’t take it personally.
Look at negotiations as a business transaction. Because that truly is what they are!
What your prospects opinions of you are are not your business anyway. Your job is to come to a mutually beneficial outcome.
Also, don’t let your opinion of what you know, or what you think you know, start to cloud your critical thinking abilities. Don’t feel intimidated, because after all, you are the expert in your field, not them.
Let’s move into the five styles of sales negotiation.
Once you take the free quiz below and learn your personal style, continue to read this article, where I go into more detail on each type.
First, we have the competitive negotiator.
You are looking to get results quickly and have no time or patience for any foolishness.
Here’s a tip – if this is you, sometimes your aggressive drive and determination may be a bit off-putting, and you may want to soften your approach, just a little.
When you play competitive, it can also bring out the competitive nature in your prospect. During these types of negotiations, we seem to go several rounds. I can almost hear the bell ring when we reach a standstill. That’s a great time to take a restroom break or offer a cup of coffee. Sometimes you need 5 minutes to cool down, so you can regroup, move on, and come up with a solution.
The second negotiation style is collaboration.
Do you come up with innovative solutions to problems that no one else can see? Quick tip – if you and your prospect come up with a fantastic solution to their problem, be sure you’re not giving too much away. It’s easy to become caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment, which can end up costing you time and money.
The next style is compromising.
You are dead set on finding the middle ground. You know that a good outcome is one that ends in camaraderie, not competition.
Make sure, however, that you look at all the options available, and don’t just settle for the first one you come up with.
The fourth negotiation style is avoidance.
You are not a fan of negotiating at all. Your idea of solving a problem is to avoid it for as long as possible, or until someone else steps in and does it for you.
If you are fearful when it comes to negotiating, take a look at the other negotiation styles, find the one that you feel the most comfortable with, and read up on how you can adapt to it.
And the last negotiation style is accommodating.
You are always looking for ways to help the prospect, no matter what it takes. Just be careful, because while you are expecting them to reciprocate your generosity, your prospect may have other ideas … like taking all of your great ideas to someone else to help them.
If this is you, try to be a little “less generous” – you’ll still be giving way more than most would.
So which style are you? No matter which style you are, it’s important to understand them all, because sometimes your negotiating style is dictated by that of your prospect. Be prepared to meet them where they are, so you can give the prospect what they want while they don’t completely take advantage of you.
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