Ok, so it’s time to get down and dirty about this sales negotiating stuff. Time after time I keep seeing sales negotiators making the same two mistakes over and over again and it just has got to stop. You can build the best product in the world, have the best sales team, but if you keep dropping the ball when it comes to negotiating the sale, then it’s all for naught.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
The Rolling Stones got it right when they released a song with this name. All too often I see sales negotiators busily writing down every demand that is made by the other side during a negotiation.
Hold on a minute here, do you expect to get everything that you ask for during a sales negotiation? I suspect not. Why do we all seem to automatically assume that the other side is not going to be willing to reach a deal with us unless all of their demands are met?
The reality of the situation is that the other side, just like us, expects to only be partially successful. Now of course, this is not going to keep them from making a lot of demands on us. However, by no means do they expect to be 100% successful.
A key point that we need to remember when we are involved in a sales negotiation is that many of the concessions that the other side may be asking for were not created by the negotiator who is sitting at the table. Rather they were passed to him or her with instructions to include them in the negotiations. What this means for you is that the other side is obligated to make the demand, but may not have a lot vested in getting what they are asking for on this point.
Additionally, in the world of horse-trading that modern sales negotiations are conducted in, you need to expect the other side to include several “straw-issue” requests. These are demands that they really have no hope of actually getting you to agree to; however, once on the table they can be used as bargaining chips.
It’s All About The Value To The Customer
Whatever the product you are trying to sell, it certainly has some benefits associated with it. All too often sales negotiation professionals overlook one of their most powerful tools – using the benefits of their product to strengthen their side of the discussion.
What we need to realize as negotiators is that by simply taking the time to customize whatever the benefits that our products have in order to address the specific needs of the other side of table (or their customers) we can strengthen our negotiating position.
To take this one step further, if we are able to actually associate a dollar value with each of our product’s benefits then we will be in a much stronger position. Not only will this increase the perceived value of what we are bringing to the table, but it will also help to diminish any other offer that might be competing against us.
What All Of This Means For You
A sales negotiation is very much like a carefully scripted dance. Both you and the other side have your roles to play and how you play them depends on what the other side does.
As sales negotiators we need to remember that just because the other side asks for something, it doesn’t mean that they truly expect to get it. We also have to take the time to study what we have to offer and to turn its benefits into quantifiable dollar value benefits for the other side or their customers.
Nobody ever said that this negotiating thing was going to be easy to do. If we want to be successful, then we’re going to have to take the time to understand what the other side is up to and we’re going to have to remember to do our homework before we start our next sales negotiation.
Question For You: Do you think that your product’s benefits are more valuable to the other side or to their customers?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Can anyone remember what happened way back in November of 2007? That’s when all of the writers in Hollywood went on strike. After that the Screen Actors Guild walked out. Talk about a mess. Well guess what, in the first half of 2011 this could all happen again – those contracts are once again just about ready to come up for re-negotiation once again…!