So let’s say that you were going to drive to some place far, far away. Let’s go a step farther and say that you sorta knew where you were going to go to, but that you had never been there before. Can you imagine yourself just jumping into the car and driving with doing any planning? Believe it or not, this is exactly how some sales negotiators jump into a negotiation.
What, Me Plan?
So how would you get ready for that long car ride? I’m betting that you’d fill up the gas tank. You might check the air in the tires. Probably you’d pack some food and bring along some tapes / CDs to listen to. You might even go so far as to get a map (or these days a GPS system) and figure out how you were going to get from here to there.
It turns out that the same set of basic steps need to be taken by a sales negotiator before starting any negotiation. During a car trip you sure don’t want to run out of gas, go hungry, or lose your way. The same can be said of a sales negotiation.
5 Things You Have To Do Before You Start Any Negotiation
To help get you properly prepared for your next sales negotiation, I’ve got some suggestions. Here are five steps that you need to take before you sit down at the negotiating table:
- Create A “Want” List: How can you be successful during a negotiation if you don’t know what you want? Take the time to create a list of what you want to get out of the negotiation. Be careful here: not all wants are created the same. Make sure that you distinguish between the ones that you can’t live without and the ones that would just be nice to have.
- Pick A Start And An End Point: Before you start any negotiation, you can pretty much identify the main issues that will be coming up during the negotiation. Take the time to determine what your starting offer is going to be for each of these points. Many negotiators do this step and then forget to do the next part – make up your mind as to where you are going to be willing to end up on this point.
- Deal With “No”: Arguably the word “no” is one of the most powerful words in the English language and it can stop any sales negotiator in his / her tracks if you aren’t prepared for it. Before the negotiation starts you need to assume that the other side is going to say “no” to every proposal that you make. Knowing this, you need to decide in advance how you are going to react when they say it.
- Pick Your “Gets”: It’s a fact of life during any negotiation that you’re going to have to give in on some points. Knowing that this will happen, before the negotiation you need to make a list of what you’re going to get from the other side when you make a concession to them.
- Set The Scene: All too often it’s after a negotiation has started that a negotiator discovers that where and when the negotiation is happening is not in their best interests. Take some time before the negotiation is even scheduled to pick where and when you want it to happen – make sure that it’s easy for you to get to (and to leave) and that it works with your schedule.
What All Of This Means For You
There’s probably not a sales negotiator out there that won’t agree that taking the time to do a good job of planning is a key factor in determining how a negotiation comes out. However, all too often we just don’t do this well.
It turns out that there are a sequence of planning steps that you need to perform before every negotiation. By doing these steps, you’ll be cool, calm, and collected when things happen during the negotiation and you can keep your focus on what matters the most – getting the best deal!
Question For You: What do you think the best way to remember all of the different things that you want to get out of a negotiation is? Put them on a piece of paper on the table in front of you?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Have you ever wished for three wishes? Maybe you’d keep one of these wishes in you back pocket and then someday when you found yourself in the middle of a sales negotiation that just wasn’t going your way, you could whip it out and come out a winner? Well, I don’t have any wishes to share with you, but I’ve got some ways for you to come out of your next negotiation feeling like you won it before you even started…