The Challenge Of Managing A Team Of Negotiators
Today’s sales negotiation sessions have become so complex that it’s almost too much for a single negotiator to handle. That’s one reason that more and more sales negotiators are being handled by teams of trained negotiators. This simplifies a lot of the record keeping and tactical details of a negotiation; however, it introduces a new layer of complexity – how to manage the negotiating team…
5 Ways To Manage A Team Of Negotiators
As though a sales negotiator didn’t already have enough to worry about, now there is an added burden of management that needs to be taken care of. Before you throw your hands up in despair, hold on for a minute and realize that your team is a fantastic resource – you’ll be able to get more out of negotiations than you ever have before. You’re just going to have to learn how to get the team to do what you want them to do.
There are five different management actions that you are going to have to take when you are leading a team of sales negotiators. Each one of these actions is fairly simple by itself; however, when taken together they can shape your team into an effective negotiating machine:
- Areas Of Expertise: all too often a sales negotiating team will just be thrown together with the right number of bodies in order to “match” the number of people on the other side of the table. Don’t do this! Instead, construct your team based on each person’s individual area of expertise. You should work to minimize the amount of overlap between team members in order to maximize the amount of expertise that you can bring to the table.
- Specific Jobs: just having people on your team in order to bring your numbers up is a waste of both their time and your time. Instead, make sure that you take the time to plan for the negotiation. Each member of your team should have a specific job that you have assigned to them You’re going to need someone to take notes, to do research, etc.
- Clear Communication: having multiple people on the same team can quickly lead to a communication nightmare. It’s not just that you can end up sending mixed signals to the other side of the table, but rather that you may get confused even within your own team. A simple way to deal with this issue is to take time before negotiations start and have the team agree on a set of hand signals that everyone understands. The most important of these signals will be the one that tells someone who is currently speaking to “shut-up!”
- Information Gathering: the basis of any negotiation is information. You’ll arrive with some information and then you’ll be constantly collecting more information as the discussion progresses. You will need to assign someone on your team to act as the information hub through which all information passes. If they haven’t blessed it, then you can’t rely on any information that you may have.
- Logistics: although this is the simplest of all team-based responsibilities, it often turns out to be the one thing that can trip up a team. Everyone needs to know where and when the negotiations are going to be taking place. As important roles have been handed out to different team members, you are going to need all of them to be present and accounted for when the negotiations start.
What All Of This Means For You
In addition to working on perfecting your negotiating skills, when teams of sales negotiators are involved you are also going to have to have management skills. Just having people on your negotiating team isn’t enough, you need to find ways to maximize their contributions to the negotiation.
In order to do this, you will need to develop multiple team leadership skills. These will include learning how to pick the team with the right skills, assigning them individual tasks, establishing clear communication, etc.
All of these management skills are easy to learn. What’s important is that you will need to remember to do them as your next negotiating session approaches. If you can do this, then you will have harnessed the true power of team negotiating.
What skill is the most important in someone who is leading a team of negotiators?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Man, what a hassle negotiating is. If you have to negotiate every single vendor relationship each time you need to have something done, it sure seems like you’re going to end up spending your time negotiating and won’t have any time left over to do everything else. There has got to be a better way…