What is the #1 thing that you need to do before you sit down at your next sales negotiation? Polish your shoes? No. Work on your icy “that deal’s not good enough for me so don’t even offer it” stare? No. How about something much simpler that all too often gets forgotten by even the best sales negotiators: picking your target.
Why Are We Doing This?
I’d like to be able to tell you that things like this never happen, but the sad reality is that all too often they actually do. The reasons vary, but generally they start when someone taps us on the shoulder and asks us “to attend” a meeting with a partner or vendor. What started out with us in the role of an observer can suddenly transform itself into a full-fledged negotiation session if we’re not careful.
One way to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you is to make sure that you know the purpose of any meeting that you are being asked to attend. You can’t keep yourself from getting sucked into heading up a spur of the moment negotiation session, but you can make sure that you know why you are doing it.
It’s All About The Issues
If you want to know what the target of any sales negotiation is, then you’re going to have to have a handle on the issues that will lead you to where you want to go. The key thing here is to remember that not all issues are created the same.
Generally, the issues that will be negotiated can be placed into one of three categories: critical, negotiable, and don’t care. The critical issues are the ones that matter the most to your firm. The negotiable ones are where you have some latitude and can be used to make sure that you get what you need on the critical issues. Finally, the don’t care issues are on the table simply to give you more things to talk about with the other side as you work to put a deal together.
Back To That Target Thing
Targets have always been an important part of our lives ever since we first got out of college. When it comes to negotiations, nothing has changed. If you want to reach the target of a sales negotiation, knowing what the issues are and just how important they are to your company is an important first step. However, it’s not enough. You’ve got to do a “coin analysis” on each issue.
This means that you need to pick it up and look at both sides – both the pros and the cons (every issue has both). You can be well assured that the other side will be pointing out these issue characteristics to you during the negotiation and so you had better be aware of them going in to the discussion…
Getting Off To A Great Start
I believe that how a negotiation starts often determines how it is going to end. What this means is that you’d better have your act together right off the bat if you want to walk away from the table with a good deal.
One key thing that you’ve got to bring to the table are opening offers for each of the issues that are going to be discussed. You really don’t want to be making these up on the fly! Carefully planning out how you want to start the discussion will put you in the drivers seat and will make it that much easier to get to where you want to go.
What All Of This Means For You
If you want to be successful in your next sales negotiation, then you’ve got to have a clear target that you are aiming for. Taking the time to get this taken care of before the negotiation starts is critical.
In order to get to your target, you are going to have to make sure that you have a firm grasp on just exactly what issues are being negotiated. This means that you’re going to have be aware of the pros and cons of each issue and you are going to have to have a well-formed opening offer for each.
Taking the time to identify the target that you want to hit as a result of each sales negotiation can do wonders for your success rate. Ultimately, taking the time to know where to aim your time and energy is the ticket to long-term sales negotiation success.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that you should only have one target for a sales negotiation or is it ok to have multiple targets?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
In order to be successful in your next sales negotiation, you need to make the right decisions before you sit down to start negotiating. If you take the time to make the right decisions then you can end up being successful.