Shut-Up Is What Sales Negotiators Need To Learn To Do!

by drjim on June 30, 2009

Sales Negotiators Need To Learn To Just Keep Their Mouth Shut!Negotiation is all about power. The trick to walking away from a sales negotiation feeling satisfied about what you were able to achieve is to make sure that you walk IN to the negotiation with more negotiating power than the other side has. Sounds easy doesn’t it? I’ve been amazed  over and over again to see sales negotiators just give away their negotiating power to the other side time after time. They just don’t realize that they are doing it. Let’s see if we can put a stop to this…

How Do Sales Negotiators Lose Power?

Negotiating power can be a be a funny thing. You can have a lot of it and not even know it. Likewise, you can give it away and not be aware that you are doing so. There are a lot of ways to lose power but the #1 way is for you to run your mouth too much. Ultimately negotiating power is all about having more information. Whichever side of the table has more information about the other side has the power. Information can be used against you, so you want to hold on to it as tightly as possible.

How To Hold On To Power During A Sales Negotiation

If only it was as easy as keeping your mouth shut! Nope, there are actually a number of things that you can do in order to ensure that you keep the upper hand when it comes to negotiating power during you next sales negotiation:

  • Don’t Talk Business: In the small talk that occurs before the start of any sales negotiation, don’t talk about business. You might be able to not give away any secrets, but maybe you’ll make a mistake. Stick to weather, sports, family – anything but business.
  • Let The Other Side Do The Talking: Even better than you talking is getting the other side to talk, and talk, and talk. Just as you can leak power to the other side, the more they talk the better the odds that they will say something that will give you more negotiating power.
  • Keep Your Timeline A Secret: At the end of a fiscal quarter, negotiating with a salesperson who has already met his / her quota is completely different from negotiating with one who hasn’t. If you are this salesperson, don’t let the other side know where you stand – also don’t mention if business has been slow, or if you’ve got product piling up all over the place.
  • Don’t Start With Discounts: All too often salespeople will start a sales negotiation that they are anxious to close by offering a discount or some other enticement to the other side right off the bat. Don’t do this – although it might have worked in some other negotiation, if you start this way then the other side won’t see the value in your offer and you will have lost power even before the negotiations have begun.
  • Tell Everyone On Your Team To Shut-Up!: Even if this discussion sinks in to your brain, you can still lose power by comments that the engineers, procurement staff, and even the lawyers on your team make. Take the time BEFORE the sales negotiation begins to huddle with your team and explain to them that the more they talk, the more negotiating power they will be giving away to the other side.

Final Thoughts

Things that we can’t see are hard for most of us to get our hands around. Power in a sales negotiation is one of these things – it can be hard to tell how much of it you have and if you’ve lost some of it. Remembering to keep your mouth closed and working with your team to make sure that they do the same thing will allow you to close better deals and close them quicker.

Questions For You

Have you ever been in a sales negotiation when the other side revealed something that gave you power? Have you ever made a slip and given power to the other side because of something that you said? Has your team ever said something that weakened your position? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking. Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

People are either honest or they aren’t right? Umm, well not exactly. Look, in a sales negotiation everything is not as it seems. I hate to use strong words like “lying” or anything like that, but let’s just say that a healthy dose of skepticism is often a sales negotiator’s best friend…

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