How many times has this happened to you: there you are, you’ve jumped into a sales negotiation and started off with your initial negotiating position. The other side did exactly the same thing. You are miles apart and it seems like there is no way that you are ever going to bridge the gap. What do you do now?
Movement Is Good
Although it sure can feel mighty lonely when you are in the first half of a sales negotiation, take heart – this is exactly what needs to happen. Both sides always start far apart, have some conflict and stake out their positions. This is when things start to really get interesting.
Expert sales negotiators realize that after all of this posturing is done is when the real work of crafting a deal really beings. Yes, there is a lot of distance between where you and the other side of the table sit right now; however, it’s up to you to find ways to narrow that gap.
Your job is to knuckle down and look for which issues you and the other side are closer together on. These are where you can initially spend your time trying to find ways to move closer to an agreement.
Your negotiating strategy and the other side’s will be in flux at this time. You’ll try different things and some will work, some won’t. You will test the other side’s commitment to some of their positions and they’ll do the same with you.
Much of this stage of the negotiation is based on power. You will be working to find out just exactly what the other side really wants to get out of the negotiation. The goal of this phase is for both sides of the table to come away with the belief that a deal is possible.
Into The Fire
It takes a lot of guts to be a good sales negotiator. You’ll have to prove yourself when you move to the next stage of a negotiation – this is when the hard bargaining starts.
Both sides realize that a deal is possible. However, you’ll change your tactics. You want to end up with the best deal possible and that means that you need the other side of the table to make as many concessions to you as you can get. Unfortunately the other side of the table is thinking exactly the same thing.
This is where the bare-knuckle brawling really comes out. Different sides threaten to leave, do leave, come back, etc. Pretty much every negotiation tactic in the book gets whipped out and tried during this phase of the negotiation.
This is a very difficult part of the negotiation to make it through. However, professional sales negotiators do make it through by realizing two important things: where they currently are, and where they are close to being. They know that if they can stick with it, they’re almost done.
Striking A Deal
You will never be able to negotiate the perfect deal. What will happen is that you’ll push and push to get a better deal and eventually you’ll hit the brick wall at the end of the tunnel – you’re not going to get any more from the other side.
When this happens, you’ve reached the end of the negotiation. You need to take a moment and asses where you are. Can you live with the deal that is currently on the table?
You need to realize that if you can’t, then you are going to have to start negotiations all over with another partner. However, if you can live with the deal, then you are very close to being done.
Assuming that the deal that gets written down accurately reflects what you think that you verbally agreed to (it doesn’t always!), then you’ve successfully negotiated a deal.
What All Of This Means For You
Inexperienced sales negotiators can often get lost in the middle of a sales negotiation. They know how to start the negotiation; however, once it’s under way and they realize just how much distance there is between their position and the other side’s, they don’t know what to do next.
The correct thing to do is to realize that you need to spend time working to close the gaps. Once this has been done, you will be in for some hard negotiating in order to move towards closure. A deal isn’t done until both sides can agree on a written version of the agreement.
Professional sales negotiators have a secret weapon. They never give up hope no matter how difficult things get. That’s what makes the deals that they reach feel so good for both sides of the table.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: How can you tell when you’ve reached the end of a sales negotiation?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
We all know that power is an important part of any sales negotiation – who ever has the most power is in the best position to get more of what they want out of the negotiations. However, do you know how to check your power before you enter into a negotiation? I know the questions that you need to ask yourself before you start and I’m going to tell you what they are…