If you were the coach of a football team, you wouldn’t go into your next game without a strategy for winning would you? Then why would you ever consider starting a sales negotiation without having a strategy for getting the deal that you want to get?
Issues = Strategy
Before you can even start to create a strategy for your next sales negotiation, you’re going to have do some homework first – sorry about that. Where you want to get to is defined by the issues that you need to deal with.
Not all issues are created the same and not all issues need to contribute to your strategy. This is a point that can confuse some negotiators. You’ll never get your way on everything so you need to prioritize the issues and determine which ones are key to where you want to go in the future. Issues bigger than just this negotiation should help you to make these types of decisions.
Rank ‘Em & Yank ‘Em
Knowing the issues is the starting point, but prioritizing them is the next step. As with all such things in life, it’s not a matter of “important” and “unimportant” issues.
Instead, negotiating issues can generally be classified into three groups: musts, gives, and don’t-cares. The musts are the ones that will form the basis of your sales negotiating strategy. The gives and the don’t-cares will be the tools that your strategy will use to get you to the deal that you are looking for.
Where To Start?
Knowing what the issues are and just how important each of them is to you is where you need to start. The next step that you need to take is to make a decision on what starting position you want to take on each issue.
It’s not so much how you feel about the issue that will guide you here, but rather how you feel that the other side of the table thinks about it. Your starting position should be either closer or farther from their position depending on just how much time you want to spend on the issue and how important it is to you.
Got A Fallback Plan?
One of the reasons that people are attracted to the world of sales negotiating is because by its very nature,it’s dynamic – things are always changing. This includes your strategy: it’s going to have to change during the negotiation.
Realizing this, you’re going to have to come up with one or more fallback plans. The fallback plan will come into play as you move from your starting position on the issues to where you want to end up. The path that you take may not always be the one that you expected and so a fallback plan is needed.
Seeing The Future
Any good sales negotiating strategy has to have an end game. You’ve got to shut your eyes and picture how you think that the future will turn out.
Of the issues that will be negotiated, which ones do you think that the other side will be willing to settle first? Which one will come next? How about after that?
As issues get resolved, the negotiations can become more difficult –you’ll have fewer cards left to play. Your negotiating strategy needs to have a plan for in which order you want the issues to be resolved so that you can walk away with the best deal possible for you.
What All Of This Means For You
To get to where you want to go, you need to have a strategy that tells you what you’ll do at each step along the way. The quality of the outcome of your next sales negotiation may very well rest on the quality of your negotiation strategy.
A good sales negotiation strategy starts with having a good understanding of the issues that will be negotiated. It then builds on this by prioritizing the issues, creating a starting position for each one along with a fallback plan, and finally determining in which order you want to resolve the issues.
Taking the time before your next sales negotiation starts to study the issues and create a solid strategy will pay huge dividends. Having a good strategy is what sets the great sales negotiators apart from everyone else.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: How long do you think is reasonable to spend creating a strategy for a sales negotiation?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
In order to be successful in a sales negotiation, you need to play two roles: your side of the negotiating table as well as the other. When you are trying to determine how the other side of the table views the world (and therefore how they will negotiate with you), one of the most important discoveries that you need to make is to find out just what motivates them…