Performance improvement for any business requires intense attention to where time and energy are being spent. Time is a resource that you cannot afford to waste. An area where many companies commonly get hooked and expend unnecessary energy is during business negotiations.
If an executive does not know the motives and needs of the prospect, discerning the direction of the negotiations can be very challenging. Rarely are consultations quick and easy processes, often leading to a standstill. The following systematic approach to successful negotiating will generate sales while leaving a lasting, positive impression on your client:
Ask questions. When met with a reluctant client who wants to end the meeting with, “We need more time,” it is essential that you ask questions like, “What’s holding you back?” rather than letting the sale walk out the door with a simple, “When can we contact you?”. This puts the client on the spot, forcing them to reveal their true feelings about you and what you are offering. This also allows you to determine their goals and find out how best to proceed.
Be timely with facts. Details that are sure to persuade your client need to be disclosed at the right time. When selling points are revealed in a timely manner, it can have a great positive impact on the progress of the negotiations.
Make a firm offer. This is an essential key to success. It is best to be honest and reasonable from the beginning. This will often reveal how valuable you truly are in the client’s eyes. Being strong in a fair price will avoid bringing the negotiations to a halt.
Leave ego out of the picture. Nothing can halt negotiations like ego. As Christopher Voss said in a recent Forbes interview, “Effective negotiating is more complicated than making an offer, considering the other side’s offer and then trying to basically shove those ideas into alignment.” Clients will sense from the get-go if you respect them. Their sense that you want to treat them with respect will make or break a deal.
Upon adopting these simple habits and tools of sales execution, you’ll find that you spend less time with the ball out of your court. CEO Kathleen Steffey refers to this negotiating approach as a way to ‘work on the problem, not the symptom.’
These tools can do wonders for the effectiveness of your approach to negotiations.