Negotiation is an art. The best Sales individuals love negotiating with prospects. While negotiating is not always part of closing a sale. Negotiation is an art that most sales individuals will need to perfect during the course of their sales career.
Here are 5 mistakes that sales individuals make while negotiating with prospects.
1. Not being comfortable with silence
An error made by sales individuals is talking (either out of nervousness or apprehension) before the prospect can react to an offer.
This only weakens the sales individual's position and results in the prospect holding out for a ‘better’ offer.
Instead of creating an awkward silence during the conversation, make it clear that the ball is in the prospect’s court. Using lines like “So how does that work for you?” “Is that something you can work with?” or better still making the offer and waiting will let your prospect know that the ball is in his court.
Remember, the person who speaks first loses the bargaining chip in the conversation. So learn to make an offer and then be comfortable with the silence that ensues.
2. Being ‘attached’ to the lead/opportunity and being afraid of losing it
It is easy for managers to handle negotiations. The reason is: Managers usually get looped in when there is a problem with closing or non-movement. A manager typically has very little invested in an opportunity (in terms of time spent) and is certainly not attached to an opportunity the same way a sales individual is.
We often hear sales individuals say "But I have put in a lot of hard work into this", "I just need to close this one no matter what". This fear of losing a sale hinders a sales individual and stops him from dealing with objections and negotiating effectively.
Compare your negotiations when you had reached 200% of your quote and when you were on 50% of your quota. You will see how not being afraid improves your negotiation skills.
Our recommendation is not letting your attachment to an opportunity cloud your judgement. If you feel your prospect is being unreasonable or wasting your time, don't be afraid to call a spade a spade.
3. Failing to understand the motivation behind the negotiation
Be it price, a better deal or just an extension on time. All negotiations have a trigger. Most sales individuals fail to understand the motivation behind the negotiation before making offers. A common example of this is pricing negotiations.
When a prospect says your product is expensive, sales individuals assume that pricing is the problem.
A common mistake made by sales individuals when faced with pricing objections is to ask what the prospect has in mind without trying to understand the underlying reason for the objection.
The first question to ask the prospect is ‘are they happy with what they have seen?’. If the answer is yes, the next question should be why they need a discount?.
Discover the real reason for asking for a discount. We have already discussed handling pricing objections in a previous blog post. So be sure to to go through that if you need help with pricing objections.
4. Forgetting the solution is an answer to the prospect’s problems
A sales individual should remember: he is offering a solution to the prospect's problems.
In a nutshell, don’t forget that you are helping your prospects not ‘selling’ them a solution.
If you are doing the role of a consultant well enough, you will find that negotiating with prospects is easier. On the flip side, If all you are doing is acting as a communication channel between various teams and simply sending price quotes, best of luck with the next negotiation.
To summarise, if you are truly acting as a consultant to your prospect don't forget you have the answer to your prospect's problems.
5. Forgetting a negotiation only happens when the prospect is interested in your solution
Your prospect is only speaking to you because he sees some value in your product or solution. We live in an age where time is quite literally money. This means if your prospect is asking for better terms on the contract, he is interested in your solution. Don't forget this simple fact when you enter into an negotiation.
We never recommend saying "Mr. Prospect, lets be honest you are only talking to me because you like my product." but we do recommend remembering that when you are talking to your prospect.
The only way to truly master the art of negotiation is to understand you can never win all your battles. You need to lose some to learn a bigger lesson. So get out there and don't be afraid. We promise every negotiation will only make you a better sales individual.