How to Master Sales Negotiation and Close More Deals
There are all kinds of factors determining whether a business might succeed or fail. Efficiency, goals, employee engagement, and socio-economic factors, to name a few. But one of the most important, both in the short and long term, is how well you handle sales negotiation.
Fortunately, this kind of business acumen is a skill like any other. And that means you can improve at it. So, keep reading if you want to really get the hang of negotiating sales for your business.
What Are Sales Negotiations, and Why Do They Matter?
A sales negotiation is the discussion that happens between a sales representative and a buyer with a view to reaching an ideal sale. Sales negotiations might consist of a single conversation or a series of them.
For example, imagine you’re offering businesses their own inbound call center services. Sales negotiations might consist of finding the ideal subscription package, as well as negotiating fees, special offers, and additional services.
The amount of sales negotiation you might do in a business can vary. A till clerk working in a shop likely has little say over prices. But in the case of real estate sales or businesses offering services and subscriptions, there can be a lot of negotiating.
This ultimately serves the business in a few ways:
- Negotiating ensures that sales actually profit the business.
- It can mean better deals, which increase customer satisfaction.
- The negotiating process gives customers time to raise concerns.
- Handling customer concerns early prevents post-purchase dissatisfaction.
- These help to develop the relationship between a business and its customers.
So, clearly, this process plays an essential role in business success. But what exactly is it that makes an effective sales negotiator?
The Skills You Need for Sales Negotiation
Negotiating sales for a business can feel insanely complicated to the point where many choose to pursue formal sales training qualifications. And these can be very useful. But today, let’s start by going through some of the most important skills you’ll need. Then, we’ll end with some tips to help you put those skills into practice.
If you thought we’d have a smart cheat sheet for you, think again. When you want to master sales negotiation, you’ve got to be willing to put the work in. As a sales representative, you’ll find customers generally expect you to know what you’re talking about.
So, if you don’t, you’ll inevitably say something that shatters the illusion. And, once that happens, your chances of negotiating a successful sale plummet. That’s why it’s vital to prepare.
It should go without saying that preparation includes familiarity with your own products or services. But you should also learn as much as you can about the customer and their needs: what they want, their pain points, and so on. For a B2B client, this might include their industry and function, as well as the scale of the organization. Use all the data collection methods at your disposal to make sure you know your stuff before you begin.
For example, being familiar with how many employees a client company has can help determine the solutions most applicable to its circumstances.
Active listening means engaging constructively with what others say. If you’re just nodding along until you can say what you want, then there’s nothing active about how you’re listening. You have to pay attention. Put thought into your responses and ask relevant, meaningful questions.
In sales negotiation, active listening can help you adjust to the needs of the customer. When you have a good grasp of their situation, you can highlight the most appealing aspects of what you have to offer.
Let’s say you’re selling licensing for remote PC software. Asking about the demand for remote work in a client business can be a good way of finding out how attractive the potential customer will find your product. A business with lots of employees working from home will have more demand for remote software than a company where everyone works on-site.
Although a lot of business now happens online, and many companies use cold email tools to reach out to potential clients, face-to-face conversations can still be very important. That’s because they provide your best opportunity to gauge a client’s genuine reaction accurately.
Emotional IQ (or EQ) means your ability to perceive and understand emotions, and it’s a skill worth developing. Someone with high emotional intelligence can easily tell how a person feels by their tone and body language. They also understand the potential emotional impact of anything they say or do.
But emotional intelligence is also about understanding and managing your own feelings. Sales negotiation can get pretty frustrating at times, and a high EQ can help you keep a cool head.
Solving problems is an essential part of sales negotiation. And it’s not always simply about price. Part of the negotiating process is uncovering any issues or worries potential customers may have.
But, more importantly, it’s about figuring out what you can do to resolve them. If a customer is worried about your tools being too technical, for example, you could show them your company’s IVR customer support channel, like the one 8×8 offers. If they’re worried about product integrity, you could cut them a deal on insurance or replacement.
Much depends on how much power you have to offer these kinds of solutions, of course. But creative, effective problem-solving makes for memorable customer experiences.
Top Tips for Negotiating Sales
So, you’ve generated some leads. You’ve interested some people with your initial pitch. And now, you need to stick the landing. It’s one thing to have an idea of the skills behind sales negotiation, but another entirely to have a strategy in mind.
So, here are a few tips from us to help you put your best foot forward.
Lead the Negotiations…
In sales negotiation, it helps to be the one driving the discussion. You can’t necessarily control what people think. But you can heavily influence what they think about. For instance, you might secure more conversions by marketing a product based on its scarcity. Or you could highlight the latest tech developments behind your service to get would-be buyers excited.
Leading the negotiations also means you can keep the discussion moving in a productive direction. While some sales negotiations might consist of a single conversation, others will take place over several sessions. It’s important to keep things from going in circles so you can proceed efficiently.
…But Let the Customer Speak First
Even though you want to lead the discussion, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be the first to speak. Letting a client speak first means you’re hearing something unprompted. And this can help you understand what their immediate thoughts are. That way, you can fill in the blanks and adjust your approach accordingly.
Conducting a sales negotiation with one person is fairly straightforward. But that’s not always how these things happen. You might be selling a product to a family, like a new TV or couch. Or you might have to win over whole committees to sell your services. Remember that even if everyone gets a say, someone may still essentially be “in charge.”
Say you’re negotiating with a tech company looking to buy ai domain names. Your pitch may rely on the novelty of using a .ai domain for AI-driven web tools. But, no matter how much this appeals to members of the development team, it’s senior leadership who ultimately controls the purse strings.
Which means they’re the ones you have to appeal to. So, in keeping with this example, you might highlight the business benefits of a distinctive or evocative web domain for promotional purposes. Or you might win over budget-minded decision-makers with affordability options.
Figure Out Their Pain Points
Pain points are essentially issues, absences, and obstacles we face. In other words, they’re the problems your products or services are meant to fix. Understanding a client or customer’s pain points helps to figure out why they’re trying to make a purchase in the first place.
With this information, you can do a much better job of making suggestions or offering solutions. For example, say you’re selling B2B comms tools. A client’s call center workers might be struggling to hit their targets. In which case, automatic dialler software could definitely interest them, so you’d focus on that first.
Use Objective Figures and Standards
Winning people over with razzle dazzle is great. But if all you have are vague assertions that your product is amazing, you’ll start to sound like a con artist. Having objective performance stats and comparisons is absolutely essential, especially in industries or sectors with high technical standards.
Maybe you’ve generated cybersecurity leads you want to convert into anti-spyware sales. In this case, you’ll need factual product comparisons against other high-performing cybersecurity brands. And it’s not just about winning over experts. Many potential customers won’t necessarily know much about what you’re selling, so you need to help them find their ideal solution.
There’s No Sense Rushing a Sales Negotiation
Hopefully, everything we’ve said so far reinforces one thing. And it’s that sales negotiations benefit from a calm and considered approach. As exciting as it can be to try and rake in those conversions, sprinting to the finish invites mistakes.
Customer trust is far from guaranteed, which is why you need to take the time to listen and ask questions. This shows customers that you care about their needs and are not just upselling them as hard as you can. By following our simple guide, you should be able to start closing a lot more deals.