Part of being an effective salesperson is having a good grasp on the ins and outs of the art of negotiation.
Otherwise, prospects may take advantage of you, waste your time, or you can end up devaluing your products or services by selling closer to the floor price instead of the ceiling price.
Chances are, you're already aware of many sales negotiation tactics and have some experience for overcoming them.
However, even the best salespeople can be blindsided by good negotiation techniques from time to time. Or you get blinded by a desire to an ink a deal, get out of a slump, or keep the door from slamming shut... and then good technique goes out the window.
Today, we’ll give you 3 sales negotiation tactics to watch out for, with a plan to overcome them.
1. The Higher Authority
You’re talking to a prospect and realize that they aren’t the main decision maker. And so, by trying to negotiate terms with them, you’re merely creating a starting point for the decision maker… if the conversation even gets to them.
How to overcome it:
Understand the role of who you’re talking to and what they're really in a position to do. Respectfully help them accomplish the role they’ve been given… as their input is likely valuable to the real decision maker, and perhaps even given to them directly by the decision maker.
But don’t negotiate on things like price or terms. Rather, find out their goals, objections and pain-points, and move toward a meeting with the decision-maker with statements like “If we are able to [get that result, handle that issue, accomplish that goal], would we be able to move forward?”
Here are a few more tips for getting past gatekeepers.
2. The Last-Minute Nibble
You’ve got a deal in place and all seems to be going well. But before the deal is finalized and signed, the prospect makes a few last minute “nibbles” or requests for small additional things - things that weren’t originally included in the initial deal.
How to overcome it:
You can offer small concessions on non-monetary things like delivery time. You can also consider how you might add value in non-monetary ways that are workable for you. But in general, you should avoid “caving in” as it sets a bad precedent for the relationship. The prospect is essentially trying to milk you for extras that weren’t in an original agreement they were pretty happy with.
Instead, consider reopening negotiations to include the last minute request with a reasonable adjustment. That way they can either see the fairness in the new deal, or realize that they can do without their new request, and were okay with the initial agreement after all.
3. Short Time Frames
Let’s say you do get a decision maker on the phone, but that decision maker is only giving you a few minutes to talk - not enough time for you to make a proper pitch for your product or service, nor to negotiate the right price.
Something like...“Okay, I’m listening, but I only have 10 minutes before my meeting.”
How to overcome it:
Don’t let decision makers pressure you with short time-frames. In all likelihood, without the proper amount of time you’re not going to get far enough to ink a deal - and you may not get another shot.
Instead tell them that you respect their time and don’t want to rush them. Then use a strong, specific solution-oriented pitch to “earn” you another conversation. “My company is helping [other people like you/businesses like yours] to [achieve this specific, much desired benefit/solve this big problem]. Would you be willing to carve out 30 minutes tomorrow to learn how, and see if we’re a good fit?”
There’s plenty of time for that! And with the right value statement you’ll earn yourself an opportunity to get the job done right.
Staying in control of sales negotiations isn't easy but it's vital. The first step is to be aware of situations in which someone has wrestled away control, and then to use value, patience, and mutual respect to get back on good footing.
Remember, successful negotiation means both parties walk away feeling like they've got a good deal. By focusing on solutions and real value, you'll ensure your prospect wants to keeping move forward... and that you don't have to offer unjust concessions to make that happen.
What other sales negotiating tactics do you think people should watch out for? What tips do you have for getting deals done? Let us know in the comments below!