3 Negotiation Styles to Help Land Tough Sales

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Part of what makes negotiating so difficult is that there’s not a set style linked to a successful outcome. Depending on how your potential sale has been developing, your negotiation process can fall into one of five basic styles, according to Jeff Cochran writing for SellingPower. If you can figure out which negotiating style you should use based on how your sales process has progressed, you can then identify how best to proceed from there. Here are three of the more difficult of the five styles:


When both you and your client are focused on personal gain, achieving a sale can be difficult. When it seems like you and your client just can’t seem to work together to progress and you don’t want to yield to either a lost sale or an unfair price, don’t back down. Use the competing negotiation style. It may sound bad, but here’s what it really entails: “You shouldn’t be combative,” says Cochran. “Rather, be prepared to demonstrate your value and the impact you can have with their investment.”


This is another difficult one. “In this engagement, someone does not want to participate,” Cochran says. “They stay away from discussions, use delay tactics, or give in quickly — usually leading to unresolved tensions that often re-emerge later.” So, again, you need to make it worth the client’s while. This can either mean highlighting the value of your product or service in relation to your competitors and showcasing how your solution can work wonders for their business, or you can cut them such a deal that threat of the regret they’d feel later outweighs their current disinterest in the sale.


It happens more often than you’d like: Neither you nor your client are going to get exactly what you like. That’s when you enter compromising negotiation so that you don’t both leave the meeting empty-handed. Say the issue is price. Can you afford to give them a deal in order to land the sale? Or would they be willing to consider a payment plan? Or would the full price be worth it to the client if you threw in a few bonuses? Explore, find a solution that still benefits you both, and compromise.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.