Are You A Negotiating Ninja?

BY Kathy Crosett
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When you finally get to the point of negotiating with your prospect, you don’t want to blow it. You have to walk a fine line between keeping the prospect satisfied and maximizing the value of the contract to you and your organization. You can sweat your way through this process, or you can hone your negotiating skills with these tips from Emma Brudner.

Advance Planning

Getting the outcome you want from a negotiation process means understanding what you’re willing to settle for in the end. Devote some time to reviewing the details of the agreement before you talk with your prospect. Are you willing to concede to a 10% discount? Will you offer up to 6 months of free support in exchange for the prospect’s two-​year commitment? Will you throw in a day of free onsite training if the prospect signs before the end of the month? It’s hard to know in advance what to expect from a prospect you’ve never negotiated with before. But, you can establish your limits in your own mind and stick with them during the conversation.

Silent Sam

Staying silent when negotiations first start can be tough for sales reps. This tactic can also be extremely effective. If you’ve already presented an initial contract to the prospect and she wants to negotiate, let her go first. In sales, listening to the prospect give you valuable information. During negotiations, this information can give you the edge. Once you know what the prospect wants, you can decide how much you want to give her.

Beyond Money

Prospects almost always want to talk about money. They want a discount on the product or service you’re selling them. If they get that discount, they’ll look like heroes to their bosses. You won’t always be in a position to grant a discount. That’s where the conversation about value should start. Remind the prospect about how much she’ll save as a result of using your product or service. If that conversation doesn’t convince her to sign, then talk about what else you can offer as part of the deal. These ‘freebies’ should be part of what you decided, in advance, you’ll be willing to give up in order to get the contract.

If you’ve been nurturing a prospect for months, and you’re under pressure to complete the deal, you may be getting stressed. Brudner recommends keeping the conversation with the prospect light and breezy. Doing so will keep you in the chill zone and may just speed up negotiations.