Is Your Personality Leading You Away from Consultative Negotiating?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Unless you have the most accommodating prospect in the world, you’ll need to negotiate to close your deal. Experienced prospects will hold out until you give them a little something. If you’re not a natural negotiator, you can succeed if you know what to watch for.

If you want to walk away from your next negotiation with a signed contract, first do the right stuff. That means solid preparation. Know plenty about your prospects and what they want out of the deal before you start talking through the details. And figure out what your prospects think of you.

Perception is key when negotiating begins according to Mark Parkinson who's cited by Anisa Horton in a Fast Company post. Parkinson, a business psychologist and adviser, points out that if your prospects assume that you’ll negotiate in a certain way and you know this ahead of time, the deal outcome could be advantageous to you. For example, extremely competitive individuals often approach a negotiating session with an “I win, you lose” attitude.  Prospects may give in sooner if they really want your product and believe you’re a competitive negotiator.

If you find yourself talking about other topics, instead of the contract details, you’re avoiding the negotiation. This strategy is commonly seen in people who prefer diplomacy. The end result can be both parties giving up something, but that strategy is not always successful for sales reps! Know this about yourself. Own it. And, remind yourself to stay on topic when you’re meeting face to face with your prospect.

In situations where sales reps hope to win customers for the long term, the collaborative bargaining style works best. The outcome is generally a win-​win with both parties being satisfied. Reps who genuinely enjoy helping clients solve their problems have a basic personality that is suited to the collaborative bargaining approach.

Don’t panic if your personality isn’t naturally suited to collaborative negotiating. Instead, pay attention to how the client responds to you in every interaction. Use that information to guide your behavior in a negotiating session. If you’re naturally competitive, and the prospect doesn’t seem to be budging on price, shift to an accommodating style (client wins, you lose) in order to get that first sale. Once the client trusts you, you can move to a more collaborative approach.

Negotiating is never easy. The more you know about your prospects and what you think they believe about you, the easier it will be for you to adjust your style on your way to a successful outcome.