Is Your Personality Leading You Away from Consultative Negotiating?

by | 2 minute read

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.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-own­er of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.