Smart Ways To Sharpen Your Negotiation Skills

BY Jessica Helinski
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Sales reps’ negotiation skills improve with practice over time, but what if you don’t get many opportunities to practice? One way to hone those skills, and try out new ones without repercussions, is to role play. In a post for HubSpot, Michael Pici sings the praises of practicing, writing, “Working through a hypothetical scenario with a team member or coach gives you a low-​stakes opportunity to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and stumbling blocks.” And, just as important, you can practice responding to difficult or unexpected events. While you never quite know what could happen, there are some pretty common scenarios, like asking for a discount, that you may encounter. 

 He goes on to share some great examples of negotiation role-​playing scenarios and guidelines, including:

Practicing dealing with common objections

One of the most basic situations you’ll encounter is an objection (or more) from a prospect during the sales process. Pici outlines a clear, easy scenario for you and at least one other person to play out:


  • The Salesperson
  • The Prospect


  • One person is "it" as the rep.
  • The other person, or rest of a group, acts as the prospect and hurls common objections at the rep. The rep has a set amount of time (it could be 30 seconds or it could be two minutes) to respond to that common objection in a way that satisfies the other person or group and moves the deal forward.
  • Once one objection has been overcome, immediately throw out another until the rep's five- or 10-​minute time in the hot seat is complete.

This scenario is a basic exercise in perfecting how you handle common objections thrown at you. It’s one that works with just one other person or a whole group, making it great for teambuilding as well. Make sure to check out his other exercises that cover other negotiation tactics and scenarios. As he explains, “There’s a lot on the line during a negotiation with the buyer. You need to focus on your objectives, your prospect’s goals, potential landmines, and more.”