For some sales professionals, part of the fun of sales is the adrenaline rush that happens in the midst of negotiating. These individuals say that the thrill of sitting “at the table” and thinking on your feet is hard to beat.
As captivating and as adrenaline-inducing as this approach may seem, studies indicate that relying on your ability alone to talk through a negotiation will not yield the greatest results. It’s not what you say in the meeting that counts as much as what you do before that will make the difference and help you win the business, on the terms you are looking for.
Aside from knowing your product well and fully understanding your company’s terms, including margins, quotas, acceptable discounts, etc., here are some other preparedness tactics to keep in mind:
Understanding the Importance of Building Value
Regardless of how skilled a sales professional may think he or she is at negotiating, if the customer fails to see the added value of the product, the characteristic they will most often use as a determining factor is price. A bidding war is not negotiating, and it will do nothing for the sales professional’s product or the reputation of the sales professional.
Understanding Customer Needs
This point should resonate with your experience with the concept of the “trusted advisor.” Attaining that position takes time spent with the client to digest how they work, their objectives and priorities, their pain points, as well as the obstacles that can prevent them from succeeding.
Understanding the Competition
It is essential to know where a sales professional stands with respect to the competition. Research should be conducted continually to see what the competitors are doing in this space. Are there cheaper alternatives? Does Company Y’s product have a feature your product doesn’t? If so, how do you respond? By communicating the value proposition of the product, the sales professional will position it in a credible and effective way to engage the customer in a serious comparison to uncover all of the factors that should go into the decision.
A sales professional will gain credibility and enjoy a much stronger and more productive negotiation discussion after preparing in these areas. The adrenaline will start pumping more frequently when the sales professional is closing sales with better margins because they have a better understanding of the customer’s needs, the competition, and the importance of selling value.