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VOL. 38 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 19, 2014

Five negotiation mistakes you’ll want to avoid

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More than 75 percent of the sales reps I’ve coached through the years cite price as their No. 1 objection. Given the state of our economy for the last several years, it’s no wonder.

And even as the economy is beginning to rebound, the side effect of a recession is the bargainer’s mindset it creates in the market.

It’s a reality salespeople everywhere face, and the reason why sharpening sales negotiation skills is vital.

Avoid these top-negotiating mistakes to improve sales performance.

Not asking enough questions

The person who asks the most questions in a sales negotiation ultimately determines the direction of that conversation.

Focus on “what” versus “why” questions to encourage your prospect to focus on fact-based reasoning.

Discounting emotions in a negotiation

While it’s certainly advisable not to react emotionally in a negotiation, emotions no doubt play a factor. The key is to manage a prospect’s emotions by building trust.

Prospects that feel understood, engaged and valued are more likely to trust, removing emotional obstacles and paving the way for a rational fact-based decision about what you’re selling.

Bargaining with yourself

Don’t discount your offering by cutting your costs before you ever present them to the prospect or you’re making concessions that you won’t get credit for through the negotiation process.

If you encounter a prospect that’s a bargainer, they often won’t buy without some sort of concession.

Bargaining versus negotiating

In order for both parties to win, you must enlarge versus divide the pie. So, instead of cutting your price, add value to your offering.

Look at yourself as a problem solver versus a negotiator. Your role is to ask the right questions to find out what the other party needs to feel satisfied with the negotiation, and often that means finding a unique way to deliver that.

For example, consider what you can bring to the table with a high-perceived value but a low hard-cost.

Immediately responding to an objection

When a prospect raises an objection, there is often a hidden issue behind the objection. If you immediately address the objection, you may miss that hidden objection, lose the sale as a result, and never know why.

Instead, when your prospect throws out a cost objection, for example, consider saying, “I can tell this an important concern, and rightfully so. Tell me more about your hesitation with cost.”

What you may find is the concern is actually with return on investment versus cash flow, which you could overcome with case studies about customers who have realized a strong return on their investment with your firm.

Avoiding these top sales negotiation mistakes will help you close more deals and forge stronger relationships along the way.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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