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Effective Sales Negotiation: Training, Skills, and Techniques

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
'Negotiation' is the most important skill that a salesman should possess. In the end, it is only this skill that determines your sales.
You may be a person who does not like to negotiate, but often ends up in positions where negotiation becomes necessary. Most people wrongly think that negotiation skills are only for salespeople.
But, imagine a situation where you are planning to sell your house. Now, without these skills, you might end up getting a price that's much lesser than what your house deserves.
Think of the losses you might have to incur, just because of poor negotiating skills. Thus, reasonably good skills can benefit you greatly, even if you are not in the sales business.
For people in sales businesses, such skills are a must. Your sales depend upon your 'sales talks' and the price you fetch for your product entirely depends upon these skills. Here are a few guidelines on the same.

Understand Your Product and Evaluate Customer Feedback

The first step towards excellent sales negotiation is to thoroughly understand your product. Study your product or service well, and evaluate the values that you have to offer.
Seeking feedback from your customers is crucial for success. Your customers can give you a better idea about your weak points, and the areas where your competitors score over you.
Always be open to suggestions and criticism from customers. They are pivotal in improving your product. Understanding your weak points can help you in the preparation of an explanation and swiftly sail you through tricky questions.

Understand Your Competitors

Conduct a market research and find out who the major competitors are in your chosen product line. Research the tactics of these contenders and plan accordingly. Identify your strong areas and assert them positively. Refrain from criticizing your competitor's product, as that would make you look too desperate to sell the product.

Plan a Sales Strategy

Plan a sales strategy with your marketing team. Develop a line upon which you should act during the process. Adhere to those guidelines while during the process.

Understand Your Customers

Only customers can tell you what motivates them to buy your product. Hence, ask them key questions and try to figure out what this motivation is.
You may get a general idea, depending upon your sales expertise and past experiences. Understanding their motivation can determine your next step in a negotiation process.

Focus on Value and Not on Price

Always emphasize upon the values and the benefits your product is likely to offer to the customers. Smartly avoid any price talk, especially when your product in leading in that area. If possible, dodge direct price related questions.
The customer is anyway going to get it straight, as the price is the foremost factor that influences his decision to buy. Until then, keep flashing your 'value card'.

Do Your Homework

Last but not the least, do your homework properly. Asses all the situations and prepare yourself accordingly. The other party is likely to come well prepared as well, hence have a backup plan ready to deal with their plan.

On the Negotiation Table

No matter how hard you prepare for a particular meeting, it is only your actual performance on the table that determines your sales. Do not chicken out if you find the situation going out of hand.
Stick to your plan as far as possible, but do not hesitate to take drastic decisions, if you must. If you do not see a profitable situation for yourself, try to reduce your losses and attain a win-win situation for both the parties.
These skills are seldom inborn. You have to take efforts to develop them. Excellent negotiation skills can take you a long way in your business.