Early in my sales career, my company hired a phenomenal negotiator to put us through a rigorous one-day training.
We learned how to focus on the other individual, generate a feeling of safety, use their language to increase rapport, and tactics for isolating and overcoming obstacles.
At the end of the event, I was confident and energized… until I found out that the procurement officers at my largest client had gone through the same training – two full weeks of it!
That’s what we’re up against as sales professionals, so you’d better be prepared.
Let’s look at five dependable tactics you can use to negotiate a win-win with your most demanding buyers.
1: Choose Your Moment
Before entering into any negotiation, always review the questions that are crucial to closing any deal:
- Can they buy?
- Will they change?
- Are you differentiated
- What’s in it for them?
- Is the timing right?
Many sales reps dive into negotiations at the first sign of hesitation – but if you haven’t created urgency by connecting your solution to problems worth solving right now, no mix of embellishments and discounts will magically close the deal.
Instead of incentivizing quick action, you compromise price integrity early in the process and put yourself at an incredible disadvantage.
2: Know What’s Negotiable
Can you offer a price discount if the client commits to a case study and features your company as a preferred partner?
Can you compromise on deliverables to reach a win-win?
Both are viable solutions. And to offer anything, you must first fully understand what you’re empowered to change.
It’s all about collaborating to find joint value here. Still, if you offer something you’re not authorized to provide, you only risk damaging credibility, trust and rapport – the critical ingredients for complex B2B purchases.
3: Make a Trade
Once you understand all the bargaining chips at your disposal, it’s time to get to work. The first tool at your disposal is the trade-off.
Both examples above fall into this category. The main idea is to listen to the buyer’s position, identify areas of flexibility, and get creative where and when you can.
For example, if you get the sense that one of your deliverables isn’t valued as highly as others, there’s an opportunity to reduce while maintaining price integrity. Alternatively, if the total price is a sticking point and those budgets dry up at year-end, it may be advantageous to offer a discount if the client prepays for services.
4: Sweeten the Deal
Think high-value, low-cost deliverables.
If you host an industry event like Dreamforce, including complimentary passes is a fantastic tactic. Another option is to offer additional training hours or user seats if applicable.
Think back to discovery and uncover additional personal and professional value you can add with these embellishments.
Sometimes, you have to compromise. Once you’ve isolated the sticking point – whether it’s based on deliverables, terms and conditions or price – find the middle ground that will satisfy both parties.
The key to compromises is to look at a single category: Isolate, confirm and then split the difference.
In the end, companies and humans are incredibly dynamic – especially in Q4 of 2022. And everyone always wants to feel like they’re getting a good deal. No matter your industry, product or tenure, these tactics have served me well over my thirty years in sales. I’m confident they’ll help you propel your business forward as well.
Until next time, happy selling,