Updated April 21, 2023
“And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him?”
Improve Your Negotiation Skills
We can consider negotiation skills as a stream of communication between people regarding the value of the things they will exchange, going back and forth. For instance, you may exchange an art piece you created with the money of the person who purchased it. The ability of a person to negotiate successfully in the turbulent business climate today makes the difference between success and failure. A few tips for carrying out the art of negotiation successfully are –
Negotiation Skills Tips
1. Show Empathy as Everyone is a Winner
When you negotiate sales, prospects will have several objections. At times, this may consist of a long list with the result that they will take these frustrations out on you. If you have empathy, you can appreciate their struggles and validate their concerns. When you apply compassion, prospects feel that you are trying to understand them and are on their side. To be a genuinely effective negotiator, you need to understand both sides.
This will help you to put yourself in a position to close the deal. Without empathy, you will just be banging your head against the wall by putting forward only your point. If the prospects’ concerns have not been validated, they will become defensive and stop listening to you even though your sales presentation may be effective. Listen to the points of your prospects and affirm them. You will be appreciated for that. It will not undermine your service or product, but using the prospect’s pain will highlight your service or product.
Example – “Yes, I understand money is tight; however, based on what you’ve told me, I think the savings from our product will provide your business the much-needed boost you need in just a few short months…”
2. Tailor Your Response
You need to know your audience, the negotiation skills questions you should ask them, and what they want. The first step lies in understanding the driving force behind the party you are negotiating with and their priorities. Figure out the kind of people you are dealing with so that you can talk to them in a language they recognize. This means you need to find out the buttons you must push. Adopting your approach will help make the negotiation process easy once you have found out who you are dealing with.
The people who are analytical, precise, and formal are generally thinkers and will have to be provided with a lot of information. The people who are competitive, demanding, intuitive, and purposeful will know and require the bare minimum of information. People who are patient, relaxed, caring, persuasive, friendly, expressive, and warm prefer diagrams and stories. It is equally important to understand the type of person you are and adjust yourself according to the person you are negotiating with.
3. Listen Carefully
Nature has given us two ears and one mouth to be used in life generally in the same proportion. This is the best way to understand the person you are up against. Ask the other party what they expect from the negotiation, and schedule a face-to-face meeting before getting into the specifics. “Knowledge is power,” hence the more you speak, the more you will give away. Therefore, you should be quiet and try to exercise control. It would help if you let the other party do the talking, ask them several negotiation skills questions, listen to their answers, and make negotiation skills notes.
4. Be Mentally Prepared
Almost 55% of what is going through in our minds is given away by our body language, and therefore, the preferred medium for negotiation skills is usually face-to-face. You need to adopt the correct approach mentally. If you have a feeling of subordination, it will be difficult to cover that up, leading to the setting of the incorrect tone right from the start.
The approach adopted by a junior person selling something to a senior person may be subservient, which will be a terrible position regarding the negotiations. Rather than this, people who enter into the talks should think that they need each other. You should be aware of the value of what you are offering and how it will be helpful to the other party. Once clarity is in your head, you will feel in control and can take the lead using questioning.
5. Discuss and Do Not Sell
Negotiation needs to be a discussion regarding achieving an agreeable, mutually agreeable outcome and not only an exercise of selling. The classic sales pitch generally says, “Look what we can do for you.” Instead, it would be best if you said, ‘This is what we do and can offer. How can it help you?’ This gives you something to negotiate with, as they’re telling you why they want your product or service.”
In addition, you need to identify trade-offs: things you can offer that are low cost to you but highly valuable to the other party. For instance, if you are selling IT systems, a part of that offering is three days helped from the engineer on-site. You can give them five days, as you have already paid for that person, and a day or two here and there will not make much of a difference to you regarding the costs. However, if you usually charge your engineer Dh 500 daily, it becomes a valuable proposition for them. Hence, you have to think of how you can help them so they can help you.
If your products or services are on the table, the main issue is not to move on the price front. In other words, you need to think of what you can give them so that they still purchase at the original prices.
6. Take Some Time Out for Negotiation
Do not be afraid to ask for a break in the negotiations to recollect your thought processes. You require time to be away so that you can give it a reconsideration. Unless you have fixed deadlines, prepare to take some time out to recalibrate your thoughts.
7. Understand your Position and also Get to Know their Position
You need to form three positions in your head before entering into negotiations. These are your opening bid, which is often what you can get away with, and what you can expect to get based on your knowledge of the market and your deal breakers. You can categorize this as your “mega win,” your “expected win,” or your “walk away.” In the middle of the negotiations, giving away more than you had wanted initially is easier. Negotiation skills are emotional, so it is essential to work in advance in these positions. We recommend that you make an opening bid that is extreme but realistic enough. Then you can move from such a position and give them the satisfaction they are winning. This results in the other party becoming more agreeable. Collaboration requires trust, and unrealistic positions damage relationships.
Amongst the biggest mistakes made by the negotiators is the failure to uncover their opponent’s position. For instance, when selling, in case a potential customer is not willing to pay the asking price, then you need to ask them what they are willing to pay. Most people miss out on this point. They usually say ‘ok’ and offer a discount of, say, 10%, to which the client may say, ‘That’s not enough,’ and then the salesman will offer more. We call that ‘ringing the dishcloth.’ You stop to do this when there is a stoppage in the drops coming out. Once the other party has told you, what they are willing to pay, you will have two positions, and the scope for negotiation will be present.
8. Do not Give Anything away without Getting Something in Return
Unilateral concessions are self-defeating. Whenever you have to give away something, you must ensure you get something in return. It would help if you tied a string always. “I’ll do this if you do that.” Otherwise, you might invite the other person to ask for more concessions from you. When you give something away without expecting reciprocation, the other party may feel entitled to your benefits and continue to demand more from you. On the contrary, they will derive greater satisfaction if they have to earn your concessions.
9. Do not take the Issues or the Behaviour of the other Person Personally
Parties often fail negotiations because personal issues unrelated to the deal sidetrack one or both. Successful negotiators focus on problem-solving, which involves reaching an agreement that respects the needs of both parties involved. Obsession over the personality of the other negotiator or regarding the issues that have no direct relation to making a deal can lead to the sabotage of a negotiation. If somebody is challenging to deal with or rude, you should try to understand their behavior and not take it personally.
10. Aim High and Expect the Outcome that is the Best
Successful negotiators are optimists. You’ll get more only when you expect more. Opening with an extreme position is a proven strategy for achieving high results. The sellers should ask for more than their expected price, while the buyers should offer less than their maximum budget. People do better if they aim higher.
Negotiations involve a lot more than mere open-ended questioning. It also involves other negotiation skills for sales tricks, along with some of the vital principles that will make the person negotiating stand in good stead, irrespective of what they are bartering over. The skills of sales negotiation do not come to a person naturally.
They need repeated practice. While most negotiation skills may seem like common sense, it is not uncommon for people to get caught up in momentary emotions and ignore their basic instincts. To develop practical negotiation skills, emotions, luck, and magic do not have any place. It would be best to have an iron gut, street smarts, homework, and unwavering discipline to succeed. These are the primary keys that will help unlock your abilities to get the best possible deals under any circumstances.
This is a guide to 10 Effective Tips To Improve Your Negotiation Skills. You can also look at the following articles to learn more –