- 26 Apr
You can find negotiation tips everywhere, but many are rooted in old-school sales methodologies. Using outdated negotiation tactics is the equivalent of applying a new coat of paint to your worn-out clunker of a car – you’re not fooling anyone.
This post offers up three hacks that are relevant to the modern selling environment, where savvy sales professionals often need to engage and close a committee of empowered buyers. Digest and put them to use and you’ll soon be on your way to elevating your game in a meaningful way.
1. Head Them Off at the Pass
As you build relationships with all the members of the buying committee, pay attention to trigger events that indicate change is underway. Examples include plans to pursue a new strategic direction, the appointment of a new executive, and discussions about ways to improve existing processes. By taking careful note of these activities and discerning when a target account is ripe for guidance, you can engage the buying committee early and with relevant insights and advice.
Rather than let them flounder as they cast about for a way to address their pressing issue(s), you can inject yourself into the process early and shape the buying criteria. In other words, you influence the business case and purchase process, changing the conversation from “it’s you against the competition” to “we need to solve for “X” so let’s get down to details.” When “X” is your strong suit (as it should be when you help establish the criteria), you’re not only positioned to win the sale, you’re in position to charge a premium.
2. Win Them Over With Value
When a big purchase is on the line, fear and risk are top of mind among buyers. Your job, of course, is to get them to take that leap of faith with your company. You can ease their worry by giving them plenty of compelling reasons to move forward.
Everyone favors stories over raw data. Get to know your company’s case studies and use them as anecdotes. Share with them real-world examples of your accounts that made the change, are embracing the disruption, and are seeing a worthwhile return on their decision. Challenge the status quo in a way that makes them see it as an opportunity rather than a risk. Get your prospective customer to understand why and how a “do-nothing” decision will leave them at a disadvantage today and going forward. Help them connect your insightful provocations for making a change with the anticipated value over a span of time.
Position yourself firmly as their trusted advisor rather than an order taker. By delivering the type of value and insight that sets you apart from run-of-the-mill sales reps, you will earn their gratitude, trust, and signature on the contract.
3. Get a Good Get for Your Give
Give-and-take is an accepted part of negotiations, with price and implementation timeline as conventional points of emphasis among prospective buyers. When prospects ask about price or implementation timeline, it’s a good sign that they’re interested. So you don’t always need to agree to their demands. If one of these factors becomes a sticking point, use it as an opportunity to get not only get value in return, but to also subtly express that your solution is superior. In other words, you can call upon “gives” that feel less like concessions and more like wins.
Maybe you agree to a lower price or shorter deployment time frame as long as the prospect agrees to the currently proposed, meticulously defined implementation schedule, meaning they need to sign the deal by the date specified.
Or perhaps you request that the buyer participates in a case study in return for the lower price. This will provide you with real-world evidence of your solution’s value. Plus, it conveys your confidence that the buyer will achieve success, making the prospect feel that much more assured by their decision.
Originally published at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, reposted here with permission from our 2017 & 2018 Sponsor, LinkedIn.
Alex Hisaka. (2017). 3 Sales Negotiation Hacks That Help You Close More Deals. Available: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/blog/sales-reps/2017/03/3-sales-negotiation-hacks-that-help-you-close-more-deals. Last accessed 26/04/2018.