all that’s left for the prospect to do is sign, and the deal is done. the rep then needs to shift gears from consultant to negotiator in order to engineer an agreement that’s a win-win for both their own and their prospect’s companies. clearly defining the limits on price discounts, freebies, or other add-ons before you meet with your prospect will ensure you come to a mutually beneficial agreement. in the spirit of being accommodating, salespeople are often tempted to offer a discount or an adjustment before the prospect even opens their mouth. just as in other areas of sales, it pays to listen first, and then speak. according to sales expert art sobczak, offering to split the difference can do more harm than good.
if the salesperson offers a slight discount but still keeps the number in the neighborhood of the original price, the prospect will likely accept, and the margin takes less of a hit. a salesperson would be wise not to revise the contract until the meeting has ended, and all parties have verbally agreed to the terms. and this means that when talks begin with the true decision maker, they’ll likely start at the already discounted price quoted in the first meeting. the most commonly negotiated aspect of a sales deal is price, so salespeople should be prepared to talk discounts. although prospect and salesperson sit on opposite sides of the table during a negotiation, they will be partners if the deal is signed. keep the talk light and jovial to avoid creating bad blood. and since they clearly don’t see much value in the offering, it’s only a matter of time before they become dissatisfied.
profitability in sales is in question. the problem is that too often we see negotiations as adversarial or even a battle of wills. the opening of a negotiation sets the tone for the rest of the exchange. the opening is an opportunity to highlight areas of agreement and create positive momentum. once the common ground is clear, sales professionals can position their offer. in fact, it can backfire — and lead to a worse outcome than you imagined.” during the opening, the sales professional should seize the opportunity to make the first offer then handle the customer’s response.
to manage the customer’s demands, sales professionals must remember that a demand is simply an unserved need. a need, however, is a requirement that can be met in a variety of ways. when a sales professional narrows the scope of the solution to meet a customer’s budgetary needs, they are conceding. the solution to this trap is a focus on trading. that is, they can make a false concession by giving up something that has little or no value to them in an effort to make the customer feel as though they are getting a “deal.” this approach, however, is counter-productive. the value of equipping your sales team with training is clear. richardson sales performance is a global sales training and performance improvement company.
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