When I’m leading a workshop, facilitating a seminar or speaking at a sales meeting or convention I always ask the audience, “Who feels that they are a good negotiator?”  So few hands go up I felt I needed to write this post!

The best negotiators I know listen more than they talk, ask great questions, are prepared to respond to potential objections, can cost-justify their product/service, can differentiate themselves from their competition and above all are constantly looking for a “Win-Win.”

Based upon my experience and observations from over 40 years in sales and sales leadership here are what I consider to be the 10 secrets of master negotiators:

  1. Get to the decision maker early in the sales process
  2. Be able to cost-justify your product/service…even if it’s more expensive
  3. Understand that negotiating is an ongoing part of the sales process…not a final event needed to close!
  4. Be able to articulate your unique value proposition (UVP) to differentiate yourself from your competition
  5. Realize that there are two emotional hurdles that have to take place in order for a deal to get consummated. The Buyer has to feel that they’re getting a “good deal” and the Seller has to be willing to “walk away.”
  6. Actively listen and use silence as a strategic advantage. The best time to use silence is after making a significant impact statement.
  7. Realize that the degree of your power is directly proportional to the amount and the type of information you know about your buyer. In other words…prospect knowledge is way more powerful than product knowledge!
  8. Never let negotiations get down to one item. If negotiations get down to one item that means somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.
  9. Always create a negotiations plan/timeline. Document what you want, what you’re willing to give up to get it and what your “walk away” points are.
  10. Prepare for objections in advance and create an Objection Response Library (ORL) to address any objections that may come up.

As I said at the beginning of this post the job of a salesperson is to create a “Win-Win” with their Buyers so they feel good about the purchase and we feel good about the sale.  In the end I want to make sure that not only are they a customer but that they are a happy customer, they are a referenceable customer and that they will buy from me again when the need arises.  My goal is always to create mutually beneficial, long-term, profitable relationships with my customers.

Now I feel compelled to ask, “After reading this post who considers themselves a good negotiator?”

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