Category Archives: Negotiations
Successful sellers are moving beyond the adversarial approach to negotiating. Winning the sale today requires a consultative style. In the end, the relationship between the buyer and seller strengthens winning the sale today and tomorrow.
On October 30th, Miriam Abbey, Richardson Senior Training Consultant will present a webinar on Winning the Sale without Thinning the Sale: Negotiating with the Modern Buyer, and we would like to extend an invitation for you to join us.
The webinar topics will include:
Strategies and countermeasures needed to control and guide negotiation and successfully shape the perception of value to increase deal size, reduce discounting, and attain a higher win/loss ratio How sellers can avoid resorting to concessions by using questioning that converts inflexible customer demands into needs How sellers can influence the customer’s receptiveness to the value of a solution with “priming,” which, in turn, maximizes the scope of the solution
The webinar will take place on October 30th at 1:00 p.m. EST. If you are interested in attending or think that your colleagues may be interested, you can register here.
With a collaborative approach, sellers gain more information allowing them to satisfy the customer’s needs without “thinning the deal.” These 4 guiding principles of consultative sales negotiations will lead to better outcomes for your team and your client’s.
1. Build Trusted Relationships
Earning the sale starts by earning the customer’s trust. Doing so requires the seller to remain consultative by engaging in a dialogue rather than a competition. Trust emerges when a seller views a customer need as an opportunity to move the sale forward rather than a hurdle.
2. Use Persuasiveness as a Process of Promoting Value
Create a compelling connection between the value of the seller’s solution to the customer’s priorities. This process begins by converting demand to needs. Take the time to understand what basic goals reside beneath blunt statements like “I need a lower price.” Use this information to underscore how the solution addresses the issue. This is a critical step that should be exhausted before trading in which the seller gains an agreement through changing terms.
3. Maintain Control and Confidence
Manage reflexes. Sellers too frequently succumb to an impulse to trade before first fully exploring the customer’s needs. Take the time to consider a response to a demand before relinquishing a term. Sellers will be surprised to find that when they handle trading as a last resort, they can preserve their optimal outcome.
4. Focus on Arriving at Mutually Successful Outcomes » Continue Reading.
A consultative negotiation is not just about the give and take of terms. It’s also about the equitable exchange of information builds relationships. Rember these core tenets of negotiations throughout the sales process to improve the outcomes or your deals.
Negotiations Occur Throughout the Selling Process
From the first conversation, sellers are building trust and creating a collaborative environment that helps move negotiations forward. Sellers can spark this collaboration by sharing information thereby inciting the customer to do the same. According to the established social norm of reciprocity, we are inclined to respond to another person’s action with a similar action. “We are obligated to give back to others, the form of behavior that they have first given to us,” remarks Dr. Cialdini, “There’s not a single human culture that fails to train its members in this rule.” In fact, science reveals that holding back on sharing information has a negative impact on desired outcomes and reduces trust. If we want information, then we need to share our information—which builds a customer’s willingness to share and trust.
Look for Early Indicators of How One will Respond to Negotiations
Sellers must identify all demands early in the negotiation process. Doing so avoids the common pitfall of the “fixed-pie bias,” the notion that a scenario is only win/lose because the size of the potential gain is fixed. Research published in the journal of Organizational Behavior » Continue Reading.
Effective Consultative sales negotiations serve 4 key objectives:
Increasing Deal Size Reducing Discounting Improving win/loss ratios Realizing greater value (proposed vs. closed) Tips for Effective Sales Negotiations
So, how do effective negotiators keep their goals in tact through the contract? They:
(1) Use Preparation Time
Sellers must come ready with relevant insights that demonstrate their detailed knowledge of industry specific challenges. This shared knowledge “primes” the customer. Priming is the basic principle of prompting a person to think a certain way. This effect is helpful to sellers who want to encourage a customer to recognize the value of a proposed solution. This influence of the customer’s decisions begins with the first conversation. Effective priming helps customer’s change their mindset from “someone is trying to sell me something” to “this solution can get me to where I need to go.” Priming is trust building. The seller is helping the customer become comfortable with sharing information from their side of the table.
Building trust at this early stage creates an environment that’s conducive to successful consultative sales negotiations. The reason: trust signals fairness. This sense of equitable interests has been shown to bring efficiency to selling. Research published in Psychology & Marketing revealed that by “priming a consideration for fairness, a seller can increase a customer’s satisfaction without sacrificing profit.” Additionally, “Fairness-primed buyers consequently had a more positive attitude toward the seller.”
(2) Lead By Opening
Effective » Continue Reading.
Too often we think of selling and negotiating as two separate ends of a timeline. In truth, they exist together on a spectrum. Every moment of selling involves some amount of negotiating. Therefore, every conversation places another brick in the road toward closing a sale. Effective sellers keep this in mind by shaping the customer’s perception of value. Keeping this approach in the context of the customer’s needs and priorities creates negotiations that are mutually beneficial rather than an exercise of blunt force. The result is a handshake – not an arm wrestle.
How Consultative Negotiations is Different
A consultative approach to sales negotiation training helps sellers learn to understand the deeper needs of the customer as the finish line comes more clearly into view. This collaborative engagement rises above the adversarial dynamic that many associate with the word “negotiation.” However, being consultative doesn’t mean relinquishing ground. In fact, consultative negotiators understand how to control a negotiation and arrive at a mutually-beneficial outcome.
They win by:
Relationships are powerful. In fact, Gallup reports that “B2Bs win by building relationships, not selling on price.” Their research concluded that nearly one-quarter of accounts that had “high engagement scores” with sellers grew by 20% or more in the following year. Strengthening a relationship helps keep the seller at the fore of the customer’s mind. A stronger connection establishes trust and respect, both of » Continue Reading.
In our 2017 Selling Challenges Survey, more than 350 sales professionals were asked “What will be your toughest negotiation challenge in 2017?” The top responses included:
Gaining Higher Prices (24%) Closing Win-Win Deals (20%) Maintaining Profitability (11%)
“Gaining higher prices” has been the top negotiating challenge for three years running. This year’s top challenges indicate a laser-sharp focus on negotiation outcomes — prices, wins, and profits. “Closing win-win deals” shows the value sellers place on building trust and credibility in order to develop long-term, productive relationships. “Maintaining profitability” is a challenge made visible by the greater availability of real-time sales data, which allows organizations to be smarter about decisions affecting profits. “Managing procurement” is another response worth noting, rising from 4% in 2016 to 11% in 2017. This reflects the increasing involvement of procurement staff as they join the decision-making team late in the process without any emotional attachment to the deal. Their role is to drive down price or get additional products or services for the same price. While this specific challenge didn’t make the top three, its impact is reflected there.
Richardson’s Negotiation Insights
Trust and credibility are keys to managing relationships with customers and closing win-win deals. Sellers can’t claim trusted advisor status; it has to be earned. Being a trusted partner begins with integrity but also requires skill and strategy, which can be learned and practiced.
Sellers need a » Continue Reading.
Why do car dealers still put sticker prices on car windows when we all know that “Dealer Invoice” is not what the dealer actually paid and MSRP is just an artificially inflated number? It would stand to reason that if we recognize this obvious sales tactic, it won’t work … but it does. In fact, experiments show that even a randomly generated price has a direct influence on what we are willing to pay for an item, even when we know that the price was randomly generated. This phenomenon, called the anchoring effect by social physiologists, suggests that we have a common human tendency to use the first available piece of information to make a decision. The initial information is the anchor and provides our brains with a mental shortcut when considering a decision, such as what a reasonable price is for a specific product or service.
The Anchoring Effect In Action
In 2006, Drazen Prelec and Dan Ariely of MIT conducted research to test just how influenced we are by an initial anchor price, even if we know that the price is completely disconnected from the value of the item we are buying. In the experiment, Prelec and Ariely auctioned off everyday items, such as a bottle of wine, a trackball, and a textbook, to their students. Before students could bid on an item, however, they were asked to write down the last two digits of their own social security » Continue Reading.
Better Sales Negotiations Go Step by Step
Sales negotiations don’t have to be stressful, contentious affairs. Yes, there’s a lot riding on the outcome of a sales negotiation. Just think of it as one more chance to uncover opportunities to provide value to the customer.
The secret to successful sales negotiations is all based on knowing what the customer is trying to accomplish, converting demands into needs, and then demonstrating and justifying your value.
Richardson teaches the following sales negotiation framework to help sales professionals to structure their dialogue with customers:
Preparation for the Negotiation — It all begins by planning the strategy and tactics, including bottom-line terms, to achieve the maximum outcome that meets the needs of both parties. Opening the Negotiation — The sales professional should set the stage and lay out terms at the outset. Counter-opening — This step draws out the customer’s opening terms and demands in order to maintain control and avoid negotiating elements in a piece-meal fashion. Converting Demands to Needs — The customer’s real requirements may not surface without probing more deeply to convert demands to needs and gaining insight into their true agenda. Value Justification and Concessions — At this point, sales professionals need to protect essential terms by trading expendables, positioning value to persuade the customer that it is worthwhile to make concessions, and trading concessions to achieve essentials. Closing the Negotiation — The last step is to maintain the momentum » Continue Reading.