A good salesperson is usually able to get to the
negotiating table. Once there, however, it takes a great
salesperson to close the deal. The difference often comes down
to an ability to negotiate skillfully.
Here are nine negotiating tools to help salespeople improve
their closing percentages:
preparation tool. Remember the scoutsí motto.
Get your facts straight before you start. If you have to
keep delaying the process so you can find more information,
youíre probably making a bad impression. Never walk in cold.
"Everybody has a price. But many negotiators go wrong
when they attach dollar signs to that price. They
believe if they can just agree on how much cash should
be passed across the table, all parties will be happy.
This logic . . . ignores the
non-economic elements of a deal, the psychological
needs that buyers and sellers bring to the
ó Mark H.
They Still Don't Teach
You at Harvard Business
2. The bottom line
tool. Before you sit at the negotiating table, know what
you want and what youíll settle for. Set upper and lower
limits. Ask questions to find out what your customers need.
Then, read between the lines, make realistic proposals and
keep your options open. Needs change as more information and
new ideas surface.
3. The expectation
tool. Aim high. Lofty expectations generally produce
lofty results, so ask for more than you expect to get. This
lets the other side understand your needs and gives you an
opportunity to make a counteroffer after a proposal is made.
Rather than criticize the prospectís proposals, make new
offers. Brainstorming alternatives can sometimes produce an
agreement that no one considered.
4. The harmony tool. We
all prefer to work with people we like, so even if you donít
care for a customer, get over it. Donít let personal
feelings cloud judgment. Show respect and build trust. If
you create a good rapport, information is more willingly
shared and defenses are dropped.
5. The filtering tool.
Donít let discussions get sidetracked by minor issues.
Put them on the back burner and focus first on the big
differences. You can get back to the small stuff later. When
you do, you may find it no longer matters.
6. The patience tool.
Often, the person with the most time wins. Salespeople
are frequently urged to act quickly. But if you feel rushed,
the other side may be able to outwait you and get a better
deal. Give yourself time to step back, weigh the issues and
make an informed proposal.
7. The note-taking tool.
Youíve seen the police shows on TV where each witness
remembers the crime differently. The same thing can happen
with a potentially great sales deal. To avoid mistaken
assumptions about the terms of an agreement, write them down
so everyone understands them precisely.
As a law professor of negotiation, as well as more than
30 years' experience negotiating against the IRS, State Tax
officials, and business matters, I have a different
perspective on negotiating. Call me at (856)