Business Advice Blog

Key Negotiating Tactics Your Sales Team Should Have

 

Businesses with expert sales teams sometimes find themselves on a mystifying string of bad luck. Their sales professionals identify and qualify promising leads, even have a series of discussions with these prospects—only to end up with nothing to show for it.

One possible cause for the inability to close a deal might lie in a tactical misconception of what “negotiation” means.

Engaging with a prospect and finding ways to secure an agreement can be complicated and easily derailed. That’s why every salesperson should thoroughly grasp the idea that negotiations “are termed successful when real and perceived differences are adjusted while preserving credibility, customer value, and profit margins.”

So how can you master the art of negotiations and make the sale that’s so important to your business? Here are tips for salespeople to keep in mind:

Establish value in the prospect’s mind. Your would-be customer will be more receptive if you’ve already laid the groundwork of value. Long before actual talks begin, send the prospect valuable content he or she might not otherwise have, as well as information on how your product or service can dramatically benefit that person’s company in the long run. Establishing value beforehand generally makes a prospect more willing to enter into sincere negotiations.

Know what you’re prepared to give up. It’s fruitless (and can be self-defeating) to enter a sales conversation without knowing your bottom line. Don’t rely on spontaneously offering an exclusive discount or some other “value-added” concession in order to seal a deal. You may end up giving away more than your business can hope to get. Prepare with “strategic concessions” in mind before talks begin.

When offering a concession, ask for something in exchange. It’s not much of a negotiation if you offer key concessions and get nothing in return. As the back-and-forth talks proceed, ask for more favorable payment terms, a bigger initial order or arrangements for repeat business. What appear like significant concessions at this initial stage might yield greater opportunities for up- and/or cross-selling at a later time.

Always remember, negotiations aren’t personal. Just as you enter negotiations with clear-cut business goals in mind, so does the person on the other side of the table. Just like you, they’re looking for the best possible deal. Therefore, getting too defensive or emotional will harm your chances of achieving the desired goal. Focus on being patient and being willing to see things from the other person’s perspective. Business is business, and the prospect’s demands “do not reflect on you as a person.”

Don’t be afraid to say “no.” A salesperson’s instincts generally tend towards always being agreeable with the prospect. But saying no is an integral part of every negotiating session. Of course, it’s vital to do so at the most appropriate moment, and in the most courteous way possible.

Be prepared to walk away. As much as you may want to close a particular deal, there are times when negotiations end up in a place that can negatively impact your business. A prospect who’s too demanding or unwilling to budge from a specified price might not be worth your company’s efforts in the long run. As HubSpot notes, “A customer who only agreed to sign if the contract was radically amended or the price was drastically dropped is bound to cause problems down the road.”

Negotiations aren’t easy. They demand maturity, self-control, strategic preparation and an ability to listen closely. Salespeople who cultivate these traits will see their success rates go up as they become better practitioners of this delicate craft.

Want to learn more about sales and negotiations? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

 

Top 6 Sales Pitch Mistakes Your Team Can’t Afford to Make

 

It was once considered acceptable to use a “one-size-fits-all” sales pitch with prospects, regardless of their business or industry. Like so much else in today’s marketplace, that sales practice is obsolete.

Any sales team that still utilizes a generic sales pitch will quickly itself out of the running for a possible sale. The emphasis today is on forging a connection with the buyer, which in turn relies upon a more sensitive, personalized sales approach.

Nevertheless, certain sales pitch mistakes persist. If your salesperson or team is making these mistakes, they could be missing out on sales and never know why. Watch for six common errors and correct them before missing out on another profitable deal:

  1. A lack of preparedness. With the abundance of online resources available online, there’s no excuse for a salesperson to come to a prospect meeting unprepared. Not knowing the ins and outs of the prospect’s industry—their challenges and opportunities, pain points and growth strategies—can instantly disqualify a salesperson and damage your company’s reputation.
  2. Not getting to the point. In the past, prospects often wanted a little small talk before getting underway. Not anymore. In an effort to “connect,” a salesperson may go on too long with questions about the weather, the prospect’s family life or inconsequential details about their own business. That can kill a sales pitch before it even gets underway. Recognize the difference “between creating rapport between yourself and who you’re selling to and small talk that delays what you’re there to accomplish,” advises sales coach Stephanie Chung. Instead, devote time to “telling your prospect why they absolutely cannot live without your service rather than telling them what they already know.”
  3. Overwhelming the prospect with data. At the other end of the spectrum is the salesperson’s inability to “quit while you’re ahead.” In this scenario, he or she overwhelms the prospect with data points and other information, thus displaying an unintentional disregard for their precious time.
  4. Not listening. More deals are closed when the salesperson listens, rather than talks. Active listening clues you into a prospect’s genuine needs, while offering clues as to how to better frame your sales pitch while in the moment. When you fail to hear what the prospect says, or neglect to grasp the point of the questions they’re asking, you miss a valuable opportunity to hone in on precisely what they hope to get from you and your company.
  5. Overlooking the impact of your body language. A good salesperson knows how to “read the room.” If, for example, your extravagant hand gestures (designed to back up a key point) are making the prospect uncomfortable, rein yourself in. Don’t invade someone else’s personal space or make any type of physical contact (touching an arm, for example), as even this friendly gesture can be misconstrued. By closely observing the prospect’s body language, you can adjust your own to better match the mood of the conversation.
  6. Neglecting the impact of your own appearance. Part of your salesperson’s preparation should include a keen grasp of the prospect company’s culture. With this knowledge in hand, it’s imperative to dress appropriately. Showing up at a “maverick” startup firm in a suit and tie may send the message that your company is far too conservative to do business with. In the same respect, wearing a tie with cartoon characters to a sales meeting at a bank suggests you’re “too out there” for their needs.

A well-crafted sales pitch involves preparation, sensitivity to the prospect’s culture and a willingness to be flexible. With these concepts in mind, your salesperson will likely encounter more success, rather than rejection, when approach a potential new customer