Naturally, being able to negotiate with a buyer is one of the pre-requisite skills for a sales professional.
Without these skills highly-honed, you run the risk of making deals that are, at best, unsound and, at worse, losing money.
There are many skills needed to be an effective negotiator, and we’ve recognised that the seven listed below are the ones that are necessary for every professional.
See if you agree:
The Ability To Plan, Prepare And Research Before Every Negotiation
If you think you can succeed by winging it and hoping to come out with a good deal, you run the risk of being taken to the cleaners and either coming away with no deal or a bad deal.
The Ability To Ask Deep Questions And Listen Effectively
Too many negotiators skim the surface of what is required by the other party and think that simply giving a ‘good’ offer will suffice.
The highly-qualified professional negotiator will plan deeper questions that make the other party think deeper about why they are taking the position they are.
Also, the ability to listen between the lines as to why the other party is saying what they are saying is paramount, as they often will give you information you can use later in the negotiation.
Improving your listening skills is a great attribute to have in all communication scenarios, but especially when you are negotiating
The Ability To Communicate The Value Of Your Position And Offer
This means being able to build recognition in the other party’s eyes as to why the offer you are proposing is good enough for them to accept.
The greater the value you offer (not just lower price), the harder it will be for the other party to negotiate you down.
This is because when they see the overall benefits they will gain by choosing your proposal, the benefits of saying yes to themselves or their business is correspondingly better.
The Ability To See The Situation From The Other Party’s Viewpoint
Great negotiators are able to get the other party to open up, share their viewpoints, understand where they are coming from and what would be a good agreement point for them.
This involves a clear comprehension of the ‘why’ they are taking that position.
Curiosity is a great attribute to have when negotiating, as it enables you to uncover a plethora of ideas that maybe had been hidden away previously.
The Ability To Stick To A ‘BATNA’
Your ‘BATNA’ or Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement’, should help you to know what your walk-away position should be.
If you cannot get an agreement with the buyer, you should raise what you would be willing to accept.
If that position is unattainable, what’s the best you could do now without getting an agreement?
Could you re-assess what the future opportunities could be between your two companies?
Could you identify other aspects that could be part of the negotiation (time, resources, other people, other departments, etc.)?
Linked to that is:
The Ability To Know You LIMITS
This comes under ‘preparing for the negotiation’, but may move as the negotiation progresses as you uncover the buyer’s rationale and underlying motives.
Basically, you set your limits by ascertaining the deal you would Like to achieve (the L), followed by the deal you intend to achieve (the I) and also the point that you Must not go beyond (the M).
These three points could be a movable feast as time progresses, but it’s good to have these figures in mind so you’re not thrown off course if the initial offer from the buyer is way out from your original offer.
The Ability To Focus On Interests Rather Than Positions
William Ury in his seminal book ‘Getting to Yes’ states that if you deal only with the position you and the buyer are taking (the money involved, the time taken, etc.) you may come to a shuddering halt as the negotiations aren’t able to move from those immovable positions.
If you instead concentrate on Interests (reasons why the parties are needing to do a deal) you can uncover motives that will instigate a move in positions, because then interests are the very things that make people make decisions in the first place.
What you want is to find out the reasons the buyer needs your products or services and concentrate on those needs.
You may find that their needs are greater than you envisioned, and are able to take a firmer position in the negotiation that you thought.
Those are just seven ideas and we trust you will be able to enhance your abilities in each of them to build your success rate in future negotiations.