Here are five key areas your salespeople can work on to become better negotiators, according to Robert Kellar, a recognized expert in the area of sales negotiation:
- Plan and prepare. Good negotiators have clearly defined negotiating objectives before they go to the table. That means less “winging it” and more planning in advance. The key is matching the effort to the complexity of the negotiation.
- Negotiate internally first. Before trying to hammer out the final agreement, it’s important to gain the internal commitments needed to fulfill an agreement. Getting internal agreement after the fact can set you up for failure. Good negotiators are clear on how much risk their companies are willing to allow. They also understand internal priorities, such as margin versus volume.
- Be creative. Effective negotiators are always asking, “What if?” They’re constantly looking for ways to reshape the total offering to achieve a win-win. Come up with a novel solution not currently under discussion. Creative solutions may be found by identifying the underlying interests of both parties and brainstorming for a wide variety of potential solutions.
- Be comfortable with risks. The object is not to get just any deal but to get one that is satisfactory for both parties.
- Be willing to walk away. This means not feeling compelled to respond to every demand and being disciplined enough to courteously “hang tough.”