When negotiation begins with a client, it is important to recognize that they may have other options than dealing with you. Your job in the negotiation process is utilize solid communication techniques to make those other options less attractive.
It has been said that negotiation is an art. It is also sometimes seen as being a necessary evil in sales. However, it is not necessarily evil. Negotiation can be a profound tool for business development. It can help you build confidence and credibility with your clients, leading to a healthy ongoing professional relationship.
Here is a step-by-step guide for negotiating your way to a successful sale:
- Know your client – Knowing your client goes beyond simply knowing their needs. If possible, try to discover how they communicate in their their negotiation style. Their style can vary depending on the type of industry they are in or their cultural background. The more you know, the better you can prepare your own negotiating strategy.
- Be prepared – Negotiation of a sale does not need to begin until after the product has been presented. Prior to negotiation, however, you need to make sure you have effectively communicated the answers to the questions or concerns your client may have. Offer your client value and gain their trust. Also be prepared to discuss any apprehensions they may have calmly and confidently. By handling objections appropriately, you can lead your client into successful negotiations.
- Resolve conflict – Handle conflicts effectively. Listen carefully to the needs of your client and be sure you are patient. Allow him time to express himself. Be sure your client is ready to enter the negotiation and do not proceed to negotiate if the client is still questioning the product. Resolve any conflicts amicably. You can do this by looking for the underlying needs of your client and by communicating yours clearly.
- Enter the negotiation process – Now that you have satisfactorily addressed the concerns of your client, you are ready to enter into a negotiation. Be sure to offer your client a win-win solution.
- End the negotiation – When you bring your negotiation to an end, make sure you thank your client. If you have offered them a win-win solution, you will have built rapport between the two of you. When your client leaves the negotiation with confidence, there is less chance of buyer’s remorse, and a greater chance of maintaining a long-term relationship.
Always treat your client with respect. The most successful business development managers build relationships with their clients. When dealing with sales negotiation, it helps to remember the golden rule: Do to others what you would like to have done to you. Focus on the relationship as well as the sale. This, above all else, will give you the edge on your negotiation skills.