Every step of your sales process is a struggle unto itself, so when you get to the negotiation stage, it may feel like you’ve run a marathon, but you still have a ways to go.
Landing on nice terms that sufficiently suit your interests is a complex, often frustrating process that can go awry in a second. Ending up on the wrong end of a lopsided deal or missing out on a potential deal entirely are possibilities in every negotiation, and you need to know how to steer clear of those outcomes.
From preparing incorrectly (or not at all) to letting the buyer handle the next steps, there are plenty of ways to stumble just short of the finish line. So, in order to show you exactly what you must not dowe’ve put together a handy seven-step action plan for losing a deal.
- Starting trading too soon
Let’s say that the price has started to rise relatively early in the selling process. It’s not uncommon for your prospect to ask about costs, contract length, and possible discounts on the first or second call. While you shouldn’t dodge his questions (which will make it harder to gain his trust), be careful not to get into a negotiation until you’re ready.
Give the buyer an idea of what the price will be to make sure it’s within their budget. If you try to spin it, use one of these responses:
- “I’m happy to discuss our options with you, but I think it would be more helpful to have that conversation after I’ve learned more about your needs and shown you how our product could help you.”
- Would you be willing to postpone this conversation for a moment? Once I know more about your needs, we can determine what [características, nivel, etc.] they will be better, and that will vary the price.
- not prepare
Going into a negotiation unprepared is a sure way to walk away with a bad deal. It’s hard to think straight when you’re on the sidelines, so without a well-defined strategy you could end up accepting unfavorable terms or even losing the deal.
First, know your goals. What do you need vs. you just want? Where are you willing to give up? At what point should you walk away?
Next, perform the same exercise from the prospect’s perspective. If you can anticipate his goals, where he’ll be flexible and where he won’t budge, it will be easier to suggest a deal he’ll go for.
You should also develop strategies to overcome their objections. Let’s say you’re pretty sure the buyer will ask you for a monthly contract. If quarterly payment terms are preferable and you can find several reasons why this favors your prospect, convincing them during the negotiation will be less challenging.
- Get into business right away
Negotiations make most people quite tense, so some immediately want to get down to business right away. However, taking the time to build a relationship first is crucial. Negotiators who chat with their counterparts are more likely to obtain commitment and key information, and less likely to have to issue ultimatums or reach a dead end.
In other words, a small talk can have a big impact.
- Not paying attention to nonverbal cues
You may be talking for the sake of talking, but unless your body language and vocal cues match your words, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Are you negotiating in person? Pay attention to your hands and feet. Twisting your hands, touching your face, and bouncing or shuffling are common signs of anxiety. If you can keep yourself from moving, you’ll appear much more serene.
Also, remember to keep your arms and legs uncrossed. You may just be cold, but crossing your arms makes you seem defensive and closed off.
To put the prospect at ease and make yourself seem more trustworthy, try to mirror that. This technique works whether you are sitting at the same table or talking on the phone. If you can, subtly copy her pose and some of her gestures. If you only have her voice to guide you, mirror her pitch, intonation, and speed.
- dominate the conversation
In negotiations, you actually gain power by saying less. Talking too much is a sure sign of nervousness, and if the buyer senses that you’re anxious, they’ll be more aggressive than if you appear calm and in control.
Also, reps who wander may end up making unnecessary concessions. It’s much harder to accidentally offer concessions or undercut a price when you’re listening more than talking.
Plus, letting the prospect speak gives you a better understanding of what they’re thinking. Pay attention to which items they spend the most time on and which ones they overlook relatively quickly, then use that information when requesting a concession.
Speaking of concessions…
- Refuse to make concessions
Accepting the buyer’s demands makes you look weak, right? Mistaken. Almost all negotiations require concessions from both parties. After all, if the deal didn’t require back and forth, it would have been signed by now (or not).
Not only should you be prepared to drop or modify some terms, but you should also add a couple of “gains” for the prospect.
No one wants to feel like they lost a deal, especially a buyer. Create a few points where saying “yes” makes the prospect feel like they’ve won something.
For example, if they seem concerned about migrating their data to your platform, you might plan to offer free implementation support. “Winning” this point when it comes up during the negotiation will reward the prospect and make them more receptive to your requests.
Above all, think of the buyer as your partner, not your opponent. When you think cooperatively, not competitively, it’s much easier to find a win-win solution.
- Wait for the buyer to take the next steps
Once you have reached an agreement, establish a system so that the contract is signed and paid as soon as possible. After all, the deal has more momentum right now: the longer you wait to finalize the details, the more likely the buyer is to change his mind about the exact terms.
Have a payment link or invoice ready that you can complete immediately.
Some companies will need their legal teams to review the proposal. You should already know if this is the case from the questions you asked during discovery. Go to the negotiation prepared with all the materials you need to start your sales process.
You are in the final stretch, do not lose your balance now. By avoiding these fatal mistakes, you and your potential client can emerge victorious from the negotiation.
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