The Easiest Negotiation Ever
You negotiate all the time in every day situations. When your kid asks for an ice cream cone before dinner, you negotiate a better deal. You say, “Dinner’s coming up soon. How about an ice cream cone after you eat?”
Something you might not realise is that you are a natural born negotiator with your own unique style. And once you figure that style out and work on your skills, all your sales closings will be the easiest negotiation ever.
The first thing you should do is change the way you think about negotiations. They’re not adversarial, combative, or a contest to see who wins. Business relationships are built on partnering with your clients to help them get the best solution to their problems. You’re actually on their side, and when you approach negotiations with that mindset, you put your client at ease and set the tone for a conversation between partners who want to reach agreement.
Here are a few tips to work on to enhance your natural style to make every negotiation easy:
1. Hone your listening skills
Most of us listen with an ear towards how we’re going to reply, rather than listening to understand. Sometimes, communication styles get in the way of understanding. Great listening skills take into consideration non-verbal cues, too. In fact, Dr. Albert Mehrabian of UCLA conducted a study of the ways we communicate with others when there’s a mismatch in communication styles. He found that words only make up about 7% of how we communicate. That means 93% of communication is non-verbal, such as tone of voice or body language. Make sure your listening skills include all of these nuances.
2. Be prepared
Research shows that 73% of negotiators are unprepared when they sit down to deal—give yourself the advantage by preparing beforehand. Beyond knowing everything you need to about your client and his or her industry, you should know a few things about your position. Make sure you’ve thought about all of the possible objections and how you’ll frame your answers. Know your price limits beforehand, and know the value that you and your product bring to the table. If negotiation isn’t easy, then it means you haven’t sufficiently presented your product’s value and you need to work harder to make sure your client understands why yours is the best solution to his problem
3. Know your BANTA
Negotiation researchers Roger Fisher and William Ury of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation devised the BANTA theory, “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.” BANTA simply means you should always know what your worst-case scenario is, and be wiling to walk away if negotiations fail. Don’t be too committed to gaining an agreement that might put you or your company in a bad spot. You can optimize your BANTA before you even enter negotiations by keeping your pipeline full so that you never “have to” close a deal and by anticipating how long the sales process takes so that you’re never pressed to close quickly.
4. Learn to slow down
In the heat of the moment, you might concede to some things that aren’t in your or your company’s best interests. It’s okay to slow things down a bit and give yourself some room to really think things through. There’s no need to rush; in fact, you can always call them back with an answer. Another useful tip to slowing things down is to propose that you postpone the decision, and offer them a 30-day trial of your product or service. After 30 days, they should see the value in what you offer and will be willing to seal the deal.
If it’s not easy, then walk away. Never waste time trying to pin down a difficult negotiation. Instead, think of ways to put yourself on your client’s team, working together on the same problem. Say something like:
“Let’s put this issue on the front burner and see how, between the two of us, we can figure out a way to both get what we want.”
If you’d like to delve further into your natural style of negotiating and ramp up your skills so that each and every closing is easy, talk to a Natural Training expert about how we can help. We are your trusted advisors willing to work with you to reach the next level.
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