The negotiation re-shuffle: Can changing the order what you say help to close the deal?

Natural Showcase: Think about your last negotiation with a prospect. To what extent did you consider the order in which you delivered your sales information during that meeting?

Did you know that simply by shifting the sequence in which you deliver positive and less positive news during a negotiation you’ll stand a higher chance of a successful close? It’s all part of best practice negotiation, as negotiations expert Nigel Hopkins (pictured) described to a room full of sales delegates at the recent Natural Showcase event in London.

The peak-end rule

The peak-end rule, as Nigel explained, states that we (assume you’re the buyer) judge our experiences by their peak and their end, meaning that no matter how much good or bad news there is, sales professionals who are able to strategically sequence their information can create more effective negotiations.

The theory was first suggested by American behavioural psychologist Daniel Kahneman, and while approaching a negotiation by peaks rather than by total positivity or negativity is a small change, a focus on the severity of each point in the conversation can make a big difference to a hesitant client.

So how can you use the peak-end rule to your advantage when making a sale?

Separate the negatives

If you have multiple pieces of bad news to give (maybe there’s been a change in price, or product offering) you may think that getting it all out in the open right at the start is the best course of action. But, according to Kahneman, you’d be far better served by spacing these out.

Multiple pieces of negative information mean a higher peak. If the ‘bad news’ part of your negotiation is the most prominent, your client will remember this above all else, Nigel warned the showcase seminar delegates.

Why? Well, because if you start with your worst piece of negative information, and bring in another near the end of your negotiation, the peaks are spread out, and it won’t seem as negative in total. Also, this gives your positive information more chance to be more significant than the negative, enforcing the positivity of your proposition.

That takes care of the peaks, so how do you manage the end of a negotiation?

End on a high note – ‘Begin with the end in mind’

‘Begin with the end in mind’ (Stephen Covey) is a statement that runs through much of our sales training content here at Natural Training (remember our recent blog on this? Click here) because it’s vitally important to take control of the sales conversation with your prospects. And, if you know where you’re headed from the very start, you’re in control! So, when it comes to the peak-end rule, this particular Covey ‘habit’ is crucial. Nigel told delegates at the seminar session to place importance on the end of the negotiation, and ensure that it contains something of value to the client. If you have some particularly good news – close with it!

End on something you would like your prospect to remember you for, whether it be an impressive statistic, or an expression of respect for their brand. However you want them to think, make sure your conclusion reflects it.

For anyone who made it along to the Natural Showcase in November, have you tried to integrate this into your selling strategy yet? Or, have you taught it to your sales team?

If this is the first time you’ve heard it, we’d love to hear how you plan to utilise it in your next negotiation! Click here to let us know.

Chapter 9 of our new book The Natural Sales Evolution explores some more modern-day sales techniques in step-by-step detail. To receive FREE chapters of this book, click here and visit the Natural Training website today.

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