Business is not limited to numbers. Primarily its success can be attributed to communication – with suppliers, investors, colleagues, and customers. Give in here, insist there, make a good deal, and build trust. Business is impossible without negotiation, which is similar to playing poker. It is vital to figure out what cards the opponent is holding, choose a strategy for the game, and change negotiations depending on the opponent’s actions. How to improve sales negotiation skills? We share the key recommendations here.
Effective Negotiations: How to?
Successful negotiations are all about finding a compromise suitable to both parties. As a result of such talks, the salesperson and the customer arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome.
Having learned to conduct successful negotiations, a sales manager will conclude profitable deals, convince opponents, and bring profit to the company. Theoretical knowledge and practical skills of effective negotiations can be learned through unique pieces of training, for example, in the CMA Consulting training courses.
How to Improve Sales Negotiation Skills
Selling the same product or service, some managers bring the company income, while others lose customers. Why is that? And what does the ability to convince and sell depend on? Sales expert Matthew Dixon and business coach Brent Adamson are confident that the reason lies in the different knowledge, qualities of the negotiator, and their approach.
They conducted a study among several thousand sellers in different countries and formulated the superseller model. Keep in mind: such traders are not born – you need to become a successful negotiator by continually advancing the soft skills and studying professional sales techniques. Here are some tips on how to sell efficiently:
- Do not sell products; sell solutions. Over 50% of customer loyalty depends on the sales manager’s ability to describe useful solutions and valuable ideas. Help the consumer to realize alternative solutions to their problems through your products and services.
- Prove the value of your propositions. According to Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, only 35% of companies can describe how they are better than competitors are. Most often, about 50% of the mentioned advantages are essential to customers. Such obscure characteristics as “innovation,” “customer focus,” and “individual approach” will not convince anyone.
- Know your difference. Ask yourself: “Why should customers buy this product or service from us and not from another company?” Formulate your answer, trying to avoid vague words like “leader,” “top,” “advanced,” “unique.” Undoubtedly, the competitor will also want to present themselves as “a leader in area A with innovative technologies and an individual approach to each client.” This means that you are no different from them.
- Formulate a negotiation strategy in advance. Consider your sales strategy before you first meet with a prospective buyer. Create a template that will guide you in various scenarios for the development of negotiations. It may include the following items:
- A list of questions for the client;
- A list of possible questions from the buyer;
- Potential difficult questions that the client might ask;
- The needs of the client, their pain points, etc.
- Keep your sales cycle in check. Taking the initiative into your own hands only at the final stage of negotiations, when the conversation concerns finances, is not the best solution. Monitor the entire sales cycle.
Improve negotiations with non-verbal communication
Negotiation experts often recommend meeting potential clients in person, rather than opting for the phone or the internet. The reason is body language, which conveys valuable information and allows you to build connections when talking offline.
According to Gengo’s research, non-verbal communication has a more significant impact on conversations than words. Moreover, body language is the most accurate indicator of an opponent’s intentions than intonations or words.
Maintain the eye contact
Eye contact is one of the most powerful communication tools. It expresses openness, understanding, and inspires confidence and comfort in the interlocutor. By avoiding direct eye contact, we seem to hide the truth, express disagreement or uncertainty in the interlocutor’s proposal. On the other hand, you should not “glare” your opponent – such a gesture can be perceived as a manifestation of aggression.
Give your opponent some personal space
Being too close to the other person inflicts them with discomfort, pressure, and even fear. It is best to position yourself at least four feet away from your opponent.
Avoid crossing your arms over your chest
Closed poses most often signal that you are in a tense state or not ready to dialogue with a specific person. Avoid crossing arms, throwing your leg on top of the other, or holding your arms behind your back.
Pauses sustained after an intriguing statement allow the client to ask a question. Try this practice during the next negotiations. If the question is raised, it means that you managed to arouse the interest of your interlocutor.
Improve Sales Negotiation Skills: Summary
Planning and preparation in business relationships are the critical criteria for success. However, the ability to negotiate is impossible without training and practice. Negotiation Training at CMA Consulting explores numerous effective techniques and discloses strategies to prevent objections from potential clients.