These four pre-negotiation strategies are critical for building and maintaining a healthy pipeline, handling challenging sales conversations, increasing win probability, and achieving better results.
Because proper sales negotiation is often absent from sales training and onboarding, many sales organizations have a serious sales negotiation problem: their pipeline is full of dead-end deals that will eventually stall out.
Usually, this happens because there are deals in the pipeline that shouldn’t be, and a number of the deals have no chance of ever closing.
Mastering sales negotiation begins with critical pre-negotiation skills. These four fundamentals of successful sales negotiation will show you where to redirect your focus to increase win probability.
Before You Negotiate: Four Strategies For Guaranteed Success
Emotional control isn’t just for the negotiation table; it’s fundamental throughout every step of the sales process.
Most sales processes and techniques begin and end with emotional control, and this doesn’t mean that you don’t feel emotions.It means you don’t let emotions drive your behavior.
Emotional control means that you’re aware of your emotions and their adverse effects in order to best control what you say and what you do.
Top performers quickly identify and deal with disruptive emotions like fear, uncertainty, doubt, eagerness, and attachment.They have the presence of mind to suppress these disruptive emotions before they bear debilitating results.
The only deals that ever reach the negotiation stage should be fully qualified. Yet, it’s all too common for poorly qualified deals to meander to the latter process stages only to stall and congest the pipeline like a clogged sewer line.
An opportunity that should have been disqualified should never close.It’s a common problem for salespeople that have an anemic pipeline from a lack of daily prospecting to hold on to deals that should be disqualified.
Deals that don’t meet the company’s qualification requirements can’t ever be successfully negotiated, so it’s vital that any deals advancing into mature stages of the process be purposefully qualified.
Effective discovery is paramount to success.Mastering the ability to discover stakeholders’ emotional and business needs provides you with tremendous advantages.
Good discovery ensures that the solution you propose will be meaningfully aligned with your customers’ expressed objectives and issues.
It also provides you with the lifeblood to deal with objections at the negotiation table:
“Well, this costs a lot.”
“Yes, and we solved a lot of your problems.”
“Your competition seems to be less expensive.”
“Although I’m confident in our process to provide a solution for your expressed outcomes, I’m happy to help reduce the overall cost to you.So, let’s go through the objectives we used to assemble your solution and move some of them to a subsequent phase in order to reduce initial cost.”
“Why is this so expensive?”
“We’ve assembled a solution that has been carefully mapped to your expressed objectives and desired outcomes.I think you’ll find that the pricing is competitive for a personalized solution that addresses everything that you wanted to be considered.”
In the absence of excellent discovery, these conversations would be significantly more challenging if not impossible to handle and still protect your margins.
Many rookies or overly excited sales professionals cater to the whims and requests of prospects.And, by catering, they step outside of the defined sales process.
These sales professionals discuss pricing before discovery and send estimates before stakeholder interviews. They offer solutions before learning about desired outcomes and success criteria.They negotiate T&Cs before becoming the vendor of choice.These sales professionals even send proposals before holding a meeting to review them.
These are costly blunders that sacrifice leverage and whittle away at profit margins.This behavior makes your ability to win bereft and often leads to lost opportunities and decreased commissions.
Ultra-high performing salespeople take every opportunity to enhance their win probability. They have creative ways of bending malleable requests of prospects to their sales process. They are masterful and purposeful in aligning their customers’ buying and decision-making process to their own sales process.
Secure The Win, Then Negotiate
So, remember that winning starts long before you ever sit down at the table to negotiate.Remain diligent and deliberate.Stick to the process and maintain your emotional control every step of the way.Make these changes and you’ll begin to see a difference in where you need to focus on actual sales negotiation strategies.