10 ways to get better at sales negotiations
As the latest addition to the courses on Freshworks Academy, here’s a video where we share tips to become a better negotiator:
When I was brand new in sales, negotiating with customers felt like the scariest thing I had to do. I did not have any experience negotiating and I thought giving buyers the discounts they wanted was the only thing I could do to make them happy.
I confided this to my friend when I met her at a newly opened coffee place and she said I had nothing to be afraid of because I negotiate all the time. I was confused. That’s when she reminded me that she wanted to meet me at our usual coffee place but I showed her the value of trying something new and convinced her to meet at the new place. That’s basically negotiation. It blew my mind! I started seeing negotiation everywhere after that.
We negotiate every day. When we make plans with friends, when we collaborate with co-workers, we even negotiate with our pets. I was not scared of the idea anymore and I learned to get better and better at it.
Here are my 10 tips that can help you be a better negotiator:
1. Start negotiations early
They say the first rule of negotiation is “Do not negotiate”. But if you are selling a business software, like me, negotiation is unavoidable. So instead of running away from it, you can start negotiations early. By this, I don’t mean the pricing or contract negotiations. Set the tone with your prospect from the very beginning that in order to get, they need to give.
For example, when the prospect asks you for a free demo of your product, ask them questions about their company that would help you close the deal. This way, not only will you give a kickass demo, you will also be on an equal footing with the prospect, which is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
2. Research your buyer
The more you know the prospect and the problem they want you to solve, the more control you have over the narrative. Usually, negotiations are seen as a way to persuade buyers to change their perception of your value. So salespeople tend to talk a lot during this stage when, in fact, they should be listening. Ask a lot of questions to your buyer. Understand their needs, their values, their likes, and dislikes. The more you know, the better you can hold your ground during negotiations.
3. Make an educated first offer
Another often quoted rule in sales is to never be the one to make the first offer. But that’s kind of unavoidable in modern sales because prospects want to compare multiple tools and they expect a competitive offer from you. At the negotiation stage, you know your buyer completely. You know what they need and what they can afford. This means you know what offer would be appealing to them. So what you should do – is make an educated first offer.
4. Keep the conversation light
Most people in Sales make the mistake of getting serious when the negotiation phase starts. But remember, you are not against your buyers. Keep the tone conversational. Show them that you are their partner in the buying process. You can even make a joke or two. My go to is usually movie quotes. “I will make an offer you can’t refuse.” Well, you get the point.
5. Build trust
Let’s face it, years of being “ripped off” by bad salespeople, has taught consumers to be wary of anybody who sells. But the good news is when a modern salesperson like you or me does some real selling which is basically being a prospect’s partner during the buying process they start trusting you.
Be upfront about what your product can or cannot do and only make promises you can keep. If the prospect sees that you always have their best interest at heart, they will trust you when you say your product deserves the value on the price tag.
If they push back on the price because their manager is not okay with it, you can ask them to be the champion for your offering internally just as you’ve been their champion within your company.
6. Believe in your value
You cannot defend a price that you are not sure about. Whether you work in a huge corporate company or you are an up-and-coming artist, you need to believe that what you are selling is worth the money. A good way to understand the value of what you are selling is by talking to customers who are using your product or service already. Make a list of the ways in which your product is making their life better and internalize it. This way, if you price your product at a hundred dollars, you will show no hesitation while telling your customers that your product provides value worth a hundred dollars.
7. Avoid justifying your price
It’s a common misconception that when you back up your price with a justification, buyers find it more persuasive. While it may have been true at some point, it doesn’t really fly with modern customers. They have already done their background research. They know what value you can offer before they started talking to you. And you would have shown them why you are better than your competitors before you got to pricing negotiations. So when you give reasons to justify your price, you are inviting customers to give reasons why your pricing does not work. I’d suggest you state your price and let silence do the talking. If the customer asks for the justification, focus on things that you know your customer values.
8. Find common ground
Bringing the price down is not the only way to create value for your customer. You can find common ground where both your buyer’s and your interests are served. For example, you can suggest ideas like increasing the order size and decreasing the price per unit or removing some perks from the order to suit the price the customer wants.
9. Mention the perks
Mentioning the other perks that come along with buying the product or services like customer support and post sales assistance can get buyers to reevaluate their stance. Customers value dependability. So even if you are priced higher than your competitors, they won’t mind paying more to work with someone they trust.
10. Get something in return for concessions
Let’s say you have arrived at a point where a customer genuinely needs a concession. Go ahead and make the concession if it’s reasonable but get something in return. For example, ask the customer to refer you to a friend or write a positive review about your company or even give you a case study.
These are the 10 things I do to become a better negotiator every day. Can you think of more negotiation tips for modern selling? Or do you disagree with any of my tips? Let me know in the comments section.
Hey! I am Preethie. I do sales at Freshworks and I am an instructor at Freshworks Academy. I hope you enjoyed this video. We have more videos about modern sales coming out soon, so make sure to subscribe to this channel. For more awesome educational content about sales, support, and marketing, enroll in Freshworks Academy. The link is in the description. Until next time, happy selling!
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