Break Through Uncomfortable Power Struggles in Sales Negotiations
A Note From The Editor
Think your company has what it takes to make our Top Company Cultures list? Apply now.Apply now »
Sales negotiation is always uncomfortable because the outcome is unknown.
In order to sell effectively, salespeople must accomplish two important tasks: They must accomplish their primary objectives, while also conducting themselves in a way that shows good faith and making concessions to gain a customer's trust.
In sales, trust is often not so much a matter of ethics as it is about maneuvering. In these situations, trust and friendship are qualities that are easily given or taken away. To become a master, the sales professional must understand this.
And in such circumstances, negotiation becomes another word for manipulation. This is not unethical as much as it is the broker's striving to gain something for the company entering the game. There's an unspoken rule on the part of the customer and the salesperson that either can break or make promises in an effort to effectively get needs met.
It's like a game of chess with promises sometimes becoming the piece played. Of course, breaking promises should never rob a customer blind.
Related: 9 Proven Sales Tips for Introverts
1. Determine positioning.
If a sales professional is in the weaker position, when closing the sale, he or she can buy time by delaying negotiation until becoming more prepared.
In this situation, the salesperson must be appeasing, not to be nice but to maneuver for a more desirable outcome. He or she should use this time for preparation and strategy to arrive at a stronger position to close the sale.
On the other hand, a salesperson in the strong position should take as much time as possible before and during negotiations. Once the deal closes, the broker can give back some of what he or she took to appear generous.
From a strong vantage point, a salesperson need not worry about creating a little distrust. It's amazing how quickly customers forget broken promises when a broker gives away something that they might need or never thought to ask for, such as training credits for key stakeholders (to promote adoption of the product).
3. Niceness can be weakness.
Successful sales professionals understand basic human dynamics and know that in closing a deal, believing that niceness will breed niceness in a customer is a sure path to failure.
Salespeople recognize when a customer is responding in a conciliatory manner to manipulate the deal.
It's unwise for sales professionals to mistake such niceness as a compliment. The minute they believe this, the deal is lost: They'll realize they were taken advantage of since the customer now has all the power to procrastinate, demand concessions and use time in his or her favor.
4. Never fear disagreement.
Disagreement is an essential element closing a deal. Regardless of the conflict at hand, successful sales professionals rise above uncomfortable emotions and continue to advance their goal of creating a sense of urgency for the customer. This makes it difficult for the client to walk away.
Sales professionals who are wise use niceness only as an overt strategy to close the deal. Smart brokers just ease the pressure on the customer to gain trust. Once trust is secured, salespeople have the power to procrastinate until all terms are met.
5. Mix pressure with surrender.
A sales professional must continuously advance by keeping unrelenting pressure on the customer (overtly and covertly), maneuvering to be in continual communication all the way till the deal is secured.
If a broker advances negotiations a little further each day, attempts by a customer to delay the negotiations only makes him or her weaker. As salespeople demonstrate resolve by adhering to a sound plan, they can continue to move ahead, gaining little pieces of the deal at a time and putting themselves in the strongest stance to close the deal ultimately sought.
Sometimes, sales professionals find themselves holding the weak hand, without any real leverage. But they must keep advancing. By demonstrating tenacity and maintaining pressure and a sense of urgency, salespeople conceal their weakness and gain footholds to create leverage.
Yet, to be effective and not too pushy, salespeople must strike a balance -- not taking or demanding too much to make the customer feel annoyed and resentful. They must understand basic customer behaviors and strategies and advance gently but resolutely each day till the deal is closed.