Most sales people are required to negotiate with their prospects and customers. But let’s face it, today’s consumer and corporate buyer is much more aggressive when negotiating the terms of a sale. Unfortunately, many sales people lack the same level of sophistication when negotiating with savvy purchasers. Here are sixteen fatal mistakes that many sales people make when they negotiate.
1. Believing that price is the primary reason why people make a buying decision. Although price is a factor in every sale, it is seldom the motivating factor behind a person’s final decision.
2. Not asking enough high-value questions. I’m still amazed how few sales people take the time to ask great questions during the sales process. This makes it more difficult for them to effectively position their offering.
3. Not gathering the RIGHT information. While it is essential to ask questions, it is equally important to ask the right questions so you can negotiate more effectively.
4. Trying to rush the negotiating process. Effective negotiators have the patience of Job. They can wait out delays and they never show anxiety when the process doesn’t move as quickly as they would like it to.
5. Failing to establish the value of their product, service or solution. Value is in the eyes of the beholder so determine what is important to each buyer or customer and position your product or service accordingly.
6. Allowing their ego to get in the way. Negotiating is part of business but I have seen people walk away from a good deal because their ego got in the way and clouded their judgment.
7. Fear of losing the sale. Remember, there will always be someone else to sell to. This fear is more prominent when a sales person’s pipeline is running on empty so avoid it by constantly adding new prospects to your pipeline.
8. Immediately offering a discount to close the deal. Remember, price is seldom the primary reason people make buying decision. Avoid the temptation to drop your price unless you have first considered other options.
9. Neglecting to negotiate with limited authority. Don’t hesitate to tell a prospect that you need to check with your boss before you agree to a concession. This gives you wiggle room and allows you to appear that you are working on behalf of your customer.
10. Lack of confidence. This is usually a result of lack of negotiating skills which is why it is important to practise negotiating as often as possible. It can also be caused when negotiating with someone who is perceived to have more power than you.
11. Believing that the buyer or customer has all the power. While I accept the fact that buyers have more leverage in today’s business climate, it is essential to realize that you can walk away from a deal if the other person get too aggressive or makes unrealistic demands.
12. Unable to walk away. Too many sales people find themselves in the position of accepting an offer only to discover later that the deal actually cost them money. If the sale doesn’t make good business sense be prepared to walk away from it, regardless of the time you have invested.
13. Making concessions too quickly. When you make people wait before you concede to something, you increase the value of that concession and you subconsciously tell them that if they keep asking for concessions, the negotiating process will take longer.
14. Failing to get a different perspective. I often talk to my business partner before making a final negotiating decision. This gives me a different perspective, and often, new ideas and strategies. Use your time out to review the deal with someone who is not attached to the outcome.
15. Negotiating with the wrong person or people. If you’re not talking to someone who can make a final buying decision then you are dealing with the wrong person.
16. Talking too much. I have watched dozens of sales people negotiate with themselves because they talked too much. The best negotiators listen more than they talk.
There you have it. Sixteen fatal mistakes, blunders and gaffes that sales people make when they negotiate. Avoid these errors and you will improve your results, increase your top line sales and your bottom line profits.