Well, we are wrapping up our week on Negotiation Skills and thought that we would look to Gavin Ingham today for some insight on the subject.
Gavin is working on a new book, Real World Sales Skills, and we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak that we are happy to share with you that outlines his top 3 tips for becoming a successful negotiator.
Getting What You Want – the Art & Science of Negotiation
When I run sales seminars, negotiation is one of the most popular subjects that I teach. There are a variety of reasons for this. One of the most common ones is that over the last few years people are finding their markets increasingly competitive.
Whether through economic conditions, increased competition, clients becoming more savvy or other market factors – many companies are finding that they are having to cut their margins and profits to make sales. Because of this I have seen an increasing number of clients training sales and non-salespeople in the art of negotiation.
To be successful in sales you need to be well versed in many disciplines and one of these stalwarts is negotiation. Lead generation, canvassing and setting up qualified appointments is all well and good but it’s all rather too much like bashing your head against a brick wall if you cannot sell your idea, product, service or solution for what it’s worth and consistently end up giving your profits away when you get into the negotiation arena.
I know many sales professionals who play a good game right the way up until the final stages of the sale but then collapse under the pressure of trying to negotiate themselves a good deal. This is incredibly bad news for them and for their businesses because they are doing all of the hard work but then not getting paid their true worth for their products, services or solutions.
For a variety of reasons, many quite experienced sales and business people don’t have the mindset or the sales skills to facilitate a professional negotiation. Indeed, most salespeople have a lesson to learn…
NEGOTIATION ≠ CAPITULATION
Even if you are an experienced negotiator, you will find the strategies that I am about to outline fresh in their approach and outlook and a great sharpener for you to check that you are utilizing your whole sales toolkit effectively. Let’s face it, you can never be too good at negotiating can you?
When you apply these strategies for negotiating, not only will you win more business at higher revenues but you will also increase client respect, build long-term value with your clients and set yourself apart from your competition.
In my forthcoming book Real World Sales Skills I outline 10 strategies. Here are three of these top tips for becoming a successful negotiator…
1. WALK A MILE IN YOUR CLIENT’S SHOES.
Most salespeople, like most people, only see things from their own point of view. People talk about understanding others but how many people really do take the time to really understand others, particularly when their opinions or beliefs are radically different from their own?
As with most powerful strategies, “walk a mile in your client’s shoes” is easy to talk about but far more difficult to actually implement. Walking a mile in your client’s shoes means understanding what clients want, why they want it and how they feel about things.
It means looking at your relationship, your shared history and your current negotiation stances from their perspective. It means seeing your good points and your bad points, the benefits, problems and pitfalls of your solution, warts and all; and all from your client’s perspective.
The more that you practise this technique, the better you will get at using it. The better you get at using it, the stronger the results you get from it will be. The stronger the results you get, the more skilled a negotiator you will become.
Many great negotiators appear to have an insight or intuition into what the other party wants, why they want it, what their next move will be, how they will behave, what games they will play, what they would be prepared to accept and how to reach a win-win conclusion.
This intuition is something that you can start to develop for yourself by learning, practising and using the simple technique of walking a mile in your client’s shoes. For more details on this technique, check out my No Fear Negotiating programmes and products.
2. KNOW PREVIOUS HISTORIES AND STRATEGIES.
Many salespeople enter client meetings, negotiations and presentations woefully under-prepared, under-rehearsed and under-practised. Not only does this come across as unprofessional but it also puts them at a huge disadvantage when dealing with clients who have prepared thoroughly.
Planning and preparation are as important to completing a successful negotiation as communication, sales and influencing skills are.
When planning any negotiation, it is important that you know about your client’s previous negotiation history – with you, with your product, with your competitors and with their existing suppliers and solutions. Try and find out what sales and negotiations have taken place with this client in the past, what the outcome was and how the individual parties felt about that.
People are creatures of habit. What someone does once, someone is likely to do again. The more times someone acts one way, the more likely they are to repeat that course of action. The more successful a course of action is, the more likely it will be acted out again.
For this reason, past negotiation strategies and approaches that have been used successfully by a client are highly likely to be employed again and again. Knowing what course of action is likely to be followed by someone in a negotiation will allow you to strategize and prepare for how you will deal with this approach if and when it does occur.
3. VISUALIZE WIN-WIN.
Win-win is a much hyped, little used business concept. Salespeople and business owners have been talking about win-win for years yet few employ this tactic successfully when selling. From the moment that I started in my first sales role I heard my managers and directors talking about win-win. Unfortunately, they weren’t really talking about win-win but about how they could win o r “We win”.
Most people are totally entrenched in and consumed by their own needs and wants, their own thoughts and dreams. They spend far too little time focusing on what their clients want or need. For this reason, win-win is a totally alien concept to most people in anything but theory.
Win-win means doing a deal that is good for both parties, a deal that both parties are happy with and a deal that both parties believe results in a winning outcome for them.
Many salespeople confuse win-win with the size of the investment. This is incorrect. It is quite possible to sell at top dollar prices and for the deal to still be a win-win deal for both you and for your client because your client is totally happy with the deal.
Conversely, it is equally possible to sell your soul for rock bottom prices and yet still leave your client feeling like they have not achieved a satisfactory result for them and therefore this deal would not be win-win.
Gavin Ingham is considered by many to be the leading expert on sales psychology and sales performance in the UK today. He is a true expert, having motivated thousands through live programs and reaching a worldwide audience through keynote speeches and online newsletters, articles and his acclaimed sales blog. Gavin is a published author and has recorded numerous sales audio and DVD programmes. He is a regular contributor to many traditional and online magazines. During his career Gavin has won business with a multitude of blue-chip clients including IBM, Lloyds TSB, AT&T, Siemens, Vodafone and Citibank and has trained and coached successful sales leaders, sales teams, sales professionals, sales managers and business owners.