Sales discussions are perennial in most businesses. It would be great if your client agreed to all your terms of sale, no questions asked or negotiations required. But that sort of luck rarely comes by. Most salespeople don’t understand the dynamics of negotiation, making them apprehensive and nervous. Sales negotiations can disarm even professional salespeople if taken lightly.
But by understanding the process and the trouble residing in the myths, you can steer negotiations to the direction you wish to.
Here are five common sales negotiation myths that should be strongly reconsidered.
Myth #1: Negotiators are Born, Not Made
There is a mysticism around negotiations that the skills required to be good at it are inborn. You either have it or you don’t. People believe that negotiation is reserved for individuals with innate charisma and persuasive skills. But in reality, negotiation is a skill that can be learned. Nevertheless, some negotiators may appear to have the natural ability to negotiate, but their confidence relies on adequate preparation. Negotiation is like any other craft, it can be learned and effectively practiced with professional education and training. Perfecting the skills involved in sales negotiations will help salespeople get a positive outcome
Myth #2: Negotiations are Always about Price
Negotiations are perceived only as a matter of price elasticity. All negotiations don’t end up with one of the parties conceding on price to secure the deal. There are other matters of importance that can be conceded on. There is usually something other than price that the other party wants. It is your responsibility to research and draw conclusions on what the buyer is actually looking for. Price is not always the deciding factor. It could be something that means very little to you but a lot to them. Once you have identified what the buyer really wants, throw it at the table before agreeing on price reductions.
Myth #3: Negotiations are All the Same
Negotiations are never the same. There are several factors that make a sales negotiation different from others. It differs on the value the buyer seeks to gain, the additions they wish for, and most importantly, your competitors. Your buyer will constantly compare you with your competition. You will need to make sure your propositions throughout the process are compelling and differentiating from your threats. Better the deal on the table, fewer the threats.
Myth #4: Negotiations are a Two-Way Exchange
Negotiations are not just between you and your primary buying contact. Businesses are involving more and more people in their buying decisions, and with the increasing number of stakeholders, salespeople are struggling to please everyone in the final purchasing decision. Especially in a B2B sale, the complexities in decision making is primarily due to the number of stakeholders involved. Salespeople must not only recognize the decision makers in the organizations but also the influencers.
Myth #5: Negotiations result in only one Winner
Negotiation is not a competition. Effective negotiations are those with win-win outcomes. Both sides of the bargaining table should feel they have won something out of the whole process. If you’re a competitive person by nature, you need to accept that your negotiations should have two winners, not just you. You should not try to overpower the buyer and force him to cave into your demands, this will make the buyer reluctant to deal with you again. Win-win agreements leave a door to future business opportunities (or references) that can be capitalized later.
What other misconceptions have you heard about sales negotiations? Help us debunk a few more myths by adding your favorites in the comments.