Closing the big deal is exciting. It looks so glamorous in the movies; standing in front of a board room full of executives with a dramatic speech, grandstanding and a win in the end. In real life, the negotiations are usually quiet and not as glamorous. In our business we help sales people capture revenue, and they’ve had to change the way they negotiate because of the fundamental shift in buyer behavior. With fewer dollars in the budget, and a multitude of options, it can be a buyer’s market in some scenarios. So here are some tips that a sales person should think about when negotiating in a tough environment.
- Did you identify the right goal to work on? In a choppy economy, it’s important to find out what really motivates the buyer besides beating you up over price. In a business to business sale the buyer first wants to avoid risk, second, to avoid hassle, next, to select the right fit and then the focus is on price. Have you discovered what risks the buyer would encounter when bringing your product or service on board?
- Identify Value and Non-Tangibles: as mentioned above sometimes the value you bring has nothing to do with price. Your value could be as simple as taking a tedious task from a buyer like entering SKU’s. You just made doing business easier. A buyer can be more concerned with their own reputation, or getting praise from manager. The questions you asked should be crafted to identify these early in the process. Those non-tangibles are incredibly important in a situation when asking someone to make a big change.
- Maintain a healthy pipeline: The time spent building qualified opportunities should be greater in a down economy. There is a walking point in every negotiation, and if your pipeline is full, walking away from a bad deal is not as challenging.
Let us help you craft the conversations to uncover value and the non-tangible issues facing a buyer. When uncovered, the negotiations go smoother and may leave you some time to make a dramatic speech (if you’re into that.)