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Recognising the Biggest Problem in Negotiation

By Percy Chong, 4th March 2015

Negotiation is often seen as the final stage in selling process, and it is in the ability of the salesperson to convince the prospect that will help clinch the deal.

It is therefore important to know that prospects rarely accept the first offer or proposal submitted, without some form of negotiation and rework to the proposals. ASG has observed many salesperson pouring long hours into the development of their masterpiece proposal only to have their hopes dashed, when the prospect requires changes or alteration to their original plans. The pains of the multiple rework, comes as a result of re-negotiation and it often catches many overzealous salesperson off-guard; and what’s worse, some of these cases may not end with a sale.

The negotiation process has got far reaching implications that goes beyond just convincing. It is a balance between persuasion, managing expectation and sensitivity to prospect needs; and these combined conditions are not easily achieved. Hence, the reworking process is an integral part of negotiation; and every salesperson’s responsibility to refine and calibrate the proposals until finally arriving at the prospect’s desired solution.

However, the biggest problem faced during negotiation is not the rework process.

ASG has observed that the biggest challenge that most salesperson faced during negotiation is they tend to talk themselves down, even before making any formal proposal to the prospects!

How often have you doubted or discounted the prospect’s ability to accept a “higher” value proposal even before entering the meeting? Whatever happened to the negotiation process?

Instead of allowing the prospect to decide on the “suitability” of the proposals (ie. especially in the pricing portion), salespersons tend to convince or negotiate within themselves first and marked the proposals down significantly. Sadly, the objective behind the real negotiation process is diluted, and the prospect is not offered the complete experience of negotiating for the ideal proposal.

Salespersons need to learn to step aside and trust the prospect’s ability to accept or commit to good value solutions…provided of course, if they can see the value proposed.

So, what can you do to stop interfering with the negotiation process?

Salesperson need to understand the market that they are operating in. Every market has its range of acceptance that the prospect hovers within. Allow the statistics (and not just personal experience) to provide the higher and lower markers to guide and give confidence during negotiation.

Next, be bold in presenting your proposals to the prospect! What is the worst that can happen?

In the worst case scenario, the prospect may find the solution not suitable and that should automatically lead to creative and enterprising salesperson providing an option to them. And that brings us to the next solution…

Offering options in another good way to manage the insecurity and limit the opportunity to self-negotiate before presenting to the prospect. Furthermore, it makes very little difference in terms of effort to prepare options, especially when considering the chance of securing a sale increases significantly with alternatives.

So the next time you interfere with the real negotiation process, remember that you are not only shortchanging yourself, but also the prospect on the immensity of value that an unadulterated solution may bring.

Article contributed by Percy Chong (through Asian Sales Guru)
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