Sales negotiations can be a fierce game. Just when you think that you’ve won, you’re customer pulls a new trick out of their sleeve and trumps your hand. In complex sales, this is a constant occurrence. As a sales person the best thing that you can do to keep your negotiations game in top shape is to anticipate the cards that your customer is holding before they even put them on the table.This type of clairvoyant anticipation is best achieved through years of experience playing the negotiations game. However, even if you are a newcomer to the world of complex sales, there are steps that you can take to make yourself think more like a seasoned player. You should try talking to people at your organization who’ve been playing the game for years and referencing out free sales training resources like SalesRoundup.com for extra help.
But if you need a few tips that you can start using right away, just keep reading. Below is a list of three of the more common ploys that customers will try to use to throw you off guard during a negotiation. If you can identify these tricks properly, it will be much easier to counteract them.
1. Vague statements saying that you must “do better.”
This card is a common one. The customer tries to demean you by constantly telling you that the deal that you are offering is simply not good enough. By being vague, they put no limit on how much you will need to do to please them. In this kind of situation, you need to turn the customer’s vagueness into specificity. Before you make a concession, ask if lowering the price by “X” amount will actually be enough to close the deal. If they say no, force them to tell you just what exactly they would need to take the final step
2. The customer threatens to break off negotiations.
This is akin to an act of psychological terrorism. The implied threat is that if you do not lower the price considerably (perhaps ridiculously) that you will lose the opportunity to speak, in interact in any way with the customer. The only way to trump this hand effectively is to have enough information and research on hand to call the customer’s bluff. You should know from your research whether the customer really needs your product or not. If you know that they do, they are likely to recant once they see that you aren’t budging.
3. The last minute objection.
The customer representative literally has the pen in his or her hand and is ready to sign… …but makes one last objection. Can’t we bring down the price just a little more? Couldn’t we throw in this or that? If you care about your sanity, the answer to these questions almost always needs to be no. As we have already noted, if you have done your research you should have a pretty good idea of how much your product is worth to your customer. If you know that they need the product and are willing to pay the price that you have agreed upon, it is almost always best to stand your ground. If necessary, explain to them again why the product is worth the agreed upon price, and why they can’t afford to go back on the deal.
Knowing how to combat these three tricks is a good start, but really only a beginning. In order to be able to trump your customer’s hands 90% of the time you will need to be constantly improving your game. Just as we suggested earlier, you should always be on the look out to gain more information about effective sales techniques whether through talking to top sales professionals at your company or through free online educational materials. You can never have too much skill in this area.
Mike & Joe