A Sales Plan to Cut Your Sales Negotiation Time in Half

Four Tips to Improve Your Sales Process

Saving time should always be a priority in the complex sales negotiation process. The faster you are able to close the deal, the sooner you will be able to bring revenue into your organization and move onto the next prospect. In this type of circumstance, you will be surprised at how quickly the phrase “Time is Money” resurrects itself from a tired cliché into an undeniable truth. Hence, you need to take advantage of every time saving strategy available to you. Below are a few practical things that you can do to speed up the sales process. Remember, if you still need additional help with this process, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask successful sales people in your organization for tips. But for now let’s talk about a few of the most basic things that you can do to speed up your selling process.

Know How the Customer’s Buying Process Works

Find out from the very beginning how your client’s standard buying process works. How many steps will you have to go through? Will you have to talk to multiple levels of management? After the process is over, will you have to go through a procurement department? These are important key sales qualifying questions that you need to know the answers to. Most of the time, you can simply ask the prospect that you are working with for these answers. If he or she doesn’t seem to know, speak with someone else in your client’s organization.

Be the Expert

Be prepared from the start with all of the right information. The quality of your initial sales discovery interviews with your client needs to be top notch. The more that you know about your product, your competitors, the needs of your client, and the industry that you are working in, the more your client will trust you. This trust will result in a smoother and quicker negotiating process.

Respond Quickly

Don’t let voice-mail and emails go unanswered. You should always respond to them as quickly as possible. This shows your client that you respect them and encourages them to respond in a similar manner. Needless to say, this results in a faster and more pleasant negotiation.

Do Your Research

If you know your client’s organization inside and out before you even begin the negotiation process, this will give you a great advantage and help you to close the deal quickly. Most of the general information about your client that will be useful to you will be available online. For additional information, do some scouting. Call the client before hand to find out more about what they do and what their needs are. You should also do research regarding your competitors. This way, if your client tries to bring your price down by bringing up one of your competitors, you can call their bluff. You will already know exactly why they have come to you specifically since you have already thoroughly researched the needs of your client and the reasons why only your solution will work for them.

That’s it for now! Really work on this last point as much as possible. If you still need more help, remember that assistance is always out there as long as you choose to look for it.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, SalesRoundup.com is a great place to start if you need additional tips regarding the negotiation process or any other aspect of complex sales. If fact this post was inspired by a podcast we did back in 2007 titled “The Shortest Route to the Money”

Good Selling
Mike & Joe
SalesRoundup Podcast

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6 comments for “A Sales Plan to Cut Your Sales Negotiation Time in Half

  1. May 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I’d like to expand slightly on the “Do Your Research” item. Personally knowing the players in a negotiation is key. The most difficult person to negotiate with is the person you know nothing about. Each person at the table has their own set of motivations, objectives and requirements which need to be understood and met. A skillful negotiator would have already built a relationship with each person and created a strategy to satisfy their needs. If you walk into a negotiation and there are people in the room you don’t know, you could be in trouble. The best way to handle that would be to introduce yourself to each one and ask about their organization and position. At least then you could extrapolate their requirements from prior knowledge about their organization. The message is do your homework up front and in person, not once the final negotiation begins and you’ll close your opportunity sooner and at higher prices.

  2. May 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Great tips. In addition, I’d recommend having an explicit pricing negotiation plan so you know going in what parameters you can use to craft a win-win situation. Different types of discounts can be used (invoice discount, rebate, payment terms, freebies). Try to align with your customer’s interests, while maximizing the profitability of the sale (sometimes hard to even know, let alone do). Know what your boundaries are, and what alternative solutions the customer could use if they want a cheaper price and claim they don’t value some of premium aspects of your offering.

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