Negotiation skills are essential to a successful sales process. Without them you’re unlikely to get to the point of close with any frequency. Luckily, these are skills that can be learned and, once you’ve got the right perspective and honed an effective approach, you’ll be able to improve your outcomes on an ongoing basis.
Negotiating to a close – top tips
Here are our top tips for negotiating to a close:
Set out the process before you begin
If negotiations aren’t going well it may be because the roadmap for navigating through them was not defined at the start. This can be an incredibly useful way to begin a negotiation process, as it involves setting key boundaries such as when certain isues will be negotiated and what the ground rules are.
Acknowledge that the clock is ticking
It’s going to be important to identify certain milestones along the negotiation journey – and also to have a final deadline that everyone is aware of. Although you may feel like this puts pressure on you, it will also be the same for the other side who are likely to be equally under pressure to reach objectives.
Identify when it’s time to take a step back
Discussions may have gotten heated – or just gone on too long – so, sometimes it helps to take a step back from the situation and have a break. This allows time to pause and reflect, to identify what has been achieved and regroup before returning back to the negotiating table.
Consider locking out the competition
Depending on the circumstances, you might find it useful to suggest an exclusive negotiating period during which all your competitors are locked out. This can provide a useful forum in which to reach agreement but you may need to offer incentives to agreement, such as access to valued networks.
Switch your team
If you’re working with others on a negotiation and one or more is not contributing, or having difficulty with the closing, it’s often a good idea to bring in fresh talent with new ideas.
Suggest a neutral third party
Depending on the negotiations in question in can sometimes be useful to bring in an objective third party with no ties to either side. This could enable everyone to disclose to that third party – confidentially – what their bottom line really is to see whether there is any realistic potential for meeting in the middle.
Don’t quit at the close
When you reach a stage in negotiations where you potentially have agreement it’s often worth looking at a condition, such as bonuses for specific delivery – or penalties where certain objectives aren’t met.
Our Negotiating to a Satisfactory Close course is designed to help improve negotiating skills and build confidence. It will focus on the importance of creating a negotiating strategy and then being able to execute it simply and effectively. When talks don’t reach the point of close it’s often simply because negotiation skills are poor – it’s entirely possible to do something about this so that you can change the outcome of your negotiations in future.