First, let’s clear up one thing: We sell first and negotiate second.

There’s no reason to enter into sales negotiation with anyone if you can sell to them instead.

I’m a very strong believer in always selling first, because it gives us the ability to understand the customer’s key needs.  It also allows us to gain a benchmark as to where the customer stands and ensures we know what it is we’re negotiating about — should it come to that.

Here are 6 sales negotiation tips you MUST know:

1. Read with your eyes.

Body language will always reveal the truth even when the words being spoken are a lie.  It’s far too easy for people to say anything; it’s much harder for them to say it and back it up with their body language.

Watch their body language and, in particular, their eyes.  If they can’t give you eye contact when they’re demanding something, it will almost always mean they don’t believe their request is reasonable.

2. Never negotiate with anyone until you know what their opening stance is.

This is why I’m a firm believer in selling first, negotiating second.  We use the selling process as a way of finding out what the customer is expecting to pay or accept from you.

3. The higher the level of trust between the two parties, the less need there is for tactics.

This is extremely logical, yet overlooked too many times.  If you’re negotiating with a person in whom you have little trust, you’ll  be forced to use more negotiating tactics.

4. Every negotiation leads to the next negotiation.

As much as you might think at the time the negotiation you’re in will be the last one, that is rarely the case.  If nothing else, the mental state with which you exit one negotiation will enter into your next negotiation, regardless of who it is you’re negotiating with.

You have to recognize that if you have a tendency to negotiate once, you will be more likely to justify the need to negotiate next time.  This is a quick way to destroy your profit.

5. Never put anything in writing until you are through negotiating.

Things can change and when you put things in writing, you’re making a commitment you may want to ultimately change at a later point in the negotiation.

6. Don’t start any negotiation unless both parties are in agreement about what is going to be negotiated.

This is another big reason why I say sell first, negotiate second.   The selling process allows us to get the other party to share with us what it is they’re looking for.

I recognize that sales negotiation is a part of what we do as salespeople.  I just think it needs to be a much smaller part than many salespeople make it.

Believe in your price and be diligent in showing your customers why the value of what you sell — the way it meets their needs and wants — is worth every penny.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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