Sell first, negotiate second. That’s the way to do things.
You can’t negotiate with anyone unless you know what it is you’re negotiating about. The other person can’t negotiate fairly with you until they know what you’re offering.
This pertains especially to knowing why the customer is even interested in what it is you have to offer. If you don’t know the exact benefits the customer wants, then there is no way you will know what to negotiate over.
Too many salespeople jump into negotiations too quickly with a customer.
As soon as the customer puts up the least bit of resistance, the salesperson starts to make concessions. This is the absolute worst thing a salesperson can do!
Just because a customer is putting up some resistance doesn’t mean it’s time to negotiate.
When they put up some resistance, it’s the time to ask more questions to get the customer to explain more about why they feel the way they do. If you wait to try to find out what the customer really wants when they know you’re ready to negotiate, you will find yourself with more problems!
Want to avoid all the headache and heartache of all that?
The key is to sell first.
This means you use questions, follow-up questions and your listening skills to engage the customer. Determine the customer’s needs and wants. During the selling process, you must try to close the sale at full price. If you have shown that what you offer meets the customer’s wants and/or needs, then the customer will likely not balk at the price.
If they do refuse, then you now have a better understanding of their expectations.
A rule of thumb I have is you never negotiate until the customer has rejected your sales presentation twice.
By going through the process twice — which for most salespeople will mean two separate sales calls — you will understand clearly what the customer wants and needs. Only after you know clearly what the customer is looking for will you be in a position to begin negotiating with the customer.
Yes, I know there are some short sales-cycle industries where this is not always possible, but what I have found is there are far less of these short sales-cycle industries than most people think.
The next time a customer pushes back on you during a sales call, don’t give in and start negotiating.
Instead, ask more questions.
Your ability to close the sale at a higher margin later will more than offset the additional time it may take.
Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.