Sales Training Tip #310: When Do You Start Negotiating

Never negotiate until the customer has resisted your offerings 3 times and “X” period of time has elapsed.

It’s far too easy to think you’re going to lose the sale unless you start giving away the farm, just because the customer is not accepting your offer. With this said, let me clarify more what I mean by “resisting your offer 3 times.”

During the course of your discussion with the customer, it’s important to try and close the sale at key points based on the customer’s comments about a point of pain or need. If the customer doesn’t allow you to close, that’s OK. Your next step is to come back with a question that asks them to explain more about the benefits they desire. If you respond by changing your offer based off of the first objection they throw at you, then not only have you given away profit, but you’ve also told the customer that throwing out objections is a great way to get a better deal. Simply put: You’re encouraging behavior that will cost you money.

I firmly believe in at least three objections from the customer to your offer. The three may even come over a period of several sales calls. Now, the time you allow to elapse will vary based on your selling cycle and the customer’s decision-making process. In many occasions, I do find salespeople attempting to close every sale as fast as they can. When they get into this mode, it can become a vicious cycle of them believing the only way they can close a sale is at a reduced price. When this belief sets in, it can become very difficult to break the habit. More importantly, your customers will start to become used to this type of behavior, and they will only encourage you to increasingly offer even more discounts.

Knowing how and when to start negotiation is a difficult process. It never comes easy; however, I do find it is a key skill that you must master to maintain a high degree of sales motivation. The higher your level of sales motivation, the less likely you’ll be to alter an offer, and the more firm you’ll be in the questions you ask to get the customer sharing about their pain and needs.

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