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Be a Master Negotiator

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Negotiation is an art that is valued very highly because it can translate arguments into agreements, converting prospects into purchasers. Interestingly, it is not very hard to be a good negotiator. Thorough knowledge of your product or service and adherence to the essentials of negotiation, combined with good communication skills, can certainly make you a master negotiator.

Negotiation is used by salespeople to win over their prospective customers. However, it is not confined to the world of sales; negotiation is an integral part of every profession. The art of negotiation, like several other business tactics, is multidimensional. It would be naïve to take only one approach when dealing with diverse situations and tackling different customers.

The deciding factor when figuring out whether you should change your technique is the type of person you are negotiating with. In order to prepare to negotiate with someone, you need to discover all available information about him. Know his needs and his circumstances.



If your prospect is a rational arguer, load your arguments with data and logic and be organized. If she is an outcome-oriented individual, talk to her about quantifiable and qualitative rewards. Don't forget to tell her what the reward will be and when it will come.

When it comes to dealing with creative prospects, you need to come up with innovative ways to satisfy them. If your prospect serves as an intermediary, you should involve others in your pitch. He will not be happy unless you promise something for everyone.

Approaches to and nuances of negotiation may vary, but the basic tenets remain the same. You should learn these and practice them.

Preparation for negotiation ideally should start long before a negotiation takes place. Acquire detailed knowledge about your product or service in order to boost your confidence. Knowing the buyer and her needs in advance will help you prioritize your points.

Focus on the purpose of the negotiation and the needs of your company. Your ability to anticipate a prospect's objections enables you to have your answers ready. The bottom line is that you have to trust your product or service and trust your abilities before you can make your prospect trust you.

The Dos and Don'ts of Negotiation
Dos Don'ts
Look forward to a positive conclusion. Don't negotiate with someone who is not authorized to sign the deal.
Check your attitude at the door. Don't start the negotiation. Let the prospect do it.
Reflect on the deal from the customer's point of view. Don't forget about the price range.
Trust in the significance of your product or service. Don't have a submissive attitude.
Take notes. Don't argue over petty matters.
Foresee doubts and disapproval. Don't share information unnecessarily.
Be flexible and ready with alternatives. Don't offer too much to new customers. You may lose your existing customers.
Know the limit beyond which the deal is not beneficial to you. Don't give a concession unless you get one.
Recognize tactical responses. Don't be distracted by the prospect's problems.
Don't allow petty things to upset you. Think about the big picture. Don't be too quick to fill pauses.
Work sincerely for a win-win situation. Don't forget that you are representing your company.
Be ready to walk away. Don't hesitate to say no.
Respect the customer's freedom to accept or reject the deal. Don't try to do the impossible.

Negotiation is not war. Rather, it is a blend of aggression and submission. It is the art of being patient and keeping your cool. It is a game of articulation and a test of timing. It is wise not to initiate negotiation but to let the other participant put forth his views first. While he is speaking, listen attentively and take notes. This display of interest and sincerity will put your prospect at ease.

You should also do your best to help him open up and reveal information that can be used to your advantage by asking open-ended questions. Such questions can also be used to confirm your understanding of the prospect's needs.

When the stage is set for you to present your case, show how your product or service can fulfill the prospect's needs. When the prospect responds, apply your skills in order to separate psychological issues from practical matters. Instead of arguing over petty issues, seek to identify agreements. This will help develop momentum for the negotiation.

While bargaining, always visualize the big picture. Without disturbing the basic parameters of your case, play with the variables. While you are sincerely pushing for a win-win agreement, never forget that you will not get anything without asking and that you are negotiating for your company and not for the prospect.

In negotiations, sometimes you fail and sometimes you win. No matter what the result of a negotiation is, close it with a smile. Summarize the agreements—preferably in writing. Thank the prospect sincerely for her time and commitment. Congratulate her for her agreement to buy your product or service, or in the event of a rejection, respect her decision.

The goal of negotiation is to achieve a reasonable compromise. Do not try to do the impossible. Once the negotiation is over, review what happened. Failure today may show you the way to success tomorrow.


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