A warm smile and a firm handshake always make a good first impression. However, potential customers are more concerned with what you have to offer and its value to their company. Long before you begin negotiations, you must take time to become prepared. Potential customers are more inclined to buy from suppliers that understand their needs and how their product or service fulfills them. There is a big difference between selling skills and negotiating skills. A sale is simple; one party buys something from another party. Negotiation is very different. Negotiation involves defining the terms and conditions of the sale, who gets what for what. Negotiation for sales professionals includes building lasting and mutually beneficial relationships, not simply making a sale.
Successful sales professionals will have developed many skills; a few are discussed below.
Know What You Can Do Before You Begin to Negotiate
When “push comes to shove,” it is easy to offer a deeper discount or more attractive payment terms. It is after you have closed the deal that you realize that you have agreed to terms that are unacceptable. Always establish the limits on discounts and other attractions before you sit with a client. By doing this, you can make a sale that is beneficial to both parties.
Let Your Client Go First
If, after presenting your offer, your client would like to negotiate, let him or her start the conversation. Salespeople are, at times, tempted to offer accommodation before the potential client asks. Listen, and then respond. Do not make an offer first.
If You Concede Something, Get Something in Return
Relationships between sales professionals and their clients are based on mutual trust and respect. Sales professionals should not bow to every request made by customers without asking for something in return. The best deal is one where everybody wins. When both sides benefit, the groundwork for a mutually beneficial relationship has been laid.
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