All sales people want to excel and achieve their goals.
There are two possibilities: sign more and/or sign better.
A salesperson trained in negotiation can earn as much (or even more) by signing 10 contracts as a colleague who sells off his product to sign 20!
The difference between a good and a bad salesman?
A good salesman wants to close the sale.
The average salesperson wants to close the sale at all costs.
They forget a little easily that if they have reached this point in the sales cycle it is because there is a real interest on the part of the customer: he wants your product or service.
He needs it. So why give in?
Our tips on how to stop losing money in the home stretch.
There is only one hurdle left to clear. The price.
The best salespeople keep their heads and forget about being a salesperson.
This desire to close a sale quickly before the prospect changes their mind.
Keeping a cool head:
Imagine the agenda of the meeting and the course of your arguments.
What is your offer? What is your floor price? (the one below which you cannot go any lower)
What concessions are you prepared to make to justify a certain discount?
Ok to lower the price but in return: Longer commitment period. No trial period. If you sell software: a wider user base.
Remember: when the customer is negotiating it is a good sign. They have already decided to buy your solution.
- Review the various exchanges you have had with your future client and capture all the elements that will convince you that your prospect needs your solution more than he or she would have you believe.
How many people will be present in the meeting? How many were present at the last meetings?
How many emails have you exchanged since you started talking?
How many appointments, how many calls have you had?
If the intensity is low, one might think that the motivation in front is not very strong.
When the intensity is high: You have exchanged almost ten emails, you have had several meetings, you have met more than 2 or 3 people, so it is reasonable to assume that your prospect is interested.
Why else would he invest so much time and resources?
- Review the key moments of all your exchanges.
If you are still working the old-fashioned way, re-read your note-taking. Take the time.
If you are in the mood, it will take you 3 minutes. Concentrate on the essentials and listen to the moment when you talked about price in your last conversation with your prospect.
The best salespeople invest 4x more time in preparing for their negotiation meeting.
"Working with you is one of my top priorities this year and I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen"
Explain to your prospect why working with them is important to you.
They need to understand that you will do whatever it takes to make the sale.
They need to be confident that you will do your best and that the price you offer will be the best possible deal.
Ready for anything. But there is a limit.
Make him understand this limit.
"I am willing to do anything to work with you, but I can't jeopardise our business either.
If your prospect makes an "aggressive" request (e.g. half price) start by apologising.
"Sorry, I would love to be able to give you this discount but [...]".
If you have built a relationship of trust, no prospect will want you to jeopardise your business.
No arms, no chocolate.
You can lower your price. But not in any way. Every reduction must be justifiable.
Never give in without getting something in return.
This is called the principle of reciprocity (give and take in popular parlance).
This way, you establish in your prospect's mind that he can vary the price according to what he gives you.
If you give up without consideration, you can expect the other person to ask for more.
You can make proposals to your prospect on the following negotiation pillars:
A duration of the POC (or its very existence).
Depending on the nature of your product, you can compromise on the POC ... or remove it.
Throughout the sales cycle, you have assured your prospect that your product will transform their business or the way their team operates.
Dare. Go all the way.
"Fine. I can make you this price [X] but then we'll remove the POC".
You can also play on the commitment period if your prospect commits to you for five years you can justify a substantial price reduction.
"I can make you this price but in that case you will have to commit for longer."
This technique is particularly effective at the end of term but not only.
"I can make you this price but do you think that on your side we could sign before September 31?
Payment in instalments
Whether you are an established company or a start-up, getting an up-front payment, i.e. an equivalent payment for the whole year from the beginning, is a bargain.
Again, don't give in without extracting it from your prospect if it is a priority for you. This is especially true for companies with cash flow issues.
Beware that your prospect may ask for an additional discount in exchange for this direct payment. Here again, negotiate.
Again, remember: the prospect is interested in your solution. It is in your interest to try to get the best deal by making a counter-offer.
A customer testimonial
Especially when your client is known - and recognised - getting a customer testimonial can help you attract other prospects into their industry or ecosystem.
This establishes your credibility with future clients, who are often reassured by prestigious clients. Other leading companies have chosen to place their trust in you.
Fight back. Reduce euro by euro.
Whether you sell aeroplanes or green beans, every euro counts.
For example, if you sell software on a per-licence basis, you will see that the impact can be very significant.
For 50 licenses, each lost euro is equivalent to 50 euros per month or 600€ per year. You only need to give up 10 euros and your losses amount to 6000€!
This is why it is important to negotiate and only give up in exchange for something else (quick signature, multi-year commitment, etc.).
Like your prospect. You have a limit.
When it is reached :
"Look, I feel terrible. Working with you was my most important annual goal, but I have a feeling it won't be for now.
Focus on this exercise.
Every effort your prospect asks of you is very important. Make them feel it.
The golden rule: when your prospect is negotiating it's a good sign. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed.
Keep a cool head and never give in without asking for something in return.
A comment, an idea, a question? Contact Paul, our CEO by sending an email to email@example.com
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