Negotiating with clients: 4 tips from successful sellers

Written by Huthwaite International

Negotiating with clients is a critical skill that every successful seller must possess. However, it can prove to be quite demanding, particularly when faced with complex solutions or opposing stances.

We’ll present four essential tips from Huthwaite’s negotiation experts to help you avoid common negotiation traps and increase your chances of securing a successful deal. Valuable insights into effectively negotiating with clients can be beneficial for both seasoned sales professionals and those who are just beginning their sales journey.

1. Don’t leave the difficult issues until last

Most people are worried about the issues they know are going to be tough, and in an effort not to damage the negotiation climate, can be tempted to discuss issues that are unlikely to be controversial first, leaving the tough issues until last. Sadly, while they may make excellent progress on the easier issues, the deal may well fall apart when they come to the tough ones, because they have nothing left with which to trade. Settling the minor issues first removes the trades that are needed to create movement on the difficult ones.

This is especially important if price is the difficult issue, since it means all other concessions will have been made before price is discussed. This almost inevitably leads to making price adjustments to achieve consensus, without receiving any reciprocal concessions from the other party.

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2. Seek trades that are high-value but low cost

In crafting inventive agreements during client negotiations, the objective is to identify areas where you can obtain high-value gains for yourself, while the associated cost to the other party remains comparatively lower.

For example, a software company is selling a newly developed product. Their customer is a small business who would benefit from extended payment terms to help with cashflow. The software company could seek to negotiate a case study for their new product in exchange for more flexible payment terms.

Finding issues that have no (or low) cost to you, but have a real value to the other party, can really help you to get movement on the issues that are important, since you are in an excellent position to trade them against the things you want, without incurring real issues.

3. Have one powerful reason to support their position

It's common for salespeople to weaken their own stance when trying to justify their stance by providing reasons that don't hold up when challenged by the other side.  Ensure that you contemplate how you'll defend your position in the face of potential challenges.

One good reason that will stand up to any scrutiny is all you need; don’t water it down with a dozen others. Once you've presented this justification, resist the urge to provide additional reasons just because the other party requests them. If your initial reason is robust, there's no need to offer more. 

Spontaneously adding further justifications might present the other side with something they can dispute, so it's best to stick to one or two strong reasons max.

The difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson is understanding how to avoid negotiation traps. Learn everything you need to know by downloading your free copy of ‘Are Your People Negotiating Or Concession Making?’ now.

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. Power is in the head

Skilled people try to address the power balance in their negotiations with clients. This is a crucial issue, since those who believe they are weak will often act accordingly. All too often, we see sellers who feel they are in a weak position and make a string of concessions that might not be necessary. 

So, how can the perception of weakness be addressed? Skilled people are more likely to conduct an analysis of the situation to explore the potential strengths and weaknesses of both their own position and that of the other party.

They are also more likely to explore how these strengths and weaknesses can be used, or handled, to put themselves in a position of greater strength. Such analysis often reveals that the seller is in a much stronger position than was initially thought possible. 

So remember – power is in the head. If you feel weak, you are more likely to make concessions. If you feel strong, you are more likely to act accordingly, and this can change both the perceptions of strength and expectations of the other party.

Successfully negotiating with clients

And there you have it – four tips from our successful sellers that will help you negotiate with clients. With the right approach, you can turn a challenging negotiation into a successful deal. 

In order to secure a successful deal for both parties, it’s important to consider what concessions you’re willing to make and how to avoid ones that will be detrimental to your argument.

If you want to establish a strong foundation for yourself, or other sellers in your business, consider education on the difference between concessions and negotiations. This allows you to understand where sales are going wrong, and how to successfully sell a deal that works for your business and the client. To learn these valuable insights and more, download your free copy of ‘Are Your People Negotiation Or Concession Making?’ now.

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