Converting clients 101: Negotiation & objection handling

Part 2/3 of our Converting clients 101 series: what is negotiation, how can you improve the process and what are some of the key errors? Read on!

Negotiations are a tricky thing, especially for start-ups. It can feel like running through an obstacle course without knowing what awaits you around each corner... Should you emphasize your product? The price? The customer’s needs or wants? What is negotiating all about? And how do you find a balance between short-term gains and long-term relationships?

The ins and outs of negotiating

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The fundamental rule of negotiating is always the same, regardless if you’re talking to partners, customers or investors. It’s never about beating an opponent - but about creating the best possible deal for all parties involved. The key? Determine the value of what you’re offering, find a consensus, make both sides of the table happy and aim for a win-win situation.

People think negotiation is all about pricing and discounts. But the price is usually not what makes customers buy. Instead, the key aspect is the value. What does your customer need? What tangible difference will your product or service bring?

Remember: it’s better to negotiate once you’ve established a fit for both sides, rather than “winning” them over only to have them buy the product for all the wrong reasons.

5 key mistakes

1. Not talking to the decision-maker

Once you’ve entered sales negotiations, you should absolutely be talking to someone who has the power to make a purchasing decision. Don’t waste your breath (or time, or money) on someone who has to ask their boss all over again.

2. Poor preparation

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To maintain a strong position throughout negotiations, not only do you need to know your product/service inside out, but you should also thoroughly research your buyer. This will help you provide answers to potential objections and questions while gaining insight into their processes, budgetary constraints, bottlenecks and so on. Knowing who your customer is, what their market looks like and what problems they’re facing will allow you to better pinpoint how you can solve their pains/be of help.

3. Lack of strategy

To bring negotiations to a satisfying conclusion, you’ll need a sales strategy that takes you from start to finish. One of the key aspects of this strategy is knowing your price. At which point would you walk away from the table because the offer is no longer worth your time? If you don’t set your limits, you risk losing track of what’s good for your business, and you’ll eventually end up making concessions that hurt your own interests.

4. Failing to emphasize your Unique Business Value

Once you’ve reached the negotiation stage, a customer should already know that your offer can be of help to them, but there may be other aspects that have not yet been discussed. How exactly will it prove beneficial to them? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Use the opportunity to explain why your product or service is unique and suits them better than anyone else’s.

5. Overselling

At a certain point, negotiations could come to a stalemate. For instance, when a customer is asking for more than you can offer, changes his mind or decides the timing simply isn’t right. As a salesperson, the key is to recognize the point at which pressing on is pointless or may even damage an existing business relationship. Sometimes, you just have to accept that the sale is lost and walk away.

Objection handling: turning a no into a go

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The negotiation process is naturally intertwined with your lead qualification process. If you fail to qualify leads properly, you also won’t:

  • Know where negotiations might take you in terms of price, contract terms, etc.
  • Be aware of what objections might come up

In the infographic below, we’ve listed three common objections that occur during negotiations, and provided some tips that can help you turn these deal-breakers into deal-makers.

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Some final negotiation tips

  1. Have a game plan
  2. Consider the customer's situation and key business drivers
  3. Determine your non-negotiables and stick to them
  4. Create a list of negotiables and assign trading values
  5. Aim for trade-offs, not concessions

And last but not least...

Make your life easy! An integrated CRM like Teamleader will provide you with all the data you need to help you cater to your customer’s wishes. And in turn, spending less time trying to manage and gather contacts’ data will allow you to spend more time actually engaging and interacting with your prospect.

Keep in mind that an email or phone call is where many sales conversations start. That is why it remains crucial that your sales team have all the right data at their disposal to negotiate with prospects or leads. With Teamleader, activities such as calls, meetings and email opens are automatically tracked, which means that instead of spending time manually entering data, you can actually focus on negotiating and closing sales in the most efficient way possible.

  • 01/03/2017
  • Last modified on 12/03/2024

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