When does negotiating begin? Does it start at the end of the sale or earlier in the opportunity? Like most of you, I was trained that negotiations happen at the end of the sale, just before the close. Contrary to this axiom, I always believed negotiations begin at the beginning of the buying process.
Is your prospect drawing you in?
One morning 30-years ago, an inbound caller requested information from me on our equipment. My new customer explained they were in the research stage. He asked me questions that I happily obliged. When I responded with questions to gain better understanding of their needs, he stonewalled me with, “We’re just collecting information at this time.”
I was ready to move on to a higher quality opportunity and politely blew him off. “Why don’t I send you information and add you to our mailing list. We’ll keep you updated with information and news. Please call me whenever you have questions and when you get closer to a purchase, give me a call.”
His response, “We’re actually serious about making a purchase right now,” surprised me. He opened the door to my discovery questions and a few months later, he made a purchase from me. That day in 1983, I dubbed my strategy as “unselling.”
Buyers begin negotiating from the moment they engage you. Whether their strategy and tactics are intentional or not, they are negotiating.
Buyers are negotiating when:
They ask you about price.
Compare you to your competition.
Paint a picture of your tremendous opportunity with them…down the road.
Give you their wish list.
Make you comfortable or uncomfortable.
The list of negotiation strategies and tactics could fill a book. The important thing to understand is that buyers position themselves to make the best purchases possible.
From the moment your prospect engages you with interest in your offering, negotiations have begun. Are you prepared?
How do you position yourself early in the sale?
What precedent do you establish in your first conversation?
How you establish yourself in the beginning of the sale affects your position at the end of the sale. If you get into a competition battle, your negotiations will be over a spreadsheet with your column sandwiched between your competitions’. If you begin with price, you can bet you’re going to focus on price at the end. Precedents are difficult to change, so set the right precedent during your first call or meeting to prevent your path from being drawn for you by the buyer.
ABN – Always Be Negotiating ©
Copyright 2013, Gary Hart “SalesDuJour” Gary Hart’s Sales Tips & Strategies