What is the Number One Mistake Made in Sale's Negotiations?

Michele Warg
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The sales process begins when someone discovers a company's brand, and continues through sales negotiations, which dictate terms, closing the sale. This is followed up with customer service. Along the way, a good salesperson learns how to communicate the minimal risks to a customer. This ensures that the customer feels comfortable and is confident that he is getting the best value for a product, even if the price is higher than that of the competition.

The biggest mistake a sales team can make is to start sales negotiations before becoming a customer's top choice. As the purchaser's number one choice, you don't need to offer discounts in a race to become the lowest bidder.

Before discussing volume orders, long-term deatls and delivery times, the customer must be convinced that your firm offers superior value, lower risks and better service for money than other firms. Without being convinced that your company is the best choice before sales negotiations begin, during the negotiation process, potential clients have you in the palm of their hands, not the other way around. If your product is not the customer's top choice, you may be forced to discount your goods and serviced until they meet the price of your potential buyer's real number one. Ultimately, you create a lower margin and reduce your company's profitability when you discount to everyone during sale negotiations.

Become the best choice by lowering the risk to the buyer. A customer asks several questions before making a purchase, so you must think like a buyer during sales negotiations. The purchaser considers questions that relate to the company, such as, if this vendor fails after we sign a sales contract, how does it adversely affect the profits of the company? Does the company lose market share and competitiveness should the vendor not come through as promised? Could a failure lead to fewer customers and prospects in the future?

On a more personal level, the purchaser tries to mitigate personal risks as well. He does not want to lose his job, suffer a career setback or jeopardize his family's financial future. Therefore, in trying to find the best fit for his company he also reduces risk to himself. This may occur when he goes with the safest bet, regardless of price.

This question-asking concept remains similar to the tried-and-true sales strategy of overcoming someone's objections to your product before sales negotiations. Ask the buyer about his main obstacle to selecting your product and go from there. If price happens to be a major stumbling block and you cannot go any lower, focus on quality, reliability and value added to the cost of what you sell. Set your product apart from the competition with perks, such as 24-hour customer service, and explain both why your product may have better workmanship and what your company does that others do not.

Before you enter into sales negotiations, ask if you have addressed all of the potential buyer's business and personal risks. Then, confirm that your company represents the top choice for the buyer and why. Otherwise, you may not be ready to negotiate terms if the other party still has objections and doubts.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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