Negotiating is a critical aspect of selling. Your ability to persuade a customer can either cement a deal or blow it up. Selling effectively, say the best sales training companies, is ultimately a game of strategy. With that in mind, this article shares four lesser-known tactics that can give you a real leg up in your sales negotiations.
Deal with the decision-maker
Selling can be increasingly time-consuming. A survey by Implisit found that the average B2B sales cycle length is 102 days. So, it’s important to ensure that you’re bending the ear of the decision-maker and not wasting precious time getting stuck in the “black hole” of sales. The black hole, here, refers to when you’re dealing with someone who can’t okay the deal.
In fact, according to research by sales expert Jill Konrath, the number one sales objection salespeople run into is: “I need to check with my boss.” Here are some tips on how to skip the middle person and reach the real decision-maker:
- Do your research – Look up the organizational chart of the company you’re targeting and figure out who reports to whom. If you’re still not sure, try calling and asking to be transferred to the relevant department.
- Use LinkedIn – Use LinkedIn’s search function to find the right person and reach out to them directly.
- Get referrals – Ask your current clients to introduce you to the decision-makers in their networks.
Some people believe winning sales negotiations is all about being pushy and aggressive. However, taking time to build rapport can actually give you a stronger advantage. As the expression goes, you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.
Strengthening rapport with buyers has several benefits. First, it increases the chances they’ll trust you and, therefore, feel comfortable doing business with you. Second, it can make them more likely to open up about their needs and wants. This puts you in a better position to offer a solution that meets their needs and, as a result, closes the deal.
Lastly, building rapport can pave the way for repeat business. According to MyCustomer, returning customers spend an average of 33% more per order than one-time buyers. Here are some effective rapport-building tactics you can use in your sales negotiations:
- be warm, friendly, and personable
- make small talk before jumping into more serious discussions
- ask questions and listen attentively to the answers
- be transparent about your interests and objectives
Focus on solving problems rather than selling
Customers essentially buy solutions to their problems, rather than the actual products or services. So, if you want to win in sales, focus instead on solving the customer’s problem. Consider the following scenario that is, sadly, quite common.
A salesperson is trying to sell a new CRM system to a small business owner. They kick off their pitch by talking about all the system’s features and how it can benefit the customer’s business. Unconvinced, the business owner politely, but firmly, declines and shows the salesperson the door.
Here’s how the salesperson could have handled the situation differently and scored a win for the company, say sales training experts. First, they could have started by asking the small business owner about their current process for managing customer data. Then, they could have listened closely to learn about the owner’s pain points. Finally, the salesperson could have focused the conversation on how the new CRM system can solve these specific pain points.
To sharpen your problem-solving skills:
- Ask open-ended questions. These help customers elaborate on their needs and wants.
- Actively listen to the responses. This helps ensure you understand their needs correctly.
- Think outside the box. Look at the situation from different angles and try to come up with creative solutions.
People are more likely to trust you if you can back up your claims with hard facts. However, don’t harvest data merely for the sake of it. Quality is as important as quantity.
Also, determine which facts are relevant to the discussion at hand. Rapidly spouting off a bunch of random data points is unlikely to convince buyers. Here are some tips sales trainers share with companies to help them use facts effectively:
- Do your research. Make sure you have a solid understanding of your product or service, as well as the needs and wants of your customer.
- Be prepared. Know what data points you want to use ahead of time.
- Be concise. Don’t drone on and on. Get to the point quickly.
- Use real customer testimonials to back up your claims.
Today’s buyers are savvier than ever before. To win sales, companies need to ensure theisalespeople have an abundance of knowledge and continually sharpen their negotiation skills to stand out from the competition.