Becoming a better negotiator is a career goal of many professionals. Negotiation is about having influence, getting buy-in, and selling your perspective (whether for salary negotiations, contract negotiations, pitching your strategy, or in teamwork).
Career paths that depend largely on having strong negotiation skills are those in the sales realm including B2B roles, account management, client services, business development, and sales. Learn from sales professionals when you study the University of Cape Town Sales Management online short course. Gain practical techniques on how to improve your negotiation skills, and gain commitment from a prospective consumer, specifically designed from a sales perspective.
A handful of effective techniques for obtaining commitment
This is the most basic, straight-forward method of obtaining a commitment. Simply ask. However, it’s important to remember when to be silent and wait for your prospect’s answer. If you say anything before the prospect has time to reply, the pressure has been taken off the client to make the decision.
The benefit summary is the logical way to obtain commitment, as prospects buy products for their given, or perceived, benefits.
One of the more well-known techniques is the F-A-B approach:
- Features of the product
- Advantages of said features
- Benefits the prospect will get from the advantages
The F-A-B approach is a logical and professional way to conclude a sales presentation.
Balance sheet method
This method intends to help the prospect make a commitment based on logical consideration of the pros (assets), and cons (liabilities) related to the purchase decision. As a Salesperson, you should naturally be able to identify more advantages than disadvantages of the purchase decision.
However, in drawing up this sheet, it’s important to obtain the prospect’s agreement on each item noted – particularly on the benefits side, as this will help build a steady commitment from the buyer.
If genuine concerns are expressed by the prospect on any aspect of your proposal, it’s important to graciously acknowledge the prospect’s concerns.
This method can certainly be effective with even the most hesitant or nervous buyers, as you can see how the positives outweigh the negatives on paper. The biggest challenge in using this method is in the event that one of the negatives is perceived as a potential dealbreaker.
Here, you’ll make the assumption the prospect is going to make the commitment, and use the positive statements throughout the presentation to reinforce this assumption.
It’s obvious this is a risky method to use if there is no indication from the prospect that they’re at the very least favourably disposed to the proposal. Therefore, this method is more inclined to repeat orders, where there’s already a relationship with the consumer.
Customers like dealing with confident and knowledgeable salespeople, and once trust has been established, each successive sale should become progressively more straightforward.
The negotiation method
Many Salespeople mistakenly think negotiation only take place at the end of a deal – the closing stage of the sales presentation. However, negotiation is a process that takes place throughout the sales presentation. The initial negotiations establish the basic arrangements such as the meeting location, length of the meeting, and the attendees of the meeting. These decisions can be just as important as the final negotiation in concluding the deal.
Every sale is essentially a negotiation, and most negotiations focus on two major themes – value and price. In theory, the prospect will want to obtain a higher value for a lower price but a prospect knows this is mostly unrealistic. Therefore, this situation calls for a subtle application of the win-win approach.
It’s generally agreed if both parties in a negotiation come out of it better off than they were before, they will have both benefitted – a win-win situation.
All of the aforementioned methods can be used individually, or in tandem with one another. They should be seen as tools – the selection of the appropriate one being dependant on the specific task to be accomplished.
Learn more about sales management and the different tools utilised to close the deal with the UCT Sales Management online short course.
Fancy yourself a Chief Negotiator? Perhaps a sales career is for you.
Find out more about our UCT Sales Management short course.