Negotiating Like A Pro
It seems as if the price of everything we sell today is negotiable. Customers seldom expect to pay full price for whatever product you represent. If you’re a commissioned salesperson, your ability to negotiate has a direct influence on your paycheck. And, even if you’re not on commission, you’re negotiation skills certainly have an impact on your company’s bottom line.
Which brings me to point number one: not all sales are good sales. I know some people think more sales cures all, but if you’re losing money on every sale—the last thing you need to do is sell more!
Now, granted one can argue that thin margins on certain key or large accounts produce buying power and other economies of scale that make smaller accounts more profitable and I agree with that 100%. But, as a sales professional you have to go into every relationship freely admitting your need to make a profit. I am continually surprised at some salespeople and their feelings of almost embarrassment about making a profit. Here’s a newsflash for you: if you don’t, you won’t be around long.
When it comes to negotiating, I want you to remember one simple strategy: When you give something up, get something in return.
Have to cut your price? Then you should ask for shorter payment terms or other concessions that equate to a monetary difference to you.
If you have to give up anything from your side, you should ask for something from the customer’s side in return.
Payment terms, better delivery options, increased lead time and other ways you can better use your assets? Can the customer take delivery at a later date allowing you to gain some efficiencies? Is the customer willing to take a floor model (with the same warranties and guarantees) as one “in the box”?
Simply put: what can you get that is of benefit to you and your company that is tangible?
Don’t settle for the: “Well, I’ll try to introduce you to somebody I know that knows somebody that might need your product next year” type deal. That’s a whole lot of smoke.
Get something tangible that you can measure immediately.
Go into each relationship with this strategy: when they ask, you ask. You’ll find the customer will have more respect for you as a professional and you’ll have a more profitable customer, as well.