Any sales person worth his salt will tell you that negotiation skills are the deciding factor that can make or break his career. An innate aptitude to persuade people will surely help to promote and nurture any business venture. For those who lack in this aspect, it is always good to consciously work towards improving their negotiation skills. The following pointers can be kept in mind to increase your efficiency and overall productivity.
Pointers to Be Kept in Mind
Let us look at the important aspects that need to be kept in mind when you begin the process of negotiation. In order to strike gold, the sales person must ensure that he channelizes his efforts in the right direction. Keep these rules in mind before you begin with your venture.
- Do your homework
- Have faith in your product
- Play the role of the customer yourself
- First impression matters
- Your body language matters
- Be a patient and keen listener
- Take notes
- Seal the deal
- Don not make promises you cannot honor
- Know when to let go
- Know when to move on
- Follow up promptly
Do Your Homework
Before venturing to persuade someone else to buy your product, you must be absolutely sure about your basic information. It is very important to understand the requirements of your customer or prospective buyer. Ask as many questions as possible and gather all the information you can get. Also, keep yourself abreast of what is happening in the market. Know the price quoted by your competitors for the same product and learn to highlight the unique aspects of your product to justify a higher quote of price.
Have Faith in Your Product
While talking to a prospective buyer or customer, you must exude utmost confidence and self assurance. This will not be possible unless you yourself are convinced about the value of your product. Will you purchase what you are selling or recommend the same to your family and friends? Is the product worth its price? Does it cater to the needs of the buyer? These questions, when answered in the affirmative, will instil confidence in you and you will be able to negotiate with conviction.
Play the Role of Customer Yourself
To improve your negotiation skills, it is good to play both the role of a customer as well as a seller. While buying supplies, try and bargain for a better deal with your supplier. Ask them for discounts and always ask for a detailed price break up at the retail store. When you position yourself as both a buyer and seller, you will understand these individual positions better. You will be able to appreciate the anxieties and worries of a prospective buyer and you can allay their fears and doubts with confidence and courage.
First Impression Matters
Remember, first impressions often make lasting impressions and so, invest some thought and energy with regard to your opening statements. It should be appealing and it should have the potential to draw prospective customers. Identifying a key benefit of purchasing your product might be one way to do this. Highlight this aspect and try to hook the interest of prospective clients. It does not matter whether you do this in person, via email, as an advertisement in the yellow pages / radio / television. What matters is your content and the persuasive way in which you present it. Keep in mind that you do not want to sound blatantly pushy. Be subtle and yet emphatic when you establish the unique features of your product.
Your Body Language Matters
Learn to use your body to echo your thoughts. When the supplier quotes a price, learn to spontaneously reject it as ‘too high’ by registering shock or surprise. This could yield two possible results. The supplier might immediately try and reduce the price or he will try to rationalize it. This will lead to dialogue and negotiation.
Be a Patient And Keen Listener
It is of primary importance to be a good listener if your aim is to be a skilled sales negotiator. Concentrate and focus on what the customer is saying about your product. Establish eye contact with them, giving them the confidence that their satisfaction is of vital importance to you. Making a quick sale will not draw more customers your way. On the contrary, if you invest time and effort in understanding the needs and demands of one customer, by word of mouth, you are bound to get more customers due to your excellent customer service.
Taking notes once again, is a clear indication of the fact that your are very keen to ensure that your client is satisfied with the end product. It matters to you that his / her needs or demands are catered to properly. This is particularly true in sales such as real estate sales where your prospective client may have very specific demands at the time of purchase. Begin by asking the question, ‘Do you mind if I take a few notes?’ This technique may prove to be invaluable when engaging in face-to-face interactions.
Seal the Deal
This looks like it is the easiest part of the process but unfortunately, when neglected, it could even cost the sales person his entire deal. No good sales person will become complacent just because a customer says that he will buy the product. He will not rest until the buyer has signed the dotted line and made his payment. Clever and subtle persuasion needs to be employed to see the deal though to its end and at this stage, the sales person can even speedup the process by including special pricing, discounts or similar kinds of incentives.
Do Not Make Promises You Cannot Honor
If you are certain that the product cannot be sold at a reduced price do not hint that it can be sold more reasonably at the beginning of the negotiation process. It is not advisable to pretend that a discount will be possible when you clearly know that you cannot accommodate one. When you face this dilemma, you must remind the client the worthiness of your product. It will present you with the perfect opportunity to go over the specifications of the offer so that the client can better appreciate what he or she is receiving. If the client has more questions and requires additional information about why the product is costly, oblige him / her by giving the pertinent information.
Know When to Let Go
Always bear in mind that the customer or prospective buyer needs you as much as you need him. It is very essential to know when to say ‘no’. When something is important to you, you can refuse to compromise and hold a firm stand. This will even enable you to win your client’s trust and respect. Do not hurry into loss-making contracts and regret later. This can be quite challenging when you are in the midst of a slump in sales. However, making too large a concession or giving too huge a discount will also not prove beneficial to your cause.
Know When to Move On
It is essential to know when to stop trying. This is particularly true in the case of travelling sales people who do door-to-door sales. If you are unable to stimulate the client’s interest despite extensive attempts, you should realize that your efforts will not yield favorable results and move on. However, it is also recommended that you make a graceful departure. Always leave your business card so that the client can contact you at a later date, should he /she change her mind.
Follow Up Promptly
This is undoubtedly an invaluable part of salesmanship. Always keep in touch with your buyer or customer. Seek to provide prompt after-sales service. Exhibit your genuine nature and assure your client that your concern for him / her is still the same as it was before the sale was finalized. Even if you have been unsuccessful in making the sale materialize, always remember that situations change. If you continue to stay in touch with any prospective client you may be able to make a successful deal should a sudden need for your product emerge.
Being accommodating towards your clients not only guarantees their return for purchase of more of your products but also ensures that you receive many favorable referrals from your unmistakably satisfied clients.