Sales Negotiation Training: Close Deals and Increase Your Profits

9 mins

This guide explores the impact of bespoke sales negotiation training, highlighting how to maximise the return on this investment in your workforce's skills.

From early-career sales executives to seasoned and time-served account managers, sales negotiation training is vital to improving sales performance and cadence—helping staff close deals faster, increasing the likelihood of seizing cross and up-selling opportunities, and supporting your team to realise their sales potential. 

According to survey results published by Harvard Law School, 94% of business buyers carry out in-depth research on products, services, pricing, and competitors before contacting a vendor. This means that your prospects are going to take a proactive approach to negotiation. The question is, are your salespeople ready to face that challenge with an approach informed by best practices in consultative sales techniques? 

This guide will look closely at the impact of sales negotiation training on your workforce at all levels of seniority, highlighting how a sales negotiator—from the entry to the executive level—can benefit from the content covered in a bespoke negotiation skills training course. We’ll also explore the question of the best time to enrol your staff on sales negotiation skills training courses, allowing you to maximise the return on your investment in your employees’ skills. 

What is Sales Negotiation Training?

The best sales negotiation training masterclasses will focus on skills which add value to your employees’ customer relationships, empowering them to take control and lead discussions around your product or service. But what topics will a sales negotiator study and put into practice, and what does negotiation skills training look like in 2023? 

First and foremost, modern-day negotiation training courses in the UK have moved away from price-led negotiation towards a solutions-based approach that encourages your staff to embrace consultative sales techniques whilst still protecting their margin. 

As three industry leaders highlight in a discussion facilitated by McKinsey & Company, leading with pricing in negotiation is often less effective than an approach which is rooted in clearly and accurately articulating the value-add of a product or service. 

Effective negotiation skills training will impart several lessons: 

  • Preparation is business-critical. To have any hope of providing a solution to a qualified lead’s challenges, your sales team needs to be able to identify and study customer needs, communicate these requirements with all relevant internal stakeholders, and actively listen during conversations with that prospective client. 

  • Establishing rapport with customers is often half the battle. When your prospects and customers trust that your salespeople have their business success in mind, they’re much more likely to respond well to the negotiation process. A win-win solution where both parties profit is the aim of all effective sales negotiation training, and is the foundation of long-lasting and mutually beneficial business relationships. 

  • Setting objectives and defining limits can minimise the risk of losing the deal. When your staff know how to set actionable goals for their negotiations—and clearly understand the boundaries beyond which they can’t proceed without jeopardising their own company’s interests—they can approach these scenarios with greater confidence and the knowledge of what they want to achieve. 

Alongside this, sales negotiation training will encourage your employees to understand the practice of negotiation within the context of their roles. Course providers will aim to ensure that every sales negotiator can participate in group scenarios, live roleplays, and planning activities relevant to the obstacles they face in completing their day-to-day responsibilities. 

If you’re interested in learning more after reading this article, see our recent guide to driving sales team performance to gain a deeper insight into how effective sales training and development can drive business success.

How Does a Bespoke Course Help with Training Negotiation Skills?

So, now that we know what sales negotiation training is, and why it’s quickly becoming a crucial aspect of any salesperson’s essential, everyday toolkit, we can look closely at the advantages that a sales negotiator can expect to gain from a bespoke course of study provided by a reputable and government-approved provider. 

Negotiation training courses in the UK will encourage your employees to understand how to create, present, and package solutions to the most complex and challenging problems your clients and leads present. 

Likewise, active listening can allow your salespeople to gain a deeper understanding of an account’s specific industry, the wider market trends influencing their financial situation, and their primary competition within the niche they’ve carved out. This allows a sales negotiator to propose solutions that offer a clear and unique value-add for your customers, encouraging them to craft evidence-based pitches that clearly articulate the positive outcomes a potential client can expect when utilising your product. 

Negotiation is no longer carried out entirely over the phone. The wealth of communication channels we have available to us in 2023 means that negotiation skills training providers are able to encourage employees to package their proposed solutions effectively.  

By drawing on case studies and testimonials as proof and giving prospects the ability to explore your product or service through visual aids such as demonstration videos or guided tours, negotiation training enhances your salespeople’s ability to communicate potentially complex concepts in a way that a lay audience can appreciate, whilst building rapport and trust by immediately addressing objections and questions in a knowledgeable and confident way.

On a practical level, a sales negotiator will also be given the ability to understand and implement a STEP analysis, focusing on the social, technological, economic, and political factors that could impact their key accounts—enabling them to stay abreast of the latest industry trends to make certain that every touchpoint with your organisation is valuable and supportive. 

This allows your salespeople to assist clients with pain points that occur in relation to the ever-changing modern business world, for instance, those that will be impacted by the changes to political legislation surrounding contract work—as was the case when the IR35 regulations were introduced in April 2021. Alternatively, this could help your salespeople to support clients who are struggling to meet the demands of Generation Z customers, and thus are at risk of failing to attract this rapidly-growing demographic. 

As a result of a robust STEP analysis process, your salespeople can play a pivotal role in your product or service development process, enabling them to inform or lead a broader strategic transformation within your business.

When to Enroll Your Staff on Negotiation Skills Training Courses

There are a few signs you can be on the lookout for when assessing whether your salespeople require negotiation skills training: 

  • They’re offering too many discounts. If your sales team lacks confidence in negotiations or is uncomfortable with the process, they will likely have to adjust your pricing to close. This is, of course, less than ideal, so recognising it and asking what you could do to help your staff to negotiate more effectively will allow you to understand whether they require training.

  • They struggle to establish long-lasting relationships with clients. If you’re losing out to competitors or customers are coming to you with more complaints, it could be that your staff are failing to set expectations, a crucial part of the negotiation process.

  • They have difficulty handling objections. Effective negotiation skills training will enable your staff to understand prospects’ underlying concerns and needs, so if they’re not able to get past certain objections or gatekeepers, it could be time to refresh their skills.

But beyond these considerations, what is the right time to gain maximum engagement and return on investment when training negotiation skills?

Whilst there’s no specific point in a salesperson’s career—or, indeed, in the business calendar—that can be suggested to be the “best” to begin training negotiation skills across the board, it can be helpful to look at the peaks and troughs of activity in your organisation to understand when your staff will be in the right position to engage with these learning and development initiatives. 

For instance, if you’re finding that your industry has a quieter period over the summer months as your customers and prospects begin to take their annual leave, this can be an excellent opportunity to train employees and impart the skills they’ll need when clients begin to flood back in September, preparing them for the busier autumn months. This can also be a useful strategy if you employ graduate talent, since they’ll likely begin onboarding during the second quarter of the year—meaning that you can deliver training to existing and incoming staff simultaneously. 

At the same time, it’s been shown that organisations that engage in continuous sales training have 50% higher sales per employee, when compared to their counterparts that don’t engage in a continuous training process. Moreover, high-performing, sales-focused organisations provide ongoing training at twice the rate of their low-performing competitors. 

Your unique circumstances will dictate when providing that first burst of learning and development is best. Company goals, sales cycles, and wider employee availability will all determine how effective one quarter will be over another, but it’s a good idea to also ensure that resources remain available after the initial delivery of training—especially as your company begins to grow and new recruits are taken on. 

Closing Remarks

Sales negotiation training is indispensable for enhancing business performance and increasing profitability. Investing in bespoke negotiation skills training allows you to realise the potential of your workforce, encouraging your salespeople to adopt a consultative, solutions-based approach as opposed to an ineffective, price-led negotiation.

As a result of partnering with a government-approved provider of negotiation skills training, your team will be better placed to build trust and rapport with customers and prospects alike by being able to articulate the unique values of your products or services. 

Reputable providers of negotiation training courses in the UK can equip your staff with essential sales skills, as well as the ability to conduct STEP analyses, which allow them to stay ahead of industry and market trends and contribute to the wider transformation of your products or service provision. 

Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all timing for negotiation skills training, identifying periods of lower activity can be advantageous, helping to ensure your employees are fully engaged in your learning and development initiatives and you’re maximising your return on investment. Similarly, continuous sales negotiation training has been shown to significantly improve performance, leading to higher numbers of staff exceeding their quota and better overall results for sales-focused organisations. 

Ultimately, investing in sales negotiation training empowers your workforce—at all levels of seniority—and positions you to seize business opportunities and achieve long-term success in a competitive marketplace. 

Expert Sales Negotiation Training Courses in the UK 

Pareto has been providing expert negotiation skills training courses for over 25 years, supporting over 120,000 sales professionals during this period and driving a 93% performance uplift in the organisations we partner with. 

If you’d like to learn more, contact us today to discuss your requirements with one of our specialist consultants. 

Looking to strengthen your Business?

Let's Talk