How to develop your negotiation skills

If a business deal isn’t negotiated properly it can be detrimental to both the client and to the salesperson. The majority of negotiation may appear to be common sense but, it’s no surprise that many ignore their basic instincts when caught up in the moment.

So, how should you go about perfecting your negotiation skills in order to achieve maximum results? I spoke to Simon Edmunds, one of our top sales managers at Pareto to find out what his top negotiating tips are. Here is the advice he gave…

 

The buying process

One key part of a negotiation process is the understanding of the buying process and the challenges it incurs. The buying process exists in all meetings and is related to the structure and performance of the salesperson and the positioning of when to say or do certain things.

The process should be delivered in tiers, with the lowest tier taking up the most time. This is the skill of building up rapport. General opening questions should follow, and the better the questions are, the better the understanding of the client thus the better deal can be made.

Going up the model, the shortest amount of time should be spent on the actual close of the negotiation. By spending time and effort on the lower tiers, the processes above should become just a yes/no situation and take no time at all.

 

Trading variables

This negotiation skill is one of the most important. This tactic involves trading something that may not be valuable to you yet has high significance to the client. 

In turn, the client will believe that you have gone beyond expectations and they have got the better end of the deal whilst leaving your margin unaffected. By using a variable that you do not value, you create a perfect negotiation tool for making a successful sale.

 

Opening questions

This is probably the most important part of the process after building the initial rapport. You can gauge the complete scope of the client's needs through successful questioning. One way of qualifying the opportunity through questioning is our Pareto MEANCATS model. MEANCATS stands for Money, Emotion, Authority, Need, Competition, Advantage, Timescale and Scope/Size. These are the ideas which need to be explored when questioning the buyer. Once these have been asked, you will have a better understanding of what the buyer needs and this gives you a basis to judge the remainder of the negotiation process on.

Always remember when you are leaving a business meeting you should have next steps in place to action rather than leaving empty handed.

Two top tips from Simon to perfect your negotiation skills are:

  • Get better at asking the opening questions
  • Listen to the answers fully to enable you to tailor your pitch

For more hints and tips, tweet us @pareto_law

How to develop your negotiation skills

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