"We're in a rush (a 30-day mentality) to get the business, so we tend to give in to customer demands versus negotiating a win/win situation. Management is often too impatient to work through a negotiation process. They take the deal and move on, regardless of the fact that we're impacting future business dealings with the customer by demonstrating that we'll quickly and easily relent to their demands when put under pressure, especially if there is a danger of not securing the business in our time frame (i.e., quarter-end or year-end)."* Does this sound familiar?
That's because for too long, negotiation has been consiered a so-called soft skill, little more than tactics and verbal sparring that belong strictly in the domain of sales professionals. In fact, negotiation often takes a back seat to much more pressing sales issues such as forecasting, account management and opportunity management. But as we'll see, without negotiation everything mentioned above suffers, and with negotiation everything is improved.
So where you you fall? Do you think negotiation is a soft skill? As yourself:
- Do I have a consistent planning and execution process when it comes to negotiation?
- Do I give in to tough, last-minute demands out of fear of losing a deal?
- Do I assume the buyer always has more power?
- Do I spend enough time analyzing the customer's side of the deal?
- Do I get knocked back on my heels by tough verbal tactics?
Negotiation is vital to the lifeblood of each and every company doing business today. And strategic negotiation is neither a soft skill nor an elective; it is a comprehensive, analytical process that encompasses every department that touches sales.
The fact is most negotiations that involve professional buyers and sellers are very complex in nature. If they're not, then you're both negotiating a commodity and there is no reason for humans on both sides of the deal. It can be put on the web and reverse auctioned.
Find out more about structuring and responding intelligently to the most challenging negotiation in a two-page article entitled, The New School of Negotiation - You May be Making Negotiations Harder Than They Have to Be.
* Quote taken from Think! Inc. / SAMA research study responses.