Despite the creation and implementation of sales processes, there is still one area of sales that was considered, and is still considered, a tactical, reactive, and behavioral art: the art of negotiating. Because of the way business was conducted in the past, the fact that no established processes for sales negotiating existed didn't present any particular problems. However, the same market forces that 20 years ago drove sales to shift from a personal relationship model to a more process-oriented and analytical one are now driving the need for a new approach to negotiating.
To get a better understanding of exactly what those changes are, we conducted a survey among salespeople. Although we were, of course, already aware of some of the changes, we discovered, somewhat to our surprise, that they are even more dramatic than we had thought. Among those surveyed:
- 85% say negotiations have become increasingly more complex
- 74% report having to face more professional buyers in the marketplace
- 67% say they're seeing increased irrational behavior among their competitors
- 63% report that customer relationships are becoming increasingly long term rather than short term
- 85% say that more internal negotiation is now taking place than in the past
- 58% report seeing major consolidations on both the buyer and seller sides
But what do all these numbers mean? Exactly how are they impacting sales negotiations, and in what way do they make the development and implementation of sales negotiation strategies so important?
Giving up the old way of looking at negotiation and embracing a strategic negotiation process will greatly improve the odds of your conducting negotiations that are successful not only from your point of view but also from the point of view of those on the other side of the table.
Although you don't realize it, virtually every negotiation you've even been, or ever will be, involved in follows a consistent pattern. Almost all of the tactics the other side throws at you fall into only two categories. You can prepare for them in advance, whether you have five minutes or five days to prepare. A systematic and rational process will enable you to establish practical and effective ways of dealing with whatever comes at you. You will have the ability to go beyond "win-win" to the creation of true, measurable business value - and that's the science of negotiating.