Selling is a process through which the seller identifies how the solutions he offers resolve a buyer’s needs at a given point in time. Whereas negotiation is the process through which both parties agree to the terms of a deal, which is better for both than any other alternative deal. Some people have stated there should only be a negotiation when there is a genuine commitment from both the buyer and seller towards a conditional sale. However, I think this approach is somewhat short-sighted.
If, as a salesperson, we are looking to close a deal, wouldn’t we want to strategize to position ourselves as the alternative with greatest probability of success while minimizing the risks for our customer? In order to be able to differentiate to win in a competitive environment, it is imperative that we begin the process of negotiating in tandem with the process of selling. If we wait to negotiate at the end of the sales process, it is already too late. Why? Because inherent in the sales process are a series of customer decision criteria which must be addressed, and if we are not capable of positioning our solutions in the proper context with adequate negotiating tactics we are bound to lose value. Before you know it, you are being compared on an uneven playing field with your competitors because you were unable to differentiate to win early on in the process.
Procurement professionals view negotiating as a core competence and an integral part of their purchasing process. Sales people: it's time to follow suit and integrate negotiating into your sales process to be equally as effective.
Interested in learning more? Request our white paper entitled Changing the Conversation from the Price of Your Products to the Value of Your Solutions.