18 Negotiation Steps

1. Plan your meeting.  Know who you are negotiating with.  Do not shoot from the hip.

2. Always start talking about your business values before you start negotiating anything.

3. Get your prospects to confirm before negotiating, that they agree with  the value of your business proposition.

4. When the prospect asks for the first  Concession  -- hesitate  immediately.

5. Practice what you are going to say with someone in the office.  Most SR do not rehearse and get burned by a prepared negotiator at the prospect’s company.

6. Never give any concessions unless they give you something in return.

7. When negotiating difficult areas, never agree immediately.  Always wait and pause before answering. Great negotiators talk less, listen more, and pause longer.

8. Never agree to anything early in the negotiations.  Studies have shown that the longer it takes to get a concession the greater value they  will  place on that concession.

9. Always write down every discussed concession.

10. To successfully negotiate with  a senior manager, you must give them something.   Buyers have a strong desire to feel that they worked hard to get their company a good  deal.  In negotiating perception is reality.  Let the prospect believe that they have achieved something, (they won).

11. Use concessions as negotiation steps that moves you forward during the sale.

12. Never let a senior manager bully you by an imposed deadline.  That is a negotiating tactic.   Always ask for time ( and hour, a phone call, the next day) when you can get back after you have considered the concession request.

13. Never be a bad person; always position your self as the 3rd party in the negotiations – “my firm does not have that as an option.”

14. When the prospect tells you their business needs, always say, “ I understand that that is  important to  you”  You must agree with their needs before they will agree with your  needs.  Agreeing is not accepting, but it shows peer respect - A friend of mine went to Japan for his company to negotiate a big contract.  He thought that everyone was agreeing with his proposal until he found out that they were nodding their heads because they understood what he  was saying - not agreeing with what he was proposing. Lesson Learned?

15. When asked for a price concession by the prospect, instead of giving the requested concession, give greater value to your product and keep the same price.

16. When negotiating across the table, position your self based on the type of issues you are being challenged with.   When asking a concession,  Lean Forward.  When listening to a concession request, lean back in your chair as in a contemplative mood.

17. Never E mail or overnight a proposal to a prospect.**  Hand-deliver all proposals and walk through the proposal page by page with the executive. Emails have hurt the negotiating tactics of all sales representatives.

18. Always send and E Mail and a Thank you Card when you get back from the negotiations.  You can confirm all mutual negotiations which were agreed upon in the e mail.

If the prospect is in town, take the proposal.  If the prospect is a long drive or flight,
determine the cost and anticipated close possibilities before jumping in your car or on to an airline.  I have worked on negotiations via the telephone.  It can be done, it takes some practice.  
One of the best ways to negotiate is to set the rules up front.  I begin my installation of
my software the moment I start talking to someone on the telephone.  If you start by using the word “no” when they ask for something, it goes along ways towards reducing the risk of losing an order during negotiations.   
Something else that needs to be discussed with your company and that is how far can you negotiate.  I used to work for very large companies and negotiation was more than painful, because of the short string that the company had on my negotiating abilities.

Mel Carney, Sales Professionals