Successful negotiation and the use of influence in the right way is critical in professional selling.
Negotiation is a learned skill that can take years of experience and practice to be really good at it.
Within my alliance network, I work with at least two negotiation experts who help sales professionals become better at negotiation. This is one area that I find we are often thinking we´re better at than we really are.
In my case, I believe I am a fair negotiator — but I hire full-time, professional negotiation trainers and consultants because they know ten times more than I do.
If I had to train someone on my own to be better at negotiation, I´d recommend the following:
1. Read the classic, Getting to Yes – Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Fisher, Ury, and Patton. It is a classic and must-read for anyone in selling. There are so many copies in print, you can buy one used for next to nothing. Then read, Influence – the Psychology of Persuasion, by Cialdini. It is another important book to help you with tools and a strategy for negotiation.
2. Always be thinking win-win. A win for you is not a win for someone else. If you can find a way for a win to be for both you and someone else, that is a good thing. When you rush to close deals by the end of the month – that is for your benefit. When you encourage a client to start as soon as possible because of the benefits he or she will gain due to the implementation of your service or product (make sure that’s true)- that is win-win. It is a big shift in mindset. If you can benefit as your client benefits – that is the ultimate in professional selling.
3. Become a subject matter expert on negotiation. Alliance partner Jeanette Nyden, an attorney and negotiation consultant, posts great articles on her website. Read short articles like these that will get your wheels turning and will cause you to want to learn more.
E-mail any ideas you have for how you became a better negotiator and I’ll post them in a future article.