Sales Tips: Before You Negotiate, Ask This Important Question

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®

Dangers of Price ConcessionsWhat would last month’s revenue numbers have been if you could have reduced discounting by just 10%?

Prospects will attempt to get you to make discount concessions simply to allow you to stay in the game or compete for their business.

They don’t know the value of your offering, you don’t know the value of your offering to them, and they are trying to treat you like a commodity.

Only bad things can happen to you if you fall into that trap. If it’s at the appropriate point/step in the sales process, that’s one thing; however, before indicating whether or not you are prepared to negotiate, the question we suggest you ask is:

“Are you telling me that I’m the selected vendor and the only thing you and I need to do in order to bring this purchase to closure today is to agree upon price?”

(Write this question down, I want you to have it with you. I want you to be able to recall what you should do when you find yourself in this situation. Now that I’ve brought it to your attention you’ll find it happens more often than you currently recognize!)

  • Buyer NegotiationsIf they answer YES and you understand them to be the decision maker, and you are prepared to negotiate, then proceed to attempt to close the business.

  • If they answer NO, we recommend the pricing that you have provided remain your price. CAUTION: If you make a concession now it will be the starting point for further negotiations later on in the sales cycle, if you get that far.

You can’t sell to someone who can’t buy. If you agree with this concept, allowing yourself to be drawn into premature negotiations with non-decision makers can result in further requests for concessions from everyone who you will eventually have to meet with. The concession you make to the first person becomes the starting point for the next person. It’s like getting nibbled to death by a duck!

Remember: It’s your prospects’s right and obligation to try to obtain the best possible deal for their company. It’s YOUR right and obligation to get the best possible price for you and your employer. It may be necessary for you to walk away to have the buyer conclude that it is as good as it is going to get. An above-quota salesperson will do this in a heartbeat. Ask a below-quota salesperson to do this and be prepared to break out the defibrillator. The lesson being: It pays to prospect and maintain a healthy pipeline.

If I’ve made a point with you, or if I’ve caused you to take pause and reconsider what you are doing, I would appreciate you sharing this article/sales tip with someone you feel would benefit from reading it. Please share it with a peer or a colleague to pay it forward. Good selling!

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