SELLING IS ABOUT 8 SIMPLE STEPS AND A LOT OF DISCIPLINE (Do it and business will grow a minimum of 15%…Guaranteed)
By Jim Hernandez
This is the sixth article based on a four part selling cycle that is further broken down into eight major steps.
The four areas focus on How to Find, Sell, Close and Keep More Customers. We continue the series discussing step 6 of 8:
PART 3 – How to Close More Customers
STEP 6 – Negotiation
Negotiation is the step most sales people, and even customers are often in a hurry to get to. Yet the sales professionals I know after 30 years of delivering training in this field, are not the best at this. Therefore, we covered the more important steps in 1 through 5.
When properly done, this step can help the customer get what they need and allow the salesperson to make a living in a more profitable way. To negotiate, you must have tried to determine the most important way in which a customer wants to pay for or get what they want. In order to explain what I mean, let me give you a few ideas that you might be able to relate to:
- PRICE – On my first day as a commissioned salesperson, I was told that the first thing a customer is going to ask about is the price. Although the price is not a secret, you need to get the customer away from the price and sell them value. Let’s face it, if price was the most important factor in obtaining any product or service, the lowest priced item would always be the best seller or most desired.
- DELIVERY TIME – Timing can sometimes be the biggest issue when someone is buying or signing up for something. Here are some examples:
- Let’s think about getting your house painted. Often the most important issue for the customer is negotiating a time frame that will work for them. In this case, time frame is not just what day they will be able to start painting your home, but how long it will take.
- I met a Marine, who when I asked him why he chose the Marine Corp. over other branches of the military, he told me it was because they could get him enrolled the fastest. This Marine did not want to wait, so he negotiated when they could sign him up. He enrolled on a Thursday and was at boot camp on a Tuesday.
- PAYMENTS/CREDIT – Since the invention of lending, negotiation on payment terms has become one of the most important ways in which customers want to negotiate. Buying everything from homes, cars, vacation properties, TV’s, computers, and even club memberships has been made easier through the availability of credit. We often see ads that offer their product at a monthly cost, based on low or no interest, or no payments for a period of time. Too often we will negotiate with the customer who is going to finance what we sell, and then base the negotiations on the price. Wouldn’t it be easier if you sat down with the customer and developed a reasonable solution that is based on a month payment instead? It will not only make it easier for the customer to understand, but will make it more profitable for you. If you know that your potential client is going to buy from you by making payments, why not just tell them how affordable it will be per month?
There are other variables that will be important to customers when trying to negotiate, but as you can see by the three examples above, once again Step 2 in the process is so important to make you more successful in determining the best way in which to negotiate with a customer.
Now let’s get into some important tips about negotiation:
- Never be in a hurry to discount as a solution to getting the sale.
- If you are negotiating a discount every time you have to lower your price, do it slowly. The faster you lower your price, the less valuable your product is perceived.
- Listen to what the customer is saying during negotiation. Then pause and think to consider what they are saying, and how you might need to respond.
- Be completely knowledgeable in all areas of the sale you are conducting. In this case knowledge is power, because it will make you a more professional negotiator.
- Never stop selling. When negotiating, if you have gotten the customer to the point of saying “yes I want what you sell,” never stop reminding them of the reasons they gave for wanting to buy your product.
My final point is to always develop a process of thinking long term with a customer. If you negotiate with a customer and try to create a win-win scenario, then your success rate will go up in the moment, and you will develop more loyalty and referrals for yourself. Do not become one of those hard closing salespeople that are always focused on getting as much as they can every time, no matter what the situation is. While negotiating, remember to have in your mindset that “I want to have a win-win scenario.”