Whether we are working with prospects or long-standing customers, negotiation is a very real element of the buying process for many of us. Successful negotiation does not only mean meeting your clients in the middle between your price and theirs; it can involve creative thinking, addressing issues standing in their way, building a stronger relationship, etc… So, here are some key points to know to increase your chances of being successful in any negotiation.

Theory: The “Barter Story”

You own an apple orchard.

Your neighbor owns an orange grove.

You approach your neighbor to make a barter or trade … your apples for his oranges. In this scenario above Who is the buyer? Who is the seller?

The answer is … Neither. And as a result, neither has more leverage than the other, neither feel the pressure.

However, if one takes the same scenario but replaces his oranges for cash, suddenly, you are now the seller and he’s the buyer and much of the leverage moves over to him. Why is that? Is it not just a barter still? Aren’t you trading your apples for his cash in an equitable manner?


Think of the act of selling like the act of making a ‘trade’ or ‘barter’. This will impact your attitude right from the get-go. To successfully start negotiating, think of your discussion like two people coming together each wanting to make a trade.

      • A “formal” negotiation at the “11th hour” may be too late because their perception of your offering is likely already set.


The Process:


    • Only once you’ve taken time to understand both yours and their underlying
      interests can you begin your negotiation (don’t start negotiating until you have
      finalized the solution – not before) and have all the information to be creative
      and inventive.


    • Understand who your competitors are & what they are offering as compared to your
      solution. Determine the pros & cons and use that information to focus on the
      value you bring.


    • Make sure your solution & the difference it brings is valued by the customer. If
      your strength is quick delivery for example, but your audience does not value
      that, you have little to negotiate with.


    • A negotiation should only start if both parties come to the table wanting to
      make a deal. If one party is not committed to getting a deal done, they have the
      leverage as they have less at stake. So, if you are not sure if your customer
      truly wants to get a deal done, it may be better to walk away.


    • It’s a good idea to create a deadline – that’s when concessions usually occur.


    • Sometimes, especially on deals with very long sales cycles, you may feel too
      close to those you are negotiating with OR over-committed to get a deal done. In
      those instances, it may be best to bring in a teammate (often your boss).


    • True leverage comes to those who are truly prepared to walk away. This is easy
      to say but tough to do.



The People:


    • Know who you are negotiating with. Who are they? What do they value? How do they
      tick? Like in Poker, who you are playing against will impact the moves you make.


    • Trust is the cornerstone behind a successful negotiation. Don’t bother entering
      into a negotiation until that has been firmly established. Lack of trust causes
      suspicion & concern which derails the process.


    • If there’s one key thing to do or think about when negotiating, it is to take
      the time to get into the shoes of whom you are negotiating with. You need to
      have empathy on all levels.


    • Everybody always thinks they are reasonable. Perception, perception, perception
      = reality, reality, reality. Get into their head.


    • It’s never a good idea to lie. It’s never worth losing credibility. You can’t
      negotiate effectively without credibility.


    • Usually the person across the table has more to lose than you think. (People
      almost always underestimate this and think they have the least leverage)


    • Humility is critical. Style and demeanor can be as important as substance.
    • People like regular people. Always discuss commonalities first. This builds
      investment in the process.


    • Theatrics are important.
      Make people work for your concessions.


    • It’s more important to find a way to
      like the person you are dealing with than for them to like you. It’s believed
      that people want to agree with those they know like them.





© 2017 by Darren Rabie. Co-Founder and President of Focus America, Darren Rabie is also a passionate speaker, writer and jokester, having enjoyed speaking at over 350 events, trade shows, associations & CEO groups throughout North America…with topics including “How to Turn Leads into Sales”, “Manufacturing a Sale”, and “The Science of Selling”. Daren has helped hundreds of owner-operated B2B companies make the transition to a structured, scalable and accountable sales organization. For more information, visit www.focus-america.com or contact Darren directly via email at drabie@focus-america.com

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