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MORE THAN 75 PERCENT of the sales reps I have coached through the years cite price as their number one objection. Given the tumultuous state of our economy, that’s no surprise. Even when the economy is in a better place, however, one side effect of a recession is the bargaining mindset that it creates in the market. It’s a reality that sales professionals everywhere face, so it is vital to sharpen your sales negotiation skills. Improve your sales performance by avoiding these five common negotiating mistakes. Mistake #1: Not asking enough questions. The person who asks the most questions in a sales negotiation ultimately charts the direction for that conversation. Don’t ask why. Instead, you should ask “what” questions to encourage your prospect to focus on the facts. Mistake #2: Discounting emotions in a negotiation. While it’s certainly advisable not to react emotionally in a negotiation, emotions do play a factor. The key is to manage your prospect’s emotions by building trust. Prospects that feel understood, engaged and valued are more likely to trust you, which paves the way for a rational decision about your proposal. Mistake #3: Bargaining with yourself. Don’t cut costs before you ever present your proposal to the prospect. If you encounter a prospect that’s a bargainer, he often won’t buy without some sort of concession. If you make all those concessions behind the scenes, though, your prospect won’t see your flexibility during the negotiation. Mistake #4: Bargaining instead of negotiating. Instead of cutting your price, add something of value to your proposal. Look at yourself as a problem solver, not just a negotiator. Your role is to ask the right questions to find out what the other party needs to feel satisfied with the negotiation and then to find a unique way to deliver what the prospect needs. Come prepared with a few ideas that add value without also adding a hard cost to the equation. Mistake #5: Responding immediately to an objection. When prospects raise an objection, they’re often hinting at hidden issues. If you immediately address each objection, you may gloss over their hidden concerns and lose the sale without ever knowing why. When your prospect throws out an objection to the cost, for example, consider saying, “I can tell this an important concern, and rightfully so. Tell me more about your hesitation with cost.” What you may find is that your prospect isn’t concerned about cash flow, but he is worried about the return he will see on his investment. Avoiding these common sales negotiation mistakes will help you close more deals, while still forging strong relationships along the way.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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