B2B Sales Negotiation

Sales negotiation is quite easy provided one is very well prepared in the overall subject.

But where most people overlook is the process part of the negotiation. There are many elements that go into the sales negotiation and it is difficult if one doesn’t stick to a process.

In this blog, we will list the 7 common elements of any sales negotiation. The priorities and importance of each of these elements are subjective as it depends on a case by case.

  • Relationship
  • Interests
  • BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)
  • Creativity
  • Fairness
  • Commitment
  • Communication
7 Pillars of Sales Negotiation (Source: Negotiation Skills for Managers)

Relationships

Building a strong relationship is extremely important before entering into any sort of negotiation. Also, there is a chance that you may be working with the client for some time and negotiation comes up frequently. In this case, it is always wise to view the sales negotiation each time as something of an ongoing relationship.

Some of the successful negotiators depend on various resources, be it from internal to the company (R&D, Operations Head, Finance team ) or at clients place different sets of buyers whom they can bring in.

Interests

In any business where the objective is of long term relation, then negotiation cannot be seen as one time even. It is not a sport or game where one person loses and other wins. Business negotiations are of a win-win.

At the same time, to have longer-term success, you will have to focus on what is your interests first. Also, go with the approach to serve your interests, even if you don’t have all the answers.

You want to approach the clients in the form of learning their side of view and how it can serve your interests by coming up with a mutual agreement.

BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)

If you don’t have the best alternative to a negotiated agreement, then there is every chance that you will end up with an agreement that may go against your interest. It is always preferred to have an alternative. It can be that you have a lot more customers in the pipeline, you have competing offers for your solution, etc.

Keep in the mind, as the clients share more and more information, the BATNA keeps changing. Be flexible but have a BATNA always.

Being Creative

Today the buyers have a lot more information. When they are actually negotiating, they are having multiple data with them be it from competitor offers, different solutions itself or even the option of buying vs. not buying.

Also, every buyer considers his situation unique and expects solutions catered to his situation.

It can be in terms of customized features, support, pricing, etc. So approaching the negotiation with a single offer may not help. What is needed is to be creative, having multiple bargaining chips and come up with an added value that can seal the agreement.

Fairness

Irrespective of how big the customer is, how big the order, treat them fairly. Clients may not buy-in or feel ownership of the negotiated agreement if at any instance they feel they aren’t treated fairly.

Understanding the market dynamics, etiquette is key when you are dealing. How you behave during the negotiation can define the outcome of the deal you offer

Commitment

Every negotiation must be seen with a long term outlook. Do not commit if you have slightest doubts. It is good to evaluate the agreement which can give early warnings about risk. Also, long term negotiations must have multiple milestones defined to track the progress

Communication

During B2B sales negotiations, what is more, important is how much you listen over how much you speak. Paying apt attention to what other parties say not in terms of words only but understanding the feels gives crucial information to your decision making.

Seek to understand then be understood.

Stephen Kovey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Also, listening builds a sense of trust and the other party feels understood. It shows you respect their views.

Summary

There you go, the 7 pillars of any successful B2B Sales negotiation. But the fundamental to success in negotiation is all about being prepared.

Using negotiation tools such as developing Interest MAP, BATNA, Multiple offerings so it helps you be prepared and will improve your negotiation chances.

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