Negotiation Strategies: Lesson Four

"The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit." ~Milton Friedman

Negotiation: Lesson Four

Seller Negotiation Techniques.

Believe it or not, every day everyone gets to be the seller. Not everyone does it for a living, but everyone does it. Negotiation, for a well trained sales professional, can be quite addicting. Convincing total strangers that the concepts you are suggesting for them are better than the concepts they hold currently is a serious rush. It is the easiest labor available, because the job description is essentially “Professional Conversationalist.” Yet, it can also be maddeningly difficult, because few people, if any, want to be “sold.” There is a fine living to be made negotiating – if you do it well – because it is a skill you can market anywhere in the world.

The 80/20 rule:

80 percent of all sales produced by any organization over a given amount of time will be produced by 20 percent of their sales force. Conversely, the remaining 20 percent of the sales will be split up between the other 80 percent of the team.

What this means, is that the innocent buyer in front you had a four-out-of-five chance of meeting a desperate, starving, nervous order-taker at the last place she was shopping. That less-than-skilled negotiator gave away the farm and still did not make a sale. Are you sure you don’t want to just go flip burgers? When a buyer says they are “Just Looking,” it means they are “looking” for a sales professional who will stop them from having to look any further.

Because professional negotiation for the seller may require a deeper understanding of rapport and establishing commonality, it shall be explored more thoroughly now. These skills work for most aspects of life, just as well as they work for closing deals, so pay attention.

Establishing good rapport fast, is not just about finding commonality of life experiences.

For a professional negotiator, “shared life experiences” are just frosting anyway. Rapport is established at the subconscious level, beyond the buyer’s awareness and ability to resist. People’s subconscious minds are making constant value judgments of everyone they come in contact with, based on body language and tonality. Things which few people are aware of consciously are screaming in great detail subconsciously.

Negotiation: Lesson FourIf the person you are in a negotiation with shows the same body language as you do, they are “like” you, and you like them. You can match breathing pace, speech patterns, body language and lexicon; no one will think a thing of it. They will, however, come to trust you on a subconscious level. “We are the same” their subconscious minds will tell them. You are not mocking them or tricking them; you are mirroring them. Establishing a deep rapport lock which will engender feelings of friendship and respect in both parties, towards each other.

Once you have that subconscious lock, you can begin to pace & lead them. Nod your head slowly in a positive way throughout your conversation and negotiation. They will begin to mirror you. You’re both in the same groove now, and you have mutually beneficial goals to reach. This is where you can start tagging question marks to the ends of your sentences, employing questions that naturally lead to an easy “yes.” “Looks good, doesn’t it?” “Excellent color, isn’t it?” “She has excellent taste, doesn’t she?” “This solves your problem, doesn’t it?” Plus the favorite negotiation closing question of all time…”Fair Enough?”

Positive tag-ons are the exception to Rule #3. If the person you are entering into negotiations with is already in the habit of telling you yes, your job is almost over before you start.

Do Not Start a Negotiation if the Buyer has Not Already Taken Emotional Ownership.

Negotiations are not the time when you Build Value. Negotiations are not when you overcome objections. In fact, if you’ve done your job properly, your buyer should be far more focused on the “Joys of Ownership,” along with the Benefits and the Advantages they will be receiving, from the goods or services you are delivering to them. Do not negotiate during the sales process, and do not sell during the negotiation process. Period.

Once your buyer has said, “Yes, this is the thing which suits my needs best, and I am ready to take ownership,” then you enter into negotiations. Which, at that point, should mostly be about a simple “going over the details” than anything else.

Once more, because it IS the First Rule: START HIGH. You should have already established that this unparalleled widget is of far greater value than its piddly little price. It will return unto the new owner a satisfaction unachievable in all their previous years. You hereby have express, written permission, to ask for every last dime. Full Price including gratuity, tax, license, plus that invisible spray on the bottom which protects against IRS audits and Scurvy.

By this point, the Buyer is not buying a Product, they are buying You.

They like you and want you to be the person who is there to handle their questions, after the sale. They understand you may not be making a whole bunch on this one deal, but every little bit helps. They are happy to be helping someone they like, reach their goals.

You are relaxed, you are calm, you are leaning back and showing no signs of pressure on yourself, nor on the buyer. If they take your deal, they’ve made an excellent purchase decision and could not have picked a better time. If they make a counter offer… They have made an offer! Further deepening of the emotional ownership. Feel free to look at their offer with your eyebrows in the air. Tilt your head for a moment, trying to make sense of it. Have them initial their offer, because YOU for surely didn’t come up with those figures.

Remain positive. The Boss owes you a favor, anyway. I don’t care if you own the company and are the only employee. Anything less than Retail, and you need a Consult: A book, A graph, Your Significant Other, the neighbor’s cat… Assuming of course you have no actual Boss, that is. Thus begins the negotiation.

Most people have a deep-seated fear of loss. As the seller, you are robbing them of all their other options. Perfectly reasonable people have been known to make perfectly reasonable offers to purchase, then bolt because their initial offer was accepted. In their minds they had obviously offered too much, because the deal was accepted too easily; the negotiation was not hard enough.

It is a sad fact, but the people who demand the very best deal, are often the least likely to recognize it if you offer it to them. For them, making a decision is equal to losing all their other options; a better deal might be just around the corner. You are not going to close every deal, and that does not make you a bad negotiator. People learn more from their losses and mistakes anyway.

Negotiation: Lesson FourIf you cannot get the buyer to take emotional ownership, by ALL means get another sales professional involved. As awesome and friendly as you are, failure to close is nothing personal. It is not your fault you look exactly like the person who stole the buyer’s date back in high school. Remove your ego from the equation, and prospect another buyer.

Love what you sell.

Believe in your heart that what you offer is the best solution to whatever need it fills. If you believe it, the buyer will believe it. If you do not feel that way about what you are selling, find something else to sell or find a less demanding occupation. A professional must enter into a negotiation knowing that all parties involved are going to receive the best value for the exchange. That is what separates the 20 percent at the top from the 80 percent who have not made it yet.

Editorial by Ben Gaul

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