However, this new challenging environment means that negotiation has become an inevitable and key part of the buying and selling conversation. Businesses are under huge pressure and any spend is being scrutinised at a more senior level. This is making buying decisions very risky for clients so many are looking to minimise that risk by negotiating harder than ever before.
At the same time, many sales people are being asked to sell new products at the right price. This compounds the need for effective negotiation. Many salespeople view the negotiation from their own perspective which often drives the wrong negotiation choices. Too often, negotiation can quickly become confrontational and end with sales people lowering their price to appease the client or digging their heels in and going into a deadlock situation.
Overcoming this challenge in the right way has become even more important as clients are stressed and more emotional. Handling negotiation in the wrong way right now has become very risky, as being seen as aggressive, passive or inauthentic can have an even more negative impact than before. Relationships and reputation can be severely damaged.
Today, it is more important than ever for sales people to switch perspective and approach negotiation understanding their client’s point of view so that they can understand the underlying motivation behind their need to negotiate and adapt their approach. Then they can help the client change their outlook and reach an outcome that works for both parties.
Effective negotiation has always been a key aspect of the sales process, but these extraordinary conditions have made it a vital skill for sales people. The way that we approach negotiation now will have a significant and long-lasting effect on sales performance.
Alex Johnson, CEO & Founder, GFC Media Group