Negotiation is an often daunting but necessary part of making a sale. The main goal is to reach an agreement that works for everyone, but many sales reps feel nervous approaching the conversation. Whether they didn’t properly prepare, they lack confidence in their negotiation skills or they let their emotions dictate the discussion, sales reps often fumble when it comes to negotiating.

While sales negotiation may not be your strong suit, you can take steps to master the art of this important sales skill. According to Jason Eatmon, chief sales officer at Sales Gravy, the real magic happens in the pre-negotiation stage.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Eatmon’s thoughts on four fundamentals to master for guaranteed success in your sales negotiations.

1. Keep your emotions in check. You might experience a full spectrum of emotions before negotiating, including doubt, anxiety and fear. To become an expert negotiator, you must learn how to tamp down these disruptive emotions before they debilitate your efforts. According to Eatmon, emotional control means staying aware of your emotions and their negative effects in order to best control what you say and do. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, but don’t let them control your behavior. Instead, identify your feelings and stop them from overtaking the conversation.

2. Only negotiate qualified deals. Another fundamental of sales negotiation is paying attention to the kind of deals that get to the negotiation stage. Eatmon notes that many poorly qualified deals get to the latter process stages only to stall and congest the sales pipeline. This often happens when sales reps try to hold on to deals that should be disqualified. To succeed at sales negotiation, be sure to only negotiate deals that meet your company’s qualification requirements.

3. Engage in effective discovery. Sales negotiation also involves mastering the ability to discover stakeholders’ emotional and business needs, says Eatmon. When you understand your prospects’ objectives and issues, you can present a solid solution and increase your chances of closing the deal. Effective discovery also allows you to counter common objections at the negotiation table, such as “This costs a lot” and “Your competition seems to be less expensive.”

4. Adhere to the sales process. The final fundamental of sales negotiation is sticking to the sales process, says Eatmon. This means not becoming overly eager and caving to the whims and requests of the prospect. When this happens, you step away from the defined sales process and can end up losing your leverage and eating away at your profit margins. Eatmon notes that high-performing sales reps take every opportunity to enhance their win probability by aligning their customers’ buying and decision-making process to their own sales process.

Few sales professionals look forward to negotiating, but you can make this part of the sales process smoother by following the guidance above. Remember that the real negotiation happens before you ever sit down to discuss details. You should only negotiate with qualified prospects and you should also fully understand their needs and issues going into the conversation. Avoid letting your emotions control your behavior during negotiations and always follow the outlined sales process. When you follow these fundamentals, you can create a win-win for everyone involved.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jason Eatmon is the chief sales officer at Sales Gravy. He is also a thought leader, speaker and trainer.