Does the word “negotiation” strike fear in your heart? Many people associate it with a power struggle. You might envision intimidation, conflict and a clear winner and loser. When you work in sales, negotiation can be scary. However, it’s also a necessary part of the process. Most buyers will want to negotiate price or terms. That’s why it’s important to understand what your prospects value, says Julie Thomas, president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates.

When you know what matters to your prospects, you can begin a successful negotiation where both parties win. No one is taken advantage of and everyone feels good about the outcome. So, what should you do when prospects want to talk price? Read on. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Thomas’ strategies that can put you in the best position to negotiate.

Strategy No. 1: Offer trade-offs. When your clients want to talk price, be prepared to put some trade-offs on the table. This helps establish that your deliverables and terms and conditions are valuable, says Thomas. You could offer a price discount if, for example, your prospect agrees to a smaller deliverable or signs up for a longer contract. You might also extend a price discount if your buyer allows you to issue a press release announcing that your company is their preferred vendor. These trade-off ideas allow both you and the buyer to get something valuable out of the deal.

Strategy No. 2: Beef up the offer. Sometimes prospects aren’t interested in a trade-off. If you find yourself in this situation, try enhancing your value instead of discounting your prices. Thomas says these “embellishments” can include training or webinar access. Consider what high-value, low-cost deliverable you can offer that will allow you to keep your current price.

Strategy No. 3: Compromise. So, your prospect doesn’t want to trade anything and doesn’t find value in your proposed embellishments. What now? According to Thomas, you can compromise. While embellishments and trade-offs involve deliverables, price and terms, a compromise only involves one category. Look for ways to split the difference with your prospect, suggests Thomas. What change can you make to the deliverable, price or terms that you both find agreeable? That’s your solution when trade-offs and enhancements aren’t appealing to your buyer.

Your prospects probably won’t sign a sales contract without a little back-and-forth discussion. They naturally want the best deal, but you need to protect your profits. You can prepare for negotiation by understanding the three strategies above. A trade-off allows both parties to gain something while keeping the price the same. You could also add some extras to your offer while maintaining your original price. And if these strategies don’t work, consider a compromise. Know where you have some wiggle room, whether that’s the price, the terms of the deal or your deliverable. You might dread negotiating, but with a little practice, you’ll feel more comfortable leading productive conversations.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Julie Thomas is the president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates. She is a speaker, author and consultant with more than two decades of experience in sales.