You are a leader or a member of a sales organization. Your sales team has a well defined sales process that disciplines your salespeople to the behaviors that will best identify, pursue and close good business and everyone adheres to it.
Question: Do you also have a negotiation process that meets the same description as your sales process?
When I ask this question of company presidents and owners, all too often I get a puzzled look and a response of "What do you mean?"
Too many sales organizations have neglected to include a defined, documented negotiation process in their sales function and by not doing so, have failed to help their salespeople develop and implement the necessary skills they need when they find themselves negotiating with prospects and customers. The outcome of this failure has been lower margins, unfavorable terms for conducting a business relationship and a tilted playing field with the customer holding the balance of power over a supplier, to name a few.
That's the bad news. The good news is that many of the components of an effective negotiation process are already present in a sales organization's sales process. Excellent questioning and communications skills are necessary for engaging in a negotiation just as they are in any sales process.
The emphasis of a focused, well defined negotiation process should be different than that of a sales process. Let me share with you why.
In a sales process, our goal is to determine if we can match up our capabilities to the prospect's needs (their pain) and design a solution that adds value to the customer's business. While we are working each step of that process, it's relatively easy to keep our emotions out of the interaction.
However, very often in a negotiation, we are making decisions that directly impact the outcome of the process. In this high pressure environment ("We want a 10% price reduction or we will put this out to bid!") it's much more difficult to keep our emotions out of the deal. And when we become emotionally attached to an outcome ("We will lose the account!"/"We will keep the account!") we begin to lose in any negotiation.
So the emphasis of an effective negotiation process should be on developing and implementing great decision making skills that allow us to keep our emotions in check, use the right strategies, maintain control and achieve the results we desire. Combine this kind of focused negotiation process with a defined sales process and watch your sales results take off!