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Top-Shelf Tip No. 194:

"Each party should gain from the negotiation."

Dale Carnegie

Nine Negotiating Tips To Close More Deals

Negotiation is an important skill set, yet many sales professionals overlook it. After you invest time and resources to develop a pitch and sit down with a prospect, it only makes sense to come prepared to negotiate.

James Meincke, director of marketing at CloserIQ, says the key is to create a negotiation strategy in advance. We share his tips on how to do it in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Plan a timeline. As you approach your prospect , Meincke recommends setting a personal goal date or deadline so you can better organize yourself. Have an idea of when each step should be taken, from first contact to follow-up, all the way to actually closing the deal. Try to keep to your scheduled plan.

2. Know what your prospect wants. Know the details of their product/service and how their business operates. This knowledge allows you to adapt your sales presentation to focus on how your own product/service can meet their needs.

3. Understand the market and industry standards. Aside from knowing what your customer needs, you also need to learn about your competitors and what they offer, says Meincke. Have an idea of the price average for what you are selling and know what the market demands.

4. Be clear and transparent. There is no room for miscommunication when you are trying to come to an agreement with your customers. Be as clear and transparent as possible about your terms, your services and/or products and your prices. Meincke advises sales reps to always explain the benefits of closing a deal. Tell the prospect how your product can provide a solution to their pain points. Use data and statistics to give more credibility to your claims.

5. Don't be afraid to set the price anchor. The price defines the value and worth of your product, making it key to position it properly. Meincke admits that creating a pricing strategy is a challenging and complex process and one that requires extensive research. Salespeople must know how to pitch terms confidently the minute they step into the price conversation.

6. Listen closely as you negotiate. Meincke says negotiating should not be about pushing what you want to sell based on your goals; it should be about offering the option that is most likely to be the right fit for a customer. Active listening is essential for you to understand your client's needs and to adapt your offer to be as appealing as possible to the prospect.

7. Answer questions patiently. Rushing to a close will only hurt your negotiation process because it will seem like you only care about the final result. Prospects have the right to ask as many questions as they'd like before making a final decision.

8. Know what you're willing to compromise on. Sometimes, there are products or services which a customer just can't be persuaded to buy or they just can't afford to buy. Know what can be negotiated about your offer and be ready to give and take to meet your prospect halfway.

9. Know when to walk away. If a sale is dragging on or the client is pushing you to compromise more than you can, it's often best to walk away and focus on another client.

Don't invest all your energy in your research and pitch. Spend some time practicing your negotiation process to achieve the best results for you and your company.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: James Meincke is the director of marketing at CloserIQ. Previously, he worked as a recruiter at ManpowerGroup and as a freelance social media strategist.