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The Negotiation Checklist
Understanding the Customer
- What is the business issue they want to solve? (What's their ROI?)
- Who is involved, who are the buying influences and how do they view us? (Executive Sponsor, User, Technical, Coach, Third Parties)
- Who are we actually negotiating with, what do we know about them?
- What are the key negotiation points for the buyer?
- Do we know the competition and their proposed solutions?
- Have we a record of discussions and objections raised to date? What does this say about the customer's "hot buttons" and concerns?
- What tactics do you expect the customer to use during the negotiation?
- Do we have a clear statement of how we solve their business issue?
- Does the customer understand and agree with this? (Have we asked them?)
- Can we articulate our value and differentiators over the competition?
- Do we have the proof (to reduce risk) to show that we can do this?
- Have we defined our Optimum and Fallback positions?
- Besides price, what can we negotiate on? (maintenance, training, payment terms, delivery, installation, support, volume discounts, account status, etc.)
- Have we had an opportunity to fully present our value proposition?
- What do the BATNAs mean to out negotiation strategy?
- Do we understand where the power and leverage is for each side? (Timing, information, power base, location, EQ, history, titles)
- Have we developed our questioning strategy?
- Have we got a clear opening statement? (How does our solution fully meet their business needs and ROI)
- What do we do if we cannot reach an agreement?
- Do not assume you have to negotiate
- Don't negotiate until the customer acknowledges that their needs can be met by our solution
- Prepare thoroughly, they will!
- Demonstrate a Win-Win attitude
- Be confident in the value your product or service will return
- Listen - Don't rush to fill pauses - be comfortable with moments of silence
- Work on exchanging, not giving
- Work on all the possible variables
- Be prepared to walk away at this time
Download a printable pdf version of the checklist - The Negotiation Checklist
The 4 Stages of Negotiation
When thinking about what to do, it is often useful to have a mental model to help us structure our thinking and give us a process to follow. These models are particularly helpful when we are under pressure (as in a negotiation) as they give us a framework to work within. Here is a 4-step model that can be used for negotiation:
Note that if buyers are asked what they would spend more time on, they always answer preparing. They except to spend 3 times as long on preparation as the rest of the steps put together. They will know all about the market, pricing, competition options, when your month/quarter end is, what discounts they have received from you in the past and how you support them.
Now, as a sales person, how much preparation do you do? Well, it my experience very little - which immediately gives the customer a huge advantage. So, if there is one idea that you take from this section it should be that you must prepare as well as the buyer.
Looking at the 4 steps you could categorise them as:
- Prepare - what do we want?
- Discuss - what do they want?
- Propose - what wants might we trade?
- Bargain - what wants will we trade?
And guess what, if you have only got price that's what you trade! Knowing the value of your solution to the customer gives you a far better poker hand to play.
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