6 of the Best Sales Negotiation Skills for Business Success
Sales negotiation skills are key to business success. Business owners continually encounter situations, ranging from trivial to complex, that require negotiations.
Expert sales programs help business owners achieve optimal results. In this training, sales course content is infused with negotiation skills development. Six sales skills for business owners to improve their sales outcomes include:
The Courage to Walk Away
Skilled business owners avoid going into discussions without options. A businessperson entering discussions should have a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).
A BATNA is what you walk away with if you can’t reach an agreement. Understanding your BATNA gives you the confidence to reject unprofitable or low-profit deals and only make informed concessions for win-win outcomes. Confidence grows when you have a favorable fallback position and are not desperate for a deal.
In addition to coming prepared by having your BATNA, knowing your buyers’ and suppliers’ BATNAs can inform your negotiation strategy.
Effective Listening Skills
Negotiations can be highly pressured. Business owners might be itching to get their points across. However, holding the floor in discussions can lead to not paying attention to what others are saying. The dominating speaker is too busy thinking of their next point.
Just waiting for your chance to speak instead of truly listening is also considered disrespectful to others at the table. When you don’t listen, you can also miss chances to create and claim value.
When you pay close attention, you are likely to uncover details that could enrich the deal and improve the relationship. Listening is so crucial that top business negotiators write out their best questions before meetings. Questions give you control of the meeting, allowing you to steer discussions.
Sales negotiation training teaches students to put discussions and agreements in writing. It’s possible to agree to something and later forget details of the agreement.
Additionally, it’s almost inevitable to come across a dishonest person in business. Documenting terms makes it more difficult for someone to later use deceptive tactics to challenge agreements.
Other times, clients or suppliers may forget committing to an agreement. When you have agreements in writing and all participants retain a copy, the contract acts as a reminder for smooth operations and timely deliveries.
Effective Communication Skills
In business negotiations, there’s little room for miscommunication or communication breakdowns. As Lee Iacocca once said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” Similarly, if you can’t communicative effectively in business, your negotiation efforts may not amount to much.
Effective communication is key in simplifying complex information, resolving conflicts, and persuasion. Negotiation seminars often train sales professionals to hone their communication skills through role play. Strong communication skills need practice to form positive habits like being engaging and responsive.
Fortunately, communication skills can be honed. To improve your effectiveness in negotiations, you can:
- Take time to thoroughly research and prepare before the meeting.
- Consider enrolling in expert negotiation training.
- Engage in negotiation simulations to rehearse and improve.
- Conduct debriefing sessions to analyze your performance.
Businesses make profits out of solving other people’s problems.
The same steps a businessperson takes to solve problems can be used to reach agreements. Problem-solving steps you can take to reach agreements include:
- Clearly defining the problem.
- Pursuing alternative opportunities for solving the problem.
- Questioning the cause of the problem.
- Identifying multiple possible solutions to the problem.
- Prioritizing potential solutions.
- Deciding on an acceptable solution.
- Assigning tasks for implementing the solution.
- Setting measures to track progress on the problem and solution.
Empathy helps a businessperson understand others’ problems and create appropriate solutions. When you’re empathetic, you’re positioned to understand the feelings and attitudes of others, even if your own feelings differ.
Empathy forges mutual respect and develops trust. In persuasion, empathy can encourage positive social behavior. This increases the chances of creating win-win solutions. Expert sales negotiation training can:
- Equip students to identify their own and other people’s emotions.
- Train students to identify emotion by reading body language, tone, and non-verbal cues.
- Train business owners to employ skillful probing without sounding interrogative.
- Practice active listening to understand rather than interrupt.
- Demonstrate an understanding of others’ concerns without judgment.
Sales Negotiation Skills Summary
By training in and nurturing these six key skills, business owners can create favorable outcomes. After all, business is ultimately about exchanging value for profits. If you fail at negotiations, you are more likely to fail in business. If you employ these six skills to succeed at negotiations, your business is positioned to grow consistently.