Back to Basics: The Art of Sales Negotiation

By XINNIX | October 7, 2022 | Leadership

No matter the state of your industry, whether it’s struggling or flourishing, certain strategies and principles will always help determined salespeople succeed. Today, let’s take a trip into the room where the deals are made. Let’s talk about some universal truths of sales negotiation.   As the CEO of XINNIX, I have been training sales professionals to elevate their success for over thirty years, but I got my first experience in sales negotiation well before that, when I was just nineteen years old. I decided that to make money during college, I was going to open my own business cleaning office buildings. I found a customer who said he might be interested, so I readied my pitch and presented my services to him. To my great excitement, he wanted to hire me. There was only one matter of business left. He asked me the inevitable question: “What’s your price?” When I told him what I planned to charge, he shrugged and said, “I would have been willing to pay you more.”    That day, I learned an invaluable lesson. I learned never to undervalue what you are bringing to the table.   

Believe in Your Value 

I want to let you in on a vital secret of negotiation. When you believe your value is amazing, you don’t need to negotiate. To be successful, you must stand strong in what you are offering people. If you feel confident that you are bringing your customer a product or service that is genuinely valuable, you should feel confident in the pricing. The question is, do you believe you are worth the dollars you are asking people to spend? Doubt will lead to disaster. But when you enter a room assured that what you are selling will have a fundamental impact on your customer, they will feel assured as well.   When you feel confident that your product is worth what you’re asking for, you don’t need to justify the price tag. In fact, after you’ve stated your price, don’t keep talking! Never offer an apology for how much something costs. That implies you don’t fully believe in what you are selling. State your price plainly, boldly, and unremorsefully. Your job isn’t to appease a customer’s sticker shock. Your job is to make the customer believe they can’t afford not make this purchase. In order to do that, you not only have to believe in the value of the product yourself; you have to effectively communicate that value to them as well.  

Communicate Your Value 

Recently, I had the privilege of listening to a conversation with Ron Hubsher—CEO of the Sales Optimization Group and author of Closing Time: The 7 Immutable Laws of Sales Negotiation . He stated: “Companies don’t buy price. They buy risk. If in your process, you can show that you are the least risky solution, you’ve earned the right to command a price premium.”   Our job as salespeople is to communicate why our product is worth the price. When the deal closes, too many salespeople walk into the room ready to barter instead of being ready to sell. Ron says, “To negotiate well, you must first put in a superlative sales effort. There's no magic or abracadabra that I can tell you to make up for a poor sales effort. It creates the potential to negotiate well.”   What does a superlative sales effort involve? Knowing your customer’s needs. Every person you sell to has a unique set of needs. Your job is to determine how this product can meet them where they are, providing the value they can’t live without. Ron has helped some of the biggest, most recognizable companies in the world refine their sales and negotiation processes. Many aren’t initially used to customizing their process for each customer. However, they are starting to see a massive increase in sales when they ask good questions and go through a discovery process to learn a customer’s specific agenda instead of presenting the same generic sales presentation repeatedly.   According to Ron, “These companies aren’t forced to reduce their price. They’re saying [for example], ‘Hey, if we can bring in just one additional sale for you, and your average sale is $50,000, that pays for the system five times over, ten times over. Just on one sale.’”   The key to succeeding in negotiations isn’t lowering your price. You don’t need to play any mind games, and you certainly don’t need to apologize for charging what your product or service is worth. In the simplest of terms, the key to winning a sales negotiation is to stop negotiating. Believe in the value you offer, and make others believe it too. Your confidence is the greatest strategy of all.