Everything depends on preparation. When you’re in a negotiation, you’re under pressure. You need a good plan or all is lost before you start. Planning is often the most neglected part of a negotiation, too. Why? Because salespeople think they can’t plan because they don’t know what the other person will do. They want to go in and “See what happens.” Chris Croft believes that mindset is all wrong. You need a plan—just work in a few ‘what ifs.’
Chris believes that there are four key categories you need to focus on:
If you start by focusing on these areas, you’ll be well prepared for your negotiation.
Your body language in the first 30 seconds sets the scene for the negotiation. So smile, shake someone’s hand, and look them in the eye when you walk into the room. Sit at a 90-degree angle so you aren’t confronting them. Don’t sit with your arms folded. Be relaxed and smiley.
When you say you need a high price and they say they can’t afford it, don’t point out that they’re cheap or that they don’t understand your value. Instead, say “It’s difficult to get ahold of these things” or “It’s expensive to make this.” Or you could point out the demand for your product or service.
If you’re buying, don’t accuse someone of trying to rip you off. Just point out the reasons you can’t afford something. You blame it on yourself. It’s your problem—not theirs.
Self-discipline is important in every aspect of sales and especially negotiation. Sit down, go through your checklist, and prepare. Secondly, you must detach from the outcome and avoid emotional involvement. You’re playing a chess game with your customer. Rather than panicking, think “Well that’s interesting, I didn’t expect that.”
Salespeople think you sell, wait for the customer to say “I love it” and then negotiate. Chris believes that selling and negotiation should happen in parallel. You should negotiate from the start.
Chris’s mom saved a voucher for a free stay and gave it to Chris and his wife for a weekend away in Oxford. Right before their trip, they received a message from the hotel saying they were placed in a better room than planned, but they’d have to pay an extra 30 pounds when they arrived.
So Chris decided to negotiate when they arrived at the hotel. So they drove to Oxford and arrived in the evening. When they went in, Chris pointed out that he wasn’t happy about paying the extra 30 pounds. The staff member apologized but said he had to pay it.
So Chris said he wasn’t prepared to pay for it and asked to see the manager. His wife was practically kicking him. The woman said, “I am the manager.” So Chris pleaded one last time, prepared to concede. But the manager waived the 30 pounds. Chris succeeded. He was negotiating from a place of weakness—but so were they. The key was to focus on their weaknesses, not his.
The moral of the story? He should’ve prepared his wife for the negotiation.
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