Do you know negotiation techniques you can apply in any given situation? What strategies and tactics should you employ—or leave in the dust? Santino Pasutto is my guest in this episode of Sales Reinvented. He shares the challenges you face in the negotiation process, how to prepare, and some dos and don’ts of upmost importance. Don’t miss this episode focused on negotiation techniques!
Santino ‘Tino’ Pasutto is the Senior Vice President of Strategic and Commercial Development at Optimum Talent. He is a skilled sales and negotiation leader with 15+ years in business management. Tino is known by customers for his strategic approach to uncovering opportunities and helping them understand business issues that once addressed will allow them to improve their competitiveness.
Both parties in a negotiation have shared and opposing interests. The goal of a negotiation is to narrow the gaps between those opposed interests and understand each other’s perspectives to come to an agreement. Tino is careful to note that win-wins aren’t always achievable. But the more you can understand the other person’s point of view, the easier it is to agree.
Another challenging factor for salespeople is that negotiation is an under-trained skill. But you CAN learn, hone, and develop negotiation techniques until you’re skilled. Tino notes that on top of poor training, salespeople probably have an unhealthy sales funnel that stems from poor targeting. Opportunities may be forced and they’re put in a position where they constantly have to negotiate and it’s a price battle. A lot of that stems from prospects that don’t align with your value proposition.
Tino notes that salespeople tend to go in underprepared. But he believes it’s far better to err on the side of being over-prepared—and it’s the first of the negotiation techniques you should employ. Do what you can to gather customer research online, through social media, or LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Extensively research and understand your cost model and your margins and what levers you can pull on. Understanding your numbers helps you understand your walk-away point.
Another tip? Don’t fall in love with the deal because you’ll probably overpay. Tino emphasizes that this is why discovery meetings are so critical. It allows you to gather information on how to position your service relative to the opposing organization’s challenges and issues. You then position your offering and reaffirm your value proposition throughout the negotiation.
Santino implores salespeople: do not deal in maybes. Say “Yes, we can offer that” or “No, we can’t.” Avoid saying “let me check with my boss.” Why? Because it really devalues your position in the negotiation. If you’re waffling on your responses, the person on the other side of the table then realizes that you’re NOT the decision-maker. They’ll keep asking for more, keep pushing back, and it spirals downward. Don’t compromise your position.
You can avoid wishy-washy responses by utilizing negotiation techniques such as scenario planning and determining questions they may ask ahead of time. Plan it out so you don’t have to think on the fly. Tino notes that it’s also important that you be in alignment with your team before you walk in the door. You can’t pass notes under the table during a negotiation. You’ve got to know what the person next to you is thinking and how each of you will respond to questions that arise.
Tino shares that you must know the customer’s problems and how to address them tangibly. How do you make your value proposition tangible so they can compare you with other vendors? It helps you earn credibility going into the conversation. To do so, you need to be inquisitive and ask great questions.
Why is a term or clause important? Why do they value it? Are they asking just to ask? Or is there a misunderstanding between parties? Uncover the entire iceberg. The more you can uncover their problems by asking intelligent questions the more you can understand—and reach your desired outcome.
Ultimately, you want to have a healthy sales funnel so you CAN walk away from poor deals that don’t make sense. Salespeople don’t always think about the fact that opportunities outside of your current negotiation make a positive contribution to the process. You also have to know the math inside and out and know your walkaway point. Lastly, make sure your entire negotiation team is in alignment.
To hear Tino discuss his favorite negotiation techniques in detail, listen to the entire episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast!
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