At Black Swan, we’re always working hard to help people like you become better negotiators.
In my experience, reaching your full potential as a negotiator requires freeing yourself from traditional, limited ways of thinking.
With that in mind, here are three ways you can master sales negotiations and achieve better outcomes every time you sit down at the table.
1. Let Go of the Notion That You Need to Talk to Sell
Many negotiators think their job is to talk the other side into the deal. Far too often, this mindset causes them to talk the other side out of the deal.
In many instances, being silent is a far more effective approach. With so much data out there, B2B buyers are often 70 percent of the way through the decision-making process before they even engage with a salesperson for the first time—meaning they’ve essentially made up their minds.
Babble too much, and you might cause them to change their minds.
Next time you sit down at the table, make a conscious effort to stop talking. Never underestimate the power of silence.
2. Release Yourself from the Pressures of Your Wants
The most effective negotiators can put their agendas aside and let go of their justifications and biases.
Once you realize that your counterpart’s agenda is always more important than your own, you can focus exclusively on their needs and wants by executing Tactical Empathy™.
Never forget that when you’re explaining, you’re losing.
Don’t get so caught up in your agenda that you completely overlook the other side’s dilemma—and the Black Swans lurking beneath the surface that could make all the difference.
Master the art of Accusation Audits™ and Proof of Life™ questions.
3. Realize It Is More About Trust Than Numbers
Many people think that deals always come down to numbers. But at the end of the day, the deal is always more about trust than numbers.
If your deals are always stalling and everything boils down to price discussion, it may be an indicator that your ability to influence your counterpart’s emotions is not as strong as it should be.
Why does everything seem to boil down to trust? Because emotions are tied to the number.
If you are a real estate agent representing a seller who wants more money for their house, you need to realize that it’s not always just about dollars and cents. If they have done a great deal of work on the house, they may feel they deserve to be paid more for it. Or maybe they are simply having a difficult time letting go of a place full of treasured memories.
When we get caught up on price, it’s because we didn’t do a good job of addressing these kinds of sentiments during the engagement—meaning the counterpart doesn’t trust us.
Continuing the example, you might get better results by saying something like this: It must be hard to sell a home you raised your children in. Logically, it doesn’t make any sense. But at the end of the day, people want to know that you understand them. When you don’t understand where they’re coming from and what their motivations are, you don’t have trust-based influence.
On the flip side, when you use Tactical Empathy to ensure your counterpart knows you thoroughly understand them, they’ll trust you to lead them to the best outcome. Once you have trust, the number will follow.
Create a moment of adherence for your counterpart by hitting them with a solid Summary™.
Getting Started: To Each Their Own
Although some people may start using these sales negotiation skills right away, others may prefer to take a more piecemeal approach.
It’s okay to start small. If that’s what you plan to do, go into your next meeting with the goal of not saying a word. If someone calls on you to speak, use Labels™ and Mirrors™ before you give your answer.
Whether you are running the meeting or simply sitting in, use the same two skills to involve your team. For sitting in, you might say: It seems like you have something top of mind for you. If you’re running it, say: It seems like there are issues around this project that haven’t been properly addressed. Use the “late-night FM DJ voice” and take your time executing your words.
Don’t forget about Dynamic Silence™. When it is your turn to speak, count one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand. You might be surprised at how other people start talking just to shatter the uncomfortable silence. Be prepared to listen closely when they do.
Either way, you’re not going to master these lessons overnight—you might not even get there for a year! Understand that success requires repetition. As long as you’re genuinely committed to it, you’ll do just fine.
To continue your journey to becoming a world-class negotiator, check out our online classes and learn how to use Tactical Empathy to get optimal results every time.