Every top-performing sales team is focused on the same thing: getting consistently better results over time.
But how exactly can you keep improving?
Depending on where you are in your journey as a negotiator, you may have to reassess your strategy and change the way you approach the table.
As we move toward the second quarter of 2021, here are five tips to keep in mind as you work toward surpassing your sales goals this year and beyond.
1. Have the Right Mindset
First things first: If you don’t have the proper mindset when you enter into a negotiation, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for. It is that simple.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, your mindset is a set of beliefs and attitudes that influence your actions and behaviors. Plenty of negotiators enter into conversations with a specific outcome in mind. Maybe it is a particular price they’re hoping for, or maybe it is simply thinking that the other side is going to make the process miserable.
In either scenario, you’re creating a mental prison of sorts. If you sit down at the table thinking you’re going to argue with the other side, don’t be surprised when you end up arguing.
On the other hand, when you go into the conversation with the right mindset—for example, thinking that issues are going to come up, and that you’re going to roll with the punches and deal with them as they do—you’ll be in a much better position to navigate the negotiation with ease.
The same sentiment applies to demolishing your sales goals. If your objective is to do better this year than you’ve ever done before, you need to develop the right mindset to serve as the framework to make that happen.
What does such a mindset look like? It starts with knowing yourself, knowing the person across the table, committing to continuous improvement, and never underestimating the importance of implementation.
2. Know Yourself
The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to figure out what your weaknesses are and work on improving them.
That being the case, you need to figure out what kind of negotiator you are. If you are a personable and conversational individual who loves building relationships, you’re an Accommodator. If you are the kind of person who spends hours upon hours preparing and analyzing data ahead of a negotiation, you’re an Analyst. And if you don’t beat around the bush and cut to the chase, you’re an Assertive.
Knowing your negotiator type makes it easier to determine how you’re perceived.
As an Accommodator, your counterpart might think you talk too much. So, you need to realize not everyone cares as much about relationships as you do and adjust your strategy accordingly.
As an Analyst, you might love data and preparation way more than the other side does. You need to be careful not to drown your counterpart with information because you may come across as cold and standoffish, and you might lose them.
As an Assertive, you might think you are logical and direct, but the other side may see you as abrupt, harsh, and even a bit of a bully. You’ll have to try to rein in your personality to make sure that your counterpart isn’t turned off by you.
3. Know the Other Person
Once you have a better idea of the kind of negotiator you are, it is time to begin learning more about the person sitting across the table. The better you understand what type of negotiator your counterpart is, the easier it will be to devise and implement an effective strategy.
If your counterpart is an Assertive, they will be blunt, direct, and ready to get down to business. There won’t be any time for small talk, and if you offend them, apologies won’t matter. These types of negotiators care about time above all else. If you waste their time, they won’t be happy. The best approach here is to know what you want, say your piece, and be done with it.
When you’re sitting across the table from an Accommodator, get ready to sprinkle in a healthy dose of small talk. You might think it is a waste of time, but your counterpart most assuredly does not. When they ask how you’re doing, they genuinely care, and if at any point during your engagement it appears as though the relationship might be damaged, it will affect them. So, with this type, make sure to prioritize the relationship and do your part to develop it.
What about when you’re dealing with an Analyst? These individuals like to have things figured out, and they use data to drive all of their decisions. If the solution you propose doesn’t work, the analyst likely has five other solutions in mind. Remember that analysts are contemplative by nature. They will go quiet during your negotiation, and that is perfectly fine, because you need to give them these quiet moments to think. When they go silent, make sure not to fill the stillness with noise.
4. Sharpen Your Skills
In our experience, people read Never Split the Difference, pick up a couple of skills, and think they are well on their way to becoming world-class negotiators. For example, they might think they can get the negotiation outcomes they are looking for simply by asking no-oriented questions in every interaction.
Your no-oriented question might work wonders. But it is not going to fit the bill in every negotiation.
If you want to demolish your 2021 sales goals, you need to understand that the skills we teach are cumulative. They build upon each other and it is the combined use of all the tools that will give you the best outcome.
This means that you need to continue to learn more skills and refine your aptitude with each of them on a regular basis. The more skills you can use in conjunction with each other, the easier it will be to get the outcomes you’re aiming for.
If you’re looking to improve your business results, you need to commit to continuously developing as a professional. If you haven’t mastered The Black Swan Method™ yet, consider signing up for our new online course that teaches the basics of our nine core skills. In a 90-minute live Zoom session, you’ll learn the ins and outs of our arsenal so you can begin incorporating more of these tools into your negotiation strategy.
For the best results, remember that you can always practice these skills in low-stakes environments. Try using things like Labels™ and Mirrors™ in day-to-day conversations with your family, your cashier, or your barista.
5. Focus on Implementation
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make in negotiations is the failure to discuss and agree upon implementation. You might walk out of the room with a yes. But if you leave without a how, you don’t really have a deal.
At Black Swan, we teach about the importance of getting your counterpart to say yes three times. That’s because not all yeses are the same. The first yes will most likely be a counterfeit yes—more of a ‘not yet’ that gets you to go away. The second yes might be a confirmation yes—an understanding, meaning they get it. Once you hear the third yes—the commitment yes—you know you’re in good shape.
But your job isn’t done quite yet. You still need to discuss the how before you leave the room. If your counterpart can’t agree to how you will proceed, you may not have that full on agreement.
Moving forward, make it a point to discuss implementation in every deal you make. Not only will this help you close more deals, but it will also reduce the chances you run into hiccups down the road when problems or issues invariably arise.
Ready to Conquer 2021?
By sticking to these five tips, you will be well on your way to demolishing your sales goals and reaching your full potential as a negotiator.
Check out our full library of online courses to learn more about what you can do to become an incredibly effective negotiator and get better results this year and beyond.