Performing a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) before a negotiation can help lead to a successful outcome. Combining the customer’s strengths and opportunities could give you key leverage points to offer creative ideas while selling your products or services.
Think like an insider
Winning in negotiation starts by thinking like an insider in the customer’s organization. If you can figure out where the customer sees the greatest opportunity for growth, or the greatest need for defensive measures, you become part of their team.
When the prospect becomes aggressive
The majority of negotiations are generally collaborative, creatively challenging and constructive. But there are also circumstances when the customer becomes a 10,000-pound gorilla with an attitude. One wrong move on your part, and the negotiation is over.
Here are seven tips that may help you diffuse the situation and get the negotiation back on track.
- Don’t overreact. If you notice that your bargaining partner is starting to lose it, try not to overreact. Let the verbal bluster and frustration blow past you. If you react, the situation could escalate. Don’t let this happen.
- Listen and acknowledge. When your negotiation partner is distressed and unloads on you, it’s best to listen and acknowledge his or her frustrations. Everyone wants to know they’ve been heard. Once heard the other side may be more open to hearing your BATNAS (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) plan.
- Separate people from issues. Issues get solved at negotiation tables, not people. Sometimes people are under so much pressure they become the opposite of their true selves. Always take this into account.
- Show that you want to negotiate. Look at the customer’s problems and try to make sure that your proposal effectively resolves some of their key issues. Having a reputation for empathy and fairness will improve your chances for a successful outcome.
- Like something about the aggressor. When confronted by an ugly aggressor at the negotiation table, don’t let your emotion take over. Try to focus on something you like about them. Stick to the negotiation issues, be tight with your BATNA and seek to close the deal.
- Remain collaborative. You just never know when a negotiation partner is using guerrilla tactics to see how you operate under pressure. He or she may do it to uncover any perceived weakness. If you remain collaborative without moving away from your objectives, you may show enormous strength and gain respect at the bargaining table.
- Think future. When you live in the present but are mindful of the past, the future may lead to better sales. Promote long-term benefits. One benefit of a successful compromise is the future is not put in jeopardy and the possibility of doing future business together remains viable. A compromise now might lay the ground work for future collaboration.
Source: Patrick Tinney is an author and sales trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.