Negotiation: Agreement

If you are negotiating a buyer/vendor agreement with a familiar partner, business can still be concluded with a handshake. Most likely, however, a contract or written agreement is the gold standard, because finances, deposits, guarantees, etc. are involved. The path to an agreement requires preparation, a top-notch presentation and discussion of the details.

The other side may request certain revisions and/or concessions. Evaluate the net effect of such changes: What real impact will they have? Are they asking too much? Is the request feasible? All too often we take a dissenting response in negotiations too personally. Depersonalize it. Look at the proposal in a purely objective manner and accept it, re-submit it, or refuse it. Consider your next step, and be prepared to proceed accordingly if you are unable to modify your stance.

The vendor may also totally refuse your proposal or requests. A good negotiating partner with an opposing view should simultaneously offer an alternative, but this does not always happen. Your next step should be somewhat strong, but well prepared. Ask why your request is being denied. If that answer is reasonable, sit down and discuss the process that led to the decision. Look for key elements that you can work with that might open doors to a positive conclusion.

If the response to your “why?” is close-ended, sometimes it is best not to waste any more time on further discussion. If other sources are available, move on. Be sure the other party is made aware that these actions will cause you to reassess your long-term relationship, but be professional and don’t dwell on it.

If this happened to be the sole supplier of what you require (which is somewhat rare), and you can’t do business on your terms, you may have to do business on their terms. This is usually workable, although not always desirable.

It is possible that the negative decision was made by someone higher in the organization than your negotiating partner. If it has been effective in the past to talk directly with the decision maker in this organization, suggest that diplomatically.

When negotiating for anything, whether you are looking for seats, fares, rooms or override, always remember to keep in mind the needs of the other party. This will show in your presentation and will be acknowledged and appreciated, thus producing a more desirable result. Develop a rapport with your negotiating partner, but never try to leverage a “favor owed.”

Do not undersell the value of your service. Offering large scale rebates in preliminary and secondary negotiations can, in fact, reduce the credibility of your offering, raising questions in the prospect’s mind about your ability to work on such a small margin. Carefully analyze your financial capabilities. Do not make unrealistic commitments. Negotiate in good faith. Keep mutual goals, mutual successes, and economics in mind both in your written and verbal negotiation presentations. Your ability to negotiate well and fairly should become as developed as the other principles of success that have enabled you to be where you are – and grow where you want to go.

4 Deadly Sins of Sales Negotiations – Hope and 3 Others

We all hear so much about the smooth Donald Trumps of the world that we can fall in to the belief that everyone shows up for a sales negotiation better prepared than we are. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there are four common sales negotiation mistakes that even really smart people make all the time. Are you making any of them?

The 4 Deadly Sins Of Sales Negotiations

It turns out that the reason that so many sales negotiations turn out poorly for negotiators is because they enter into the negotiations with the wrong state of mind. Instead of preparing for the negotiation, they go in with a “let’s hope for the best” type of mindset. How can they possibly hope to do well?

Sales negotiators who have this type of mind set more often than not don’t do well during a negotiation. They fall prey to the four deadly sins of sales negotiations:

  1. No plan
  2. Bad agreements
  3. Poor reading skills
  4. No follow up

Your Plan Is That You Have No Plan!

While I worked for Siemens, there was a large French-Canadian director who would occasionally explode in strategy meetings and shout at people that “Your Plan Is That You Have No Plan!” In a sales negotiation, this is often the case when people enter into the negotiation without a plan.

Instead of a plan, they have hope. Hope that things will go well. That they won’t make too many mistakes. That the other side will make mistakes. A sales negotiation is a journey, not a destination. You need to have a plan (concessions, demands, questions, schedules, etc.) for how you are going to get to where you want to go.

Agreement Without Clarity

During everyday conversations with friends and coworkers, we all have a tendency to agree to things that we may not have a full understanding of. This is a polite way of keeping the conversation going even when we may not fully grasp what they are saying – we figure that we can pick it up later on.

This same type of behavior during a sales negotiation can be disastrous. If you don’t take the time to fully understand what you are agreeing to, you may find yourself quickly in a bad situation. Call for a break, take a time out, or ask the other side of the table to better explain something before you agree to it.

Doing A Poor Job Of Reading

Looking the other side in the eye and signing a contract with a big flourish sure can make a strong impression – that you don’t have any idea what you are really signing. I learned a long time ago that he who takes the notes, ultimately controls how a meeting turns out. The same goes for sales negotiations – it really doesn’t matter what you THINK you’ve agreed to, it’s the words that make it onto the paper that really matter. Take the time to read them!

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!

It’s too easy to think that a sales negotiation is over and done with once the last paper has been signed and the handshakes have been exchanged. However, both sides of the table have a responsibility to follow up and make sure that the agreement is being executed by both sides. Not only is this a critical part of doing business, it can have a big impact on any future negotiations between the two sides.

Final Thoughts

A long time ago I took a scuba diving class. One of the key lessons that they taught in that class was the simple phrase “Plan your dive, dive your plan.” The same thing can be said about sales negotiations: you need to have a plan and you need to follow it if you want to have any chance of being successful.

We now know what can happen if you don’t have a plan: you’ll end up skipping over important steps like agreeing to things that aren’t clear, not reading things that you are signing, and not following up after the deal is done. Remembering to plan your negotiations ahead of time and avoiding the 4 deadly sins of sales negotiations will allow you to close better deals and close them quicker.

Give Yourself the Present of Being Present

Have you noticed how GOOD you have it? How ABUNDANT your life really is?

Or are you stressing about holiday hutsle and bustle? I remember plenty of years where I MISSED the holiday, the season and everything that was really great and precious because I was focused on everything I thought I didn’t have like:

1. Not having enough money to buy the holiday presents I wanted to buy.

2. Not having friends to celebrate the holidays with.

3. Not having my family members treat me the way I’d like.

4. Not having the funds to take a fabulous vacation.

5. Not having a passionate romance in my life.

This year my focus is much different. And I’ve seen the amazing difference even a year can make. This year I choose to focus on what I DO have:

1. A healthy body that lovingly moves me through every hour of each day.

2. A love relationship with God that that continues to amaze and dazzle me.

3. An opportunity to create all things new in this glorious New Year.

4. A sweet and smokey smell filling my glowing fireplace.

5. The luxury of taking time to reflect on what is most meaningful to me.

6. The ability to let go of all people, thoughts and things that are meant to move on.

As a result of focusing on what I do have, everything that I haven’t had in the past has either been brought to me or I have been brought to peace with it.

It’s a beautiful place to be.

I hope and pray you give yourself the gift of being present with what is. Enjoy ALL that you do have and remember you have what it takes to live a legendary life!

© 2007 Gina Ratliffe