Last year, I had the opportunity to conduct a 12 day training program to 75 sales representatives in Toronto, Quebec City and Montreal.  Such an in-depth training allows explaining in details certain concepts that we would just touch on in a one-day session.  One of the elements discussed was the distinction between selling and negotiating. Curiously, almost all participants would state that negotiating preceded selling. In fact, they were confusing closing with selling. Closing is just one-step in the selling process, although an important and necessary one. But most of the selling occurs prior to the negotiation and here is why.

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Selling consist in establishing a match between the customer needs and the attributes of our product or of our service. This suppose that a sales representative will know at the tips of her fingers the advantage of her offer and the difference with her competitors and that she will be able to express those with conviction and credibility.  To excel with this necessitate some practice. Are you good enough of a salesperson to rehearse your sales presentations?

Then, the sales rep could explore with her customer the opportunity that he wants to leverage, the problems he wishes to solve or the improvements that he would like to bring to his actual situation.

It is now time to translate into benefits the attributes of our products or the advantages of our service. This step allows us to bridge the gap between the needs and what we sell.

It emerges from it that the better was our benefit demonstration and the less the customer will feel the need to negotiate. Indeed, the value of a good or a service is a perceive value which means that the sales person can increase the relative value by a professional attitude. Does this tell us that an excellent presentation will allow disregarding the negotiation step? That all depends on the context but it is less and less certain that the customer will not attempt to obtain at least a little something.

Since many negotiations gravitate along price, it is necessary to prepare ourselves to face demands from the buyer related to this. Preparation is a prerequisite that is too often neglected by the suppliers. Rest assure that your clients will have invested a lot of efforts into this especially if they are professional buyers. So, let’s assume that there will be a price negotiation. What will then be your selling points to convince your interlocutor that he will receive from you more or at least the same amount of value that he is about to give you by departing of his money?

Even if it is essential to sell well before negotiating, the negotiation will probably be inevitable. Make sure to prepare carefully each and every one of the steps of the selling process to maximise your chances to close a deal. I invite you to contact me to discover more tactics and strategies that will maximize your profit in your sales territories.