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Sales negotiation skill are a separate set of skills that sales professional needs and sales training needs to address. In the selling process we need to create value, during the negotiation process, we claim value.

For many sales professionals, particularly those who focus on relationship building, negotiations are difficult. This difficulty in applying negotiation skills can lead to poor outcome and behaviors:

  • Lower profit margins
  • Sales manager acting as “super closers” and diminishing the rep’s position
  • Underperforming sales teams

A well-designed sales negotiation training program that builds account executives with the sales negotiation strategies can lead to win-win outcomes and higher profit margins.

What are negotiation skills?

Sales negotiation skills are those skills highlighted during a negotiation: questioning, listening, positioning and presence. All of these skills are presented in sales negotiation training, as well as other foundational selling skills.   

What makes negotiation skills unique are the variety of negotiation tactics buyers leverage, that a sales rep needs to counter. During the sales process, there is also the ability to build or diminish power, meaning a sales rep’s effectiveness as a negotiator is impacted during initial client contact.

Negotiation skills appear late in the sales process; therefore, it is likely that a sales teams lack of capturing value is tied to their behaviors early on in the sales process. Effective Vice Presidents of Sales and Sales Managers recognize that prior to implementing a sales negotiation training program, they need to have confidence in the sales rep’s approach and behaviors early in the sales cycle.

What happens during Sales Negotiation Skills Training?

An effective sales negotiation skills program includes content on negotiation strategies, how to build power, tactics and counter tactics, moving from demands to needs and the idea of trading and “giving to get”. Good sales training provides tools for negotiation planning, an understanding how to work effectively with Procurement, and an appreciation for understanding the decision-making process.

Case studies and role plays can be effective learning tools in a negotiation skills program.  A well-designed role play, using the client’s real world scenarios, will surface different negotiation styles among the sales team and the implication of these styles on closing a good deal.  In these role plays the client is often played by a manager since they know the industry and how decision makers typically react.

Case studies help surface the underlying belief system of the account executive.  It is this belief system that drives their behavior and ultimately determines whether the sales rep achieves an effective negotiation.

Sales negotiation training is best done with the entire sales team, since the interaction among the sales team and the creation of a common language makes the sales manager more productive in terms of coaching and support.

Who needs negotiation skills?

The entire sales organization needs negotiation skills. These skills create a common language, accelerate coaching and build discipline in the organizational approach to various negotiation situations.  Any company who anticipates the need to improve margins or “sell” a price increase should equip the commercial organization with sales negotiation skills. Sales negotiations are growing in importance as buyer’s often have the same or more information than the seller – and have gone through extensive negotiation training themselves.

Sales support organizations can also benefit from participating in a sales negotiation program. By attending a sales negotiation training with the sales team, the in-house sales support organization has a clearer understanding of how to provide better messaging and the appropriate resources to improve sales performance.  The in-house team also gains an appreciation for the challenges facing the sales team and, in doing so, makes for a far more united sales organization.

Negotiation Skills with JMReid Group

Our approach to designing and delivering negotiation program is consistent with all of our sales-training workshops.  We take steps in advance to ensure the content is relevant for the specific sales organization. We also look at sales negotiation training as a process not an event, therefore we offer a variety of sustainment strategies.

We also challenge our clients to ensure they have done the necessary work on value selling skills and  the sales reps understand the value of challenging the client’s thinking, before implementing a sales negotiation training program. Again, sales negotiation is where you capture value, it is early in the sales process that you create value.  Sellers who focus solely on winning business based upon relationships need to have a good base knowledge of value selling before they can sharpen their negotiation skills.

Our negotiation skills program starts with a non-client specific scenario. This scenario allows us to quickly uncover the participants underlying mindset that is most likely driving their current behavior.  In the opening scenario several key concepts are uncovered including:

  • Anchoring
  • Bargaining Zone
  • Reference Points
  • Mindset
  • Overconfidence
  • Win-Win Outcome

The balance of the program are tailored scenarios, tools and activities to reflect the context of negotiation skills within the client’s sales environment.

We offer negotiation skills training as a component of our overall selling and sales manager curriculum.  Finally, we are more than happy to integrate with existing sales approaches and methodologies.

Our facilitators have extensive sales and sales negotiations experience, and they couple this experience with a highly engaging style and program design.

To learn more about the JMReid approach to sales negotiations, take a look at our different offerings.