When we are in the final phase of a negotiation, sometimes there is a need to say “no” to the client.
The problem is how to do it without breaking the negotiation.
Both parties want to get the best out of the deal.
Often the negotiation focuses on price, but usually, other concessions can be negotiated, such as contractual conditions, delivery dates, product or service options, etc.
Many of our clients are excellent negotiators. And if we are not paying attention, totally focused on every detail of the negotiation, we are often “eaten.”
Sometimes it is necessary to say no to something our client asks.
The simplest way to do this is to clarify the concession.
Instead of saying “no” right away, we should first ask questions to understand the client’s real need.
Why do you need what you are asking?
Some of the requests that come to us result from real needs.
Real needs represent real value (money) to our client.
Others represent just strategies to get a better trading position or to keep the negotiation moving.
When we understand the real value of what you are asking, we can much more easily decide which strategy we will use.
So, issues like:
“Mr. Client, this is indeed an important issue, but help me understand why it is so important to your company.”
“How would that help you…?”
They are precious for understanding the customer’s strategy and even sometimes disarming his real intention.
When we better understand the client’s real need, we can say “no” in a much softer and more diplomatic way.
The key to effective negotiation is:
- Listening to the end before responding
- Calm down, don’t give in to pressure
- Patience, knowing that the game takes time
- Validate all issues and the perception of them by both parties
- Have and follow a strategy
All this represents the core of a top negotiator.
A top salesman knows that every sale is an endless negotiation.
Sometimes we start negotiating from our client’s first contact, even if we are not aware of that fact.
This week, before you answer “no,” stop, take a deep breath, and understand your client’s real reasons for trading.
Also published on Medium.