I was never a good negotiator and in my junior days I simply hated negotiating. I used to laugh at my mother, who by the way is a master negotiator, for negotiating to the bone. Anytime we went into a store for a purchase, she’d negotiate, and I’d walk away in embarrassment.
“Give me your best price on this….” and “I’ll pay cash and you take the taxes off..” were some of the classic lines she used. Some sales people wouldn’t give in, that’s until she turns around and pretends to be walking out the store, only to get chased down and given what she negotiated for.
Eventually through the years I became wiser and started to get more comfortable with negotiating. Bigger purchases like furniture, cars and my first home really did put me in the drivers seat of negotiating and gave me enough courage to become a more comfortable negotiator.
Finally I started my own cleaning business and had no choice but to negotiate contracts, pricing and schedules with customers. I learned to cut the best deals possible for my business through persistence, honesty and most importantly confidence.
Most people think of negotiating as a fight where you defeat your opponent by getting the better of the deal, however it’s anything but that. The best deals are those that are fair to both sides, so they can be can be renewed again and again. This is called repeat business, and if you think back to Marketing 101, it’s referred to as the “80/20 Rule”.
In spirit of negotiating and becoming better negotiators, whether you’re negotiating for your business or for your new furniture purchase, here are five steps to masterful deal-making.
1. A Humble You Goes A Long Way
Put your ego aside and just be humble. Stop trying to be that “tough” guy character. One of the toughest parts of negotiating any deal is to be humble but firm at the same time.
If you’re a business owner, customer will purposely try and get the better of you. They want to see you flop. Don’t give in, stay the course and just be you.
We’re all human after all, so respect the positions of the other people involved in your negotiations. Express genuine respect for the other parties and what they have accomplished, even if you don’t really mean it.
2. Know Your Value
If you’re a business owner knowing your value is tres important. What can your business do to help your customer? What do you do differently versus your competition? These are some of the questions you should be able to answer instantaneously.
While you can’t know every possible result that the other party would want, be sure to understand what your offer can do for them. This means researching all the ways that your business, product and/or service can help your customer, whether it is solve their problem, increase earning potential, or simply make life more convenient and enjoyable.
3. Create A Personal Relationship
A sales rep that I work with in my day job has a very interesting approach to all of his customers versus the rest of sales staff. He works immensely on creating a personal relationship.
Often his conversations with new and existing customers begin around topics of fishing, golfing, family, kids, the kids hockey, life at home, travel and anything else that he shares a common interest with the party.
After spending a little while and building up the relationship, he’ll flip back to selling, often by asking “By the way Joe, you called about this product….” And by now he has the customer holding onto every word he says. Why? Simply because he installed trust trough building a personal relationship.
No matter how large or small your potential customer may be, reaching deals requires finesse—the combination of poise and diplomacy where skill and natural ability meet.Finesse really means stepping outside of your comfort zone and thinking outside of the box.
Finesse is most effective when there is a comfort level between two parties, and a mutual interest at hand. For top sales people finesse comes naturally, unfortunately for most of us, including my self, it just doesn’t come naturally. However, not all is doomed, a little work on developing your charm and creativity will get you all the finesse you need.
A little swagger can go a long way. Swagger is all about you being you and different from everyone else. It’s something that others remember you by, not so much for what you do, but rather how you do it. Swagger is about being commanding and authoritative without being arrogant or pretentious.
Swagger is showing off your success and fearlessness without ever compromising your integrity or general likability.
Reader, what do you think makes President Obama so successful?