How to negotiate a sale
1 Before the negotiation begins, prepare yourself; aim to appear keen to do the deal, but not desperate.
2 Clarify your objectives (eg price, volume, or a quick sale) and how important the deal is to you.
3 Find out what the customer wants. What features or extras do they value, and what are their priorities - price, service or delivery?
4 Research the customer's position: how urgently they need your product, what they can afford and what alternatives the competition are offering.
5 Assess the value of your offering to the customer: what benefits it offers, what problems it solves for them, what alternatives it replaces.
6 Identify the strengths and weaknesses in your proposal and plan your strategy; aim to reach a deal which will suit the customer as well.
7 Decide what could be negotiable; try to identify concessions which would cost you little but which the customer would value.
8 Consider the potential impact on other deals and other customers of any concessions you make.
9 Clarify your terms and conditions from the start of the negotiation.
10 Pitch your opening price high; explain how the value in what you are offering justifies the price.
11 Agree what the negotiating points are.
12 Concentrate on asking questions and listening; fend off questions aimed at discovering your own negotiating position.
13 Test the strength of any concessions the customer asks for; ask whether they are deal-breakers, or what alternatives there are.
14 Look for reciprocation on any concessions you make: for example, an increased order size in exchange for a discount.
15 Summarise each point as it is agreed; shake hands on the deal when all the points have been covered, and follow up with a written agreement.
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