Negotiating a sale - checklist

Two workers shaking hands after negotiating a sale

Salesmanship doesn't come naturally to everyone but, even if you lack negotiation experience or confidence, there are some tips that can help you negotiate a better deal and make the sale. From preparing yourself and clarifying your objectives to realising the importance of listening, learn how to improve your negotiating skills.

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

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.