10 Essential Negotiation Skills for Salespeople

Sales people have one of the toughest jobs in the business. You are required to at once make contact with sometimes a complete stranger, build a relationship with them, pitch them a convincing sell and finally sell that product to them. And sometimes all in the space of a ten minute phone call!
The bottom line is this: To be a great sales person you need to hone your negotiation skills. Here are 10 key skills that all good sales people need to have:

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Image Credit – WOCinTech Chat | CC License

 

1. Enunciation
It might sound obvious, but a salesperson needs to have a very clear voice. When pitching, selling and explaining your product to your customer, make sure you enunciate. Try not to trip over words or trail off the end of your sentences. If the customer can understand you, your pitch to them becomes one step easier.

 

2. Rapport
It’s important to build a good relationship with your client. The best way to judge it is to get the balance right between a friendly but professional manner. You want the client to like you but take you and your product seriously. A little joke here and there doesn’t hurt, especially to break down the public’s assumption that salespeople are cold hearted capitalists who want their money!

 

3. Problem solving
Salespeople need to be experts at on the spot problem solving. It can make the difference between a sale and an ‘I’ll think about it’ line from the customer. If they throw up a problem, it’s up to you to solve it and reassure them there and then. This will also help instil trust.

 

Image Credit - AI King (CC License)

Image Credit – AI King (CC License)

It’s important that the impression the customer walks away with, is that your product is reliable, and that your company will listen to their issues, and more importantly, solve them.

 

4. Fast Decision Making
Another key aspect of making sales is the ability to make decisions quickly. The sorts of decisions you need to make can range between agreeing to give a client a small discount for a bigger package deal and offering them premium features or even bespoke functionality.
Finding out the angle that will best assist your sales pitch to each client requires quick thinking. Familiarise yourself with your product, and the limits to which a deal is possible with clients i.e. how far the business owner can stretch with things like discounts. Once you know what parameters you can work in, your decision making will become more fluid.

 

5. Assertiveness
As a salesperson, your job is to show confidence in your brand and instil that confidence in potential customers. For this you need at times to be assertive when making a sale.
Customers are generally willing to listen but almost all of them reluctant to buy on the spot. If you buy into their own uncertainty with your tone of voice, you won’t make a lot of sales. Be assertive, but not aggressive, in your pitch. Let the customer buy into you confidence in the brand.

 

6. Composure
Sales can be a stressful and at times frustrating vocation. Some customers need the product explaining to them multiple times in order to understand it.
Remember that whilst you know the product inside out, this is the first time they are hearing about it. A wealth of new promises, contracts and statistics can be overwhelming. So remember to take a deep breath (but don’t make it obvious!) and stay calm.

The customer will appreciate you being patient with them which will make them more likely to buy from you.

7. Persuasion
Persuading your customer is an obvious negotiation skill, but it can be used in more subtle ways. Some clients can be suspicious of very obvious pitches. Putting things like statistics into your pitch is helpful, but don’t let it be the first thing you use to persuade them.
Personalisation: such as lines like ‘I think the best package deal for you would be the…’ need to come first. Afterwards statistics will back up your suggestion to them e.g. ‘We’ve had some very positive feedback on this product…’ Persuasion is the more gentle aspect of selling and one that often works better once you have built a rapport with a client.

 

8. Knowledge
Don’t let yourself be caught out! Customers tend to ask similar questions about price, value for money and contracts, but every so often one of them will pose a question you haven’t previously been asked.
In times like these it’s more important than ever to make sure you know your product inside out. Sometimes honesty will see you through such as saying ‘I would need to check with my boss, can I ring you back/quickly put you on hold so I can check that for you?’
But more often, a sale is made in the moment, so don’t lose it thanks to a lack of knowledge.

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Image Source – Porsche Brosseau (CC License)

 

9. Translation
As a professional, terms and keywords will be familiar to you. When talking to potential clients, it is important to translate the ‘corporate’ terms into ‘laymen’s’ terms. Using complicated language will confuse and alienate your client, so explain to them what you mean by a certain phrase. Being able to sum up your product in clear and accessible language makes it much more accessible to clients and will also improve your communication skills.

 

10. Listening
Last but most certainly not least! Listening is perhaps the most important negotiation skill of all. It links to building rapport and trust with your client. Listening breaks down the assumption that salespeople simply want your money and don’t listen to our needs. When a client has a problem or has questions that need answering, listening is the skill in all of these situations that keeps on giving back. Put simply, listen to clients, and they will listen to you when you sell to them.

 

Conclusion
Ultimately, you need your client to trust you and the brand you are representing. To do this, remember to personalise each sale to the client’s needs and concerns. Maintaining a calm head and keeping on top of your knowledge of the product will make your sales pitches slicker and give you a more competent and confidant impression when you talk to clients.

 

If you are looking for advice on how to improve and build your sales pipeline get in contact today.  Virtual Sales Ltd are experts in lead generation and telemarketing services.

 

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Andy Dickens

Andy Dickens is a veteran of IT Sales, used to leading by example. He is the CEO of Virtual Sales Limited (VSL) who offer telesales, telemarketing, lead generation and appointment setting services to B2b businesses. He previously was Sales Director EMEA for Red Hat and before that ran sales at Visio before it was acquired by Microsoft.

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