The negotiations covered in this chapter center on the conversations that (1) follow the evaluation process and (2) precede the formal customer agreement to move forward. Many of the ideas contained in this chapter, however, have their roots in the concept of quid pro quo, which Customer-Focused sellers use throughout the sales cycle.
Unfortunately, when it comes to negotiating, there are no magic bullets. The salesperson has to be prepared and has to stick to the game plan. A misstep can cause significant damage. If salespeople fail to establish value and earn the respect of Key Players as peers, for example, the buyer has the upper hand when the time comes to negotiate. If the seller has been subordinate throughout the sales cycle, giving whatever the buyer requests and getting nothing in return, who do you think has the upper hand when the subject of price arises?
Sticking with the disciplines outlined in this resource is not always easy, and the stress of negotiating can cause a seller to revert to traditional behavior. But this can be doubly damaging. If during the sales cycle a seller has taken the approach of helping the buyer achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need, and then suddenly shifts to persuading, convincing, and “hard closing,” the buyer is likely to feel manipulated and begin to lump the seller into the pervasive negative stereotype.