Improving Sales Negotiation Skills in a Customer-centric Sales Process

Graphics showing the two sides of sales negotiation: Collaboration and Compromise

Sales experts agree that the better way of acquiring business is to employ customer centricity in your sales process. Organizations adopting this principle involve all key areas of the business so that all stages of business acquisition, including systems and product offers, remain focused on the customer’s needs and expectations. 

Sales negotiation, a key stage in a sales process, benefits a lot in this mindset- making difficult transactions more manageable and forward-moving towards closing a deal.

In a sales-based organization, it’s all about the product they are trying to sell. Sales professionals are known to highlight and focus on their offers in every customer interaction they make. They use persuasive techniques to establish a demand for their product even though it has no real use value for the customer.

In customer-centric selling, it is all about the customer. This sales process is a strategy where the sales team adopts a system of acquiring business without the use of off-putting, high-pressure sales tactics. Instead, they build on value-based credibility to help establish meaningful relationships and trust with clients. 

The idea may seem simple, but it is challenging to do and sustain because organizations and sales teams have financial targets to meet and are hard-wired to close every deal in every chance they get. However, studies show that customer-centric selling improves customer experience and causes them to make purchase decisions much quicker. In a study by PWC, seventy-three percent of customers say they have closed a deal with organizations that had given them a unique customer experience

A graph or chart showing different negotiation skills based on the degree of assertiveness and cooperation.
Sourcehttps://www.process.st/negotiation-skills/

The goal of a customer-centric sales negotiation is to help customers achieve the solution to the problem they are seeking with great satisfaction. 

Consider the following aspects involved that makes sales negotiation a success:

  • Let the Whole Sales Process Revolve Around Meaningful Conversation. Instead of consuming the customer’s time with a sales presentation they hardly understand, create conversations that will help uncover the problems of the customer and the solutions they are trying to seek.
  • Build Strong Communication with the Decision-Maker. He who has the final say must be given importance in the sales process.
  • Promote Product Usage and its Long-term Benefits. Let the customer understand how much your product can save them time and money in the long run.
  • Empower Them to Make Wise Purchase Decisions. Your credibility is heightened when you empower your customer to choose and buy a product that fits his needs even if that product is not your offer.

Make Sales Negotiation easier by putting the Customers at the center

The burden of closing a business deal always lies on the shoulders of sales professionals. It is not always easy to deal with customers with varying consumer behaviors. Likewise, product offers are readily available to them in multitude of choices. Customer-centric sales processes help disrupt that pattern and allow customers to take notice and favor relevant informed choices.

The process of negotiation becomes much easier to conduct because a trusting relationship has already been established at the onset. Customers become less resistant to more information presented to them. They actively speak about their concerns that you can leverage on to look for solutions and highlight in your product presentation.

In all stages of the sales process, the sales negotiation stage is where you are expected to be more patient with a customer. Their buying decisions are based on certain influences, and often the more choices they have more they need time to understand those choices. 

In a sales-driven organization, sales negotiation is the stage of a sales process where they employ tactical pressure on a customer in order to close a sale. With sales quotas to meet, sales agents are unknowingly tone deaf and are in constant monologue about their offers without considering how it relates to the customer. Even if a sales conversion is successful, it won’t be long before the customer will experience buyer’s remorse.

In the act of sales negotiation, it is not always about handling sales objections – but making sure the customer understands the product very well before making a decision. Think of the negotiation stage as your point of customer nurture where fallout is possible if you fail to make the final sales engagement right prior to closing.

The following elements will help you to continuously focus on customer experience at this stage of the sales process.

  • Wait Until the Customer is Ready to Buy. When you are eager to close a sale, you will submit to sharp discounting that may not result in a win-win situation between your business and the customer. Price and quality still remain the key factors for a customer’s buying decision. When your offer has premium value, build deeper customer trust around that value to quickly move the customer’s buying decision forward. 
  • Be Willing to Negotiate – Actively give the impression that you are willing to enter into a reasonable negotiation. Show empathy by looking closely into their issues and making sure that your offer is at par in solving those issues. 
  • Promote Long Term Benefits – Benefits should not only be experienced when the customer uses your product or service, but beyond that. Will the offer entitle them for a life-long discount for repeat sales and after sales services? Put a premium on those benefits and express that value on their long-term savings.
  • Maintain Your Walk-Away Points – Knowing what your walk away points will help you hold your power in the negotiation process. 

Not all sales negotiations are winnable especially when neither party is able to achieve what they want. It is important to know that in this kind of situation a compromise is in order. The key is to maintain a lasting and trusting relationship that may someday convert into a sale.

Better sales outcomes become automatic when customer-centricity is employed in your sales process. Not only that, a happy customer buys repeatedly and promotes intensely. This outcome likewise improves your customer retention rate, also resulting in an increase in potential sales by twenty-five to ninety-five percent based on a study by Harvard Business News. When customer-centricity is consistent in all stages of the sales process, it creates a long-lasting positive impact not only on your brand but also on your bottom line.

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