The New Landscape of Sales Negotiation

By RED BEAR September 28, 2023 | 8 min read

These last few years have laid the foundation for a new era in sales negotiation.

Whether it’s changing buyer behavior, the rise of virtual sales, or the evolution of the customer journey, sales professionals need to navigate this new landscape with the right tools and knowledge.

The days of single-use strategies and manipulative tactics are over — these approaches rarely yielded sustainable results, anyway.

Rather than approach each negotiation from a purely transactional perspective, skilled negotiators focus on leveraging other aspects of a discussion, like the collaborative dimension of negotiation, to build better relationships and long-term value.

Here at RED BEAR, we teach the fundamentals of successful negotiation. With a strong foundation based on RED BEAR’s principles and behaviors of negotiation, your team can walk into any sales situation with confidence.

Our tried and true methodology is utilized by 45% of the Fortune 500. 

To help you understand the power of RED BEAR Training, let’s explore this new sales negotiation landscape and learn how the right training can position your team for sustained success and optimized deals.

Changing Buyer Behaviors

Today’s buyers are quite different from those just a decade ago. They are better informed, prefer self-service options, and prioritize visibility in transactions. 

Sales professionals must understand these changing trends and adapt their strategies to make the most of this new environment. For example, while B2B buyers historically regard the interactions with vendor sales reps highly, sentiments are shifting fast.

In a recent survey of 2,185 buyers and decision-makers, vendor resource use has declined. In 2021, 43% of buyers consulted vendor sales reps. In 2022, that number dropped 20% — meaning only one in four buyers leverage sales reps in the decision-making process.

With only 17% of the B2B purchase journey being spent with sales reps, independent research, and customer self-learning are the new norms.

How can sales professionals navigate this new era of B2B buying?

It’s all about making an impact with the time you have available. 


Adapting to Changing Buyer Tendencies

These days, it’s all about providing an amazing customer experience. As buyers grow to expect personalized service, quick responses, and higher quality products and services, sales professionals need to understand the power of positioning

One of the Six Principles of Negotiation, positioning helps your sales team hone in on the data that matters to create an effective positioning theme. In the limited time you have with customers, you need to convey the value of your products or services effectively. 

The trick is to create brief, compelling, and relatable themes. While it might feel natural to use all the information at your disposal, too much information can dilute the power of your offer.

Studies indicate that top-tier negotiators utilize approximately half the data that their average counterparts do to present their arguments. It's often more impactful to select a handful of your strongest value propositions as the foundation of your stance and reiterate them consistently throughout the negotiation.

“Studies indicate that top-tier negotiators utilize approximately half the data that their average counterparts do to present their arguments.”

Virtual Sales Is the New Norm

While virtual communication technology was around and available just five years ago, no one could have predicted how these new avenues for discussion would become commonplace. COVID-19 and the related lockdowns lit the fuse, and it looks like the business world isn't looking back any time soon.

74% of sales in the U.S. happen through remote sales models. 

This puts into focus not only the shift in the buyer/seller dynamic but also the need for effective strategies for virtual sales. 

Virtual sales are defined by engagements on digital platforms, encompassing video conversations, online meetings, and social media interactions. Notably, these sales processes tend to progress more swiftly than traditional cycles. For sales teams, agility and preparedness to embrace emerging technologies are crucial for overall achievement.

Making the Most of Virtual Sales Environments

Even in this digital-first environment, relationship-building is still paramount.

While technology facilitates interaction, it’s the depth and quality of these connections that will lead to better deals and maximized outcomes for both parties. Building trust, understanding client needs, and demonstrating genuine empathy through virtual channels are essential competencies. 

Here, RED BEAR’s negotiation behaviors are critical. For example, let’s take a look at the “Make Demands” behavior. In a virtual environment, it’s easy for messages to get lost or misinterpreted. Making clear and concise demands ensures there’s no ambiguity. When your sales team is upfront about needs, it sets the tone for transparency.

Let’s explore another behavior: “Ask Open Questions.” Open-ended questions lead to deeper understanding, which is crucial in a space where body language and other non-verbal cues might be missing.

By asking open questions, you show genuine interest in the other party's needs and concerns. It demonstrates that you value their perspective and want to understand them better, which can strengthen rapport.

It’s not just about a virtual negotiation environment, either. By mastering the negotiation behaviors, sales professionals can walk into any situation with the right tools and knowledge needed to succeed and build valuable relationships — regardless of if they’re in-person, virtual, or a blend of the two.


It’s All About Building Relationships

Buyers aren’t walking into a negotiation blind. They’re researching and learning all they can about the company before making first contact. In fact, buyers are through 57% to 70% of the buying research process before they reach out to a sales representative. 

When it comes time to enter negotiations, the important thing is to build trust and build it fast. 

Relationships are the bedrock of trust. When trust is established, negotiations flow more smoothly, and closing deals becomes more straightforward. Buyers today have countless options. Trust can differentiate your company and sales team from the competition.

Strong relationships lead to repeat business. Not only is it more cost-effective, but it also means your customers become brand advocates. With 84% of B2B buyers starting the purchasing process with a referral, spreading positive word of mouth isn’t just a welcomed benefit; it’s a necessity.

So, how can your team learn to build valuable relationships with buyers?

Building Relationships With Buyers

To build long-lasting and valuable relationships, sales professionals need to approach each sales discussion with the goal of understanding the other party and finding solutions that benefit both sides.

Here at RED BEAR, we highlight the value of creating healthy tension. We've outlined the importance of the relationship factor; however, sales negotiations cannot rely solely on collaboration. It's imperative that the competitive aspect remains present throughout, as well.

When negotiators balance the competitive and collaborative dimensions of negotiation, they can create this healthy tension and find creative solutions to break impasses.

“When negotiators balance the competitive and collaborative dimensions of negotiation, they can create this healthy tension and find creative solutions to break impasses.”

This can result in win-win outcomes that satisfy both parties. 

In negotiations, a solid relationship can be a substantial advantage. Both parties are more likely to make concessions and find a middle ground when there's mutual respect and understanding.

Beyond the practical business benefits, building and maintaining positive relationships provides personal fulfillment. It's rewarding to know you're making a difference and are valued by your clients.

Master Sales Negotiation with RED BEAR

There is no denying that the landscape of sales negotiation is changing. This shift reflects broader changes in customer behavior, technology, and market dynamics. In this new environment, the power of a genuine relationship can’t be underestimated. 

In a world abundant with choices, it’s the human touch, the trust we foster, and the relationships we build that set us apart.

At RED BEAR, we teach a negotiation methodology that balances relationship building and self-interest. With the right tools and knowledge of the principles and behaviors of negotiation in hand, every member of your sales team can enter negotiations with confidence — even if they’re virtual or cross-cultural in nature.

Our training gets results. Not only do we offer a 10X ROI guarantee, but for every dollar invested in our training, our clients receive, on average, $54 back. That’s the power of effective sales negotiation training; that’s the power of RED BEAR.

For more information and to get started on your sales negotiation training journey, connect with the team today.

Fill out our contact form and we will be back to you in no later than one business day.



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