Unless you’ve lived under a rock these last few years, you’re likely well aware of the uncertain economic environment sales professionals need to navigate in 2023.
RED BEAR’s Senior Client Advisor Vince Schuessler argues, in his article published in Sales & Marketing Management, this uncertainty is the defining factor for 2023. This puts into focus the need for creative approaches to building profitable deals.
In his article, Vince explores the idea of prioritizing customer relationships to combat these challenging economic factors — a strategy that gets to the heart of the RED BEAR Negotiation methodology.
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“Our training gets results. In fact, our customers realize an average return of $54 for every dollar they invest in our training programs.”
Let’s explore Vince’s advice in more detail and uncover some additional insights into how your team can tackle the economic challenges of 2023 and find success.
Exploring Vince’s Insights
Inflation is a big hairy problem affecting virtually every industry. While inflation seems to have peaked at 9.1% in 2022, relief still seems to be far off in the distance.
For Vince, this inflationary environment puts pressure on companies, leaving them with “two difficult options.” They can either “absorb or mitigate inflationary costs on the supplier side or pass rising costs along to customers.”
This puts sales professionals in a precarious position.
The challenging economic landscape raises the stakes, as Vince puts it, “making missteps in deals more costly than ever.”
How can sales leaders combat these challenges and maximize the value of deals? Let’s take a closer look at Vince’s advice:
- Plan Everything: sales leaders need to anticipate all aspects of a negotiation ahead of time, knowing when to introduce the right information and identify key decision makers early.
- Position Your Product/Service: understanding your customers starts by asking the right questions. From there, you can develop a deep understanding of their needs and create a compelling value proposition.
- Set the Right Targets: it’s not just about price but also non-commodity items like contract terms of schedule flexibility. Understanding the mutual benefits of the negotiated targets fosters better long-term relationships.
- Manage Information Skillfully: information is critical in sales negotiations. Always balance collaboration with strategic information sharing to create a competitive advantage while fostering the client relationship.
- Leverage Your Strength and Power: always understand your strengths and power relative to the other party. As Vince argues, ”one of the biggest mistakes a novice negotiator will make is thinking the other side has all the power.”
- Satisfy Needs Over Wants: when you focus on relationship building, you can better understand the other party’s needs over their wants. Try to get to the root of why they ask for certain things.
- Execute a Proper Concessions Strategy: concessions are a crucial part of negotiation. A well-planned concession strategy that values collaboration over competition builds long-term relationships and mutual respect.
This is just a small taste of the actionable advice Vince outlines in his article. For the full picture of these sales strategies, be sure to read the full article on Sales & Marketing Management.
Building on the Advice: Putting the Strategies to Work
To help you better put into practice Vince’s strategies for sales negotiation success, let’s bring in some more RED BEAR advice.
Below, you’ll find information that builds on some of the strategies we’ve outlined above to help your sales team make the most out of the economic uncertainty of 2023.
How to Manage Information Skillfully
Managing information during a negotiation is critical. Here are a few additional RED BEAR insights to help you manage information effectively:
- Leverage information that strengthens your case. Try to define your unique selling points and reasons to believe that will set you apart from the competition.
- Protecting information is just as important as the information you choose to share. Always try to anticipate difficult questions and be ready with a strategic response.
- Uncovering information is all about asking the right questions. As Vince says, “skilled negotiators ask 2.5x more questions and use half as much data compared to their average counterparts.”
“Skilled negotiators ask 2.5x more questions and use half as much data compared to their average counterparts.”
Understanding the Pitfalls of Your Concessions Strategy
A concessions strategy is an essential component of any successful negotiations. When you engage in trading concessions, you can build rapport, reciprocity, and trust with the other party.
But, as with any strategy, there’s a wrong way to approach concessions and a right way. Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track:
- A good rule of thumb is to set targets appropriately, ensuring enough wiggle room during discussions.
- Concessions are essential resources; treat them as such.
- Always adhere to a give-and-take approach.
An effective concession strategy will help build long-term relationships. Poorly conducted concessions negotiations don’t just disrupt a single deal but can sour an entire relationship — so tread carefully and always come prepared.
Why You Need to Build a Negotiation Process
Vince’s first point is to plan everything — and for good reason.
When you have the right negotiation process in place, your team will share a common language and standards around sales negotiations. Establishing these processes is the trick to consistent success.
Without this type of foundation, your sales team will rely on whatever experience they might have — if they have any negotiation training at all. As you might imagine, this just isn’t a solid strategy for maximizing the outcomes of deals.
Don’t leave negotiations up to chance; always come prepared with a negotiation process in place.
Dive Deeper with RED BEAR Negotiation Training
While sales professionals face some significant hurdles in 2023, that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities hidden amongst the challenges.
To make the most out of economic uncertainty, your team needs the right negotiation training. The right training will help your team maximize the value of deals and, more importantly, develop robust and valuable relationships with clients.
As Vince says, “sales leaders that understand the value of relationships in negotiation will see more competitive wins, more profitable deals, and more closed deals.”
If you want to dive deeper into Vince’s advice for sales professionals, be sure to read his full article here.
If you want to go beyond the article and start your own sales negotiation training journey, be sure to connect with the expert team here at RED BEAR.
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