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7 Strategies to Build "Negotiating Power"

When negotiating the final terms of complex deals, many sales pros find themselves in a situation where the customer holds all the cards. Because you've invested time in the opportunity, and may have made quota commitments to your manager, your customers feel they can simply dictate terms. That's a recipe for a win-lose outcome, with YOU on the losing end if the deal.

To create a win-win outcome, you must continually accumulate a counter-balancing "negotiating power" throughout the sales cycle. Here's how it's done:

  • Strategy #1: Eliminate or thwart competitive threats. Convince the customer that your product or service is the only one that can adequately fulfill the customer's needs.
  • Strategy #2. Develop at least three contacts inside the customer firm. Provide perspective to your solution-building process and information about the motivations and politics inside the customer's firm.
  • Strategy #3. Show the customer your ability to see beyond the obvious.
    The customer can't know everything about the firm, much less the market, so being an "outsider" gives you the ability to see situations more objectively.
  • Strategy #4. Create the legitimacy that comes from consistency. Remain aware of the strengths and limitations of your offerings, adhere to your firm's policies and procedures, and be willing to explain why they make sense.
  • Strategy #5. Position all interactions in terms of mutual success.
    A productive relationship is based upon mutual respect and understanding, and a sense of working together to achieve mutual goals.
  • Strategy #6. Generate a solution that matches the customer's needs. Your value to the customer skyrockets when you help the customer to crystallize needs and visualize the right solution.
  • Strategy #7: Differentiate yourself from other sales reps. Communicate clearly how you, as an individual, are a unique resource to the customer and use your own unique personality to your advantage.
The above is largely based on a conversation that I had recently with negotiation guru Randall Murphy, CEO of Acclivus R3.

READERS: Any other strategies that should be included?

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