How to Negotiate Final Terms

Last Updated Apr 14, 2008 7:18 AM EDT

Ready to Negotiate and WinMany sales pros clutch when it comes to negotiating final terms. When the almost-customer pushes back, or comes up with a last-minute demand, the sales pro caves, afraid to lose the sale at the tail end of the process. The result is a deal that's less profitable, and a loss of the customer's respect for the sales pro. After all, does anyone really respect somebody who backs down at the first sign of pressure?

The trick to negotiating final terms is building up your negotiating power as a counterforce to the buyer's ability to buy or not buy. For a sales pro, negotiating power comes from having additional contacts in the customer account, a solid understanding of customer needs, and a unique perspective that the customer values.

If you've got negotiating power, there's no need to cave just to keep the deal alive. You can hold steady, cut a deal that makes sense for both firms, and earn the customer's long-term respect. Sound good?

To ensure that you've got sufficient negotiating power to cut a good deal, ask yourself the following six questions prior to negotiating:

  1. Do I have at least three contacts inside the customer's organization?
  2. Have I created legitimacy by articulating our policies and precedents?
  3. Have I built a relationship with the customer that goes beyond rapport?
  4. Do I fully understand the customer's needs and have an outstanding solution?
  5. Have I established the uniqueness of my company's products and services?
  6. Am I willing to be brave and strong and stick to my guns, even if I haven't made my quota yet?
If the answer to ALL SIX of these is a resounding "YES!" then you're ready to negotiate, if not, then you need to look at your overall selling skills to ensure that you're building this power throughout the sales cycle.

By the way, the above comes from a conversation with master negotiator Randall Murphy, the president of Acclivus R3 Corp, a performance consulting and professional development company.