It can be challenging at the best of times to understand what your prospect wants in order to tailor your product or services to their needs.
The secret is that once a client’s needs are understood and a relationship is established, asking for business becomes an extension of the roles of counselor and problem-solver possibly a familiar and comfortable roles for business entrepreneurs.
With these 10 questions firmly in place, practice them so that asking for business may not be so daunting. Use these questions to bring the focus of the sales conversation back to YOUR goals
Repeat back what your customer has said. Make sure you show youare listening to their EMOTIONS as well as their words and logic.
So what I hear you saying is that you are a little bit _______?
Tell me more about that feeling. OK, what do you think we could do about that?
2. “Get Their Opinion”
Everybody loves to think that their opinion is valued. By getting prospect’s opinion you find out what they are most interested in, and more importantly you will learn what NOT to discuss or emphasize
In your opinion, does this idea fit the goals of your company?
Why or why not?
3. “Narrow It Down”
Sometimes customers will get confused by too many options. If you can narrow down their decision to fewer choices, then they are less likely to put off a buying decision.
If I was a magician and I could just magically give you the perfect package of your choice, which one would it be?
4. “Show Optimism”
Try to get a positive response from your customer. Optimistic suggestions and questions will usually get optimistic responses
I am sure that you won’t mind me downloading this product detail sheet, would you? …
If you knew it would help you to make a better decision about which model is right for you?
5. “Be Negative To Elicit A Positive Response”
If you predict a negative outcome, your customers may even offer up solutions that would not have thought of otherwise.
You’re not interested in our free bonuses, are you?
6. “Super Polite Flattery Favors”
Be polite, and people will respond. Add a little flattery and then don’t be afraid to ask a favour I know your job is super complicated and you have a lot on your plate right now.
Instead of having to deal with selling your boss on this idea,
how about you just let me to the heavy lifting?
7. “Get Them Talking Again”
Keep the conversation going to avoid “uncomfortable silences.” Bring them back around, and keep them talking.
What exactly do you mean by that?
That’s really very, very interesting.
Would you mind telling me more?
8. “Brain stormers”
Get your prospect to think about the rewards and benefits of using or owning your product or service. Get them to think about various possibilities.
Get them to think creatively.
Have you thought about how easy this will be, and how much time this will save you once you get it going?
Just imagine all that extra time you’ll have to focus on what’s important!
Imagine what could you do with that extra time?
Let’s make a quick list
9. “Take Their Temperature”
Find out exactly how they feel – both positive and negative. This will obviously give you more information on which benefits to pitch, and how to close the sale.
Q The way you see it, in what different ways are we BETTER than the competition?
In what ways do you think we are WEAKER?
10. “Focus on identifying and solving their problems”
Find out exactly what they are concerned about which stimulated them to enquire about your services or product further. This will give yyou more information and better help you to tailor your proposal an quotation.
Q How did you see this product or service solving your main concerns
Q what main concerns did you see our services or product solving?
Bargaining vs Negotiating
Although people often think that negotiating is the same as bargaining, it is not.
Negotiating is a process, and bargaining is one stage of that process. There are three other stages of negotiating, and even those are tempered by timing, intuition, and flexibility to the process.
I am not going to list all of the, but I will set out some of the real nuggets you should put in place to establish a firm ground for all considerations.
1. Do your Research
When doing research and preparing for negotiations, there are three important considerations:
- Collecting facts
- Knowing priorities
- Knowing principles
The facts that you collect are all the direct and indirect information that you will need to back you up during negotiations. With access to information today, it is a much simpler task than ever to accumulate all kinds of data and statistics.
For example, if you are preparing to purchase a vehicle or a house, plenty of information is available, such as comparable properties and prices.If you are preparing to negotiate a raise, or are negotiating salary increases at work, then comparable wage statistics, the history of the organisation and its mission and values, previous experiences in the collective bargaining process, and strategic plans are all important concepts to understand.
2. Focus on your priority
Knowing priorities means having a good understanding of what you want from the negotiation. You also need to know what the other party wants. Understanding your principles, both as a negotiator
and as an individual, will help you to form and present a case that is compelling and believable.
Understanding the principles of the other party can also be very helpful to you. A little more research can help you to understand what the organisation’s beliefs are, how they have approached previous negotiations, what terms seem to be more important to them than others, and what terms they could be willing to be flexible with.
3. Identifying Your Walk Away Position (WAP)
When you establish your priorities, make sure you have a clear understanding of your Walk Away Position (WAP). What is the least that you will accept (or the highest price that you are willing to
Establish your WAP value in your mind and keep it clearly available so that you do not get caught up in the heat of negotiating, either ending up with something you never wanted, or turning
down a deal that was better than your WAP.
If you are negotiating on someone else’s behalf, make sure that you know their WAP so that you do not make any mistakes in negotiating for them.
4. Identifying Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)
In addition to your WAP, you also need a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) in your plan. Sometimes an issue can be settled before the bargaining phase begins if it meets your
criteria as a BATNA.
For example, if you are planning to purchase a home – which is often a very emotional decision – and the realtor comes to you with an offer that you can live with, and you get the home you want without having to participate in any heavy bargaining or entering into a price war, then you may have reached your BATNA.
Not all negotiations have to be bargained; sometimes, when you negotiate, you can lose the opportunity to get what might have been a BATNA if you had not been after such a bargain.
5. Working Within the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA)
The Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) is an area of overlap where the desired outcomes of both parties reside, and where both parties can live with the outcome. Once you reach a ZOPA, the finer details need to be worked out within the scope of what both parties
have already found is potentially working for them.
For example, if your business forecasting allows for a 2% salary increase each year for the next three years, and similar companies in your industry are offering the same, and the union is asking for 7% over four years, then youmay be within the ZOPA.In general, there are three possible outcomes to a negotiation.
6. Getting Everyone’s Perspective
Gathering perspective is something that can take place throughout the negotiation process. It begins in the research phase, where the negotiator considers the needs of the members of an organisation
in conjunction with the strategic vision and mission of the negotiation.
This does not mean that everyone will get what they want in an agreement; rather, it means that all points of view are considered. There is no point in entering negotiations and reaching an agreement that ignores a section of stakeholders or breaks the law.
Gathering perspective can be a considerable undertaking, depending on the size and scope of the operation. This is one area where outside resources can be utilised (an outside firm conducting employee satisfaction surveys, for example)Diane Shawe Author available from amazon and google books