Negotiations are sometimes very challenging since the organization involved typically have very different needs that do not always align.
Although, B2B negotiations are often complicated and stressful, this is not to say that a deal can't be secured on a win-win foundation.
One of the most important tasks that should be completed prior to a successful B2B negotiation is thorough preparation on a few fronts.
If are new to B2B negotiations or are just looking to improve your abilities, here are some tips on how to prepare yourself to secure a favorable sales outcome.
1. Have a principle agreement in place
At this beginning stage, money, discounts, and costs should not be a feature of discussions. Getting stuck on the money factor can stall the whole process, and waste everybody’s time.
You need to establish that you have a product which the other party needs. The business’ ability to use your product and create a return on the investment is a priority.
While negotiating, you must gain the client's interest to invest in your product. Make sure you have facts and figures of success rates from previous engagements with other companies to demonstrate your track record.
2. Set a sales agenda
Have a set agenda that you share with your client before you meet. Since you are negotiating, consider your duty to provide an equal opportunity to the other party to offer input as well.
If you try to conduct a meeting without an agenda, you’ll be jumping between multiple issues without finalizing anything.
Such an approach can be puzzling, leaving the other party wondering what’s going on.
The buyer could also potentially make use of the situation as a way of manipulating you into agreeing to something you don’t want.
Your agenda sets a professional tone and gives structure to a meeting.
Leaving the meeting, the negotiator must ensure that every item on the agenda is addressed. If you’re organizing a follow-up meeting, set up your agenda before you leave.
3. Give and take
Know beforehand what selling concessions you are going to make and what you expect in return.
In sales negotiation classes, professionals teach you not to concede unless you are getting something else of equivalent value in return.
Have your price structures ready. Then, have a set of sales negotiation prices and what you expect in return.
For example, your price might include a discount if the business signs an extended contract. Trade-offs can lead to both you and the client walking away with a mutually beneficial deal.
4. Get your ‘opponent’ to turn his attention away from the money
You can make other attractive offers to the buyer with whom you’re negotiating that has nothing to do with money or price.
Make use of such a valuable negotiation tactic. Talk about the add-on professional services that come with buying your product.
Offer a shorter contract, or make concessions on auto-renewals.
Add potential freebies to the list of non-monetary offers. Be prepared to show the business representative how offers can benefit the company’s business.
5. Don’t make concessions: Get trade-offs
Don’t let the company with which you’re negotiating offer veiled threats of withdrawing business.
Do not demand a concession with no pay-off for yourself.
Stick to trade-offs where you offer something and get something in return. This makes a big difference.
Be prepared for the other negotiator to try and dominate you. Have responses at your disposal to make sure you don’t make unintentional concessions.
Keeping calm and having a list of what you possess will help you.
When skilled negotiations reach their peak, emotions may run high. That’s when you might make a concession that is not acceptable to your bosses.
6. Understand the process
Always remember that the first meeting in a B2B negotiation may not be the last.
You might have to conduct more than one meeting.
Consider trying for alternatives rather than trying to force an agreement through because you might not get another chance.
You and your counterparty may have to take potential offers to your respective managers for approval.
By doing so, you get some time to put what happened in the meeting into perspective. However, never leave a meeting without having scheduled your next one.
In a B2B sales negotiation, you walk into a room to meet your client with an idea of what the final deal will look like.
The point of a sales negotiation is to hammer out a deal that both businesses can live with. Preparation is a great determinant of ongoing sales success.
Therefore, you should leave no stone unturned when entering a tough B2B sales negotiation.
How to prepare for a business negotiation:
- Have a principle agreement in place
- Set a sales agenda
- Give and take
- Get your ‘opponent’ to turn his attention away from the money
- Don’t make concessions: Get trade-offs
- Understand the process
Short bio: Authorities in training clients to successfully navigate their high stakes negotiations, Negotiation Experts also offer readers free online resources in the form of posts, book reviews, negotiation case, Q&A’s, and negotiation definitions.