Preparing for a negotiation can bring about fear and negative thinking. Combat that negativity and be a more successful negotiator by using these 7 psychological tactics from expert Sherrie Campbell, a contributor to Entrepreneur.com.
1. Eliminate anxiety.
The brain loves options. A salesperson should always have more than one significant opportunity in the pipeline. This leads to increased confidence and less anxiety when negotiating.
Negotiate for what's easy first and never assume a potential customer will say yes to everything. Sometimes, the prospect may offer to take a smaller order before going for bigger, more lucrative orders or contracts.
3. Take full advantage of listening.
People love to be listened to. Taking the time to listen can set the sales professional apart from competitors who push too hard. So when negotiating, a salesperson should listen twice as much as they speak and repeat back to the customer what the client said and ask for agreement.
4. Choose a “partner” approach.
In a negotiation, the seller needs to view a potential customer as a partner rather than an opponent. Psychologically, this puts each party on the same team, bringing more confidence in the sales professional's negotiation.
If the potential customer is not willing to come to agreement, then the sales professional can shock the customer by removing the offer. Often what happens then is the potential customer rethinks a stance and returns to negotiate with a higher level of respect for the salesperson’s offer.
5. Think existentially.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer to see the big picture. This will help you gain clarity about the potential customer's demands, strengths and weaknesses and it's easier to move through the negotiation.
The potential customer feels connected to the negotiations because their viewpoint has been considered, which goes a long way toward making a favorable impression and building trust.
6. Put people first, numbers second.
If a salesperson bullies their way into a deal, a customer will feel defensive, which blocks effective negotiation. A salesperson should refrain from criticizing the needs, demands, motives or behaviors of the potential customer.
Strategically the sales professional must keep the focus off the offer and create an arena of fairness in mediating discussions about the numbers in a mutually beneficial fashion.
7. Mimic the emotional environment.
Negotiation always involves manipulation. A useful strategy is to feign indifference once the negotiation has reached a sticking point. If a potential customer senses desperation or neediness in a pitch, the salesperson becomes prey to being taken advantage of.
If the sales professional can limit their sense of urgency about closing a sale and reflect indifference to the customer by seeming relaxed or asking for a delay in the negotiations, they create psychological tension in the other party. This can result in an agreement.