You may list "effective negotiation skills" as a requirement for your sales team. Effective negotiation is more than just tossing out ideas, hoping the customer will "bite" and agree to buy. It's a process, sometimes complex, that brings about an acceptable agreement to both parties.
Here are 10 effective negotiation skills to share with new sales people or as a refresher for long-time team members, adapted from an article on Chron.com. Practice these skills each day to build sales and a loyal customer base.
1. Problem Analysis
Effective negotiators must have the skills to analyze a problem to determine the interests of each party in the negotiation. A detailed problem analysis identifies the issue, the interested parties and the outcome goals. Identifying the issues for both sides can help to find a compromise for all parties.
Before entering a bargaining meeting, the skilled negotiator prepares for the meeting. Preparation includes determining goals, areas for trade and alternatives to the stated goals. In addition, negotiators study the history of the relationship between the two parties and past negotiations to find areas of agreement and common goals. Past precedents and outcomes can set the tone for current negotiations.
3. Active Listening
Negotiators have the skills to listen actively to the other party during the debate. Active listening involves the ability to read body language as well as verbal communication. It is important to listen to the other party to find areas for compromise during the meeting. Instead of spending the bulk of the time in negotiation expounding the virtues of his viewpoint, the skilled negotiator will spend more time listening to the other party.
4. Emotional Control
It is vital that a negotiator have the ability to keep his emotions in check during the negotiation. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control during the meeting can lead to unfavorable results.
5. Verbal Communication
Negotiators must have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to the other side during the negotiation. Misunderstandings can occur if the negotiator does not state his case clearly. During a bargaining meeting, an effective negotiator must have the skills to state his desired outcome as well as his reasoning.
6. Collaboration and Teamwork
Negotiation is not necessarily a one side against another arrangement. Effective negotiators must have the skills to work together as a team and foster a collaborative atmosphere during negotiations. Those involved in a negotiation on both sides of the issue must work together to reach an agreeable solution.
7. Problem Solving
Individuals with negotiation skills have the ability to seek a variety of solutions to problems. Instead of focusing on his ultimate goal for the negotiation, the individual with skills can focus on solving the problem, which may be a breakdown in communication, to benefit both sides of the issue.
8. Decision-Making Ability
Leaders with negotiation skills have the ability to act decisively during a negotiation. It may be necessary during a bargaining arrangement to agree to a compromise quickly to end a stalemate.
9. Interpersonal Skills
Effective negotiators have the interpersonal skills to maintain a good working relationship with those involved in the negotiation. Negotiators with patience and the ability to persuade others without using manipulation can maintain a positive atmosphere during a difficult negotiation.
10. Ethics and Reliability
Ethical standards and reliability in an effective negotiator promote a trusting environment for negotiations. Both sides in a negotiation must trust that the other party will follow through on promises and agreements. A negotiator must have the skills to execute on his promises after bargaining ends.