Improving Negotiation Skills for Buyers: 8 Do's and Don'ts
Just as there are two sides to every story, so there are two parties to every sales negotiation: the seller and the buyer. There are seemingly countless techniques, strategies and ruses that can be deployed by the shrewd salesperson in order to strike a deal and close a sale, but what about the buyer?
In financially challenging times, it is incumbent on business owners and managers to obtain the best deal possible when making significant purchases. In order to do so, the purchaser needs to be just as strategic and knowledgeable in their approach to sales negotiations as the vendor. This is where business skills training experts Maguire Training can help. Their comprehensive and informative course 'Negotiation Skills for Buyers' gives delegates an understanding of the sales negotiation from the buyer's perspective, enabling them to prepare for the process, take the most advantageous approach and achieve their desired outcome.
As a primer for anyone who is involved in purchasing for business, here Maguire training offers 8 do's and don'ts which, if followed, will improve negotiation skills for buyers.
- Do research the salesperson and their company
Finding out as much about the vendor, their company, their products and perhaps most helpfully other clients they have sold to gives an advantage in negotiations as it shows the vendor that you know as much about them as they probably do about you.
- Don't rush the negotiation process
If a salesperson senses that there is an urgency or time restraint upon your requirements for a product or service they may exploit this in a bid to get you to close the deal before you have negotiated the maximum benefit from it.
- Do ensure that you know the true value of your potential purchase
Check the vendor's listed prices, the prices of similar products or services from the vendor's closest competitors and - if possible - the prices paid by other customers for the same purchases you intend to make. If nothing else this ensures that the salesperson can't initially offer you an artificially inflated price and then 'discount' it in order to appear to be offering you an exclusive deal.
- Don't inadvertently give anything away
Something as simple as a facial expression, body-language or other non-verbal communication might give away that you are excited or enthusiastic about making a particular purchase, potentially making it much easier for the salesperson to close the deal without adding value. To avoid this, keep underlying emotions in check by adopting a neutral facial expression and body language during negotiations.
- Do set a fixed upper spending limit and stick to it
The amount you spend should be dictated by your knowledge of the true value of the product or service you wish to purchase and by the extent of your budget. Negotiate from a lower price than your desired upper limit and, if necessary, gradually raise the price you are willing to pay. Be tenacious and do not be tempted to exceed your self-defined upper spending limit at any cost.
- Don't be afraid to ask for more
As the buyer in a sales negotiation, the simple rule is 'don't ask, don't get'. If you are pushed to your spending limit don't be afraid to ask for as much value-add as you can extract from the salesperson; make it clear to them that this is a potential dealbreaker.
- Do be ready to walk away
If the salesperson is genuinely unable to agree to your offered price or terms there is nothing to be gained by prolonging the negotiation process. Be prepared to withdraw, but remember that you may have a competing vendor to turn to, and that prices are always subject to fluctuation: next month's price for the same product may well be lower than this month's.
- Be wary of common sales ploys
A standard sales tactic is to place the buyer under some kind of imagined pressure to close the deal: 'stocks of this are limited so you really need to buy now' or 'I can only offer at this price today', for example. A salesperson might also try to play to your emotions: 'Your competitor has this product; can you afford to let them have the edge over you'? or 'Consider how much money your business might lose if you delay buying this product'. Stay cool and focused on getting exactly what you need from the deal as a buyer and don't be caught out by the tricks of the salesperson's trade.
Knowing how to negotiate effectively as a buyer is an important aspect of managing your business budget. Any business leader, owner or manager whose role involves purchasing can benefit from the knowledge and strategies that Maguire Training's Negotiation Skills for Buyers provides. For added convenience the course is also available in an online training format and can be accessed from anywhere and at any time over the internet via Maguire Training's excellent E-learning platform.