Negotiation is a vast subject… And in this area, everyone has their little secret to offer you. What you need to know is that there are different negotiation techniques and not all of them are suited to your context. Today, I present to you my perspective of the good mechanisms to have to approach a BtoB commercial negotiation which makes sense …
To properly approach a commercial negotiation, it is necessary:
- Understand that compromise is not a lasting solution ;
- Start from the deep motivations of your client ;
- Learn to become comfortable in uncertainty ;
- Recognize disadvantageous negotiation scenarios.
Why does the compromise not work and what to replace it with?
Patrick has drawn his limit and so has Sophia. Nobody wanted to give up … their lot of land …
This story is like many others.
Let’s analyze a little: we are taught to negotiate early in life, but the problem is that our teachers are not negotiating experts.
In this kind of situation, the traditional advice is that a compromise must be made so that everyone benefits, that is to say that everyone makes concessions to reach an arrangement …
The problem is that compromise does not create this mythological situation in which everyone can benefit.
In fact, I am rarely happy to reduce my expectations before signing a contract with a new supplier.
I am experienced enough in BtoB business negotiation to tell you that … when the buyer leaves the negotiation by not finding his account there, it affects your relationship and your future transactions with him.
It is for this reason that it is always better to have an approach for long-term collaboration and avoid being in a win-lose relationship on both sides.
Build on what the buyer is looking to accomplish
Instead of being on each side of the end of a rope that you pull in opposite …
The idea is to elevate discussion, collaboration and therefore negotiation to achieve win-win solution.
What is the buyer’s goal, what is he looking for in his business? His career ? For himself ?
In short, what are his deepest motivations ?
This is the key information. Indeed, trying to get a better price is often just a short-term BtoB tactic.
Example questions to ask to understand your client
- What impact will this have on your business?
- What are your priorities and challenges in this area?
- What are the impacts of this problem on your team and your operation?
- What is your plan of action to achieve this goal?
The idea is really to try to understand what the buyer’s final medium to long term goal is. This is to determine what are the financial impacts and non-financial of your value proposition.
Let’s say he says:
Feel free to deepen this discussion by answering something like:
This should not be done for manipulation purposes. To be effective, your approach must be real and kind to your buyer. The more you understand the deep motivations of your prospect, the more your business will be able to add value.
It also avoids entering a price war. And if so, the price will not be your only argument to make a difference.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask the following question:
Indeed, you are taking the risk of the buyer saying to you “Well, just give me a good price”.
You will be able to answer him that the return on investment is one of your main objectives, but that the main thing is really to make sure that you recommend the best so that all his needs are covered.
This leaves you with a much better position as a salesperson with this question. Once this is done, it is crucial to remain silent and to actively listen to your client’s response.
Learn to become comfortable in uncertainty
You don’t have to be in control and be sure you know how your negotiation will go.
I know, you will say yes, but I am not paid on uncertainties… I need tangible data.
I fully understand you.
Obviously, you need to have an action plan and master the ins and outs of your offer.
But we all did it, sometimes under-selling our solution for lack of creativity, because we only thought of closing the deal.
This continues to happen to me …
To succeed in your business negotiation in BtoB, it is essential to learn to trust yourself, your offer, and your client.
Uncertainty is an environment conducive to creativity … And being creative is what allows you to strengthen the impact of your value proposition.
Also, uncertainty allows you to show your customer that you have more to offer than price. Wanting to conclude too quickly is a mistake that leads to under-sales, lack of creativity and often frustration for you and your client.
The goal is that you and your buyer are chasing value and moving away from the price war. This causes a bit of uncertainty, but it’s good for your collaboration.
What image do you reflect during your business negotiations?
Here’s a scoop: we all think that we are more cooperative than our client.
This bias is probably one of the biggest problems in trade negotiations.
We tend to think that our intentions are better than those of others, but this is not the case. To become a better BtoB salesperson, try to think about the image you can reflect.
Here’s what you shouldn’t look like:
Unscrupulous BtoB business negotiation
This person will do everything to close the sale: make false promises, create urgency based on fake arguments, bring false testimonies, break their price even if it means reducing their value and reputation.
Here is an approach that shows that your need is more important than your plan to bring value to your customer. Some of these techniques may work in the short term, but they do nothing good in the long term.
An authentic salesperson who cares about the value he brings to his client will sell better than any sales pro who tries to manipulate the buyer.
Do not forget that your prospect is approached by many people and you must make the difference with your product, your approach but especially by your ethics.
Good negotiation is done in authenticity and transparency. If the buyer is trying to abuse his position, do not hesitate to remind him that your goal is really to help him achieve his mission.
Pay attention to these negotiation scenarios
If you are not in communication with the final buyer, that your product does not meet customer needs or that your value proposition has not yet been established.
There is nothing to negotiate.
Also do not send your contract to anyone other than the final decision maker.
If your buyer tells you they don’t have time to discuss and he wants to close this deal and move on. In this case, it shows that it is clearly interested and wants to get you into action as long as there is still time (to reduce the price).
Whatever the topic of conversation, the buyer just discusses the price. Chances are, this potential customer may not be interested in your attempts to discuss the value you bring.
In this case, it’s a safe bet that other stakeholders expect him to negotiate the best. In this case, suggest the following:
Are there other people from the concerned department that we could include in this discussion in order to start this collaboration in the best conditions?
It is better to avoid concluding a deal with a client who wants you to lose.
In short, BtoB business negotiation is a broad subject, but I hope that with these few tips, you will approach your next negotiation by laying the foundations for a lasting collaboration.
To go further, and learn more about price negotiation in particular, you can read this article.