14-step guide on negotiating and closing sales

1. Prepare 

As with most things in life, when it comes to negotiating and closing a sale preparation is paramount. You need to be relaxed, informed and professional when you pitch up to sell your innovation, and this will only happen if you’ve done your homework beforehand. You’re sure to know your product or solution inside out, but it’s also essential to be conversant with the sector you’re selling to, as well as the individual company.

2. Know your product 

While you’re already intimately knowledgeable about your solution, you also need to make sure you can speak succinctly and persuasively about alternative solutions on the market, or indeed the risks and downsides associated with choosing to do nothing.

3. Ask questions

Asking questions is the best way to get a clear and accurate picture of your potential client’s needs. Only by asking questions can you build up the unique picture that applies to their situation. And it’s this unique picture that will provide you with your best sales backdrop.

4. Listen

Asking questions is only one part of a two-sided coin. Once you’ve asked the question, it’s essential to listen carefully to the response, making sure you’ve fully understood and asking subsequent, more probing questions if there is doubt.

5. Establish a need

An important part of any negotiation process is establishing that your potential client agrees and accepts that he or she has a need for what you are proposing. Again, the ability to refer your potential client back to their admission of need is an important part of your sales armoury.

6. Put a value on that need

Once your potential client has agreed that he or she has a need for what you are selling, it is a clever strategy to steer them to put a value on that need. What benefit does the solution give them? What problem does it solve? What other ways might there be of resolving those problems? This is also a clever time to talk about timescales and priorities, as well as budget and service.

7. Establish the strengths and weaknesses of your offering

Not every product or service will solve all of the potential client’s needs, so you need to work your pitch to show your solution’s strengths in their best light, as well as acknowledging any weaknesses and overcoming the issues that those weaknesses could give rise to.

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