Top sales people know how to sell and negotiate. However, knowing the difference between selling and negotiating can have a huge impact not only in the amount of business you sell, but also in the profitability of your sales.
Selling is the process of gaining commitment for your original proposal. On the other hand, negotiating is the process of gaining commitment on changes to your original proposal. One of the major mistakes made by sales people is they begin to negotiate too soon. The top sales person will try to overcome objections initially by selling the value of the original proposal before they begin to negotiate.
Before you can begin to negotiate you must have conditional commitment from your prospect. Conditional commitment means your prospect will buy form you providing agreement can be reached on the items to negotiate. If you negotiate without a conditional commitment from your prospect you could come to agreement on the negotiated item and still not get the business. One way to obtain conditional commitment is to ask for it. It could sound like this: “if we are able to agree on the item that you have a concern about, then will you move forward and implement our proposal?” Only if the answer to this question is “yes” do you have conditional commitment. IF the answer is “no” you have more selling to do.
Often, a sales person will begin to negotiate without realizing they are negotiating. For example, if a prospect gives the objection, “your price is too high!” Responding, “We can be flexible and move on the price,” means you have already begun to negotiate, because you are changing your original proposal. Before negotiating, find out why the prospect thinks the price is too high, and then sell the value of your original proposed price.
When you cannot overcome an objection (price or some other deliverable) by selling, and you have a conditional commitment, then you use a negotiating strategy to win