Is Negotiation Really Selling, or is Selling Really Negotiation?
As a Negotiation Skills Keynote Speaker in my keynote and break-out session talks for Pharma Companies on sales and negotiation skills, I ask the question: is negotiation really selling or is selling really negotiation? Whether we are selling or negotiating, we know that listening skills are crucial, but are there other things the two have in common?
Sales & Negotiation Skills
In a recent article for the Harvard Law School (November 11, 2021), as a sales & negotiation skills motivational speaker, I was in firm agreement with many of the top skills stated of what a good negotiator should possess, including building rapport, engaging in active listening, being aware of anchoring to a bias, flexibility and what I will term negotiation resilience.
The entire process should be firm and elastic. The team about to do the negotiation, even if it’s a team of one, should go into any negotiation knowing what is and is not acceptable to advance the discussion and with that, what items are firm and what points are you willing to bend and adjust.
The point I make above, may seem as a given but I cannot tell you how many times I have had “distress calls” from new or established (usually struggling) companies. These companies were so enthused to be negotiating with a “major player” that they readily conceded every point. This invariably resulted in a panic call or email to me as to “what to do?”
One point I always stress, is not to be afraid to take a deep breath, consult your preparation notes on what is firm, and respond that you cannot meet their requirements. Well, isn’t this like walking away from a sale?
My take is that it’s more like re-discovering your core values; celebrating your center.
The Sales Side
Business writer Meg Prater recently wrote a piece listing 10 essential skills every sales person needs in 2021. Included in her comments were: educating prospects, collaboration, demonstrating ROI, active listening, crafting solutions and understanding client needs.
Taken with equal weight, we can readily see that selling and negotiation do have a lot in common, especially when it comes to listening.
But to me, the connecting point in sales and negotiation has little to do with technology and everything to do with people. Matching points side-by-side, between negotiation and selling, we see common traits of building rapport, building something together, coming to agreements and understanding each other’s needs.
I made a point earlier about “celebrating your center.” If in a negotiation or in making a sale, the person sitting across from you is unwilling to be flexible on any point, or worse talks over you, or tries to intimidate, or makes unreasonable requests, they are also unwilling to respect “you” or your organization on a human level.
In reality, both sales and negotiation must lead to a human rapport and the mutual desire to solve a problem. Longer term negotiations or sales agreements respect both the people and the solution. The process of sales and negotiation is circular. They aren’t quite the same, but they cannot be separated.
Whether virtual or in-person, both activities must be built on trust, mutual respect and caring for the success of the other, as well as “yourself.”
Book Mike Hourigan, Sales & Negotiation Skills Motivational Speaker, for a virtual or in-person presentation. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.