“People Must Choose to Listen to You”
Learning effective negotiation skills isn’t a talent reserved for an elite few. As a negotiation skills speaker, I often remind those who attend my negotiation skills keynote addresses and workshops, that 70 percent of the sale is made before you get there.“Well then, Mike, what is the other 30 percent?”
The unknown factor in any negotiation, especially for people in sales and marketing, is you. If they have agreed to the meeting, to a potential negotiation for your product or service, they are interested in hearing you out.
What must you bring to the negotiation? There are three essential elements; two are logical, while one of them often marks the difference between negotiation skills success or failure. People must choose to listen to you. They make the choice based on three following factors:
- Product Knowledge. This is, of course, the most obvious. You cannot fake product knowledge, especially in an age where virtually anything can be found online. Your mission is to also know everything not found online. To expand on that point, you must (as someone about to negotiate the merits of a product or service), be prepared you to go to a higher level of knowledge. Whether that level requires you to talk to a researcher, software developer, component manufacturer or lead clinician, you must anticipate questions before they are asked. If the question is so obscure, you must assure the person sitting across from you that you will have an answer in a short time-frame, and you must be able to follow-through.
- Sincerity. A few years ago (May 23, 2018), Entrepreneur magazine ran an excellent article by Deep Patel entitled “9 Telltale Signs You’re Dealing With an Inauthentic Person.” Insincere behavior is often marked by self-centeredness, manipulative and judgmental behavior, unrealistic perceptions, a lack of consistency and several other factors. Faking insincerity, even if it is successful the first time around, rarely succeeds beyond that point. Insincerity destroys reputations and will close off any further negotiation. There is no substitute for authenticity, follow-through and “being present.”
However, it is in the third element where a perfectly great negotiation session can go sour: You must show them, prove to them, that you understand what they are trying to do.
- Understand their Motivation. Whether it is a physician interested in your treatment for her patients, the cheese manufacturer needing an ingredient to increase yield or a football program looking for better quality towels, understand them and their needs. What no one likes in any negotiation, simple or complex, is when someone steam-rolls over their concerns or brushes them aside. When steamrolling a company, client, facility or clinic, it immediately shows that the person who has come to negotiate has no understanding of where they are coming from or what they are trying to accomplish. Actively listen, understand and acknowledge the problem, and either help them solve with your product or service or assist them in finding the proper resource.
When you become an invaluable resource, you are remembered as that person. The person who listened. The go-to person who cared. They will remember how you made them feel.