Too often, I see salespeople attempting to mix selling activity with negotiation activity as though customers and prospects seamlessly flow between the two processes. In reality, they don’t. If you want to be successful in sales in the long term do your selling first, and when you have a prospect who is ready to negotiate a deal you should engage in the good negotiation practice knowing it is largely too late to do any significant selling. I see salespeople trying to make last-minute persuasive appeals to buyers in an attempt to show value and preserve their price during the negotiation. There are a number of reasons why that falls flat:
1. A professional sales process requires a free flow of information throughout.
Needs are identified, the prospect shares views and concerns, and the salesperson shares expertise and solutions. This is as it should be and most times results in a proposal both buyer and seller have crafted. But when it comes time to negotiate price and terms, parties have a tendency to begin holding back information—the buyer trying not to make it seem like they absolutely need your solution and the seller being careful not to reveal information that might give the buyer an advantage in the exchange. Power is the key element in negotiation and neither party wants to hand more of it over to the other during the haggling phase.