Any small business owner who is successful has become, through experience and time, an expert negotiator. The process of becoming an expert is so subtle that small business owners don't even realize they have these skills until they start trying to negotiate everything from the cost of a cup of coffee to the plane tickets for an upcoming family vacation.
Negotiating with Clients
What Do Clients Want?
Your clients want you to solve their problem. You need to ask the right questions to find your client's pain point and then explain how your product relieves that pain. Even if you are selling power tools, you still need to focus on solving a problem. It would be romantic to say that there is more to negotiating with clients than simply solving their problems, but problem solving is the essence of good negotiations.
What Don't Clients Want?
Negotiating the Deal
The concept of listening to the client cannot be overstated. The only way to find the client's real problem is to listen to everything they say. Rather than asking the client what feature or model number they want, you should start the negotiation by asking the client about their goal. The customer might start off saying that they want a cheap car, but the reality is that the client is looking for an inexpensive van for their business. In most cases, customers will prefer value over just lowest cost. It is up to you to explain that value in your negotiations.
Negotiating With Distributors
What Do Distributors Want?
In order to become an expert negotiator with distributors, you need to realize that distributors are completely different than retail customers. While customers want the best value and would pay a little more to get that value, distributors are driven by price. Distributors operate at razor-thin margins, which means they are always looking for ways to get the best price on items and reduce costs on their side.
What Don't Distributors Want?
- Wait for a deal to be finalized
- Take back product
- Get beaten on price by other distributors of equal or larger size
- Wait to ship an order
- Negotiate lower prices for single unit orders
- Hear that their customers are going to other distributors
Negotiating the Deal
10 Ways You Can Improve Your Negotiating Skills By The Start Of Next Year
If you want to be an expert negotiator, then now is the time to get started. By following a few quick pieces of advice, you can be an expert at getting more for your small business within a few months.
1. Be Prepared To Fail
2. Develop Good Questions
4. Be Sure Of Your Audience
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
6. Know Your Subject
7. Radiate Confidence
8. Be Knowledgeable
9. Be Reliable
10. Have A Goal In Mind
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