Sales Negotiation Traps that Make the Difference between Success and Failure
Sales negotiation traps can trip you up. No one wants to lose an important sales negotiation, but unless you are either very experienced or careful to avoid four common sales negotiation traps, you may emerge as less than a winner. And it has always been our contention that when there is an uneven conclusion or, worse, a clear loser, the sales negotiation has failed and will eventually have negative consequences for both sides.
Five Sales Negotiation Traps to Avoid
Based upon over 30 years of sales negotiations and research across nineteen countries, here are five sales negotiation traps to avoid at all costs:
1. The” First Offer” Trap
It used to be accepted that you should never make the first offer during a sales negotiation because it would tip off the other side to what you really want or need. However, in our experience, making the first offer can give you an advantage in leading the subsequent talks. You present a framework for the discussion that follows. Our recommendation? When you feel confident that you are fully prepared with pertinent information, it may make sense to lead with your preferred plan.
A second part of this “first offer” sales negotiation trap is that it is easy to fall into the trap of accepting the other side’s offer too fast. In fact, it’s always best to pace yourself. As eager as you are to reach an agreement, hasty moves are almost always regretted.
Just think of how unsatisfying it can feel if you are the party whose offer has been too quickly accepted. You can’t help but wonder what you unnecessarily gave away. It’s all about the so-called subjective value – how you feel about the negotiation is often more important in the long term than the specific economic value.
2. The Trap of Inflexibility
You should never enter a sales negotiation without a clear idea of what would be the best outcome for both parties. And yet, sales negotiations are dynamic; you can’t fully predict what will be on the table. Don’t fall into the trap of holding on too tight to your bias of an ideal result. There may be something even more to your advantage as the discussion unfolds.
3. The Trap of False Assumptions
Beware of assuming you know the motivations of the other party simply by what they do or say. If you really want a satisfactory result for both sides, you need to find out what is behind the moves the other side is making. Why are they unwilling to consider your request to extend the payment schedule?
Perhaps they have had a bad experience in the past where they didn’t get fully paid. Or their cash flow is a problem. Or there’s someone in procurement blocking any discussion of payments over time – it’s upfront now or else. Only when you fully understand the big picture, can you negotiate more effectively.
4. The Trap of the Short vs. Long Term Approach
Be clear about what type of sales negotiation you are in. Will the agreement be effective in the short or long term? Your sales negotiation tactics should be different for each. For long-term negotiations to succeed, you need the other side to be successful for the duration of the agreement. Think through your moves and their consequences thoroughly before you sign the deal.
5. The Trap of Pre-Conceived Notions
You’ve done careful preparation, but you still cannot fully know the other party’s situation. Do not assume you know what the other side truly wants and values. Finding out what matters most is the art of a successful sales negotiation. You will need to listen carefully, question and probe to fill in the blanks so you have maximum wiggle room to obtain a satisfactory two-sided agreement.
The Bottom Line
We negotiate every day – with our partner over who should do the dishes, with our teenager who wants to stay out after curfew, with our boss for more money, with our landlord for a better rent. Especially in a sales negotiation, practice, prepare, and avoid the common pitfalls above. Good luck!
To learn more about sales negotiations, download The 2 Most Common Sales Negotiation Tactics to Prepare For
How to Sell Value versus Price
7 Threats to a Positive Company Culture
We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.
Director of Global Recruiting
The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.
Vice President, Information Technology
Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.
Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager
Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.
VP Human Resources
Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region
Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.
Workforce Planning Bureau
I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.
Director, Business Planning & Analysis
Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.
President and Chief Executive Office
I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.
Director, Team Development
The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.
LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.
Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources
We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development
LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.
Senior Marketing Manager
I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.
Director, HR Business Partner
We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR
Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.
Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations? Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.
Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.
First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.
Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.
Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.