Salesmen trying to force products on customers only fail over time. The main key to negotiations is product knowledge. Before an employee plans to engage in the sales process, provide them with as much background about the product or service as possible. Its applications, operation and even troubleshooting processes help the salesman understand the item completely. Once they present it to the customer, salesmen can show the item’s true value. When a customer perceives value in an item, the price doesn’t appear too shocking. Applying a high price to an item that is poorly described only disrupts the negotiation process and often causes a no-sale situation.
Certain industries, such as heavy machinery, require long-term negotiations over six-figure sales. These relationships need to be treated carefully to avoid offending customers. For example, the salesman cannot call the customer each day and hard-sell them the product. Conversations should be spread across several weeks while talking about industry-wide subjects, rather than the potential sale itself. Cultivating a business relationship allows the customer to trust the salesman. A savvy salesman may troubleshoot a current product in use, providing the service free-of-charge, to show good faith. That customer has a good reason to agree to the sale in the near future.
Each customer has a unique point of view that needs to be understood by the salesman. For short-term negotiations, talk candidly about ultimate goals. Are they looking for a new or used car? Is mileage a concern? Understanding concerns and desires helps you narrow down a product or service for the customer that still brings in profits. If they’re concerned about buying a used electronic surveying device, for example, offer a discounted repair contract to entice the overall sale. Customers want reassurance that they’ll be supported even after the sale. Service contracts or warranties are perfect accompaniments to a sale.
The art of reciprocation is a strong force in sales. If you have a particularly difficult sale to make, consider a concession. Offer free floor mats in a new car, for instance. Even provide free oil changes for the first 10,000 miles when the customer buys the top car model on the lot. These concessions cost very little in the overall big picture. The profit is in the large items, covering any small inventory loss on service or accessories. As a result, customers feel like they got something for free, giving them a sense of obligation to buy the large item in return.
The art of sales negotiation requires people skills and a basic knowledge of psychological principles. With time and care, each sale can be successful.
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