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Transform Your Inside Sales Team into Skilled Negotiators: SPA’s Presentation to Standing-Room-Only Audience at AA-ISP Leadership Summit

The most effective profitability lever available to companies is to increase prices, so of all the different relationship skills you can train your sales reps on, negotiation skills will have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

Companies demonstrated their awareness of this fact earlier this month at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals' (AA-ISP) Digital Sales Leadership Summit, where SPASIGMA’s Marc Jablon spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about inside sales negotiation tactics.

Jablon told attendees that there is more opportunity for gross margin improvement for most companies than they realize, even for smaller accounts. Often companies are unaware of the high cost of some of the concessions their reps currently rely on when trying to close a deal. Some of this stems from the fact that buyers are more likely than sellers to have received professional negotiation training.

One great example is the impact of "nibbles." These are often small, non-pricing-based concessions sales reps give in the form of early pay discounts, warranties, expedited shipping and other giveaways. These can cost companies thousands and add up quickly.

Realizing that pricing improvements are both necessary and possible is the first step to more profitable negotiations. The next step, Jablon said, is getting familiar with the many different negotiation tactics available, including the “flinch,” the “squeeze” and “throwing junk,” just to name a few.

One of the simplest and most effective negotiation strategies reps can apply is aiming high, which simply means pricing at a level that leaves plenty of room for concessions. Aiming high allows reps to achieve margin-friendly pricing levels, while still allowing for the concessions that buyers want. According to Harvard research, longer negotiation sessions actually lead to greater buyer satisfaction regardless of the pricing levels achieved, and aiming high helps make this possible.

Another great negotiation strategy, which is complementary to aiming high, is to be stingy with concessions. Making small, strategic concessions can move you closer to an agreement and increase the buyer's satisfaction, but making unnecessarily large concessions gives you very little wiggle room in terms of preserving your own profitability.

Oversized concessions also send a bad message to buyers, giving the impression that the first offer was inflated, or that the product being negotiated is of low value. Neither of these improves the seller's trustworthiness, hurting their negotiating position.

For more strategies to help your sales reps improve their negotiating position, visit SPA's negotiation mastery page. SPASIGMA offers negotiation mastery courses designed to help your sales team drive more profitable deals. Our engaging and interactive courses can be onsite or even virtual. Interested in exploring a course full of binge-worthy content for your team? Request a meeting

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