When you get to near the end of the sales process, this is where the Ultimate Negotiation Formula is essential.
At the end of the deal, and sometimes even after the deal has been agreed, your prospect will likely want to negotiate. It is only right that your prospect should want to get the best possible deal and get the most for their money, but as a salesperson, you need to be aware that this may happen and how to work with your client at this point.
Too often, salespeople take the same first step when negotiating, which is to drop the price of a product. However, according to their research, Corporate Executive Board discovered that only 9% of customer loyalty is driven by value-to-price ratio. This means that, although price is an issue, the chance of it driving buying decisions is low.
So if dropping the price is not the solution, what else can we do?
This is where the Ultimate Negotiation Formula comes in. Once you figure out what each of the key elements of this formula are and what they mean, you will be able to negotiate and close any deal.
Ultimate Negotiation Formula
V + CI > C + PE
V is for VALUE
This is the benefit and impact of your product or service on the prospect’s situation. What is the value of your offering? If your prospect is giving you objections, ask yourself:
Does my prospect truly understand the value of my product?
If the answer is no, then you have to do one of three things:
• Develop a better understanding of the values alignment between product and prospect. This may involve questioning your prospect in more detail around what they are looking for from your product.
• When presenting your solution, link back to the prospects values and the impact your product will have on their situation. See the Presenting your Product section for a reminder.
• Offer extra products or service that will support your initial product and add significant value without adding to the cost of the product.
Building the value of your product is what will draw your prospect into it as well as motivate them to take action. The greater the value of your product to your prospect, the more motivation there will be to purchase.
CI is for COST OF INACTION
Whilst value is a great motivator, it may not necessarily drive immediate action. People are driven by two factors; towards and away from motivation. If you imagine a donkey at the beach, kids sit on its back and get given a carrot on the end of a stick. However, as appetising as the carrot no doubt is, the donkey doesn’t get moving until it receives a quick slap on its rump from its handler.
Away from motivation is often a more immediate motivator than dangling carrots. Whilst you can build up away from motivation in the Value section of the formula, highlighting the Cost of Inaction can really help build this driving force.
So what can make up the cost of inaction?
Let’s look at retirement investments that rely on the cost of inaction heavily to sell their product. The salesperson may start to paint a picture of what life would be like with no retirement financial planning, the pain of not being able to afford to heat your home or not being able to feed yourself properly despite working hard for over 40 years. They then paint the opposite picture, contrasting the pain of not investing with the relative comfort of having a sensible retirement plan.
Without highlighting the pain points of not taking action, the drive to buy the product would not be there. Think about how Scrooge must have felt in the Christmas Carol, and how it might have been different if he had three nice ghosts visit him and show him what could be good if he changed. There would certainly have been a different result.
C is for COST
As already mentioned, dropping your price to handle objections is not a good idea. It sets a bad example and may give the impression that you do not value your own product or service highly enough. Also, if you can immediately give a discount, were you offering the best price to start with or were you trying to gain some free extra margin on your product. If you are trying to profit from your prospect in a non win-win context, this may not set the relationship off well.
Finally, never forget that you are in sales to earn commission, and dropping the price effectively gives you a pay cut!
PE is for PERCEIVED EFFORT
Notice this part of the Ultimate Negotiation Formula does not say true effort, but perceived effort. You might think it is simple for someone to start using your product, but in your prospect’s head, they are starting to make all sorts of excuses.
• What am I going to do with the old one?
• The staff just got used to that one and it took ages to train them to that level!
• I’m going to have to tell Bob we don’t need him anymore!
Unless there is significant value, the perceived effort may outweigh the potential benefits your prospect could get from your offering. However, simply increasing the value may not be enough, unless you remove some of the resistance.
Instead, why don’t you try to make it easier to buy your product. Remove some of the effort it would take to start using your service and generally make the whole buying process a lot smoother. For example:
• Offer a free installation service and removal of old systems.
• Suggest a free no-obligation trial period to test the product.
• Negotiate credit terms or interest-free repayments.
• Give free training to anyone who will be using the new product.
• Manage the entire migration process and liaise with previous suppliers.
Think now, what changes or additions would make it easier to buy your product or service? Make a list and commit to helping reduce the perceived effort of using you instead of your competition.
Now you understand all of the elements that go into the Ultimate Negotiation Formula, you should be able to identify a number of different ways that you can add value to your prospect without having to drop your price.