B2B Sales Negotiation as a term can be quite intimidating for even the most seasoned of salespeople on your team. The main reason for this is that a simple spiel or script may not be enough to tide you over in a negotiation, as it would in a simple sales call or outreach effort. However, before we can dive deep into the well of B2B Sales Negotiation, let’s get clear on what the right B2B sales process looks.
Bringing the Right B2B Sales Process In Place
In the simplest of terms, a sales process refers to the activities and steps that become your approach or system to land sales and close deals. This term includes the many operations and processes that your sales teams handle. Usually, these processes make sure that you land more product sales, sign up more people for your services, close more deals and increase overall revenue, margins and profits.
The steps involved in the right B2B sales process are usually customer-centric. It is designed so that it maximizes the outreach efforts of your sales team. With the proper sales process, B2B Sales Negotiation is more straightforward. Additionally, the company can retain more customers and increase sales volumes. A good sales process is one where the steps flow in an organized manner and not haphazardly. With a systemic approach, the results are easily measured and can help bring predictable results.
Here are some other benefits of having the right sales process in place.
- Predictable and Measurable Outcomes – With the right sales process, it becomes easier to get the desired outcomes in any situation. You can rely on getting predictable results through your actions, leading to more sales and higher margins.
- Tangible Results – Results that are tangible in this scenario are ones you can compare and measure.
- Repeatable and Reproducible Activities – With the right sales process you can replicate desired outcomes repeatedly, boosting your profits.
While the right B2B sales process is sure to help you, it isn’t a guarantee for success of any kind. You can’t just buy the right workout equipment and expect to get a good body instantaneously. You can’t buy the best oven and expect your food to be delicious owing to this sole factor. Similarly, while the right B2B sales process is essential, it isn’t everything. Your sales team must inherently be willing to employ this process to rake in more success.
The Simplest B2B Sales Process for Success
In the case of most organizations, the sales process follows a set pattern that usually follows these critical steps. Sometimes, the order may be slightly different, but these activities are typically involved in the B2B sales process.
Step One: Selecting the Right/Best Prospects
Step Two: Reach Out For Initial Contact
Look, we’d all love customers who are forthcoming and solicit your services. However, in a realistic setting, this scarcely happens. So, once you’ve figured out who your right prospects are, the next step involves making the first contact with them. The simplest and most straightforward way of achieving this in the B2B scenario is by getting a meeting with them. Meetings work best when the prospect doesn’t know much about you or your organization. These types of prospects are usually found over lead generation efforts or on B2B networks. However, to ensure the maximum number of successful leads, you should go for professional B2B lead generation services that scour a variety of portals to bring the most viable leads to you.
Research has shown that sending meeting requests earlier in the week and at the beginning of the day brings in the best results. So, soliciting a meeting early on Monday morning is probably going to be the most successful. Usually, the reason for this is that people are typically quick to check emails and build schedules for the upcoming week. If you feel like your emails aren’t getting the visibility you desire, change your approach. Opt for connecting with people on Linkedin or any other social network that is deemed appropriate.
Step Three: Pick and Implement Your Sales Strategy
Landing a meeting with a prospect surely feels incredible, but this is just the first step in the process. Now, once you’re ready to meet, you have to prepare for the face-to-face meeting. At this stage, it becomes crucial to pick and implement the right B2B sales strategy. No two prospects are created to be the same. Likewise, you can’t convince them by using the same sales strategy. Different types of candidates will demand you to pick a different approach.
Now, while choosing the right B2B sales strategy, remember to be relatable. Only if your prospect finds relatability with what you say, offer, promise or do, will they sign up for your proposition. To summarize, don’t mock the person in front of you or be condescending. Instead, listen raptly for any indication of which category your prospect belongs to and accordingly pick your approach.
Step Four: Perform Well in The Face-to-Face Meeting
Typically, in the business-to-business setting, a large part of communication happens over emails and phone. Additionally, in most cases, you’re only going to have between one to three face-to-face meetings before your prospects have to decide whether they will purchase from you or not. So, you’re going to have to make every one of these meetings count.
In the first meeting, it is essential that you evaluate what the prospect is seeking. This means that you need to understand what the candidate wants or expects to achieve with what you’re offering. You can start by asking some questions that are likely to bring you the answers you need. By engaging in conversation, you will build a rapport with your best prospects. This way you will get answers to difficult questions which would otherwise be impossible. Some questions that will bring in answers in a face-to-face setting won’t bring answers over the phone or email.
In the B2B scenario, your prospect’s motivation isn’t solely their own. Because while it is single people or teams that buy your product, the organization is the one paying for it. So, when you go for face-to-face meetings read up a little on the company’s goals. Furthermore, this will give you a deeper understanding of what the prospect’s aspiration might be. This will help you understand how you can tailor your offering to cater to these needs. Sure, your product still has to perform well and deliver on its promises, but evaluating the prospective needs in the face-to-face meetings will give you a huge leg up.
Step Five: Determine the Appropriate Next Step and Act On It
If your face-to-face meeting hits all the right spots, you’re sure to get a positive outcome in the form of an order or a step ahead in the purchase process. However, it is highly unlikely that you’ll immediately get a sale in the first meeting. Usually, you’ll see that your prospects jump on to actions that will hint at whether your sale is likely to be successful or not.
Step Six: Close Deals At The Right Time Like a Pro
By now in the sales process, you must have shown your prospects that they need your product, and your candidate is most likely ready and willing to purchase. Now, the final step of the process is to close the deal and complete their purchase. Even the most seasoned of B2B salespeople may get intimidated by this step. But, in actuality, it’s elementary. The best and most straightforward way to close a deal is to ask the business or decision-maker directly and wait until the person in front breaks the silence.
Now, if you have really done your job and performed each of the steps well, your prospect will have understood the value of your offering. In such a scenario, they are bound to be confident that you have the solution to their needs or problem. Consequently, they are bound to break the silence and sign up for your proposition. If you have successfully landed the sale, you’ll have to make sure to get a contract signed or payment secured at the right time.
In most cases, it is best to strike when the iron is hot and sign-up immediately when the prospect is ready. Waiting too long may lead to a failed or lost sale, and that’s the last thing any salesperson needs.
Six of the Most Common B2B Sales Negotiating Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
By now you must be completely clear on the right B2B Sales Process to follow to get maximum returns of your efforts. However, some B2B Sales Negotiation tips shouldn’t be overlooked. Many sales reps tend to be intimidated by B2B sales negotiation and consequently, make some unforgivable mistakes. These mistakes go on to harm the efforts that they make for acquiring clients.
If you’re doing everything right but still lose out on deals at the last moment, your B2B sales negotiation skills may need a little sprucing up. Here are some of the most common B2B sales negotiation mistakes that reps make, and how you can avoid these.
First B2B Sales Negotiation Mistake: Not Negotiating with the Right People
In the B2B scenario, more often than not, there are multiple people involved in the decision-making process of any purchase. Often, sales reps get so caught up in catering to every single person’s need that they make critical B2B sales negotiation mistakes. An essential part of landing sales successfully involves evaluation which the ultimate decision-maker is in any B2B purchase decision-making group. You have to find out who this person is early into the sale process and speak directly to this individual or team. Sadly enough, many people don’t understand this, and that’s where most of the trouble begins.
When you negotiate with someone who isn’t senior enough to make decisions, it may lead to miserable failure. Why? Well, once you settle with this non-authority individual and offer them a deal, they pass the offer along to a higher-up who has the real power to make decisions. However, this person also expects some level of B2B sales negotiation and must be satisfied. You will have to start from scratch and keep reducing the price or offering more add-ons. You will have to provide what you promised and keep everyone happy. However, here, you will end up with a less lucrative sale.
How To Avoid This: The most straightforward and no-brain solution to this B2B sales negotiation mistake is to focus on other facts except cost till you reach the decision-makers. By avoiding numbers talk in the beginning, you are in a position to negotiate without sacrificing the price too much till you reach the final signatories.
Second B2B Sales Negotiation Mistake: Being Afraid of Walking Away
One of the most important things that we overlook during the B2B sales negotiation process is the importance of saying no to those opportunities that aren’t compatible with your goals as a salesperson. You have to learn to be comfortable walking away from things confidently. Closing a deal is about creating a win-win for both parties involved. Consequently, if you feel that you aren’t getting a good deal, you should ideally walk away.
Now, we understand that it is not possible for most salespeople to walk away easily unless they have sales pipelines filled to the brim with other opportunities. However, sometimes, when you refuse to bend over backward to the whims and fancies of a decision-maker or CEO, it generates intrigue and lands the sale. Contrary to popular belief, you may get a ‘yes’ when you say ‘no’. The principal reason for this is that psychologically, human being tends to want what you deny them. However, make sure not to overuse this technique since it will cause you to lose more sales than winning any.
How To Avoid This: Avoid the B2B sales negotiation mistake of fear of walking away by understanding that you can’t sell to everyone. If the deal isn’t lucrative enough, tell them that you misread the situation, and your organizations may not fit together as well as you once thought. If you have performed well enough, they will know that your proposition has value and they’ll try to change your mind. Alternatively, if they genuinely aren’t good prospects, you’ll save yourself from undue stress or unwarranted losses in the long run.
Third B2B Sales Negotiation Mistake: Throwing Around Ultimatums
Most of us in B2B sales have taken inspiration from tough salespeople who never give up and brim up with confidence at every meeting. All of us want to seem confident, calm, collected and in control of the situation, no matter how much the deal is worth. So, we end up using high-powered phrases like ‘This is my last offer, take it or leave it.” Alternatively, “These are non-negotiable mandates.”
Unfortunately enough, instead of making you come across as confident and assertive, you may have the opposite effect than intended. Don’t end up throwing too many limitations or conditions while you’re trying to sell. Primarily, it may cause the people on the other end are likely to feel like they were short-changed. Your prospects might feel like you’re not easy to do business with, or in the worst-case scenario, they may feel uncomfortable with your manner of selling. In all these cases, you’re less likely to land the sale you so covet.
How To Avoid This: Look, it’s really simple. If you don’t want to lose a sale, be flexible without bending over backward. A B2B sales negotiation with the least amount of compulsions and limitations is the most successful. The best talks are ones where both parties feel like their needs got fulfilled. Success is when both parties have lots of options on the table. So, in your next B2B sales negotiation keep the ultimatums outside the boardroom. Instead, remain open-minded, friendly, accommodating, and flexible when it comes to the needs of your prospect.
Fourth B2B Sales Negotiation Mistake: Starting Negotiations Too Soon
Look, we understand that sometimes a B2B sales negotiation can be an intimidating concept, and one you may be rushing to finish with. You may have brought into this misconception that the more time it takes for you to solidify details, the less likely are your prospects to sign in with you. However, as much as you may have been told, this is not true.
The longer that people are in the process of talking about the details, the more suitable it is to a healthy negotiating environment. You certainly can’t negotiate with only half-knowledge, can you? Moreover, unless you have all the relevant details, it is virtually impossible to reach an agreement where both parties leave satisfied. Consequently, starting the negotiations for a deal prematurely could cause problems in the long run.
How To Avoid This: As a rule of thumb, decide what factors you need to have complete information about before you can go ahead and begin negotiation. Allow for some pauses between meetings and give both parties time to think. Yes, landing sales and closing deals are essential. However, unless they’re with the right kind of prospects, you’re setting yourself up for a loss.
The Bottom Line
By now you have understood the many secrets to successful B2B sales negotiation, and you’re probably ready to dive head-first into meetings. However, with that being said, the right prospects are integral to the success of any B2B sales negotiation or outreach efforts. Moreover, unless you have the right kind of B2B businesses on your list, you’re only going to waste time and resources. So, what should you do?
For best results, you need to get a B2B lead generation company and their services onboard!
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