Why are negotiating skills important? After you’ve learned how to negotiate, the answer to this question will be obvious. Until then, you need to understand that in medical sales and many aspects of business, people will always look out for themselves.
Even the friendliest customer is trying to maximize their budget and feel like they’ve won. That means if they can buy your product for less, they’ll do it.
It’s important to remember that negotiating is not personal. It’s just business. That’s why you need to learn it – to help yourself and your company succeed as much as possible.
Seven Ways to Improve Your Negotiation Skills
1. Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes
As counterintuitive as it may sound when negotiating with someone else, it’s vital to imagine what it feels like to be on the other side of the table and consider their needs and wants. Chances are not all of them relate to numbers. Often people want to leave a negotiation feeling like they won something and didn’t let themselves or their employer down.
2. Anticipate the Other Party’s Needs and Wants
Chess experts don’t think only about their next move on the board, but five or six moves in the future. Fortunately, you only have to plan one or two steps ahead.
For example, what does your customer expect if you say no to a price concession? A justification, perhaps? It could be that they’re willing to make the higher investment in your product, but they need to provide someone in their company (or themselves) a reason for it. Your initiative to anticipate and satisfy that need can make it easier for them to go to bat for you.
3. Remain Calm and Confident
Who are you to ask for so much money? You’re their first choice in products, that’s who. Don’t forget that if their asking for a lower price, they’ve probably chosen your product over others, your product came out on top. If you can’t go any lower on your price, remain firm and remind them of the value of your product.
4. Always Work Toward a Win-Win Situation
Take the time to learn all of your customer’s wants. Not all of them will be related to price. Whatever they are, don’t leave a negotiation without satisfying as many of them as possible. By doing so, you remind them of your value as a business partner.
A win-win scenario also requires you to trust the other person when they say they can’t accommodate your request. In other words, when they say they don’t have room in their budget for a higher price, they’re not bluffing.
Contrary to what you may think, lying has no real place in negotiating. You’d never want to work for or with anyone who would lie to you and you can’t build a strong relationship on a lie.
5. Be Willing to Walk Away
It’s often been said that if you can’t walk away from a negotiation, you’re not negotiating. If the customer believes you’ll cave into pressure they have no reason to change their offer. The key is to start the process by being honest with yourself. Are you willing to lose this customer? Can you move on the price? Never lie to a customer and never lie to yourself.
6. Be Upfront and Direct – Never Bitter or Angry
Your relationship with your customer is personal, however, negotiating is not. A customer’s request for a lower price is not a knock on your product but a statement of interest. After all, they could’ve said ‘no thank-you’ and moved on.
In response, you should remain firm when you have no room to move and bend when you can. Beyond that, there’s not much more you can do other than remind them of your product’s value.
7. Always be Respectful
Along with not being bitter or angry, you should always be respectful to your customer. You should be polite and thank them for their time regardless of the outcome. Showing respect doesn’t make you look weak. Instead, it demonstrates to the other person that you’re a rational thinker worth working with in the future. And that can help immensely when they have future needs.
Never Discount the Power of Negotiation
As a medical salesperson, you may not always be able to negotiate the price of your product. However, use that tool to your and your customer’s advantage when you can. When done correctly, negotiating leaves both parties interested in doing business again. And isn’t that what we all want?