24Authority and Nonnegotiables

The rules of engagement for sales negotiations are different for every company and every sales role. They can even change based on your tenure and the amount of trust you’ve earned from your leaders. What is likely, though, is you’ve at least been given some authority to negotiate.

At one company I worked for, we were given a price list for our services. Along with the price schedule, we received set parameters that governed how much we could negotiate until we hit a floor. At that point we were required to get approval from a manager. We were also allowed to negotiate contractual terms and conditions (other than price) inside a set of parameters.

Our commission payout was tied to those concessions. If salespeople negotiated deals at the top of the price list and held firm on terms and conditions like contract length, the payout was big. Those reps earned many times more than the reps who gave everything away just to get a sale.

Know What You Have the Authority to Negotiate

Before you negotiate, it’s vital that you clearly understand what you have the authority to negotiate. Most organizations define where the lines are drawn and where your authority to negotiate begins and ends. Others, though, are less clear. In these cases, you’ll need to ask questions so you don’t overstep. Table 24.1 helps you organize and list what and where you have the authority to negotiate, what other people have the authority to negotiate, and when you must remain ...

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