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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Distinguishing between Wants and Needs in Sales Situations

A common sales negotiation issue is price. Buyer and seller want different things. The seller may want a price or rate increase, while the buyer may want a decrease (or for the price to remain constant). The underlying interests are the relevant needs of both sides (see Table 2.3). For the seller, the need may be to increase total revenue, while the buyer’s need may be to stay within budget guidelines or reduce costs.

Table 2.3. Wants versus Needs in Sales
PartiesSellerBuyer
WantsPrice increaseDecrease in price
NeedsGenerate additional revenueStay on budget and reduce costs

Can both parties’ needs be satisfied? Yes. If the parties explore beneath the surface, they can reach an agreement by working through alternatives. The seller gets additional revenue if the buyer commits to more volume through a longer contract, and the buyer gets to keep the price already budgeted.

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