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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Negotiating in Buy and Sell Situations

Earlier in the book, we focused on the multiple currencies that sales-people can use in negotiating with customers. In addition, we acknowledged that many people in customer-facing situations underestimate their power. In buy and sell situations, there are increasing pressures from buyers such as commoditizing your products or services, reverse auctions, gray markets, and increasing competitive leverage. In this chapter, we explore some specific techniques that people in selling situations can use to help make the deal and sustain the relationship:

  • Focus on value not on price. Consider the old story about the alligator and the bear. In a fight between a grizzly bear and an alligator, the terrain determines the victor. The grizzly bear would win a fight on land, but the alligator would win if the fight moved to the water. The lesson for business is to keep the fight on your own turf. Negotiating on price places the fight in the customer’s win zone. Value, however, favors the supplier. Purchasing agents are famous for squeezing suppliers on price. Look at the tactics of the big-box stores in gaining price concessions based on volume. In interviewing numerous salespeople, they all attest to the fact that value can only be perceived at a level high enough in the organization to appreciate the value proposition.

  • Develop the full value proposition. Consider all of the currencies we reviewed in Chapter 4, especially those in complex sales. Successful ...

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