Just Exactly When Does A Negotiation Start?

While working with one of my sales negotiations students the other day I was asked a great question that I don’t often hear. The student had reported that she was feeling frustrated because she was working on a number of deals and when it came time to negotiate, the actual negotiations seemed to drag on forever. “Isn’t there a better way?” she asked. Turns out that there is…

Start Before You Start

If you want a sales negotiation to go quickly, then you need do everything possible to make the actual negotiation just a formality – work everything out before you sit down at the table. Sound impossible? It’s not.

A negotiation actually starts long before the first negotiation session. Chester Karrass, the godfather of negotiating, believes that it really starts when you first make contact with the other side of the table. What this means is that yes, a negotiation can extend over a very long time; however, that doesn’t mean that the actual process of negotiating needs to be lengthy.

The Power Of The Before Time

All too often, what sales negotiators don’t realize is that every moment of contact with the other side of the table is vitally important. When you are interacting with the other party and the negotiations have not formally started, this is exactly when the most valuable information can be learned.

If you are the one doing the buying in a sales negotiation, then this is the time that you can observe the salesperson on the other side. You make casual inquiries into such critical items as how they price their products, who has already bought the product, how the salespersons year is going, where they rank in their organization, etc.

This pre-negotiation time is just as valuable if you are trying to sell something in a sales negotiation. You can determine if this is the right person that you should be talking with, how much they have to spend as well as who really controls the money.

The Gift Of Gab

One of the most important things that you can use the early encounter time to do is to create a relationship with the other side. Ultimately, during any sales negotiation there will be a certain amount of tension on both sides of the table.

If you’ve been able to use your pre-negotiation contact time to develop a relationship with the other side of the table, then you’ll be able to quickly diffuse any stressful situations that pop up.

What All Of This Means For You

Novice sales negotiators don’t realize that a sales negotiation really starts long before either side sits down at the negotiating table. The process of reaching a deal really starts when the first contact is made.

Using the informal interaction time to explore where the other side of the table is coming from is a great way to use this opportunity. Taking the time to build a relationship with the other side will also pay dividends later on in the process.

Smart sales negotiators use all of the time that they have to move closer to reaching a successful agreement. They know that the time before negotiations start is very valuable and if used correctly, then they can make the outcome of the negotiations a foregone conclusion…

Tips for Making a Sales Presentation to a Group

As a free agent, independent professional, and/or freelancer, we are often asked to present a summary of what we offer to a board of trustees, several officers of a company, leaders of an organization, or members of an association. Dealing with more than one person can create a plethora of different considerations and approaches before reaching a successful outcome. In this article, I share some of my experiences with group presentations — what’s worked for me and what to watch out for.

Find out as much as you can before meeting with a group. I do a good bit of work for non-profits. These corporations all have vocal boards of trustees to whom they must answer when the spending of a considerable amount of money is involved. The more information I have about the corporation and its leaders, the better. If possible, I try to connect before the “big meeting” with the executive director and find out exactly what they are seeking and how much they are planning to spend — most non-profits, for example, vote on a yearly budget at the end of their fiscal year, so know exactly how much they have ear-marked for a project.

Others are putting out feelers to find out how much — or how little — they should set aside for the project. Oftentimes, there is background information you can discover. A lot of proposed projects have been in the works for awhile and have quite a history. Ask lots of questions and do all of the research possible. For example, I just finished an extensive website for a group that I discovered had initially talked with and had been turned down by many of the big design firms in town. I believe that I got the job because I was willing to take the time to meet with their board, listen to their suggestions and do the custom work they desired.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. No matter what kind of presentation you are making — whether to two people, twenty people or two hundred people — proper preparation is the key. First of all, know what your goal for the meeting is and have a plan and strategy ready. Write down the information you want the group to know about you and your services by the end of the presentation. What makes you unique and why should they hire you?

Realize that just telling them this is not going to work. You must create the right questions to ask them so that they will ask you the right questions. This is the way you will discover what it is they are looking for and whether or not you can help them get it. The operative word is “help.” When others feel that you care about them and their problems, that you are on their side and ready to help, they will be much more willing to open up and form a bond with you. You will also learn what you need to do to please them.

Interesting Christmas Present Ideas

Finding an interesting Christmas present idea is not a simple trick. Too often we fall into a rut of un-original thinking. Trouble is, the Christmas present idea that was so well received a few years ago starts to get boring. After all, there are only so many times you can give someone a fragrance gift selection box, aren’t there?

What should you do instead so that the thought you’ve put into selecting a Christmas present idea shows through? Even if you’ve spent less time choosing than you would like?

Here are some interesting Christmas present ideas for you to consider:

  • Look for a unique Christmas present idea. This doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. Often the most priceless items we have in our lives are the ones that cost the least. Think about a collection of photographs, maybe mounted together in a photo frame or turned into a DVD with the easy software that’s available nowadays.
  • A sampler or selection box can often make a good Christmas present idea. Choose something that you know the person receiving the gift has been thinking about but hasn’t got round to doing yet.
  • Personalized Christmas gift ideas are always well received. With a little research, you can find almost anything available for personalization from children’s books through to T-shirts, house histories and lots more.
  • Personalized experiences can make excellent Christmas present ideas. They tend to be slightly more expensive than other personalized presents but if you give someone a skydiving present for Christmas, they’ll definitely remember it! You will likely be able to go along and watch them take part in their experience, so you get to see them enjoying the present you bought as a bonus.
  • Unique Christmas present gifts are always a good choice. You can give someone a totally unique gift like an acre of the moon, a star named after them or even a minute in time, preserved forever.