1. Prepare

Clarify your objectives and develop wish and concession lists, while anticipating what will be important to the client.

2. Argue

Rehearse your opening statements, ask questions, listen carefully to the answers, and exchange additional information.

3. Signal

Be alert to the prospect’s signals (verbal and nonverbal), which may reveal needs that you didn’t pick up in prior sessions.

4. Propose

Trade with the prospect to secure specific and practical items of greater value to you (e.g., higher prices, longer-term contract, and later deadlines) while conceding items of lesser value.

5. Package

Give those on the other side what they want – on your terms – and shape your proposal based on any uncovered needs.

6. Bargain

Set a price for the prospect’s demands, and put conditions before offers with this type of statement: “If you agree to sign a two-year contract, then we’ll provide delivery at a 25 percent discount for the first twelve months.”

7. Close

For a trial closing, you can ask, “Are you saying that if we agree to provide delivery at a 25 percent discount for the first twelve months, you’ll sign a two-year contract?” This type of question encourages the prospect to reveal any hidden issues and should enable you to close the negotiation.

8. Agree

Clarify potential ambiguities, and confirm that the terms of the agreement are acceptable and can be implemented by both parties.

Negotiate So Both Sides Come out Smiling

Don’t view success as “we win, you lose,” an approach that won’t lead to long-term relationships. Instead, seek to understand the prospect’s needs so you can offer a practical solution while at the same time getting what’s important to you, such as a longer-term contract, flexibility in service, and ultimately higher revenue.