10 common mistakes in major negotiations

10 common mistakes in major negotiations – Brutal Marketing blog

Both an ordinary sales manager and a general director have to conduct "cold" negotiations when it comes to a major contract. The first contact is not easy. A lack of negotiation skills can be an obstacle to a major deal. We analyze 10 typical mistakes in negotiations that can deprive a company of a major contract.
10 common mistakes in major negotiations – Brutal Marketing

Mistake #1: You are not prepared

Don't let yourself get into a situation where you have to ask a client about the most mundane aspects of their business. For example, about what his company produces. Most likely this information is on the site or in your correspondence by mail.

Anatoly got ready for a meeting with the Field company. "Yes, what is there to read!" he decided. "I'll ask everything personally at the meeting." The general director of the Field turned out to be a more serious person, and when asked about what his company does, he smiled mysteriously and offered to read the information on the site. For some reason, the deal with Anatoly did not take place.

To avoid embarrassing situations, do the preparatory work. Find out as much as possible about your interlocutor before starting negotiations.

There is enough data in open sources to draw indirect conclusions about the economic condition of the company. What can we say about paid channels, like Interfax's Spark bases? First, examine the client's website. Even if you do not find data on the company's financial results for the past year, you will at least clarify the main directions of development, and by indirect signs you can guess the size of the client's business.

Can you "trump" a fact from the life of your interlocutor's business? Can you immediately predict how your product or service will affect the client's company for the better? It makes an impression and shows that you care.

Mistake #2: You sound insincere

    At the first meeting, the client wants to know what the contract with you will really give him, and not listen to fantastic promises. And even if you are not disingenuous and will really achieve the fulfillment of all the conditions of the contract on time and in the stated capacity, the interlocutor may not perceive what was said for the truth. Why is this happening? Your speech looks like an election promise. The client does not understand how you can give guarantees when promising an unrealistic scale.

    In order to surely win the favor of the client from Bank, during the conversation, Anatoly said: "I understand what your main concern is, don't worry, we will deliver everything to you in the shortest possible time and in the best possible way. I guarantee! For some reason, the client thought about elections.

    Actions speak louder than words. Make bold promises to the client - argue with examples from your experience with real indicators. Tell us how you worked with a similar task of another company, what difficulties you encountered during the execution of the contract and with what resources you managed to achieve the plan.

    Mistake #3: You talk more than your interlocutor

    Trying to guess what your interlocutor wants to say is the worst thing you can do in a negotiation. Even if you really manage to guess, it will be extremely tactless.

    "Our product is just right for companies like yours. No, no, don't say a word, I already understood what you wanted to ask. We are just ... ", - just like that, the next deal of Anatoly Borisovich fell through.

    Listen to the client, ask questions, find out his need and all the details associated with it. At one point you will see that the interlocutor "broke through". He will tell you about all the difficulties that he has to deal with and that caused him to consider you as a partner. If at this moment you are not at a loss and figure out how your product can help in solving these difficulties, consider the contract in your pocket.

    Mistake #4: You operate with assumptions, not facts

    At the first, almost "cold" meeting, promising the client exact figures for improving his business is similar to participating in the Intuition show. Most likely, it was not yet possible to obtain specific data and make correct calculations.

    – We are ready to optimize your business process, which will reduce costs by 15%! - said Anatoly.
    "But you didn't even get acquainted with the data of our company ..." the client answered. There was no second meeting.

    If you do not have the initial data and the ability to calculate in detail the benefit of the interlocutor from the transaction, then you should not try to guess. Otherwise, then you will have to adapt to frivolous promises. Instead, talk about your previous experience, specific examples of companies. Show the client what results have been achieved, with specific investments and time spent in the past cooperation. Try to visually analyze your previous experience to the smallest detail, this will increase your status as an expert and cause a sense of trust in you.

    Mistake #5: You are too serious

    There are situations when you are afraid to forget to say the most necessary things. Get excited, get ready. You make a large text preparation for negotiations. However, too much seriousness can interfere with negotiations as well as insufficient preparation.

    This time, Anatoly decided for sure "not to mess around." He prepared in advance the full text of the speech for the talks. First, he will talk about the uniqueness of the offer, then he will describe all the unique properties of the product ... And the client at the negotiations all the time made jokes about the deal and knocked down the prepared order. Of course, until Anatoly bored him. The deal fell through.

    In order not to repeat the mistake of Anatoly, proceed as follows. Do not overdo it. Mark yourself 2-3 really critical questions and ask about them when the moment is right. Be sure to take another look at this list at the end of the meeting - and ask yourself the question: were all the questions answered during the negotiations?

    Let the conversation take its course. Relax, imagine that the purpose of your conversation is not a multi-million dollar contract. Consider it as an opportunity to make a new useful acquaintance with a strong market player, or at least as an opportunity to learn something new for yourself.

    Mistake #6: You forgot to take off your rose-colored glasses

    When a deal promises to bring huge profits, you are ready to take on even something that your business does not normally produce. And it does not matter that this will bring unnecessary difficulties - you will have to hire new professionals to the staff, or force existing employees to perform completely non-standard tasks, this is a big client! Is one deal really worth it? Will your company be able to execute an unusual order competently?

    The position "the contract must be concluded" is initially losing. Not all customers need you, not everyone will be satisfied with your product. Take off your rose-colored glasses and discard the illusion that your product is universal and suitable for everyone in the market. Any process is a funnel, and not all contacts will be closed by an agreement. In such cases, your main task is to minimize the time losses on such contacts as much as possible.

    Mistake #7: You are overconfident

    Don't take the position of a salesperson: "Here are our terms. Will you take it?" You can know your market well and understand that you have no equal here. However, the client may perceive your confidence as pressure.

    "Yes, you will not find such bags anywhere, especially for such a price. What is there to think, let's draw up a contract! - Anatoly said at the next negotiations and again went home without a contract.

    How not to lose a client because of self-confidence? Yes, for some negotiations, an aggressive manner is appropriate. But with a large client, a conversation in this vein is unlikely to bring positive results. Even if you offer the best price on the market or you simply have no competitors, convince your client, and do not put pressure on him. Tell us about your advantages, back up your speech with specific examples. The client must understand that he is making the right choice.

    Mistake #8: You lack confidence

    This is usually the case for complex products and services, where each new contract must be negotiated separately. The high cost of the transaction is also superimposed. As a result, in negotiations, you nervously mumble something about what you need to think about, try and, perhaps, the problem can be solved.

    There are two easy ways to build confidence in a negotiation:
    1. Rate your previous experience. Try to shift the solution of old problems to a new scale.
    2. Remember how before that you set ambitious goals for yourself and how you found a solution in one way or another. Confidence will certainly come back to you.

    Mistake #9: You love metaphors, allegories and abstractions

    Abstract slogans can be afforded by companies of the level of Company and Bank. You, in a conversation with a potential client, especially a large one, need to abandon metaphors, comparisons and other abstract expressions.

    In order to surely interest the client, the store "Children's Paradise", Anatoly painted his offer with all possible epithets. But for some reason, "the most unique super-effective and almost magical product" did not interest the client.

    If you didn't make mistake #1 and prepared for the conversation, you understand what the other side expects from your company. Make your interlocutor the most understandable offer. Describe in numbers and details what exactly can be done and what results will be achieved in cooperation with you.

    Mistake #10: You didn't think of the next step

    "We will think about what can be done and call back" is a phrase that will infuriate any person. What to say about a client who is ready to pay a round sum for your offer. What do you think is the likelihood that after such a phrase, the transaction will take place in the foreseeable future? Would you like to receive a clear answer from the interlocutor on the proposal immediately at the end of the conversation? Yes. So why should he wait for some mythical call?

    In cases where the interlocutor begins to pour compliments on the company and product, you can immediately offer to sign an agreement or agreement of intent. Even with a negative answer, it will be possible to work: find out why "no" and then process the reason for the objection. At least there will be a reasoned refusal, and not a vague promise to think about the KP.

    To avoid such situations completely, even at the stage of preparing for a conversation, prepare for a potential client several options for the next steps that will require serious efforts from him. For example, to agree on the joint preparation of technical specifications or on the delivery of a trial batch, you can invite him to a second meeting, where he will be able to evaluate the product "live". All these actions will require time from your interlocutor. If the client agrees to such expenses, then your deal is really close to closing.

    Anatoly assessed his bad experience, critically reviewed all the mistakes made in the negotiations. He approached the new deal as seriously as possible. Still would! At stake was a contract with the city's main factory! The meeting went well. Now Anatoly's desk is adorned with a brand new contract for a "round" sum.

    Did you recognize yourself in any of the points? Tell us in the comments about your bad experience and how it helped you further develop your talent as a negotiator. Perhaps it is your story that will help young entrepreneurs avoid an annoying mistake!


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