Before the haggling starts it’s important that you know your position. How convinced is the client before starting the negotiation? I always try to reassure myself. A good question to do that is:
“Before we start to talk about money, do we agree about everything else?”
This step has many benefits. First, you make sure that you’ve found the best solution for your client. Secondly, they confirm it with their answer. And following the law of commitment (analogous: what they said once they will not change again)1 they convince themselves again. In my seminars I say: “First sell, then negotiate.” By using this question you can be certain.
You can no longer avoid the negotiation. When the client says, “You are too expensive,” or “What can you do with the price?” it’s getting serious. But take care - before you think how much you can give in, you should find out why the customer is asking for a discount. Very often there are specific reasons behind this. Your client can be bound to a budget, or they have a competitive offer. And sometimes they are just trying to see what’s possible.
Each of these reasons requires different measures from you. You have to solve the price-problem of your customer. If you manage that, you make the deal. React to a question or demand of the client by placing a counter-question, for example:
“What is the reason that you are asking?” or the classic, “What are you comparing it to?”
And my last tip for today: Get the customer to help you. That has something to do with credibility. You make an offer and take care to ensure that it is fair and matches the other market prices. So why should you give in? If you do it nevertheless you lose credibility.
As such, it’s better to ask your client for a compensation. For example they can buy more, purchase spare parts or close a service contract. All of these are reasons for you to do something with the price without calling your first offer into question.
For this reason here are some questions to find out the possibilities of the client:
“What else do you need?”
“How much can you order within the next six months?”
“What can you do for me, that makes it possible for me to do something about the price?”
In my book “Selling and Persuading with Questions” there are many more tips and questions for price negotiations. Sorry, it’s only published in German at present. You can get it here.