Today, many professional buyers are willing to share control and enter meaningful, collaborative discussion about products and solutions, but others pose a much greater challenge to selling lowest total cost solutions. While all buyers bring their own set of challenges to the negotiating table, some take it to a whole new level.
The challenging buyer:
Are you dealing with a trained professional buyer or a business buyer?
While there are instances of business buyers being trained to become professional buyers, there is usually a clear distinction between the two beasts.
A business buyer tends to get more emotionally involved with individuals and certain companies, often determining which supplier to work with based on relationships and personalities.
For sales people, the business buyer relationship is a tempting one to nurture, and an easy, comfortable one to build.
On the other hand, a professional buyer, as part of a decision-making team, is a procurement professional who brings goods and services into an organisation. A professional buyer tends not to focus on a single supplier, but determines alternatives, creating a duopoly to give them negotiation power when faced with multiple supplier options. These professional buyers follow a disciplined process that enables them to meet very clear metrics.
What strategies will professional buyers use?
Professional buyers know that the more they ask for, the more they get. One top procurement professional admitted: “I ask for it because I may get it. You wouldn’t believe how often I chuckle to myself afterwards, thinking ‘I never thought I’d get it, but I did’”.
How to deal with challenging buyers
A lot of the time, professional buyers use tactics:
But sales people need to understand that tactics don’t win negotiations, and fighting a tactic with a tactic gets you nowhere. Tactics create win-lose scenarios, rather than innovative agreements that meet both your needs and customer needs both long and short term.
So, how to deal with those tactics
Top 3 negotiation tips
What sales people should never do
How should sales people behave?
Most sales people feel the pressure, tension and stress inherent in any high stakes negotiations and don't like it. This loss of courage pushes them to fall back into a dangerous mindset, out of fear of losing the deal or damaging the relationship.
But actually what sales people should do when faced with tension, stress or pressure is to welcome the reactions and know they have the skills to do what makes them truly effective, even with the most demanding buyers.
Of course, this is far easier said than done. Most people – in sales or not – revert to one of two comfort zones: flight or fight.
In flight mode, sales people will give away too much, too soon and leak value.
When they fight, they dig their heels in and push an issue to win an argument, creating adversarial relationships and win-lose agreements.
What to do with an unrealistic offer
Too many sales people worry about walking away, thinking they can’t afford to lose the deal.
But no deal is better than a bad deal.
The key to success is being able to walk away, but still leave the door open to continue the negotiation at a later date. Remember, professional buyers have been taught that the more they ask, the more they get. They know that most sellers are uncomfortable with the tension inherent in any most negotiations. Buyers will test your strength and confidence, so it is up to you to create, shape and sell value, proving yours is the lowest total cost solution with the highest value and ROI.
At GPG, we have a very clear focus: Through highly interactive, highly tailored behaviour change initiatives using real world client simulations, role plays and exercises, you will gain the skills and confidence to differentiate you and your solution, demonstrate value and ROI, and build stronger relationships in the process.
30+ years of experience helping salespeople transform their sales dialogues and engage with even the most challenging professional buyers.