10 Tips for Getting What You’re Worth - Negotiation & Objection Handling
Negotiation & Objection Handling:
10 Tips for Getting What You’re Worth
East Sales Director, Smarsh
November 20th, 2014
Negotiation & Objection Handling
I. Objection Handling vs. Negotiation
II. 5 Tips for Overcoming Objections
III. 5 Tips for Better Negotiations
IV. Brief Summary
Objection Handling vs. Negotiation
• Addressing your prospect’s concerns about your product or service in order to create
technical, organizational, and personal buy-in
• You are still selling at this stage in the process
• Attempting to reach mutual agreement about the value of your product or service
• You have already been selected as the vendor of choice
Remember: Don’t negotiate before the prospect is sold, and don’t revert to
“selling” once you’re in negotiations
Objection Handling: Tip #1
Learn From Your Losses
• Review your lost opportunities over the past year and look for themes
• Which objections came up most often? Which ones were the deal breakers?
• What areas will require product development? What can you work or talk around?
• Review your near-losses and close calls; opportunities you won but almost didn’t
• What were the biggest hurdles to closing the sale? How did you overcome them?
• Use these insights to create a “cheat sheet” of common objections and craft 2-3
potential responses for each. Test them out and revisit them often.
Objection Handling: Tip #2
Understand Your Prospect’s Real Concerns
• Why is the objection an issue for them, and why are they bringing it up now?
• No assumptions. Guessing at the prospect’s intention can put the deal at risk.
• In order to truly understand, you must:
• Validate and acknowledge the prospect’s concern (nurture)
• Understand the problem they’re facing and the reasons behind it (ask why?)
• Respond only once you’re sure you understand the real concern
• Never answer a question without understanding the context behind it!
• When in doubt, place the ball back in the prospect’s court. It’s their job to clarify.
Objection Handling: Tip #3
Stop Putting up Speed Bumps
• All prospects have a vision of their ideal solution. This gets them ready to buy.
• Your job is to help them realize that vision, not distort it.
• Salespeople distort their prospects’ visions by:
• Answering un-asked questions
• “Pitching” unwanted features and benefits
• Generally misaligning your solution to their pains or use case
• Saying anything that creates unnecessary risk in the prospect’s mind
Objection Handling: Tip #4
Go for the “No”
• “Is it over?” “is this going to be a deal breaker?” “should we just call it quits?”
• “Walking away” tests an objection’s importance and identifies the prospect’s real
• When there’s a particular objection that comes up repeatedly, don’t wait for your
prospects to bring it up. Get it on the table early and seek resolution.
• This builds genuine credibility and rapport
• Don’t worry: Just because you’re walking towards the door doesn’t mean you
have to go through it... unless, you want to.
Objection Handling: Tip #5
Understand That Pricing is NEVER the Real Issue
• There is a direct correlation between pricing and conviction (value)
• Less certainty your product will solve their problem means greater pricing pressure
• Solution: Learn what your prospects would need to see to justify paying more, then
show them you can deliver (ROI)
• In other words: Let your prospects answer their own objections.
Negotiation: Tip #1
Have a Game Plan
• Determine your pricing “envelope” – your best, worst, and most likely scenarios
• Create a list of potential negotiables – setup fees, minimum commitments, etc. – and
assign trading values. Remember that contract terms have value too.
• Know your non-negotiables and stick to them
• Remember your prospects will have their own envelope and negotiables too.
Negotiation: Tip #2
Consider Your Prospect’s Environment & Business Drivers
• What do you believe is of value to this particular prospect? Why?
• Internal & external factors influencing their decisions may include:
• Buying team, business challenges / goals, and individual motivators
• Short- and long-term strategy – expansion, relocation, new technologies, etc.
• Competitive pressures, market trends, and general business environment
• Determine their most likely alternative – a competitor, develop in-house, or doing nothing
• What unique advantages does your product or service provide?
• This will determine how much leverage you have
Negotiation: Tip #3
Never Give Anything for Free
• Always get something comparable or greater in return when you give concessions
• Know what items could sweeten the deal for you:
• Commitment to sign within an agreed-upon timeframe (EOM, EOQ, etc.)
• Longer initial term (annual vs. monthly contracts, multi-year agreements)
• Case study or reference account, use of logo in marketing materials
• Introduction or referral to other potential clients
• Better payment terms (upfront vs. monthly payments, shorter collection times)
• “Freebies” lower your solution’s (and company’s) perceived value
Negotiation: Tip #4
Know When NOT to Negotiate
• Providing certain concessions create undue risk to the business, regardless of how
much you may want the deal, the new logo, or the revenue
• Owners and Sales Managers: It’s your job to know when these times are.
• Set guidelines, implement check-and-balances, and stick to them.
• This is easy if you’ve done a good job creating your pricing envelope and valuations
• Live to sell another day…
Negotiation: Tip #5
Quarterback the Process
• Consider the various buying centers
involved: project sponsors, technical
buyers, legal, procurement, etc.
• You must always be working these
functions in parallel
• As the seller, it is your responsibility to
drive the procurement process
Successful objection handling and negotiation ultimately comes down to:
• Knowing yourself, your customers, and your marketplace
• Remembering that “pricing” is really about conviction
• Having a game plan and never giving anything for free
• Owning the process and maintaining control
• Never taking things personally