Every negotiation has moving parts to juggle; it is easy to get hung up on the wrong thing and make fatal negotiation errors. Ultimately, strategizing is the difference between success and coming up short. Preparing a negotiation checklist for your sales team sharpens their focus and gives your team an advantage at the negotiation table. From the beginning to the end, you should be one step ahead.
The Ultimate Negotiation Checklist for Sales Teams
First, understand the other party. Every company is different. Each team presents unique challenges and opportunities.
An effective negotiation checklist for your sales team includes mapping out the other party’s team, identifying dominant personas, and understanding who has the decision-making power.
“We generally find the final decision-maker is someone who is not even at the negotiation table,” Consilio CEO Stacey McKibbin expanded, “So you don’t have the opportunity to aritculate your value to them first hand. It is important to describe your services and successes in a way that is easy for folks to take back and accurately convey to others.”
We also advise gaining insight into their negotiation approach and relationships with each other.
The Action Plan
The next part of your negotiation checklist for a sales team is devising an action plan. An action plan is crucial for several reasons, but one of the most important is that it enables you to answer and ask critical questions and maintain control of it.
Leading the negotiation is essential to achieving favorable outcomes. “You want to position yourself to take a proactive approach at the negotiating table,” Stacey explained, “not a reactive approach.”
In many ways, negotiation is a dance, and an action plan enables you to play the choreographer. When devising an action plan, we recommend considering:
- Outlining an opening strategy
- Preparing a negotiation cheat sheet
- Desired outcomes for each meeting
- Emphasizing building rapport
- Setting an agenda
- Determining and assigning next steps and research
- Clearly defining and assigning roles for everyone on your team
- Preparing the questions you are going to ask
Power and Leverage
Next, consider the power and leverage you have with your value proposition. Your value proposition is the reason a buyer is interested in the first place.
This value proposition is essential to every negotiation checklist for sales teams. Define how your service or product resonates with a buyer, their pain points, and what solutions your product offers that others don’t.
For example, at Consilio, we teach 3×3 and Credibility Statement Processes. These processes facilitate articulating your value proposition and make it easy to recall, which is critical when decision-makers aren’t in the room for the discussion.
Your value proposition dictates your leverage and determines your fees, the deals you win, and the customer loyalty you can architect.
Agreements and Alternatives
Understanding when you can get what you want and when you cannot is also an important part of a negotiation checklist for sales teams.
Always prepare alternatives for both sides to achieve their objectives and satisfy requirements. To devise alternatives that will still help reach your targets, we advise:
- Outlining key points of the agreement
- Determining different versions of a successful outcome
- Establishing what is non-negotiable
- Understanding that you can always walk away
- Deciding your reservation price and ideal agreement
Buyer Tactics and Objections
Part of every good negotiation checklist for sales teams is anticipating buyer tactics and objections. An objection is virtually guaranteed, and some buyers will enter negotiations with specific tactics to achieve their desired outcome.
This phase encapsulates the chess game of negotiations – identifying potential tactics and objections, and devising response strategies.
Objectives, Requirements, Possibilities
Understanding objections, requirements, and possibilities for both sides should be at the heart of every negotiation checklist to position sales teams for success.
“You must know where you are going and why to make it through the tough parts of selling and negotiations,” Stacey elaborated. Uncovering the other party’s objectives reveals their motivations, and you can consider the requirements as the sandbox you can play in.
Ultimately, your best leverage lies in uncovering the emotion driving a customer’s need to take action. Every negotiation has a limitless range of possibilities. To drive value for everyone, brainstorm and create a list of these possibilities. We also advise:
- Fully defining both parties’ objectives and requirements
- Preparing to conduct a creative process for mutually beneficial possibilities
- Composing a list of possible asks and trades with defined values
- Preparing to respond to requests with trades
Schedule a Consultation to Learn How to Devise and Implement an Effective Negotiation Checklist for Your Sales Team
Negotiations are like jazz; they require the fine art of improvisation. While they can feel instinctual and spontaneous, this is an illusion. Effective negotiations always boil down to adequate preparation, which is why a negotiation checklist for your sales team is invaluable. Your team’s ability to negotiate and emerge with the ideal outcome is the lynchpin of your organization’s success. It is impossible to understate the importance of a negotiation checklist. Still, devising one and implementing it is easier said than done.