Negotiation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Posted on 10/10/2018 in Sales Negotiation Skills

A participant in our Sales Negotiation Skills workshop made an astute observation, specifically that "...everyone negotiates but not everyone negotiates well."  This led to a good conversation about common mistakes that sales and business professionals tend to make when negotiating. We'd like to use this blog to highlight two common negotiation mistakes and offer some advice on how to avoid making these mistakes.

Mistake #1: Conceding too much, too soon.  Giving and getting concessions is part of every negotiation but consider the message that you send if you concede too much, too soon.  "Conceding too much" says to the other person that there is more to get, "conceding too soon" signals weakness on your part. In both cases, you likely will end up with a bad deal.

You can avoid the mistake of conceding too much, too soon by doing two things: 1) Plan your concession strategy in advance so you know which issues you are willing to concede, and by how much, and which issues are firmer and less likely to be conceded; 2) Always make your concessions conditional on getting something comparable from the other side. A good way to do this is use "if/then" language by saying something like, "If we give you extended payment terms, then we would need a larger volume commitment from you." 

Mistake #2: Poor Planning.  We agree with the saying that "...failing to plan is planning to fail." In addition to planning your concession strategy, here are some other things that you must include in your pre-negotiation planning process, especially in large, multi-issue negotiations:

  • What are our most critical needs? In other words, what do we want to accomplish as a desired outcome?
  • What alternatives do we have if we don't reach an agreement with the other side?  
  • What are acceptable settlement points for each issue?
  • What is our walkaway point, and how would we implement a walkaway if necessary?

If you're interested in improving your negotiation skills, contact us for various resources that Peak Selling can provide, ranging from in-person workshops, online modules, 1-on-1 coaching, and negotiation planning forms.