How To Start & Grow Your Business

Top Five Sales Negotiation Mistakes

Lori Turner-Wilson
Jan 9th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 3 min read
  • Hummy's

    1Ask questions and stay in control of the interaction. 2Inquire more into objections before responding. 3Understand bargaining vs. negotiating.
  • Must login to save


Leadership-Businessman moving chess figure with pawns behind Photo Credit: Shawn Hempel Shutterstock

More than 75 percent of the sales reps I’ve coached through the years cite price as their number one objection. Given the state of our economy for the last several years, it’s no wonder. And even though our economy is beginning to rebound, the side effect of a recession is the bargainer’s mindset that it creates in the market.

It’s a reality salespeople everywhere face, and the reason why sharpening sales negotiation skills is vital.

Avoid these top-negotiating mistakes to improve sales performance.

Not asking enough questions. The person who asks the most questions in a sales negotiation ultimately determines the direction of that conversation. Focus on “what” versus “why” questions to encourage your prospect to focus on fact-based reasoning.

Discounting emotions in a negotiation. While it’s certainly advisable not to react emotionally in a negotiation, emotions no doubt play a factor. The key is to manage a prospect’s emotions by building trust. Prospects that feel understood, engaged and valued are more likely to trust, removing emotional obstacles and paving the way for a rational face-based decision about what you’re selling.

Bargaining with yourself. Don’t discount your offering by cutting your costs before you ever present them to the prospect or you’re making concessions that you won’t get credit for through the negotiation process. If you encounter a prospect that’s a bargainer, they often won’t buy without some sort of concession.

Bargaining versus negotiating. In order for both parties to win, you must enlarge versus divide the pie. So, instead of cutting your price, add value to your offering. Look at yourself as a problem solver versus a negotiator.

Your role is to ask the right questions to find out what the other party needs to feel satisfied with the negotiation, and often that means finding a unique way to deliver that. For example, consider what you can bring to the table with a high-perceived value but a low hard-cost.

Immediately responding to an objection. When a prospect raises an objection, there is often a hidden issue behind the objection. If you immediately address the objection, you may miss that hidden objection, lose the sale as a result, and never know why. Instead, when your prospect throws out a cost objection, for example, consider saying, “I can tell this an important concern, and rightfully so. Tell me more about your hesitation with cost.”

What you may find is the concern is actually with return on investment versus cash flow, which you could overcome with case studies about customers who have realized a strong return on their investment with your firm.

Avoiding these top sales negotiation mistakes will help you close more deals and forge stronger relationships along the way.

This article was written by Lori Turner-Wilson and published in the Memphis Daily News

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, 

Since its beginnings in 1886 as The Daily Abstract of Transfers, The Daily News has served a vital role in the Memphis metro area as the source for daily news and information on business and commerce — information available nowhere else.