How To Negotiate Successfully By Phone

At the first sign of customer resistance, many owners immediately drop their prices for their goods or services.

Art Sobczak's article "10 Tips for Successful Negotiating By Phone" suggests effective ways to satisfy your customers, without giving away the store. Here, in brief, are his suggestions:

1) Define Your Negotiables Other Than Price - Moving up delivery dates, extending warranties and throwing in an additional product are all low-cost ways to give the customer added value, without eroding your bottom line.

2) Analyze Your Strength, Their Needs - Before you pick up the phone, list the needs involved. What you now your customer wants, what you have, and what you want. Although the customer may try to knock down your price, you are in a position of strength because only you have exactly the product that customer wants.

3) Set your objectives - Before you call, as yourself what you want the outcome to be.

4) Aim High, Set Minimums - Start your negotiating at your stretch goal, and know how low you're willing to go.

5) Prepare for Their Possible Tactics - If you know that this particular client makes outrageous requests, be prepared to counter-attack so that you are not blindsided into making concessions you need not make.

6) Gather Information - Knowledge is power.

7) Don't Give More Information (Or Anything Else) Than Necessary - Don't divulge deals that other clients have made, or wholesale prices, or any other information that can give the client room to ask for more than you're willing to give.

8) Don't Split The Difference - This is human nature – to ask for it and to agree to it. If the cost is $50 and they're offering $30, don't settle at $40 – offer to settle at $47 instead.

9) Trade Your Concessions - If you give them a better price, ask them for a longer contract. One sided relationships are not healthy for your business.

10) "If I, Will You?"- If you offer to prioritize the customer's order, will the customer increase the number of units he's buying?

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