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Sales and Negotiations — What’s the Difference? 

by Josh Biggs in Tips on 25th September 2021

If you have experience in sales, you probably already know: Sales and negotiations aren’t synonymous terms, even if they are complementary to one another. During each of these processes, the objective is going to be different — the discussion isn’t necessarily going to be headed in the same direction, whether you’re effectively selling or negotiating. 

However, while not all instances of negotiations are going to be related to sales, it’s vital that negotiation is used to perform a sale. Without strong negotiation skills, it’s going to be difficult to convince your client to make a purchase. For a sale to succeed, you need to convince your counterpart that they’ll benefit from the transaction — even though they are the one losing funds, due to the payment.

If someone is skilled in sales, but not in negotiations, they’ve only accomplished half the battle. Even if they find it simple to accomplish the sale, this isn’t the end of the road. They’ll be able to positively impact their gross receipts, although they won’t necessarily be able to positively influence their profits. To make that positive impact on profits, the individual will need to develop strong negotiation skills. 

Through sales skills, you’ll be able to get what you were aiming for — however, to keep what you’ve earned, you’re going to need to be a strong negotiator. 

The Objectives of Sales Versus Negotiations

As we’ve already drawn attention to, the objectives of sales and negotiations aren’t going to be identical — even if they are often related. 

To succeed with a sale, the seller will need to address whatever problem or need the buyer is facing. Then, they must offer a solution to that potential buyer, through the product or service they are selling. The seller must convince the buyer that they can resolve a particular issue, at a particular point in time. 

However, the objective of negotiation is marginally different. During negotiations, each of the parties will attempt to reach a compromise, allowing them to resolve an issue in a way that they can both benefit from. Unlike during sales, rather than attempting to sell a product or service, each negotiator must convince their counterpart that their proposed solution is better than a given alternative agreement. 

As you can see, to succeed in sales, an individual must also be a strong negotiator. Through strong negotiation abilities, a party can convince the other that their product or service is the superior solution, versus the alternative, which would be deciding against the purchase — or purchasing from a competitor instead. 

Further, through negotiations, a seller can convince the buyer that they will see the greatest benefit through the product or service, offering them a greater chance at success. 

Risk minimization is another key aspect of negotiation, which will also be of use during sales. Whatever solution you propose, you should attempt to minimize the risk level that all parties are facing. The lower the risk on your buyer’s end, the more likely they will go through with the purchase. 

When Should I Negotiate During Sales?

As you attempt to make a sale, should you be using negotiation skills all through the process? Or, should you hold off on using negotiation, until you’ve just about secured the deal? 

In essence, yes, you should be employing negotiation skills, from the very beginning of the sales situation. If you are negotiating all the way through, you’ll find it far simpler to convince your buyer that the purchase is worth it. Using common negotiation techniques, you’ll be better equipped to reach a compromise with the buyer, convincing them that your product or service will benefit them more than the alternative(s). 

If you attempt to talk a buyer into a deal without properly negotiating, this will typically only serve as self-sabotage. For instance, if someone holds off on negotiating until the end of the sales discussion, they’ve waited far too long. This is because the seller should be homing in on the buyer’s decision criteria, to successfully convince them to make the purchase in the first place. Otherwise, it’s far less likely that the conversation is going to get especially far. From the start of the discussion, the seller should attempt to position themselves as the solution to each of the buyer’s problems or conflicts. 

While sales and negotiation aren’t synonymous terms, they are still closely related. If you’re looking to grow as a salesperson, it’s critical that you develop your negotiation skills, in tandem. Through implementing negotiation strategies into your sales discussions, you’ll be able to convince the buyer that your product or service is the solution to their problem — rather than any potential alternative. This way, the sale is much more likely to succeed.

Categories: Tips