That last step of a sales process is typically negotiation.
If you got to this part in the sales process then you probably are a pretty "human" sales rep anyways. It can be tough to think clearly when you are close to the end of your sales process. It is important to remember that the other person on the other end of this negotiation is a human being. They have feelings, they have wants, they have deadlines, they have goals. They are just like you. The most important thing is here is that they have feelings that you need to respect if you want to win the deal. Not just win the deal but win the deal where the new customer has a smile on their face as well as you.
We have all been involved in a sales process where you start to rush and start to get nervous. Many emotions start to creep up when you are close to winning the deal or closing in on a customer. Emotions are helpful if you can slow the nervous ones and speed up your more empathetic side. empathy and understanding is important in the whole sales process but especially at the end. You need to think about what your prospect is going through because this is not only a big deal for you but most likely is a big deal for their professional career at their company. They are making a decision to buy what you sell for some reason, you should respect that and explain that you respect their opinions. Explain and show that you understand that deciding on a service or product is hard. All marketplaces and industries are competitive. Making a decision to go with your company is probably not an easy decision for them.
Remember to be as human as possible at the end of the sales process when you are negotiating. The deal could just as easy flop if you start to show a more salesy side than you have during your consultative sales process.
A few guiding lights that I have when I am starting to negotiate at the end of the sales process:
1. Have the prospect tell you that they are ready to buy and want to use your product or service. This is number one.
Sometimes we forget to confirm with the prospect that they actually have decided on you. Not kind of decided, but really decided. They know they want to go with you and have decided that internally. This is your time to make sure you hear this from their mouths and start to show emotion as to why you are excited for them that they made this decision.
2. Your next step once you have confirmation that they would like to use your product or service is to understand what needs to happen from here to enable them to sign on the dotted line and actually become a customer.
Typically after someone has confirmed that they want to go with your company you need to ask questions as to what happens next.
- What happens from here?
- What do we need to do to make you able to purchase?
- Who else needs to be involved?
- When are you thinking of signing up?
- How can I help you to get this done?
- Is this actually approved or are you just saying you want to use it?
3. Understand their process internally.
There could be many other people that need to get involved after someone says they are want to use your company for their needs. You need to ask questions as to the internal process and also inform them of your process at your company from here. Be respectful of what they say and make sure that you fully know their process inside and out before you leave the meeting with them or get off the phone with them. If you can't repeat back to yourself as to what happens from here to close the deal then you haven't learned everything you need to know yet.
4. Learn how you can help them to get this approved.
Usually in the final stages of a sales process people like to negotiate terms, pricing, payments, etc. It could be a number of things.
- Do you need to explain to your prospect what you can and cannot do in terms of incentives if anything?
- Do you have certain things you need to know from them to help them with pricing?
Figure out what levers you can pull by knowing your process internally fully. If you don't know what you are and are not allowed to do you will wind up with a lot of back and forth. If you have been honest since the beginning of the sales process on what you can and cannot do pricing wise then you should not have many issues here. You will have issues if you have waited until now to start discussing these things.
5. Understand if you prospect has certain things they know that their finance team wants to see in a quote or proposal.
Usually the person you are working with knows their internal processes fairly well. Understand from them what they think they will need to get this approved. Remember you job as a sales person is to help. In negotiation you need to be aware that your job is still to make sure your prospect knows you are trying to help them and make sure they really feel that. You can tell if your prospect really believes you that you want to fully understand what they need to make this deal happen easy and fast.
Be human when you are negotiating. You need to think and make opinions. If your prospect says something that doesn't make sense think about why and ask questions. Use common sense and use your feelings as you navigate the end of the sales process. Your gut feelings at the end of the sales process are good gauges for how you might be able to help your prospect as well as give you ideas of what other questions you need to have answered before they can become a customer.