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Salespeople Must Embrace the Negotiation Conversation with Nicole Soames, Ep #199

Sales Reinvented

Release Date: 06/24/2020

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Do you view negotiation as a conversation? Or a battle with clear winners and losers? Nicole Soames joins me in this episode of @SalesReinvented to start the conversation surrounding negotiation—and reveal why so many of the mindsets salespeople have regarding negotiation are faulty. She shares common misunderstandings, how to prepare for a negotiation, and much more.

Nicole Soames is the CEO & Founder of Diadem Performance, a commercial skills training and coaching company. She is passionate about applying emotional intelligence to negotiation conversations. Nicole is a best-selling author and sought after coach whose savvy advice is revealed in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Be sure to listen!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Nicole’s definition of negotiation
  • [1:07] Negotiation is a conversation
  • [2:52] Why salespeople don’t like to negotiate
  • [5:46] Negotiation isn’t a process—but a conversation 
  • [8:04] Emotional intelligence is the #1 attribute you must possess
  • [9:56] There are no shortcuts: negotiation preparation is key
  • [11:43] Nicole’s top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [13:24] Don’t engage in negative internal conversations
  • [14:35] How children are powerful negotiators

Common misunderstandings about negotiation 

Many salespeople mistake negotiation for haggling or bartering. If you shift your viewpoint to negotiation as a conversation, you’re better equipped to build a long-lasting relationship. People are only as powerful as the conversations they have. Nicole believes we achieve results based on the conversations we have with others. Everything is negotiable—but you can only receive if you first ask. 

Another faulty misconception is that salespeople are schooled in the philosophy that the customer is always right. So when they enter a negotiation conversation, they have placed the customer on a pedestal. By doing so, they cede control and power to the prospect and end up paying dearly for those relationships.

Salespeople are usually engaged with a procurement person—who is well-versed in negotiation tactics. Because each of these people are leaning on their learned skills, a negotiation conversation often ends in disagreement, deadlock, and disappointment. What is the easiest way to avoid that? Keep listening to find out!

Negotiation needs to be a conversation 

Most people who have received negotiation training are taught that it’s a process—it’s linear and theoretical. Nicole is quick to point out that it shouldn’t be viewed as a process but as a negotiation conversation. Thinking about it as a conversation changes the way you engage in the negotiation. You should approach your conversation by contemplating answers to these questions: 

Why should I feel confident? What will their challenges be? How will I handle them? Am I exhibiting an appropriate level of ambition? How will I break the deadlock?

Approaching your conversation with emotional intelligence is the largest differentiator and competitive advantage that Nicole can see. You must remember that you’re negotiating with a human. There is a real person on the other side of this conversation. It’s why Nicole advocates for face-to-face communication whenever possible (versus email). 

How to prepare for your negotiation conversation 

There are no shortcuts. Preparation for a negotiation is paramount to its success. One unique tactic that Nicole recommends is to “big yourself up”: write down all the reasons you should feel confident in the negotiation conversation. Build yourself up and read it to yourself. Don’t allow yourself to fall trap to inner conversations that say things like “They won’t say yes” or “Everyone is having a difficult time right now”. 

Secondly, you must prepare for any curveballs that may come your way. Nicole emphasizes that forewarned is forearmed. And while you want to prepare for variables, she believes that you should NOT prepare a walkaway point. Doing so is admitting defeat and claiming that it’s okay to fail. Nicole believes that you get the best results when you’re challenged and under some pressure. To hear Nicole’s top negotiation 3 dos and don’ts and her ‘ABC method’ keep listening!

Learn the art of the negotiation conversation from your children

Nicole admits that children are expert negotiators. What makes our children SO good at negotiation? Think about it—children are relentlessly ambitious. They use every overt tactic in the book and wind parents down until they get what they want. “All of my friends have this” or “All of their parents allow that” is a very effective strategy. Nicole admits she smiles every time she sees her children negotiating with her. They are ace negotiators and we can learn a lot from them. 

Talk about some unique insight. To hear the rest of Nicole’s thoughts on viewing negotiation as a conversation, be sure to listen to the whole episode! 

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