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Successfully negotiating with customers involves giving them what they want without compromising their needs or yours. When negotiating to make a sale on a product with a price range rather than a firm price, answer the customer's questions and ask questions of your own. Rather than convincing the customer to buy, convince him why he should buy from you. Put your relationship with the customer first, and the sale will follow.
Negotiating with customers includes creating value for the product or service you sell. Make the sale about the customer and not you by showing how what you have to offer can make a difference. Customers want value for their money, so give them something the competition doesn't. Be ready to explain why your product or service is a customer's best option whether it's a matter of price, quality, durability or reliability.
Price It Right
Leave yourself room for negotiation by not quoting a price that is too high or too low to start. The price and terms you and a customer finally agree on should be fair to both of you. Have a clear idea going in what you want. Be realistic and don't force the customer into making concessions. On the flip side, avoid agreeing to last-minute demands the customer might make. Otherwise, he might question your credibility and wonder if you've offered him a fair deal.
Watch Your Step
Avoid pushing too hard when trying to make a sale. If you come off as overly aggressive, you could lose a potential customer. Focus on being assertive and confident about your position. Customers don't like feeling manipulated, so you have to demonstrate your willingness to negotiate. Give them some control over the process by letting them have their say while you listen.
Whenever you ask for a concession on the customer's part, always explain why. While successful customer negotiations often require concessions both ways, make concessions that still give the customer added value. For example, if you ask for a price that's higher than what the customer wants to pay, offer her more for her money in the form of free shipping, a discount on her next purchase or an extended warranty.
Deal With Rejection
Rejection is a normal part of sales, so you can't take it personally. Just because a customer raises objections doesn't mean he won't buy; negotiating a successful sale often requires that you find ways to overcome customer objections. For example, if a customer says he isn't ready to spend the money, point out the product's benefits and how it can actually save him money over time to buy now.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.