Questioning Tips for Top Negotiators and Salespeople

In selling or negotiating anything, it is really important to get to the facts and understand the other party.  When you do this well, you can match your dialogue and your ideas to the right outcome.  Your questioning techniques are really important.

There are 3 basic types of questions or probes that can be used in negotiation; they should be used in balance to the discussion on the product or service.  You should select the right type of questions with care because they will have direct impact on the response of the other party.  Here are those question or response types:

  1. Open Questions – this type of question will require a factual and detailed answer.  For example, ‘How do you see this tractor being used in your current harvesting program?’
  2. Closed Questions – this process is suitable when you want a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.  For example, ‘Can you see this tractor helping your harvesting program this year?’
  3. Extended Statement – this is a process of going further into a subject or discussion of the other party. For example, ‘Please tell me how the tractor will be used in your harvesting program.’

It is interesting to note that many salespeople do not use the third example above much at all.  They do not probe deep enough into the issue or deal.  Lack of information will make it harder to get a result or positive outcome.  The open or closed question can always lead to the ‘extended statement’.  It takes practice but the extra time spent in finding out all of the facts will always help you with your negotiation.

The more that you can move the discussion into the subject and need, the easier it is to understand exactly what they require and create agreement with the other party.  The real facts of the matter will always help you in any negotiation; for that reason, remember that the negotiation is about them and not about you.

Here are some good question starters that you can use at any time with clients and customers:

  • Tell me
  • Couldn’t we?
  • Shouldn’t we
  • Didn’t you?
  • Don’t you?
  • Haven’t they?
  • Doesn’t it?
  • Hasn’t he?
  • Isn’t it?

These statements will help you tie down the detail and move to a solution for the customer. They say that practice makes perfect, and that is certainly the case in professional selling and negotiation.  Asking questions and getting closer to the requirements of the customer will always help you through the negotiation with greater efficiency.

Asking the right questions is a form of customer qualification.  It pays to have a checklist designed for your product or service so you can really get to the important points quickly and effectively.

You can get more free tips for salespeople in our newsletter at this site.

Top 10 Negotiation Tips for Salespeople Today

Negotiation is one of the great skills that a good salesperson should develop and practice.  We are not all great at negotiation when challenged; it takes a mindset and a skill base that can help us work with the great number of variables that can apply in selling today.

Here are some tips for improving your negotiation skills today:

  1. Know your product or service comprehensively.  That will help you with your dialogue and the variables that may come into the negotiation.
  2. The possible characters and position of the parties to the negotiation will vary greatly and you have to master all of them.  A good negotiation is the result of careful planning and communication.
  3. Always see the negotiation as a series of small steps to the end result.  Rarely will the outcome be achieved in one decision.
  4. If the parties decline to agree, take the time to know their ideas and restrictions.  Something will be holding them back and will require understanding.
  5. Leave emotions out of the negotiation; they do not help.  If the other party gets emotional, it will be a strategy and they are seeking to manipulate the circumstances for themselves.  Do not let the other party’s emotion undermine the base plan or the momentum.
  6. Know where you must start the negotiation and where it should head.  In saying that, you will also need to know the variables that can arise in the typical negotiation and have a strategy to work through them.
  7. When you find that there are differences between the parties, define them and then work through them individually.  Focus on the interests and outcomes of the parties concerned.
  8. Be respectful throughout and after the negotiation.  Follow through to the very end so that the parties do not feel that they have been taken advantage of.
  9. Creative thinking will help any negotiation move ahead.  Sometimes the parties need to know more of the situation or maybe even want time to fully think through the facts.
  10. If either party produces obstacles to the transaction or the deal, ask them about the ideal solution and get them to talk about it in great detail.  This process is called a ‘Freudian slip’ and will usually help you move the other party forward with facts and solutions.

Good negotiators are experts at their craft and their product or service.  They practice and plan how they will communicate and build on any product or service offering.  Over time they build an exceptional set of sales and negotiation skills.  You can do the same.