Now more than ever, customers are armed with information and have become formidable negotiators. As a result, profitability is now more difficult and it's more critical than ever to be able to execute a successful win-win negotiation.
Poor negotiation skills are fine when the economy is rocking and people are out buying cars, but that doesn't fly when sales are sluggish and we actually have to sell cars. We tend to think that negotiating means being dishonest or stealing, but the reality is we just don’t recognize how valuable what we’re offering really is.
Next time you're about to sit down to negotiate, remember these three things:
1. Whoever appears to care least in a negotiation wins.
Similar to having a poker face in cards, the party who appears to care least in a negotiation has the advantage. The customer needs to want to buy our vehicle more than we want to sell it to them, so we need to do a great job building value. Paint it into their life so they can't imagine not owning it.
2. Whoever starts the negotiation has the advantage.
Whoever has the biggest stack of chips controls the table. Always remember that the biggest bump you'll ever get is the one you never hear. If I’m the one who presents the numbers—instead of starting with "How much you want to spend?”—I can pull out the customers’ top numbers. When they start, it’s an uphill battle trying to raise their numbers. Bottom line, negotiate out of a position of strength, not weakness. We start the numbers=strength. They start the numbers=weakness.
3. Eliminate the time monsters that are killing the deal.
Slow kills. Leave that customer alone and a lot of bad things can happen. The second you step away they’re back on their phones, looking for more information and better deals. That's insane! Cut out the back and forth between your manager and your customer and speed up any action that could slow down the deal. Make selling and negotiating a reflex. Momentum is your friend!
The art of negotiation no longer has to be a thing of the past.
The next time you sit down to a table to negotiate to remember, don't show your hand. Take advantage of the stack of chips in front of you. And time is your most valuable currency, use it wisely. Your customers and your wallet will thank you.