Customer acquisition is a critical focus area, and rightfully so. Without customers, companies are irrelevant. While every customer is valuable, they are not all equal. Research shows that your top 10% of buyers are likely spending three times more than your average customer.
So, knowing how to negotiate with high-value customers makes sound business sense. Negotiation skills training experts say that the following traits can help you nail down your best customers.
Be well prepared
Preparation is perhaps the most important of all negotiation traits. Preparation helps you uncover the exact needs of potential buyers. High-value customers aren’t random shoppers. Instead, these types of customers buy for a reason. You can better align your business with customer needs when you know what they value. As a result, you’re in a stronger position to influence their actions.
Here are some tips to consider as you prepare.
- Determine what you want to achieve, then rank your goals.
- Identify the other person’s goals, then rank their top goals.
- Decide on your walkaways for everything under negotiation.
- Identify your most-desired and least-desired outcomes.
- Think about what concessions you’re willing to offer to close the deal.
How you communicate is crucial to winning over valuable buyers. High-value customers know they bring a lot to the table. However, being taken advantage of can leave a sour taste and push them toward the competition.
Communication skills help ensure that your message strikes the right chord. Use these tips from communication negotiation training courses to develop your skills.
- Use short, familiar words when speaking.
- Avoid the use of industry jargon. If you need to use an industry term, be sure you explain what it means.
- Match nonverbal cues (posture, gestures, facial expressions, etc.) to your verbal language.
- Don’t use the same presentation for different customers. Instead, personalize conversations to suit individual customers.
High-value customers want to feel treasured. Not just for the money they bring in, but for who they are as individuals. It can be an uphill battle to close a deal when you don’t know someone’s motivations. Active listening is an instrumental skill that you can use to uncover what’s driving your customers to make a purchase.
To strengthen your listening skills, keep the following in mind.
- Focus on understanding and not just hearing the conversation.
- Ask open-ended questions to draw out information. For example, questions that begin with who/why/how/what/when/where.
- Use nonverbal cues to encourage the flow of information. For example, during the discussion, smile, nod, and lean forward to show you’re engaged.
Negotiation trainers say that relationship-building skills can help you become more desirable to high-value customers. Studies show that almost 80% of customers do their research before making a purchase. As a result, what most buyers are looking for is a collaborator rather than a salesperson.
Great collaborations start with great relationships. You can use these tips to build rock-solid relationship foundations.
- Develop genuine rapport before the meeting.
- During the meeting, work feverishly to promote customer success. For example, show customers how to get the best use from what they are buying.
- Be respectful and reliable.
- Manage your emotions so you can engage at your best.
Regardless of how thorough you prepare for a negotiation, you can still run into obstacles. Problem-solving skills can help you to keep a deal from stalling. Also, promptly handling issues can help to boost customer confidence. It’s easier to negotiate with customers who believe in your company.
Problem-solving expertise requires a combination of skills. One of the most important is creativity. Creative thinking helps you think outside the box, which can help you solve some sticky issues.
Critical thinking and emotional intelligence are also important skills to develop. Critical thinking helps you process information and come up with win-win solutions. Emotional intelligence helps you empathize with customers and identify the true root cause of any issues.
The competition in today’s business environment is staggering. What’s more, customers are becoming more expensive to find. As a result, sharpening your negotiation skills so you can secure high-value customers is vital to business success. No matter your strengths and weaknesses, training and practice is a surefire way to develop your business negotiation skills.