Negotiation is a natural part of life. Sadly, it holds the same poor perception as salespeople. Both are viewed as strong arming someone to do something against their will. But neither have to be performed this way.
Negotiation begins best with a smile and handshake.
The end of the year provides opportunities to attend both holiday gatherings, and corporate functions. At corporate events where people consume alcohol, many people have been heard giving away company secrets. Others have been known to use their fists to settle a disagreement. The party atmosphere quickly dissolved.
Be forewarned, in the company of friends, it’s easy to give your opposing opinion and appear smart. But at business and family events, diplomacy will become your friend, and it’s part of the negotiation package.
Before larger events, I tend to picture the venue filled with attendees. We are a highly diverse society and opposing viewpoints to be heard are a given. I attempt to learn something from each person. Instead of challenging someone, I have found the better route is to ask, “What has been your experience?” The question allows for a swift explanation and provides improved understanding. It’s possible that some disagreement might still exist. The worst case is to recognize the one person may not be the best match for doing business.
Keep in mind that meeting at a party or a conference is the first step to potential new business. Just as with a typical client, listen first to gain the facts. It may be very exciting to recognize where your services could be a perfect fit, but it’s best to refrain from going down that road.
The better route is to suggest a follow-up meeting or phone call. In this way, you may give due thought to how you can best work with one another. By the time you do connect, the conversation is more likely to be highly engaging and open to more possibility.
Before attending your next party or business event, think about the previous ones.
- Do or say something not to be repeated?
- Attempt to sell when instead you should have listened?
- Were you able to enjoy the events?
Whether you are in a client office or at a conference, approach each conversation as a team sport. Seek out the commonalities your share to move the discussion forward. Determine if your goals are similarly aligned. This type of dialogue encourages deeper insights along with the likelihood of moving forward to negotiate a sale satisfactory for all.
Of course, should you meet in someone’s office during the holidays, a smart move is to bring in dessert for the team. Everyone loves the idea and will welcome you back.
1. Before an event visualize the venue and your most desired outcome.
2. Remind yourself of the top three points you would like to get across to those you meet.
3. Arrive with an open mind to listen to all opinions.
4. Diplomatically remove yourself from a conversation if there is no hope for finding agreement.
5. Ask people how they came upon unusual ideas and how they are applied.
6. Inquire of others as to what they need to move forward.
7. Provide friendly suggestions as you speak; avoid the typical “you should…”
8. Collect contact information for those who are serious about continuing the conversation.
9. Ask how the other person would like you to follow up.
10. Follow-up within 24 hours with a nice personalized note.
Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!
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