5 Steps to Sales Negotiation Success!

Presenting proposals can be the easiest step to accomplish in the sales process. In fact, I often include a proposal when making a sales call, which saves time for me and my client. But when the client won’t commit, it’s time to start negotiating.

So what are some good guidelines for negotiating during the proposal stage of the sale? Read on to learn how to get your clients from ” No” to “Go.”

Here are 5 strategies for negotiating proposals:

Keep it simple and strive for clarity. I often observe sales managers and salespeople who make it very complicated to buy an ad. Don’t forget this is a big decision for most advertisers. Could your proposal be confusing? When advertisers don’t understand, they don’t buy. Pro tip: When they do understand the value of your products, they are willing to pay more.

What is your differentiating factor? Do you know your “D” Factor? How are your products different, why do they stand out from the rest? The price will become the deciding factor if you don’t emphasize this. Bring up your “D” factors right from the beginning of the negotiations.

Pushing frequency is critical.You negotiations should focus on helping your advertiser understand that they need to advertise on multiple days and in multiple ways. Instead of showing frequency pricing in your proposals, highlight the cost savings in red.

Do NOT negotiate the price against yourself. Sometimes a client just isn’t willing to close and you start thinking it must be the price. So you say things like, “Hey Bob, I gave you a proposal that I thought you liked, but you haven’t given me a “go.” I’m happy to come down 15-20% if this would get the deal closed.” Don’t do this!  Instead, ask them to send you some budget numbers that work for them and tell them you will do your best to make if work. Never negotiate against yourself and your price.

Set a deadline. Always include some kind of deadline in your negotiations. The deadline needs to be specific to the proposal, not your internal deadline. Better not to have to stack up all your proposals in a way that will log-jam and is hard to manage.

Finally, give your client the opportunity to say, “No.” 

Sales managers usually jump out of their chairs when I say this during sales trainings. I know it sounds crazy, but you have to focus on where best to spend your time and energy. Sometimes you are just not going to be able to close the sale, even after you’ve followed up with an advertiser 15 to 20 times. When this happens, I give them the opportunity to get off the fence and say, “No.”

Here’s my last resort:  “Hey John, I’ve followed up with you numerous times. I thought you were excited about the proposal. If it’s not the right time, I’m happy to come back in a month or so. Just send me a message and let me know, Thanks.”  Maybe there is something going on within their business or the timing isn’t right. If the advertiser’s “No” was based on price, don’t negotiate against yourself. Move on to the next prospect!


About Ryan: Ryan Dohrn is an award-winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant and in international motivational speaker. He is the author of the best-selling ad sales book, Selling Backwards.  He is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media and 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique ad sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation, as well as the Publisher of Sales Training World.


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