Every single customers asks himself 5 questions before making a decision whether to or not to make a deal with a seller. These questions are always the same and if you as a seller want to get the best of the negotiation, you have to be prepared, so that the customer to answer "yes" to all of them.
1. Do I want to do business with you?
This is where the first impression is so important - appearance, greeting - everything. A customer decides if he wants to do business with you within 2 seconds after he meets you or your salesman. There are many variables here, since the client can apply many rules of his own which you can't control (for example, if you look like the new husband of his ex-wife, the customer might now want to work with you). Still, do what you can.
2. Do I want to do business with your company?
The scenarios here are three:
- the customer doesn't know your company - in this case it is up to you to represent your company and to position it in the best way possible.
- the customer knows your company and likes it - the best case scenario. You get the higher ground and sealing the deal with this client shouldn't be very hard;
- the customer knows your company, but he isn't very fond of it - you will need to do some damage control here. It is not impossible, but you might need to help your client with some past problems with your company.
3. Do I want/need your product/service?
The customer probably needs your product and he will definitely send you both "I need it" and "I don't need it" type of signals. The secret here is to not be pushy. Do not make the decision for him, he needs to make his way to it alone. Just give him the facts and help him with the conclusions. As it is said - people love buying things, but hate to be sold things. Remember that.
4. Does this price matches my expectations?
By now, the customer already knows that he needs your product/service. Now, he is assessing if the price is affordable. That depends more on his financial situation, than on you, but you can control things to a certain depth by suggesting a discount maybe. However, the customer may have information about the competitors' prices which can play a role, too.
5. Is this the right time?
Even if the customer has answered with "yes" to all the previous questions, he may believe that in time another product will come along the way, or if he holds up there might be a bigger discount. A "limited time offer" can play a serious role in the negotiation when things get to the last question.