business woman negotiating a sales contract
ATD Blog

How to Get the Negotiation Results You Want in Sales

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Inspiring your sales team to incorporate the bottom line into their professional connections can be challenging. Though your team likely understands how to use negotiations to create relationships with potential clients, it can be difficult for them to consider how the details of their work affect the company. They need to support the core of the business for the overall machine of the company to run smoothly.

Distributing negotiation tips can be helpful if the sales team can absorb and use them effectively. Effective negotiation techniques can work wonders for your bottom line and produce a more collaborative work environment overall.

1. Prepare yourself.

Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath philosophy applies to myriad situations in life, especially in the sales world. One facet of this thought process is preparing for your opponent; when you understand your adversary, you can arrive with better equipment to defeat them.

However, in a sales setting, negotiations are not necessarily two rivals pitted against one another but rather two collaborators poised to work together toward a common goal. But Gladwell’s philosophy still rings true. When you have an objective, as all good salespeople do, you must prepare yourself to achieve it. Sales experts should arrive at every meeting and negotiation session with a vast and detailed knowledge of the industry, company, and individual they’re selling to. This preparation becomes an effective negotiation tool and helps create a more robust result.

2. Choose fewer words.

In sales settings, it can be tempting to get the ball rolling right away before the prospective clients can change their minds. Ultimately, however, this shows your hand too quickly. By allowing the client team to speak first, you can save your best moves and tactics for the defensive. If you speak first, you may run out of appeal points before negotiations begin. This puts you in a tight space later.


Overtalking and overexplaining happen too often in negotiation settings. Choose your words wisely, and use them as a response rather than a statement. This way, you have moves left up your sleeve when you get to the heart of the negotiation process.

3. Choose collaboration over subservience.

Salespeople frequently enter a room believing that the potential clients are doing them a favor by signing. It is worth reminding your staff that your team exists because there is a quality product or service to sell. Your potential clients need you as much as you need them.

When salespeople are overly accommodating, they lose power in negotiation and ultimately settle for a less favorable contract. Your sales team’s objective is not to serve others but to display the advantages of working with your company. Being accommodating gets you only so far.


When you enter a sales negotiation with the mindset of equality, you can collaborate toward a common goal and ultimate contract that benefits both parties. Not only is this more dignified for your staff, but it also increases profit margins and benefits your company’s budget.

4. Talk value.

There is a strong distinction between price and value. Though these two concepts are often correlated, their relationship is not guaranteed. During negotiations, clients may continue to steer the conversation toward the price of your products and services, which forces salespeople to make concessions that hurt your company’s profits. Talking of price leads to discussing discounts, which can mean less money for you.

When the conversation veers toward price, steer it toward value. This incentivizes your client to sign on your terms rather than negotiate the contract price. When the client understands the importance of value over price, it gives you a strong financial advantage.

About the Author

Jeff has coached negotiation teams within organizations and has delivered high impact presentations from forty-five minutes to three days in length. His audience size has ranged from five executives around a boardroom table to one thousand people in an auditorium. In addition to his role as an educator and an entertainer, Jeff has also played a significant role in selling and designing negotiation training programs for SNI.

Jeff has delivered customized programs for clients across many diverse sectors: Financial Services (Barclays, PricewaterhouseCoopers, J.P.Morgan Chase); Pharmaceutical (Novo Nordisk, Sanofi-aventis, Bristol Myers Squibb); Insurance (GeneralReinsurance, Nationwide); Telecommunications (Verizon, Comcast); Medical Devices (Toshiba Medical Systems, Siemens Medical); Sports (Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Madison Square Garden); Media (ESPN, Hearst Corporation) and a host of others. Jeff also works closely with the Anthony Robbins Platinum Partnership, an exclusive membership-only group personally coached by Tony Robbins. Jeff Cochran is a master facilitator and partner of Shapiro Negotiations Institute.

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