Everything was going exceptionally well, and your potential buyer could hardly wait to move forward. Then your worst fear surfaced: "Could you drop the price a bit?"
Help! What should you do now? Well, before you hyperventilate, I suggest you begin by taking a deep breath to calm yourself. Next, follow the five steps below:
1. Don't give away the store. Something odd happens when we get ready to negotiate, especially when the conversation centers on the "price." Rather than enter into a discussion about money, the majority of women I've coached would rather slash their rates just to "keep the peace"—or in this case, keep their "piece of the selling pie."
The above reaction is particularly evident in economically challenging times. But whatever the reasoning, I'm here to say that you don't have to give away the store to just to make a sale.
2. Be an optimist. During negotiations it's important to not panic. When someone wants to discuss your price, rates, or fees, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to work harder for the money. It could simply mean that they're interested in what you've got, and it's time to fine-tune the details. So set yourself up for success by establishing an optimistic mindset.
One terrific success-ensuring mantra is to tell yourself, "This will work out for everyone." It sure beats the alternative: slipping into self-sabotaging thought patterns. You want to avoid muttering, "I knew this was too good to be true," or "Yep, once again I lose out to the competition." That kind of stinkin' thinkin' leads you down the path to reckless deep discounting, where you'll say anything just to make a sale.
3. Avoid making assumptions. Even after you get your positive outlook in check, you can quickly lose ground by making assumptions as to what the other person wants or will settle for. Interestingly, that's what most people often do. In most cases it's because they don't know how to frame their opening question.
4. Let your buyer open up. Asking one simple question can open the door for your buyer to reveal how much they are ready, willing, and/or able to pay. And yet, the question is so simplistic, it could seem too good to be true. Nevertheless, it works.
Just ask, "What are you looking to spend?" Then be quiet. As easy as this sounds, what trips most women up is waiting to hear the answer. Resist the temptation of going back into your head to tell yourself why the sale could fall apart. As stated earlier, stay optimistic. Then give your buyer the chance to open up.
5. Get them to take a few items off the shelf. Once you know what the buyer's prepared to spend, you're in a great position to begin negotiating. And here's a big surprise: You can actually set things up so your customer negotiates with themselves.
Once the budget has been revealed, say with confidence, "That's doable. All we have to do now is narrow down the top things [options, features] you must have to get started [solve your immediate problem]." Follow that with, "So what are your top three must-haves?" When you do this, you'll be the expert who helps your buyer to determine what will work for them—right now and at the price they can afford.
Kelly McCormick is author of the forthcoming book "OutSell Yourself—Go from Hello to Sold with Ethical Business and Sales Techniques." For information on her sessions, keynote talks, and tele-classes, visit www.outsellyourself.com or call 800-889-9637. She can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OutSellYourself.