In business-to-business sales, deals are hardly ever reached simply and quickly, with one side setting their terms and prices and the other side simply agreeing or declining. Business to business sales are, in this respect, nothing like your everyday commercial retail sale. More often than not, there is a lot of back and forth negotiating before a deal is agreed upon.
There are many sales gurus who give seminars or publish books that are full of negotiating strategies and techniques. Some of them are as complex as creating imaginary competitors to make your deal seem more sought after. Others could be as banal as instructing you how to arrange your furniture for a negotiating meeting, placing the other party on lower chairs or facing the windows so the sun shines into their eyes. While there definitely are some interesting and productive methods for managing a negotiation, many of these tactics are based around some sort of trickery or diversion that takes the focus away from the pure and simple act of both parties agreeing upon a good business deal.
Negotiations should be about good business. Two parties reaching an agreement about a mutually-beneficial business transaction should not need to employ tactical maneuvers. Good sales management should make their sales team f`miliar with some tactics, but more for the purpose of recognizing them and not to use them. Here are three examples of typical negotiating tactics and why they ultimately don't amount to good business:
Take It or Leave It
This is the tactic of setting strict and definite terms that the other part must accept or there is no deal. This bully-style negotiation is seen as aggressive and could reflect poorly on you and your company, jeopardizing future business and your reputation. Also, a refusal to compromise might work against you in future negotiations when you do not have the upper hand.
Shift the Importance
Pretending something is extremely important to you when it isn't, and conversely, taking an extremely important item and acting like you don't need it. This is supposed to achieve the effect of getting what you want for less, while letting the other party think they have a decisive item in their command. This is tricky because you might get what you asked for, meaning, what you only pretended to want.
One More Thing
After long and arduous negotiations, this tactic is a way to slip in final terms at the last minute, pretending they are of little significance, in hopes the other party will agree just to finish the deal. This can exasperate the other party. It can also clue them in to your bluff and make them realize the importance of this last detail, thereby giving them a major advantage and running the risk that they will be able to re-define the terms for this much-needed item.
Negotiating strategy, like sales strategy, should focus on good research of the other party, exchange of reliable information, and finally, sincere confidence in your ability to hold up your side of the deal with top satisfactory results.