Sales Negotiation and Closing – Getting Over the Finish Line

Successful sales negotiation requires the effective use of sales proposals and learning to work with procurement.  Do you have what it takes?Successful sales negotiation requires the effective use of sales proposals and learning to work with procurement.  Do you have what it takes?

In this article, we’ll walk you through it all and increase your odds of sales success.

First.

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What is Sales Negotiation?

Sales negotiation is discussing and agreeing on the price and terms of the products, solutions, and services with the prospective buyer.

Best Practices for Negotiating and Closing Deals

There are a few best practices to keep in mind when you’re negotiating and closing deals:

  • Don’t begin this final phase until you and the prospects are well aligned on the problems to be solved and how your solutions fit this need.
  • Ensure you deeply understand all stakeholder’s needs.
  • Be clear on the current budget and potential opportunities to add additional funding from other sources.
  • Focus on the long-term success of the client and the overall lifetime value (LTV) of the deal.
  • Don’t get emotionally tied to the deal, be prepared to walk away if the terms don’t meet your needs.
  • Prepare for common objections – your team should have a database/documented set of objections that often occur at this stage.

What is a sales proposal?

A sales proposal is a document that outlines the terms of a sale, including products or services to be sold, pricing, and other vital details.

The most common components of a sales proposal include:

Executive summary

A brief overview of the business challenge and your solution should be included.

Table of contents

You don’t need me to explain a table of contents.

Introduction

Provide your company overview and critical details such as:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • The current number of customers.
  • Relevant financial information to demonstrate you are a safe company to work with.
Problem statement

Clearly define the prospect’s business challenges that you are seeking to solve with them.

Proposed solution

Describe the solution to their business challenges that you have worked on with all the decision-makers through the buying journey.

Don’t make this section about your cool features; however, focus on high-level information demonstrating that your solution can meet the buyer’s needs.

Pricing

Identify the pricing.

Give them options, where appropriate, but keep options limited.

There is nothing worse than a proposal containing dozens of pricing options — it confuses buyers and slows down the process.

Terms and conditions

Include your standard terms and conditions.

Appendices

You have likely learned a lot of details in your discovery conversations. Anything critical to the project, including timelines, expected actions on the part of the buyer or seller, and so on should be added to the appendix.

Best practices for building a sales proposal

There are so many bad sales proposals being delivered to prospects; it’s incredible that our potential buyers don’t simply delete them all.

If you want to stand out, follow these best practices:

  • Use digital solutions like PandaDoc to automate the creation of proposals in a standardized manner.
  • And then personalize the proposals to each customer. For example, include a personalized video message with the bid to keep your face, and your deep understanding of the prospect’s needs, front and center.
  • Use appropriate visuals to make the proposal appealing and in line with your brand.
  • Keep it short – no one wants to go through dozens of pages of dense language.
  • Demonstrate you understand their challenges and summarize/remind the prospect how perfect your solution is to overcome the problems.
  • Spell check, grammar check, and give it a deep proofread to ensure it does not contain any errors.

See this summary table from our comparison of PandaDoc and Proposify.

CapabilityPandaDoc Proposify
G2 Ratings4.7/5.0
(1547 Reviews)
4.7/5.0
(834 Reviews)
Paid Pricing$49/user/month$49/user/month
Templates400+60+
CRM IntegrationsSalesforce, Pipedrive, Hubspot, Zoho, Copper, Sugar, Nimble, Zendesk Sell, Insightly, Microsoft Dynamics, Nutshell, Nimble, monday.comHubspot, Salesforce, Zoho, Pipedrive
Usability8/109/10
CPQ SupportYesNo
Additional Add-onsYesNo
Set Signing OrderYesNo
Variables and Custom FieldsYesYes

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Five tips for working with procurement teams

How do you work with procurement teams to close the sale?

Once you enter procurement, a new phase begins with different players involved.

Sometimes it feels like you are starting over.

Here are five tips for working effectively with procurement teams to increase your odds of success.

Understand the goals of procurement

Procurement teams want to ensure two things:

  • They are paying the best prices possible. They will beat you up on discounts and financing terms.
  • They are buying the right product from a company that will be around for a while. Are you a safe choice?
Include Procurement Early

Too often, procurement is left out of the deal process until the very end.

This means you have to start over, helping them understand the business challenges, why the team selected your solution, why they should trust you, etc.

Get them involved early to minimize the amount of rework as you reach the end of the deal.

Build relationships with procurement

This isn’t always easy.

And you don’t want to cross ethical boundaries either and have them feel you are trying to bribe them.

Where possible, however, include them in lunch meetings, coffee conversations, and so forth, and get to know them as human beings, not just the procurement person.

Don’t make them wait

Procurement teams are often slow to respond, and your project is rarely their priority.

When they reach out with questions or provide feedback, get back to them as quickly as possible.

If they take a phone call, in-person or remote meeting, use those methods. You want to be seen as a real person, not just an unknown entity on the other side of an email exchange.

Be Proactive

Have you sold to more than one customer in their industry?

Do you have a sense of what procurement teams like them will want to know?

Be proactive and get them the information they need upfront.

If they ask for a piece of information and you know they will want additional details, tell them that and share it all upfront.

Price Anchoring

Do you think you can alter someone’s thinking by the pricing you put in front of them?  Well, of course, you can – Price Anchoring allows us to do precisely that, allowing you to take control of the price vs value conversation.

The initial number a prospect hears will massively affect the way they perceive value. This video gives you the techniques used to anchor price, and make the customer feel they are getting a higher value.  After viewing this one, review Aaron’s recommendations for how to communicate pricing.

 Aaron Evans once again provides a concise set of training tips for anyone looking to understand better the concept.

 

The Most Common Objections

When you get to the end of the deal, and this is the end of the agreement, it can be frustrating and challenging to stay poised.

You want to know what objections your prospects most often raise at the end of the deal.

Your teams should be documenting these, along with easy-to-use responses.

If your team is not capturing these objections, work with Enablement, Operations, and Sales Leadership to create this process as soon s possible.

Final thoughts on getting over the finish line

Sales negotiation and closing can be tricky, but if you keep these best practices and tips in mind, you’ll have more success.

What tips would you add?