Managing traditional sales teams is challenging. But now that remote work is on the rise, it is more likely than ever that you will need to manage remote sales reps. Therefore, having the right tools to boost productivity is a must.
Negotiating is crucial in remote sales because you can’t speak face to face with your prospect. The ability to close more deals depends on having the right negotiating skills to move customers toward a purchase without giving up too much profit.
Here are four important skills that remote sales teams can use to supercharge negotiations and boost your bottom line:
One of the golden rules of sales is to understand your customer on a deep level. Your sales team should be spending adequate time learning about your target market and specific customers. This allows sales reps to understand the specific problems your market faces.
Research makes a huge difference when negotiating with a customer. If you know what someone wants, you can structure your offer in a way that delivers on that desire. After all, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see.
If selling B2B, further research into the company will help you understand the hierarchy and decision-making process. You may be able to prevent certain objections or obstacles from happening during the negotiations.
You can use your research to identify and include all appropriate decision-makers in your discussions. This way, the company or person you’re negotiating with can’t artificially create the excuse of “needing to get approval” from a higher authority — a negotiation tactic designed to avoid committing to certain prices or terms.
Research also helps in the following areas:
- Qualifying – you can ensure that your prospect fits the customer profile your organization has defined.
- Practicing Counter Offers – by understanding your market, you can be prepared to engage in counter negotiations more effectively.
- Confidence – the more your sales team knows about your customers, the more comfortable they will feel.
2. Setting the Bottom Line
Before your sales rep enters into price or other negotiations, they need to know their limits. By setting a bottom line, you give your sales team a reference point for negotiations. From here, they can confidently negotiate and create unique deal structures to earn more business.
The risk of not setting a specific floor in negotiations is that of giving too much away. Not all sales are worth the same to a company. If a sale is worth $10,000 of revenue to your business, it’s better to earn that sale with a $1,000 discount instead of a $7,0000 discount.
Of course, the actual numbers will vary depending on your price, profit margin, product, and company. The key is to know your specific number upfront and train your salespeople to respect it. Then, they can use “concessions” to protect more of the company’s profit.
In negotiating, a concession is when your representative gives up something to get something else in return. This can come in the form of delivery times, pricing, or additional bonuses added to your offer.
If your sales rep knows the bottom price, they can offer discounts in stages and still have room to negotiate later on in the sale.
Great things can happen when preparation meets opportunity. But remote sales reps can be tempted to avoid certain aspects of preparation due to lower social pressure from a typical office. Over time, this could cause problems during negotiating.
Sales reps should think through potential negotiations in advance. Also, your sales team should dress appropriately in business attire that represents your company’s mission. This has also been proven to positively affect performance.
When customers are handing over large sums of money, they want to know they are working with professionals they can trust. They will be more likely to listen to your side of the negotiations and believe that you are structuring an offer that is in their best interest.
Another important aspect of preparation is making their workspace more productive while working remotely. For instance, they will need a quiet corner to conduct sales calls uninterrupted.
And if your sales reps need to dig through piles of paper to locate data, this could negatively affect their performance and the impression they leave on a client.
There are various cloud-based tools available on the market that simplify sales processes. For a completely remote team, having access to full customer data is a must to ensure consistency across the team.
These tools can automate some of the work for your sales team, saving time and money. Also, your sales reps can at any time and from anywhere dig into any information or history the potential customer has with your company.
Equip your team with the right tools so they can come into the negotiation process armed with all the information they need to seal the deal.
4. Being Patient
Having trust and goodwill in a negotiation is key. When you pressure someone to make a decision too quickly, it often backfires. They could lose trust in your sales rep or even your company.
Even if they agree to the deal at first, they might change their mind later on. Either way, it can cost you valuable time and money.
Instead, make sure your sales reps understand the value of patience. Sometimes, the other party in the negotiation needs more time. In the case of remote sales, this is often a customer that wants to “think about it” before pulling the trigger and purchasing your product.
There are certain rebuttals that trained salespeople should use when faced with this objection. However, they should include empathy and understanding.
For instance, a good way to understand if their objection is simply a stalling tactic is to ask about their specific reason for delaying action. Of course, if it is clear that the customer is simply not going to make a decision at that moment, you can build trust in the relationship by allowing them more time to think.
Patience is part of constructing a powerful sales system for your remote sales team. Your team will waste less time on uninterested customers and engage in meaningful conversations with true prospects that are ready to buy.
Sales is the lifeblood of any successful company. And yet, many sales team managers leave their team to struggle without having the right skills.
Negotiation is just one part of the sales process. However, it is perhaps the most important aspect of conducting business remotely.
With just a few changes in how your sales team operates, they can improve their results immensely. The four skills above will enable your team to close more deals, earn repeat business from happy customers, and increase profits for your business.
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