Changing your mindset about selling

small business negotiationAs all entrepreneurs know, selling is important! After all, how can you succeed if you’re not selling your product or service to new and existing customers? No matter your business, selling is at the heart of it.

But how do you actually close a sale? What is the best way to ask for business? It can be difficult for many entrepreneurs to imagine themselves closing a sale, or to even know where to start. Sometimes, this uncertainty can lead to poor sales and marketing strategies such as sending blanket, generic marketing messages, or being too pushy because we think we have to be.

It’s important to reframe your mindset about selling, in order to help you get more comfortable with it. Then, you can make more strategic sales and marketing decisions that make sense for your business – and you might even have fun doing it.

We recommend checking out GoForth Expert Marty Park’s advice on how to change your mindset about selling. We think it’ll help you to think about sales a little differently!

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Do you have the right negotiation skills?

small business negotiation

If you’re in business, you’re in the selling business. After all, you don’t make money without selling something, right? And part of sales is often negotiating. Many entrepreneurs admit they could use some help refining their negotiation skills and tactics, so we wanted to take a look at exactly what goes into becoming a competent negotiator.

1) Planning skills

Negotiating a sale means being prepared for as many things as you can be.Being prepared before you enter negotiations will help you fortify your position and give you a wealth of knowledge, plans and alternatives you can use at a moment’s notice.Here are some ways you can plan:

  • Understand the needs and wants of the company you’re negotiating with.
  • Know the deliverables you can produce and why they’re great.
  • Prioritize your own needs and wants.
  • Decide on the lowest possible deal you’re willing to accept.

2) Ability to think clearly under stress

Negotiating can be tough and, yes, sometimes frustrating. But it’s business, so try not to remain objective. A cool head will help you adapt to changing situations and answer questions on the fly. Keep an open mind, remain down-to-earth, and be willing to compromise if necessary.

3) Organizational skills

How confident would you be in a potential business partner or supplier if they showed up to a meeting 20 minutes late, or didn’t have any files or paperwork prepared? Strong organizational skills do more than just give you a strong foundation in negotiation – they make you look like someone worth doing business with!

4) Communication skills

You don’t have to be the world’s most hypnotizing public speaker, but a certain amount of verbal ability is important for small business negotiations. You should be able to speak confidently about your business, your products or services, and why you feel you’d be a good fit with your potential client. You also must be prepared to answer questions relevant to the negotiation, such as financial or sales questions.

5) Product knowledge

Knowing what you’re selling will show your potential client that you’re knowledgeable and confident – and it’ll make your product or service sound appealing, too! You need a clear understanding of the deliverables and the value your product or service will bring to the client. Have examples of your experience ready to refer to if necessary, as well.

6) Personal integrity

These days, it’s more important than ever to remember that even if you don’t make this sale, your reputation is on the line. Product knowledge is critical, but so are your attitude and behaviours. You’re trying to form a business relationship, so make it as easy as possible for potential clients to want to work with you. Listen carefully, be patient, and don’t forget to have a little fun!

7) Ability to perceive and exploit power

This last negotiation skill isn’t quite as cutthroat as it sounds. Essentially, you should be able to strike that balance between getting what you want and giving away the farm. When negotiating, don’t give information away without getting something in return. Be sure to reciprocate with additional questions after providing a response. Use your instincts and intuition to assess the situation in the room. Should you walk away, or do both parties have a chance at getting something out of the deal?

Do you have any negotiation tips or tricks you’d like to share? Let us know!

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Top negotiation skills for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs know that starting a business is only one part of the equation. Sometimes you have to earn money too! Negotiations often go hand-in-hand with sales, but not all small business owners are natural-born negotiators. Here are seven of the commonly-accepted top negotiation skills for entrepreneurs:

Planning skills

Negotiating a sale means being prepared. Understand the needs and wants of the company you’re negotiating with. Know the deliverables you can produce and why they’re great. Prioritize. Decide on the lowest possible deal you’re willing to accept.

Ability to think clearly under stress

Negotiating can be tough and you may feel frustrated with the way things go, but don’t lose your temper or your patience! Being prepared before you enter negotiations will help you fortify your position and give you a wealth of knowledge, plans and alternatives you can use at a moment’s notice.

Organizational skills

How confident would you be in a potential business partner or supplier if they showed up to a meeting late? Or had their notes covered in layers of Post-Its? Or spent 10 minutes scouring their smartphones for an email you asked about? Like planning, strong organizational skills do more than just give you a strong foundation in negotiation – they make you look good!

Verbal ability

You don’t need to have a team of speechwriters on hand, but a certain amount of verbal ability is critical for small business negotiations. This means that you should be able to speak confidently about your business, your products or services and why you feel you will be a good fit with your potential client. You also must be prepared to answer questions relevant to the negotiation.

Product knowledge

Small business owners in sales negotiations need a clear understanding of their deliverables and the value these items will bring to the client. It’s important to show your confidence in the value you’re providing and have examples of your experience ready to refer to. Know your products like the back of your hand!

Personal integrity

Remember that, even if you don’t make this sale, your reputation is on the line. Product knowledge is critical, but so are your attitude and actions. Remember that you are also there to sell, so make your potential clients eager to do business with you, not suspicious or offended. Listen carefully to the client, be patient, and don’t forget to have a little fun!

Ability to perceive and exploit power

This last negotiation skill isn’t quite as cutthroat as it sounds. Basically, entrepreneurs who are good negotiators are able to strike that balance between getting what they want and giving away the farm. When negotiating, don’t give information away without getting something in return. Be sure to reciprocate with additional questions after providing a response. Use your instincts and intuition to suss out the situation in the room. Should you walk away, or do both parties have a chance at getting something out of the deal?

At GoForth Institute, we are firm believers in entrepreneurial education. So it will come as no surprise when we say: Negotiating is a learned skill. Practice makes perfect. Take every opportunity you can to learn about small business negotiation. If you know an entrepreneur who’s a great negotiator, ask for tips or – even better – ask to tag along!

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