Successful Selling Tips for Professionals No.1: Sell First – negotiate later

Successful Selling Tips for Professionals No.1: Sell First – negotiate later

I am often told by my clients that they feel that they are unable to compete in a tough market unless they are lower cost than their competitors. In some instances they are even embarrassed to discuss cost at their standard charge out rates, and instead skirt around the conversation.

Perceived Value

When a client asks you “what do you charge?” it is a buying signal. And a good one at that. People will pay an enormous amount for a product or service to which they perceive great value. Think for example about a Rolex watch. A £5 watch from a high street store will tell you the time in exactly the same way, but the Rolex has enormous perceived value and that value makes more people want to own one. People will pay a much larger price to own that value.

So, let’s look at when we should be negotiating and when we should be selling.

Selling Vs Negotiating

A successful sale is all about getting your client to value your proposition and then want it. As we have seen with the example of the watch, when we value something we are more likely to want it. A skills salesperson will avoid negotiating until the sale of the product is done, they use effective questioning to build value and in doing so, are able to start negotiating from their best possible fee position.

Negotiation is about trading concessions to get to a deal, to find a point at which both parties are comfortable about moving forward. So by definition, negotiation moves us away from our best position.

So often we see sales people begin to give price concessions as soon as they feel the slightest resistance, whether this is real or perceived. Thinking that if they do so that the client will remain warm to them. But as we have seen above, our clients don’t buy the proposition based on price, they buy first and negotiate price second.

Next time you encounter fee pressure during the context of the initial conversation, remember that the average salesperson says “I can give you a discount if that would make you feel happier”. The skilled sales person takes the question in their stride, and says something along the lines of “let’s look again at your requirement and see if we can’t find a sensible solution to suit you” and then use questioning to get the customer to see that what’s being proposed is the right solution.

Next time, we will look at price objections more closely.

Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at, use the contact page on my website or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathanxp, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to being in touch.



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