As a digital marketer, you have expertise in reaching target customers online. But how can you communicate your value to your customers? How do you convince customers that you are the best person to market their business, their products, their services? This is where the science and art of negotiation comes in, something that you can learn in negotiation skills training.
When you connect with customers, conflicts can happen in terms of pricing your services. In addition, difficulties can arise when agreeing on the scope of work and deadlines. These anxiety-inducing situations can mean that you are more likely to accept a weaker offer. It takes time, practice, and training to prepare for negotiations. To get emotionally ready, it pays to answer important questions like:
Who is my customer and what are their preferences and goals?
You first need to understand the business of your customer. Research your customer’s business and know the trends and the direction of your customer’s industry. This will help you frame your proposal based on what will best serve your customer. This will allow you to prepare in advance to address your customer’s goals and expectations.
Do I feel anxious or excited about the negotiation?
Feeling anxious and excited can sometimes feel very similar. One skill to convert anxious energy into something more positive is to imagine you’re actually just feeling excited about the upcoming discussion. Train yourself to imagine skillfully answering your customer’s questions and presenting your proposal in the most convincing manner.
Another way to feel more relaxed is to practice your pitch to perfection. Preparing an outline of what you want to say and then rehearsing it can help build confidence. When you know you have the right words prepared, negotiating is a much less daunting prospect.
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What possible scenarios might happen?
During the process of negotiation, you can expect objections, questions, and requests for clarification. When multiple scenarios are possible, it pays to be ready with a response or an offer that can best benefit your customer.
It can be helpful to practice with colleagues, family members, or friends. Explain to your practice partner what you are offering. Afterwards, ask your partner what the customer may think and ask based on your pitch. Having someone with fresh eyes see where you are heading can help you see other perspectives and to prepare.
Can I manage my emotions?
It pays to be stay calm when negotiating, no matter what comes up. Maybe a customer has outright rejected your pitch and left you feeling dejected or even angry. Your response might be to retreat emotionally or lash out.
However, in whatever form they present, negative emotions do not serve you during negotiations. Try the first step of giving yourself some time and space before responding to your customer. Even a few minutes should give you more of a sober head. Training yourself to manage your emotions is a useful skill to keep your cool and maintain your image.
Can I get my customer to feel great about my pitch?
Once you have mastery over your own emotions, you can better gauge the emotional temperature of others. In turn, you can more easily guide your customer to feel more positive about your ideas.
Be skillful in your levelheadedness to guide the negotiation in a way that’s beneficial to you and your customer. Be perceptive in detecting any hesitancy from your customer when making a deal to ensure problems don’t pop up later. Use questioning to confirm your customer is happy and to clear up any points of concern.
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A deal where both service provider and customer are happy with the plan and excited for the project is the ideal scenario. Preparing and practicing your pitch can help ensure you feel confident and that the customer feels confident in you, too. When this happens, you get to start building a mutually beneficial relationship.