Executives are a tough sell and it takes the right sales skills to match them. One of the toughest skills for me has always been the money topic. I personally like to buy not negotiate and it shows in my sales role. But there are ways to handle the negotiation as you will learn in this ManageSmarter.com article – Back to Basics: Think Before You Offer Discounts.
The pull quote (emphasis mine):
However, professional buyers and key decision-makers know that many sellers will drop their price at the first sign of resistance, so they ask everyone for a discount and can be aggressive in their approach. Plus, experienced negotiators lose respect for people who drop their price too quickly. Standing your ground and refusing to cave in right away is also a show of strength and executives respect this type of behaviour.
He is absolutely correct. Negotiating with a tough executive often turns into a game of chicken…who will blink first. This approach still allows for some concession if needed, but I have found that most of the time the executive is just fishing to see if there is any flexibility. When they discover there isn’t, they will usually still move forward. Some may provide a slightly disgruntled commentary (“It is more than we wanted to pay, but I guess we will still give it a try.”). My thought is that this move is simply a set up to use in a future negotiation.
The key to any price discussion is to have already established your value. If you have done your qualifying and established your unique value/solution, you will have the stronger hand in the negotiation. If you have left critical pieces of information undefined (budget, decision process, need/pain, etc.), you are in for a battle that may ultimately end in a concession, that is, a concession that negatively affects your wallet.