Learning to manage consumer insights can be a mission critical advantage your business. Understanding these consumer insights and how they interact with your brand, products and services should be thought of as an integral part of the sales and marketing process. Turn to the marketing research experts at New Perspectives. We can help you compile and discern consumer insights that will ultimately lead to success. Eventually, your properly conducted business cycle and sales process should lead to the negotiating table. Entering into negotiations with clearly defined consumer insights can be key to a successful outcome.
Jim Camp (a leading global expert on negotiations) wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that he suggested more nuanced and effective strategies to cope with the challenges of the corporate world. These include utilizing consumer insights. The following are universal strategies to uncover and leverage that essential information.
First, come into any conversation free of expectations, assumptions or preconditions. As a negotiation example, if a potential client indicates dissatisfaction with the current vendor, this does not automatically mean he needs a lower price. He might be more concerned with better service or timeliness. Don’t think you have the answer before you start a conversation.
Understand the process for decision-making. The most exquisite strategy or logic is worthless if it does not address the relevant question. Good business means finding out what need is being address by your product or service.
For instance, a job candidate learns in the course of meeting with HR that the company is losing market share among women. This candidate now can demonstrate how his or her special area of expertise – marketing to women – can solve the problem.
Ask smart questions to get real answers. Although research and preparation are certainly necessary, everyone still needs to be as comfortable as possible. It is not a race or a quiz show. Use first names; be genuinely supportive; clarify.
Good negotiators ask open-ended questions that start with “what,” “how” or “why.” Asking the right questions, at the right time, using the right tone, and injecting nurturing words and phrases is one of the best skills a negotiator uses.
Listen, and observe. Listen for the non-verbal cues (what is not being said) in addition to what is being said. Is the other party upset or rushed? Are you? Essential information often emerges while discussing other topics. If there is a complicated history, look for a personal and respectful way to get closure.
For instance, a recent widow sitting on a beautiful oceanside tract of land refuses to sell to a real estate developer looking to build a golf resort. The developer keeps offering more money, and the widow keeps refusing. In the course of discussions, the skillful negotiator hears her say that this was her late husband’s legacy. The negotiator, a great listener, now understands her pain – she is afraid that selling the land will destroy that legacy. The negotiator proposes a memorial to her husband – a park on the property with a statue – with the provision that it remain there in perpetuity and will be open to the public. Because the negotiator really listened to the widow, the sale went through at a fair price.
Maintain emotional neutrality. Yes, it takes self-control, sometimes quite a bit. However, if we find our voices too loud or strained or fast, it is time to put on the brakes.
Emotions are critical in every human transaction. Students of negotiation need to recognize when emotions creep in, making us speak too quickly or too loudly. Staying calm and unreadable is a key factor for success.
The sooner we can master our emotions in negotiation, or a fact-finding meeting with a person or group, the more effective we will be. Consistency and calmness will elicit honest information.
As you can see, understanding consumer insights can indeed provide an advantage to both your sales and negotiating process. Contact New Perspectives today to learn more.