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Sales Negotiation: How to Implement the AGREE Model

July 25, 2017
Sales Negotiation: How to Implement the AGREE Model

Whether it's to win a project or to fund a new opportunity, sales negotiation is a key component of the sales process.

But as salespeople, we tend to struggle when handling prospect or client objections.

That's why I’ve put together the following five-step acronym to help you and your team through the sales negotiation process.

Read on to discover more about the AGREE model.

Sales Negotiation: How to Implement the AGREE Model

Looking to navigate the sales process in the right direction? Follow these steps during your next sales negotiation.

1. Align 

First, establish yourself as a problem-solver by asking the prospect questions that'll unearth their true pain-points.

Position your solution as an investment rather than a cost. People “invest” to make a problem go away. If they see your solution as a “cost”, they’ll also feel that they need to “give up” a part of their budget to afford it.

Here's an example of how you might apply this during a sales negotiation:

“Is your team struggling to reach the right audience for your new product? Do you have a plan on how to work with your Marketing department to improve branding? Are there any other issues related to this initiative before we finalize terms? I want to make sure we are on the same page when it comes to your priorities.”

2. Get     

Next, get the level of urgency from the prospect for your solution. This will lay the groundwork for the rest of your sales negotiation.

It’s imperative to find out if other stakeholders share the same level of urgency.

Here's an example of how to inquire about other decision makers:

“Does John in Marketing share your level of urgency? Can you expand on why he’s interested in doing this project now versus putting it off or not doing it at all?”

3. Respect         

It’s critical that you respect the prospective organization's political situation while making the sale.

Politics often play a role during sales negotiation. People’s credibility can be a determining factor in persuading others in a company to buy into an initiative.

Some examples of how to handle organizational politics:

  • Leverage internal champions to negotiate your pricing on your behalf.
  • Deal with some of the objections your prospect might receive behind the scenes.
  • Turn your buyer into an ally.

4. Establish      

Now it’s time to establish a price.

You might choose to give a price range rather than a firm number. This gives you some wiggle room as you progress further.

I recommend you establish a price towards the end of your sales negotiation. This allows you to put pricing in the context of a solution that will benefit your buyer.

An important part of your sales negotiation is to have flexibility built into your pricing, but never too much. Don't artificially inflate your numbers so you can quickly lower your price. You don't want your customer to think that you can't be trusted to deliver a fair and accurate price immediately.

Be prepared to change the pricing parameters in exchange for removing certain elements of your offering.

For example, “Jane, in order to meet your budget, we will need to reduce the number of onsite equipment maintenance visits.”

Think win/win. Your customer wants to pay you a fair price and not just get a bargain at your expense.

5. Energize       

Lastly, it’s important to energize your relationship.

This means to never take your relationship for granted. The more you energize your relationship, the stronger the emotional connection between you and the buyer. Put positive energy into your sales negotiation.

Take stock of how much they like and trust you. How likely is this buyer to deal with someone else? Is your relationship strong enough for no hard feelings, regardless of winning the deal or not?

An example of how to energize your relationship:

“Heather, we’ve know each other a long time and I’m really grateful for our relationship. I hope you feel the same way. At the end of this negotiation, regardless of how it works out, I promise to continue to honor our friendship.”

Summary

Here’s a quick recap and a phrase to recall the AGREE acronym:

“Align. Get. Respect. Establish. Energy.”

Happy negotiating!

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1 Comment

  • Monika Götzmann - Reply

    This is a good way to break down the negotiation process so that everybody can understand the dynamics involved. However, when aligning pain points, the sales person need to be careful not to alienate the potential customer and ask questions with positive keywords rather than negative ones.

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