Tactics Used in Business to Business Sales

Not all customers practice win-win negotiating. Some buyers use a number of tactics to achieve greater concessions. Sometimes these tactics are just used as ploys to make you feel powerless and other times they reflect the customer’s reality. The skills you have to develop are determining which is which, and knowing how to handle the heat. Typical tactics include:

Budget Limitation “We’ve only got $10,000. You’re going to have to come in under that figure to earn our business.”

Other Options (Competition) “The quote from your competitor is for much less. If you don’t lower your price, I’ll have to buy from them.”

Foggy Recall “Didn’t you say installation was included in the purchase price? That’s what I told the committee. So there’s no way I can get any more money.”

Good Guy/Bad Guy One buyer tells the seller that the sale is a “sure thing,” then another buyer gets involved and says there’s no way the deal will get approved on the existing terms.

Wince When a price is quoted, the buyer winces or acts angry. The buyer may then become silent, waiting to see how the salesperson responds.

Bait and Switch The buyer requests a price on a large quantity of items, say 100 units. At the last minute, the buyer decides to buy 25 units per year for the next 4 years. Of course, the buyer still expects the 100-unit price, as if all units had been bought at once.

Nibbling The buyer makes small additional requests, either before or after a deal is done, such as “By the way, if you could give us an extra 5 percent off, it would really help my boss out and it will give you an advantage on our next purchase. What do you say?”

Concessions are an essential negotiating tool in business to business sales, but use them wisely. Consider the future impact of potential concessions. Make sure you get a concession for every one you give.

Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.