B2B Sales Blog
Back to Blog Index

Negotiation Skills Training: The “Better Price” Ask

How should you respond to the scenario presented below?

“My manager said a 10% discount is not enough. He says compared to other options, a more acceptable discount would be 20%. Can you match this discount?”

Negotiation Skills Training: The “Better Price” Ask

Negotiation is the fun part of selling. It usually means you’re approaching the finish line of the sales process.

Learning negotiation skills can sometimes be less fun because, to quote Aerosmith, “You got to lose to know how to win.”

As I read the email from this salesperson asking for advice on responding and closing the deal, I see several massive problems.

Did you spot them as well?

Let’s break it down.

Negotiation Skills Training: Knowing who and who not to negotiate with

The first thing I notice is the “My manager” statement…

The “my manager” tells me that the salesperson isn’t following a proper sales process. If they were, they would have realized way before ever sending out a proposal that the person they are in communication with is not high enough on the totem pole to be handling the negotiation.

How did this happen?

The most common reason is the salesperson failed to vet the prospect on their “decision-making” role.

This often happens when a salesperson assumes the prospect is the decision-maker based on their title. We also see this happen on warm inbound leads where the salesperson skips steps in the sales qualifying process because the prospect is a “warm” inbound lead and is afraid to ask the prospect standard 101 sales qualifying questions.

The sales rep needs to own this mistake and correct it from happening again in the future.

Negotiation Skills Training: Getting Commitment 

The second mistake I noticed is, why was a 10% discount given upfront without a commitment to move forward?

Sales managers worldwide pull their hair out every day because reps on their team offer discounts without first getting a commitment that the prospect is ready to buy and buy now.

Salespeople are skipping the “closing on solution concept” step within the sales process.

It’s the step between the sales presentation and asking for the order. I cover this in full in our on-demand sales training course.

Essentially, the sales rep is confirming if the prospect agrees that your solution would solve their problem and believe they would get the results they are after, should they decide to move forward with your solution.

Why do a proposal after giving a presentation if the prospect isn’t 100% sold yet on your solution?

That is not to say that the prospect won’t still look at a few other options.

You can close on the “solution concept” and have the prospect complete their research before making a final decision. And that brings us to the next problem I see.

Negotiation Skills Training: The Counter Offer Response 

If you look at the phrasing of this part of the question, “a more acceptable discount would be 20%. Can you match this discount?”, there is no guarantee that you would get the deal even if you did match the discount of 20%.

I want to offer a negation skill/closing response salespeople should use when giving a counteroffer, and I will in a minute.

However, in this scenario, it’s essential to realize that the “sales process chain,” if you will, is already broken because it is clear we are negotiating with a non-decision maker. That is because he/she failed (knowingly or unknowingly) to ask the right sales qualifying questions.

Learning (or re-learning) what qualifying questions to ask, how to ask, when to ask, and what to do with the responses your prospects give is essential to sales revenue growth for both you and your company.

Sharpening your sales skills is how you minimize these scenarios from happening, and here is one example of a sales skill you can learn/use to increase your chances of closing the deal when a prospect responds with a counteroffer during the negotiation phase:

Prospect: “…a more acceptable discount would be 20%. Can you match this discount?”

Salesperson: “Mr. Prospect, let me ask you this… assume for a moment that we were able to match the 20% discount… what happens next?”

You can learn a lot just from asking one question.

This one question will identify if they are ready to buy now or using you to get a better price from another vendor.

Jeffrey Gitomer and I discussed these scenarios once, and he said he likes the five (5) question rule here.

It works like this:

Salesperson: “Mr. Prospect, let me ask you this… assume for a moment that we were able to match the 20% discount… what happens next?”

Prospect: “Well, then…(answers)

Salesperson: “Then what?”

Prospect: “Well, then…(gives next step)

Salesperson: “Cool. Then what?”

Prospect: “…(gives next step)”

Salesperson: “Got it. Then what?”

Prospect: “…(gives next step)”

I think you get the idea. You walk it down to the end. And no, you won’t always need to ask the question 5x.

“But what if we can’t offer a discount?”

You change your response from:

“…assume for a moment that we were able to match the 20% discount… what happens next?”


“…assume for a moment that we can solve the final price issue to your satisfaction… what happens next?”

If the response is they are ready to buy now, you then go into your objection handling mode and address their ask for a discount and close the deal.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com – a turnkey on-demand skills-building program for inside sales teams.