Most of the time, people looking for print simply accept the price they find in the brochure. However, there are some customers who like to shop around to find the best quote possible.
Perhaps they’re ordering a particularly large amount of print, or will order print from you again and again. Regardless, understanding some negotiation tactics could be very helpful in these situations.
From sales strategy to psychology, here are the techniques you need to implement to get the best deal for your print shop…
1. Build a Personal Connection
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that we are much more likely to be influenced by somebody we like than a stranger. You’re hardly going to become someone’s best friend in a matter of minutes - but you can bridge the gap.
Start the conversation with some small talk and drop in something personal about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a really private detail, just something that makes you more human. Your customer is now less likely to negotiate aggressively with you.
2. Mirror Their Behaviour
Mirroring another’s behaviour has long been found to improve your rapport with them. It’s known as the ‘chameleon effect’ and is linked to our ability to empathise with others.
When negotiating, copying your counterpart’s behaviour has even been found to secure you a better deal. Pay attention to your customer’s posture, body language, and mannerisms.
The chameleon effect is also thought to explain why negotiations are more successful when you eat together. As you both make the same movements when eating, you trigger the same reaction as when mimicking their behaviour. So, it might be a good idea to offer snacks when discussing a sale.
3. Make the First Offer
There’s a lot of negotiation advice that suggests you wait for the buyer to make the first move. However, that allows them to ‘anchor’ the price within a certain range which is not what you want to do.
Anchoring is the phenomenon where people give more weight to the first offer and make subsequent offers only within that region. So, if your customer offers a ridiculously low price, it’ll be hard to bring that up to a more reasonable level.
4. Always Make a Counter Offer
Sometimes you don’t get a chance to make the first offer, but whatever their first offer is, you must counter it. Even if their first offer is actually pretty reasonable, you should always counter their first offer.
If you are happy to accept their first offer, they actually end up leaving unsatisfied. If you don’t fight back a little, they’ll think they could have given an even lower offer or will start to ask for more concessions.
On the other hand, if you seem unhappy with their offer, they’ll feel like they’ve won a deal from you.
5. Avoid Disclaimers
For some, negotiating is just so uncomfortable for them that they weaken their language in an attempt to sound more reasonable. For example, they might begin sentences with the phrase: “I know this might sound like a lot but…”, or similar.
Unfortunately, instead of making you sound reasonable, it makes you sound guilty. Your customer will now think that even you don’t agree with the price being so high.
Remain polite but always be firm when stating your price and you’ll receive a better deal.
6. Negotiate Beyond Money
Not everything in negotiation is about the final price. Sometimes, your customer will be looking for other perks. This could include a great customer service, speedy delivery, or pre-bundled packages.
When trying to reach an agreement, people tend to address each of their priorities in order. A better way of doing things is to address all applicable terms at the same time.
You may rank one term as a higher priority than your customer does and vice versa. By addressing all at once, you can compromise on issues that matter to your customer, while they compromise on issues that matter to you.
7. Be Prepared to Walk Away
Before entering negotiations, ask yourself: what’s the lowest offer you’d accept? Once you’ve established your lowest offer, live by that rule. Customers may be able to tell when you don’t really mean it and will take advantage if they think you’re desperate for work.
Just remember, if a customer keeps pushing down the price, it means they don’t really value your work. If they don’t value your work, do you really want to work with them?
Negotiating a big sales deal with a customer might not be the only time you’ll need to negotiate for your print shop. You might be thinking of setting up a brand partnership with another local business. If so, you can use these tips to help you create a deal that really benefits you. Discover more about co-branding and how it could benefit your print shop here.