Everything You Need to Know About Sales Negotiation Training and How to Choose the Right Training for Your Team

— Everything You Need to Know About Sales Negotiation Training and How to Choose the Right Training for Your Team

With inflation hitting record highs, it’s only natural that customers are starting to dig in their heels and hold out for discounted pricing.

For anyone in a sales and/or negotiation role, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to close profitable deals.

But, what’s the solution for businesses that are seeing a dip in their profit margins?

Sales and negotiation skills training? Not exactly.

In this post, we’ll outline the subtle differences between sales and negotiation skills, and why you may be wasting time and money on any program that claims “sales negotiation training” as an all-in-one strategy. 

What Is Sales Negotiation Training?

Sales negotiation training is a misnomer. 

In sales, the seller must determine how the solutions offered are resolving a buyer’s needs. In negotiation, both parties must agree to the terms of a deal, requiring the negotiator to adapt to and adopt different approaches than a salesperson.

The expert negotiators at The Maker Group have been making this distinction for years. 

Utilizing our rigorous 8-step Maker Framework, combined with decades of experience as commercial negotiators, we train negotiators on how to leave their seller facade behind when it comes time to make a deal.

For more information, contact The Maker Group today.

Who Can Benefit From Sales and Negotiation Skills Training?

Sales training is beneficial to companies who see a need for improvement in the following areas:

  • Customer service
  • Communication 
  • Organization; and
  • Morale

Negotiation training is suited more toward companies who already excel in sales, but are falling short on negotiations.

The skills that will benefit employees at these companies include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Planning 
  • Influencing
  • Adaptability
  • Decision making

Sales Training

Sales training can be very beneficial to managers and employees in the following careers:

  • Retail sales
  • Finance and banking
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Insurance
  • Consumer packaged goods

Salespeople in these industries will also benefit from negotiation training.

Negotiation Training

However, the following industries require effective negotiators because contracts become more complex and the stakes are much higher:

  • Real Estate
  • Healthcare
  • Technology and Software
  • Lawyers and Arbitrators; and 
  • Manufacturing

Sales and Negotiation Techniques: How They Differ and What You Can Expect to Learn at Each Type of Training

When determining which type of training is best suited to your team, start with the type of industry you’re in: 

  • Are prices negotiable, or is there very little wiggle room? 
  • Is your team focused on upselling, or do they spend more time sorting out the details of a contract?


Then analyze your team’s shortcomings: 

  • Do they struggle with people skills, or do they easily make a sale and then lose money when negotiating the terms of the sale? 
  • Do they need help with understanding your products, or are they product knowledge masters without the ability to influence the purchase?


Below, we list the top sales skills often taught in sales training as well as the top negotiation skills you can expect your team to learn in negotiation training

Based on your industry and your team’s performance, you are the judge on which is the better fit.

Top 5 Sales Skills Often Taught in Training

Sales require a combination of both soft skills and technical skills to be successful. 

While charisma, charm, and of course, that winning smile, may get customers interested, it’s not enough to make a sale. 

Quality sales training should include coaching on these top five skills.

#1: Active Listening

Paying full attention to the wants and needs of your prospective customers is an important trait of any good salesperson.

Every customer wants to feel understood and heard during a sale. 

The advantage active listening skills gives salespeople is the ability to react with relevant follow-up questions.

Without active listening skills, many salespeople come across as aggressive, which is overwhelming to customers. You can be as persistent as you want during a sale, but if the prospect doesn’t feel heard you’re not likely to succeed.

#2: Effective Communication

Communication may seem like a basic skill, but in truth, it’s not. Effective communication is paramount to the success of any salesperson.

Whether  in person, on the phone, or in an email, the way you communicate to prospective clients will set the tone for the entire transaction.

Effective communicators combine active listening skills with the ability to get their point across during a sale. 

Good communicators also know how to adapt their communication style based on the situation and the preferred outcome.

#3: Empathy

The ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes is an important skill for a salesperson. 

Understanding how a customer might be feeling or thinking will help you steer the conversation toward a productive outcome.

Empathy allows us to build meaningful relationships by uncovering customers’ pain points and motivations. When you show your clients that you care about their feelings, they’ll be far more likely to trust you.

#4: Time Management

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘work smarter, not harder’? This is especially important for salespeople. 

Most salespeople find themselves working 60+ hours a week, yet consistently missing their sales goals.

Time management skills are necessary for success and are usually a topic of focus in sales training.

#5: Product Knowledge

Many sales pitches have gone sideways due to a general lack of product knowledge.

A quality sales training will include a deep, extensive understanding of the product your salespeople are responsible for selling. 

Product knowledge training equips your sales team with answers to questions and solutions to problems and builds confidence with the customer.

Top 5 Negotiation Skills Often Taught in Training

The skills mentioned above are not exclusive to sales. A good negotiator will be proficient as a salesperson, but must also possess a unique set of skills based solely on negotiation.

#1: Planning

Planning is a critical step in the negotiation process. 

Every possible outcome must be considered and knowing what you’re willing to compromise in advance will help ensure a smoother process.

Not only does planning ahead help you prepare for the negotiation, but also for deciding how to carry out the terms of the deal.

Every good negotiator has at least one backup plan.

#2: Influencing

Persuasion is a critical negotiation skill and one that can be learned. 

Influence can help you designate a solution that benefits all parties and encourages others to agree with your opinions and proposals.

Influence must also be combined with assertiveness. Being assertive allows you to express your ideas while maintaining respect for the thoughts and perspectives of others.

#3: Problem-Solving

Negotiation is all about finding solutions to every element of a deal. Negotiations can be uncomfortable at times and many negotiators tend to get their back up and hold their position.

While this is appropriate at times, it must be done professionally and with the values of the organization in mind. This is where problem-solving comes in.

The ability to problem-solve and demonstrate open-mindedness will show the client that you are ready to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

#4: Adaptability

Every negotiation is unique and terms can change multiple times over the course of days or even weeks. With that in mind, adaptability is a skill that comes in handy during sticky negotiations.

Just when you think everyone is ready to sign on the dotted line, the customer changes their demands or disputes the price again. 

It’s impossible to plan for every scenario, but the ability to adapt and change course as needed will go a long way toward closing the deal.

#5: Decision Making

Decisiveness is a critical negotiation skill, whether you need to compromise during bargaining or act on behalf of stakeholders. 

Your ability to react quickly and with reason is necessary as decisions have lasting effects on you, your customers, and your organization.

Acting with uncertainty can be costly, which is why every negotiation training should include coaching confidence in decision making.

Sales vs. Negotiation Training: Where Is Your Company Falling Short?

In many cases, companies that think they need sales training for their teams actually need negotiation training. 

Salespeople, by nature, are usually charismatic and charming. Having a likable personality is the first step to becoming a good salesperson, while many of the other traits are quickly learned in the role.

‘Making a sale’ is very different from negotiating the terms of that sale, and that’s where many salespeople fall short. Turning off the charm and flipping the switch into negotiation mode is not an easy transition.

If you want to know what type of training your company needs, sales or negotiation, look closely not just at the sales volume of each salesperson, but the profit loss in every deal.

Chances are, you have great salespeople who lack negotiation skills.

Why Negotiation Training With The Maker Group Is the Right Training for Your Organization

Negotiators must overcome a multitude of discomforts, such as …

  • Uncertainty
  • Conflict; and
  • Rejection

… making it one of the most difficult jobs. 

And with so much focus on sales training, it’s no wonder negotiations are where companies lose the most.

Instead of employees who shy away from the negotiating table, why not stress the value of negotiation with quality training that will instill confidence in your team?

The Maker Group aims to do just that. Our team of expert commercial negotiators turned negotiation trainers will deliver custom consultation and training solutions to your team. 

We understand the importance of negotiation skills and know how to maximize the negotiation potential within your team.

Are you ready to increase company morale and profits? 

Contact The Maker Group today.