The 5 Stages Of The Negotiation Process

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

DiscussionThe whole negotiation process takes just 5 stages. That’s it! If you can master the process then you’ll be able to create win-win outcomes with your clients.

Negotiation is an art and a science.

Many sales people are good at selling but they are very poor at negotiating the actual deal.

Let’s take a look at the 5 stages of the negotiation process and identify and explain them all:

The Negotiation Process


Different negotiations will require different preparation strategies. But if you include these elements, it will help you build a firm foundation on which to build:

  • Understand what the customer values most in the negotiation
  • Identify the interests, not just the positions, of the customer
  • Identify the facts, rather than just opinions
  • Prepare for the possible options and scenarios that the customer may bring up

With this preparation, you have the ability to adapt your presentation even if the discussions go in a different direction than first thought.

Exchange of facts and information

At this stage, you discuss the facts openly and honestly. This means being clear (from your planning stage) of what your interests are and inviting the customer to share their interests.

The facts you have considered in the first stage helps you build your information base, and as you communicate during the negotiation, you give yourself the chance to build a clear picture of the journey that you and your prospect will be going on.

This will help you to build rapport and trust with the other party too.

The bargaining stage

This is when you get to the point where you are looking at the overall value that you can offer to the customer.

You need to put most attention on the interests of the client and decide where you can and can’t manage any concessions in the negotiation. While you’re bargaining, you can determine what is most valuable to the client.

If you feel that there are demands from the prospect that you don’t feel comfortable agreeing to, then your planning and the exchange of information in the previous stage will have brought those out.

Gaining commitment

During this fourth stage you’re in a position where you’re able to determine what is the most valuable position that you can take for the prospect’s interests and also your own.

When you’re in a position to confirm that everything has been agreed, you can start gaining commitment with the client and ask them what they see as the next stage in the development of the relationship with you as a company.

This stage of the negotiating process for some sales people is fear- inspiring. You need to have laid down the foundation very firmly with the previous stages in order for this stage to be a success.

Take Action

At this point in the negotiating process you will have identified and explained exactly what you have agreed and what will happen next.

The actions taken will solidify the relationship you expect to have and help them to see exactly what actions will be next in line.

You need to ensure at this point that the prospect understands which direction you will go, what paperwork needs to be signed and, if necessary, what agreements still need to be ratified.

You have to ensure that you’ve expanded the value of the negotiation in the prospect’s mind and that you have understood, agreed and developed their interests as well as their positions.

All this should enable you to strengthen the relationship with the client when you negotiate next time. In fact, you will have set a precedent for your negotiating process the next time you are in this position with this customer.

Follow these five stages and you will see that it makes negotiating to a conclusion a much more straight forward affair.

Want to improve your negotiation skills further?

Click below for our guide on the 10 Top Qualities Of A Good Negotiator. You’ll discover the skills and behaviours to be the very best.

10 qualities for negotiator cover

If you like what you read, then check out our Sales Negotiation Training Course for a deeper dive into the subject.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Sales DNA

Originally published: 19 March, 2019

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