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Failing to figure out the path to closing a deal in advance, including who exactly you should be negotiating with, can cause roadblocks and wasted sales time.

Before sitting down at the negotiating table, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself in order to have a seamless transition from initial conversations to confirmed interest.

Who is the Key Decision Maker?

This is probably the most important question to answer in advance of the negotiation. It may not be obvious at first who the key decision maker is, which is why understanding everyone’s roles and how they relate to each other is critical.

The closer you can position your negotiation tactics to the person making the ultimate call, the better. If the key decision maker isn’t present, find out who their representative is, and try to get an understanding how they will communicate with this person. Ideally, you should be able to communicate directly with the person making the final decision.

What are the Other Side’s Interests?

Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the people you are working with. Figure out where the interests of key stakeholders and the key decision maker lie. Is there something else you may not have thought of already that could prevent them from wanting to close a deal? Being able to customize your negotiation approach will allow you to address potential barriers before they are even raised, which will instill confidence from the decision maker.

Your ultimate goal is to make sure that the other side is satisfied with the deal that you are proposing. In order to determine whether they will be, it is important to get a sense of their values and prerogatives. Through this process you may determine certain interests are not as pressing as you thought previously, which could be an indication that you are negotiating with the wrong person and that you need to redefine your approach.

What Does the Road Map to Deal Close Look Like?

Figure out the end goal from the negotiation, and then map out the steps you need to take to get there. This will involve figuring out all the people involved in the negotiation, and what roles they hold in the process. By plotting the process in reverse order, you will be able to identify who you should be speaking to right from the start, and ensure that you don’t miss any key details that will impact your ability to reach your end goal.

Every deal close and negotiation process is different. Getting to know the key players from the very beginning and understanding what their interests are will allow you to map out your next steps effectively and ensure that you are putting your energies into negotiating with the right person. 

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