Why some small businesses fail in negotiating with customers

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

What does it mean to negotiate with a customer?

Business negotiation is a dialogue between the company and the customer, designed to reach an agreement that optimizes the mutual outcomes. The most common form of negotiation in a business environment occurs between sales reps and clients, as the sales team works to convince leads and upsell the company’s products or services.

So, naturally, most people think of the process of negotiation as an in-person event or a conversation over the phone. But in reality every business communication that is addressed to your customers is a form of negotiation trying to get customers to agree to a future purchase. When you begin to associate negotiation skills with your overall business presence and marketing, you suddenly appreciate the importance of:


-Positive experience


How teamwork improves your negotiation outcomes

According to negotiation expert Dr. Karrass, negotiating as a team can require longer to plan but drives much better results. Indeed, working as a team to reach out to your customers means that you can bring different strengths to the table. The negotiation team is more effective in a face-to-face environment compared to solo negotiators. But it can also act as a guiding line for all business activities, ensuring that teams such as marketing, sales, and IT can work together in the creation of digital campaigns to generate leads, for instance. Sharing tasks means that every participant can bring a unique quality to help convince your customers.

How the customer experience can influence the outcome

Picture the scene: A potential customer visits the website. However, they face issues that affect their experience online. It could be something as trivial as a slow load time or a confusing navigation system. In an age where digital interactions play a major role in the purchase process, businesses must focus on the experience they design for customers. Indeed, online shopping is growing exponentially, and over 9 in 10 Americans are expected to shop online by 2023. Therefore, your negotiation effort as a company occurs primarily online. Accidentally building elements in your website that can lead to frustration will inevitably affect your online revenue, bringing your digital negotiation power down.

How your message clarity and accessibility transform the outcome

Business jargon can be a smart choice for specialist communication, as long as your audience is familiar with the terms. For instance, using jargon with a knowledgeable audience in content marketing can increase your reach and improve your reputation.

However, jargon and specialist terms can become ineffective when:

-Your audience is less experienced

-Terms are confusing

-Terms are too often used on the market, making you sound less authentic

Chances are that customers will be unlikely to admit they don’t know a term and look it up. More often than not, when the message lacks clarity as a result of complex terms, customers are unlikely to engage with your content. Excessive use of jargon could make your negotiation void as nobody understands the business content.

Is your business communication effective? We recommend considering the negotiating potential of each piece of communication to determine how it can influence your audience. From recognizing the role of teamwork to identifying clarity issues, the sooner you make negotiation the overarching business strategy, the sooner you can equip your team to convince more customers.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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