Negotiating Tips , Negotiation Strategies February 11, 2011

7 Essential Questions Prior to Negotiating with a Buyer

If you are selling, your bargaining leverage is determined by how much you know about the buyer’s attitude toward the product or service. As is usual, the more you know about the other party, the better...

If you are selling, your bargaining leverage is determined by how much you know about the buyer’s attitude toward the product or service. As is usual, the more you know about the other party, the better. Negotiation is all about getting buyers to buy and sellers to sell.

Following are six essential questions you should ask your buyer:

  1. What specific objections to the product does the buyer have?

  2. What doesn’t the buyer like about your competition?

  3. What specific benefits of your product or service are the most important to your buyer?

  4. Does your buyer believe in your product or service’s quality?

  5. What is the attitude of your buyer about you and your product or service?

  6. Are there indications that the buyer is ready to buy?


Remember, you are trying to increase your knowledge so that you have better leverage. If you know what objections your buyer has, then you can counter. If you know your buyer is looking for quality over price, you can tout the long-life of your product or other details that make sense.

Dr. Chester L. Karrass reminds sellers of a rule of economic life called the “plumber principle.” The “plumber principle” says that the value of services is greater before they are rendered than after. Dr. Karrass writes: “Plumbers know that the time to negotiate a price is when the basement is full of water.”

Based on the “plumber principle,” perhaps we could add one more essential question:

7. How urgently does the buyer need your product or service?

We have said it before, in negotiations, knowledge is indeed power.

If you are a seller, what questions do you ask your buyers? Please share in the comments.
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