B2B Negotiations: 6 reasons why listening leads to success

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Part of any negotiation is working with the other party, and trying to find a solution that meets the needs of what both parties are looking for. Whether it’s the seller trying to negotiate the highest price, or the buyer looking to get the most for his money, trying to understand the other side of a negotiation can be an incredibly helpful tactic during a negotiation. 

Many times, people look at negotiations as one party versus another. In the situation of B2B sales, oftentimes it’s not quite that. B2B sales are often negotiations where one party is brought in to help another or to help them find a solution for a problem they’re experiencing. 

In B2B sales, figuring out what’s driving the other party of negotiation, the type of problems they’re experiencing, and understanding why they’re looking for a partner or provider like you can make all the difference in winning the sale, and creating a solution they’re looking for.

To Understand The Issues & Problem They’re Facing

When companies approach other companies for their goods, products, or services, it often arises out of a need to solve a particular issue, create a more efficient solution, or find a way to solve a problem they’re experiencing. 

These problems can range from sales, operations, marketing, or the software they utilize. When a company is interested in learning more about your services, or the solutions you can offer, oftentimes they are unhappy with the way their current solution or situation is affecting the business. Insert you. Your job is to find a way to add value to their business and find a way to solve a problem or issue their facing. 

A great place to start is finding out what they’re having trouble with. By discovering the issues they’re facing, you can work, prior to any negotiation or meeting, at crafting a solution that produces the result they're looking for, or for the problem they’re looking to solve. Without having an idea of the issues they're facing, or the problems they’re having, you can’t create a product or solution that fits what they’re looking for. 

Trying to dig underneath the information you have, understand where a company stands, and see how your company can add value, or help the other company, can help you create and pitch a solution that is far and above the competition. 

To Craft A Solution That Meets What They’re Looking For

Part of any B2B negotiation is figuring out the right products, services, and package that meets the needs of the client. Each client may come with a different set of needs, desires, and wants they’re looking to solve. Putting together a package or solution of services that meet their needs may not be a one-size-fits-all option. 

Depending on the goods, services, knowledge, and skills your company possesses, you can work to create or tailor a solution that exactly meets the needs of the client. This might mean bundling two different software your company offers, offering products or services from two different areas of your offerings, or offering a unique blend of services and support to help a company continue operating on a daily basis.

To Understand Your Audience & Target Demographic

One of the great things about each client or negotiation you interact with is the information and the knowledge you receive. Whether it’s a private equity fund, a real estate company, or a small business, each company you negotiate with, can bring you valuable information into what your target audience and demographic is looking for.

You’re able to gain insight into the problems they’re having, the type of solutions or tweaks that may be worth making, and to help get first-hand insight from a potential customer. Once you’re able to get a sense of what they’re looking for, and the types of problems they’re having, you can go back to your product or development team, and relay that information. 

You can help curate and shape the products and services you offer, to more closely meet their needs. Whether it’s creating a large cloud component, making the user interface easier to use, or combining multiple products or services into one software, getting insight into your target demographic can be incredibly valuable to help improve and enhance the products and services you have.

To Figure Out Who Your Competition May Be

Within each industry or space, there are often a variety of different players and competitors who are competing for similar customers and clients. Once you’re able to understand and gain insight into the other party within a negotiation, you can better understand who might be in serious competition, and who the client might be meeting with as well.

Within each industry, there are often a few players who come to mind and can offer a solution that helps solve a client’s problem. Once you’re able to gain insight into the issues they’re facing, understanding their motivation, or why they’re looking for another company’s help, you can begin to find a way to separate yourselves from the competition. Whether it’s through the products you offer, the price point you have, or the support you provide, there are lots of different ways for you to stand out among your competition. 

If you understand who your competition is, then you can better create a solution that is far superior to what they offer, and increase your chances of winning the business. 

To Find More Clients With Similar Issues or Like Them

If you’re able to figure out what’s driving a company or understand the different problems they’re facing, it often can provide many benefits beyond just the single client. Once you’re able to recognize and figure out what they’re having trouble with, you can find others who are struggling as well. Whether it’s the products and services or outdated software, a problem with a particular supplier, or the need to innovate in a particular space, you can find other potential customers or clients who are in similar situations as them and expand your clientele. 

By understanding the issues that this company is facing, you can also approach other companies in similar situations with solutions that exactly meet what they’re looking for, be the first to approach them, and get a leg up on the competition.

To Show Your Track Record or Previous Results

If you’re able to find out what’s driving the other side in a B2B negotiation, or the types of problems they’re facing, you can utilize the track record you’ve been able to build and show the previous results other clients have been able to produce.

The track record you’ve been able to accumulate and produce for other clients can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to a B2B negotiation. You can show the amount of time another company saved, the amount of money they saved, or any other positive result you may value as well.

The track record or experience that you or your company have in a particular space, or handling a particular problem, can be a great way to show a potential client that you have done this before, that you’ve helped others in similar situations, and that you can do the same for them. Without understanding what’s driving a company, or motivating them to look for a solution, it’s more difficult to use your previous track record or experience as much as you’d like.

Once you’re able to get an idea of what they’re looking for and the types of issues they’re facing, then you can really show them how another company was successful with your product or the way another company was able to improve with your offering.


Whether you’re negotiating with a marketing executive, a financial analyst, or a real estate salesperson, understanding what’s driving or motivating a client during a negotiation can be an incredibly powerful tool. Without understanding the types of problems they’re facing, and the issues they’re having, it makes it more difficult to create an effective pitch, and in selling your company’s products and services.

Once you’re able to find out what’s driving them, or their motivation, then you can craft a solution that will solve the problems they're facing, and use your track record to show other clients who have been successful in the past. Figuring out what’s driving or motivating a company in a B2B negotiation can give you insight into what your target demographic of audience is looking for, and more insight into how you can find other clients who are experiencing similar problems as well.

Once you’re able to understand the issues or problems a potential client is facing, then you can better understand who the other competitors might be, and who might be vying for the same business. Having that information can help you figure out a way to stand out, or prove to the client that you're better suited to create a solution that solves their issues.

All in all, understanding what’s driving a potential client or company in a B2B negotiation can be an incredibly powerful tool, and provide very valuable information for any company or business.

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Written by:
Howie Bick is the founder of The Analyst Handbook. The Analyst Handbook is a collection of 16 guides created to help current and aspiring Analysts advance their careers. Prior to founding The Analyst Handbook, Howie was a financial analyst

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