Tools for Closing the Sale

Jeff Cochran


Negotiating skills will propel you quite far in any business deal, but unless you know how to close the sale – and these days we are all salespeople of one sort or another – then your negotiating skills will all come to naught. By supplementing your negotiating skills with several powerful tools, you can better demonstrate to potential buyers that your business provides exactly the high quality, well-vetted services that they require. When you truly learn to close a sale, not just complete the negotiations on an easy deal, your business will truly take off.


Treat Every Prospect Like a Buyer

Sometimes, as a negotiation comes to its close, it will start to become clear that the person sitting in front of you doesn’t think they have the power or standing to close the deal – or they do have that power and are being evasive. No matter what a prospective client is articulating about their ability to personally close the deal, continue to treat them like a buyer. Treating every prospect like a buyer ensures that you are making your most clear and convincing pitch, and is the easiest way to get to yes, even when the client is reluctant.

Build a Strong Portfolio

One of the most convincing arguments you can make for closing the deal is one you don’t personally have to make at all. Each time you successfully close a deal, ask the client to write your company an endorsement. A portfolio that demonstrates various successful negotiations proves to a prospective client that you can truly deliver the services proposed. This can help increase the trust relationship between you and the potential client and your portfolio will close the deal for you.

Focus on Value Gaps 

The main reason you are in the room participating in a negotiation with a potential client is that they are facing some sort of gap in their business that they are hoping your company can fill. Rather than harping specifically on services, pay attention to the types of value your client is losing by not providing a certain service. By articulating ways your company can add value, rather than a single concrete service, you are more likely to tie up the ultimate concerns of the negotiation.

Sensing the Close of a Deal 

How can you tell when it is time to close the deal? There are certain signs to look for in the language and body postures of your client that indicate they are ready to say yes. When they are ready to close, the client will likely ask questions about the project end, such as asking how long until the service is delivered, or they may verbally propose ways of using your service. When you see these signs, try for the assumptive close. This style of close takes yes as the given and moves towards getting the final confirmation of specifications, payment, and delivery information.

The 5 Essential Characteristics of a Great Manager

Jeff Cochran


The key to improving performance within your company is effective management. By providing employees with excellent managers, you can ensure that they will have a good example to follow when it comes to their own work. However, it is important that managers possess certain characteristics in order for them to be truly effective. Here are the five traits that are absolutely essential when it comes to your being a successful manager.


1. The Ability to Self-Motivate

Managers are responsible for motivating their employees, which means that they themselves must possess the ability to self-motivate. Self-motivation means that you are not only able to get yourself going on the project at hand, but that you are also able to work independently to take on each next step towards completion. As a manager, it is necessary that you are able to self-motivate because you will need to imbue this characteristic in the employees whom you are managing.

2. Effective Communication Skills

Another critical trait that managers must possess is effective communication skills. In large part, the main job of a manager is communication. Good managers are able to communicate with their employees in a way that is clear and conducive to a positive working relationship. Furthermore, good managers excel at both verbal and non-verbal communication. A good manager leads by example in order to communicate such behavior to employees.

3. Confidence Without Arrogance

As a manager, it is important for you to be confident. Having confidence shows your employees that you believe in your own abilities, which will increase their respect for you. Unfortunately, such confidence is all too often mistaken for arrogance. If your employees believe that you are arrogant, they will lose respect for you rather than gaining it. To prevent this, imbue your confidence with personality to make yourself likeable to your employees.

4. Willingness to Share

One ineffective management strategy is withholding information from your employees. Instead, effective managers share as much information as possible with their employees, creating an environment of collective intelligence. This creates trust between management and employees, leading to a more effective relationship. Remember to never isolate yourself from those you are managing, as this will lessen trust in the relationship.

5. Prowess in Problem Solving

Finally, a great manager is able to problem solve. Problem solving is one of the key components of a management position, whether you are working out a conflict between employees or solving a crisis with a client. In addition to being able to solve problems, a good manager takes responsibility for problems that arise.

Excerpt 3: Benefits of Role-Play in Corporate Trainings

Jeff Cochran


Last Week Training Magazine posted an article written by SNI’s John Buelow. Read below for a brief excerpt and find the full article here:


Benefits of Role-Play

Here are just a few of the benefits of making role-play a part of your business training:

1. Build confidence: When your team role-plays, you can throw any number of situations at them. Role-playing provides a safe environment to encounter these scenarios for the first time, which builds confidence in team members that can help them in their day-to-day roles.

2. Develop listening skills: Good role-playing requires good listening skills. In addition to understanding the words the other person is saying, it’s important to pay attention to body language and non-verbal clues. Better to have your team develop these skills while role-playing than when they’re trying to perform in the real world.

3. Creative problem-solving: No matter how outlandish a situation you create in a controlled environment, generally, something even more bizarre is bound to happen on the job. Role-playing will at least give your team the chance to get some experience in handling difficult situations and in developing creative problem-solving skills.

Improve Your Negotiation Skills in Five Steps

Jeff Cochran


Negotiation plays a role at every level in the world of business, making it a critical skill for all employees to learn. While the basic rules of negotiation: clear communication, good eye contact and body language, and a focus on objectives are typically familiar to most employees – they are, after all, the starter skills for negotiating a raise – more advanced negotiation skills can help get your company to the yes you want to hear. These five skills each address an often overlooked part of the negotiation process that can really affect negotiation outcomes.

1. Be aware of power differentials. One of the biggest challenges for upper-level employees participating in negotiations is to see the position of the person with less power. Being the person with more power in a negotiation does not automatically mean you will get what you want, particularly if you are unable to take the perspective of your negotiating partner. When the person with power takes a step back towards a more equal position, negotiations go more smoothly.

2. Emphasize the needs of the other party. Don’t assume that you know what the other party needs, but do make sure that those needs are communicated clearly and prioritized. Part of emphasizing those needs is listening closely enough to understand the nuances of the other party’s position. Once you know what your negotiating partner needs, it is easier to move forward because the different possible compromises within the negotiation become clear.

3. Avoid forced extroversion. Many people think that the most important characteristic of a powerful negotiator is extroversion, leading some naturally introverted people to put on a show that benefits no one. Rather than acting like someone you’re not, introverted negotiators should draw on the unique skills of their own personality. Additionally, others can usually tell when you are faking extroversion, and when they do, you will appear as untrustworthy.

4. Emphasize thoughts as much as feelings. Because so much of negotiating is focused on taking the perspective of the other person, negotiators can sometimes get caught up in the particular emotions invoked by the process – stress, feeling like you lack power, annoyance, frustration, and so forth. While feelings are important, trying to follow the intellectual logic of the individual you are negotiating with is just as critical. Don’t get so caught up in the emotional side that you lose sight of intellectual insights.

5. Help them get to “yes.” When you show up to a negotiation, make sure you’ve done all the advance groundwork that will make it clear you care about the person or company you are negotiating with. The more you know about their position and what they will need from you to say yes, the easier and more amiable the negotiation process will be. Additionally, by keeping your ears open for the pauses in the negotiation process, you can pinpoint the parts of the process blocking the other party from getting to that all important “yes.”