Considerations for Building a Remote Workforce

Jeff Cochran


Strong leadership is integral for a remote working environment to be successful, as is a firm grasp of negotiations training to boost interview skills. Remote opportunities offer flexibility for workers, expand the hiring pool, and reduce overhead costs for companies, provided you’ve hired employees you can count on to follow your lead. Because hiring the wrong worker can negatively impact your business’s success, look for employees with the following four traits.



When working from a remote location, there are myriad potential distractions. From kids coming home after school to the temptation to check social media during work hours, remote employees are susceptible to procrastination, diverted attention, and poor productivity. Seek candidates who have a strong history of self-motivation. Generally, these individuals are more focused, determined, and efficient when completing work-related tasks. Hire managers equipped with the knowledge provided by sales training and negotiations training to quickly identify whether a candidate is a self-starter.

Previous Experience

Like applicants for any other position, previous experience is a definite plus. While performing required tasks and navigating company processes can be taught, accomplishing goals while working remotely brings an entirely new set of challenges if the candidate lacks experience. When interviewing candidates without previous experience working remotely, ask pointed, situation-based questions and carefully evaluate their response. Questions like, “Given the requirements of this position, how would you structure your day?” will help determine if an unexperienced candidate has potential to succeed.

Problem-Solving Skills

Unlike a physical office, working remotely requires the ability to independently problem solve. Though leadership should be accessible for complex questions, remote workers must think critically, quickly, and have confidence in their ultimate conclusion. Exceptional problem-solving skills are essential for remote employees, but you can’t always take a candidate’s stated strengths at face value. Negotiations training is recommended for leaders and hiring managers, as it helps hone interview skills. Asking the right questions at the right time during an interview will reveal whether a candidate is truly an experienced problem solver or merely added a buzz word to their resume.

Good Attitude 

Job flexibility is attractive to many workers, as is working from home (or any convenient location). However, it’s important to hire remote employees who maintain a good attitude and are dedicated to fostering a positive team environment. Ask candidates how they might handle a stressful task, rude co-worker, or a request to perform a service outside of their job description. Often, responses will provide you with telling information about their on-the-job attitude.

Building Strong Remote Leadership

Jeff Cochran


Many businesses are offering flexible work arrangements or completely remote capabilities. With this, a need arises for different recruiting, training, and leadership skills. Remote leaders are responsible for creating a common vision everyone can follow, allowing for team cohesion even at a distance. From providing remote negotiations training to conducting company-wide sales training, remote leaders inspire unity when adhering to four specific rules.

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Set Clear Expectations 

As opposed to working in a physical location, remote employees are scattered throughout the country (and perhaps the globe). To keep everyone on the same page, remote leaders must establish a set of clear expectations. While performing individual tasks is the responsibility of the employee, leaders are expected to clearly outline the following:

  • Work hours. When a team works remotely, it’s important to get everyone on the same page regarding expected work hours. If employee improvement, such as negotiations training, must take place, clearly specify when trainings are held.
  • Regular meetings are essential to keep communication flowing. Establish expectations for company meetings, including when they will take place, the protocol for missing a meeting, and recurring topics to be discussed.
  • Leading from afar requires confidence in a team member’s ability to work independently while meeting productivity goals. Remote leaders are responsible for setting clear guidelines outlining expectations.

Don’t Hide Behind the Screen

Being available to remote employees is one of the best ways to keep workers engaged, motivated, and informed. When leading a team of remote employees, don’t hinder your availability by hiding behind the computer screen. Particularly when conducting sales training, leaders need to be accessible to workers to address questions and concerns. If time constraints are a concern, establish set hours of availability during which employees can contact you and receive a prompt response.

Leverage Technology to Facilitate Training

Most companies operating a remote workforce lack the option to conduct business free of technology. Between collaborative online tools, productivity tracking programs, and digital communication, technology is the conduit that facilitates ongoing dialogue, training, and employee improvement. Use digital solutions that bring remote employees together and increase access to members of your leadership team.

Extend Trust and Confidence to Employees

All employees benefit when leaders extend trust and confidence in their abilities. When managing remote teams, it’s important to clearly communicate this level of trust. Provide remote employees with confidence-boosting compliments, but don’t stretch the truth. Focus on an employee’s strengths and how those strengths contribute to the company’s goals, and offer positive feedback on recent projects. Communicating your belief in an employee’s abilities will inspire them to work harder to reach established goals.

The 5 Worst Negotiation Tactics and How to Avoid Them

Jeff Cochran


Of all the negotiation tactics used over the centuries, there are some that stick out as being particularly low-down and dirty. At Shapiro Negotiations, we offer negotiation training that focuses on productive and mutually beneficial tactics, but not all negotiators have the courage to negotiate with integrity. Knowing how to handle nasty tactics when you encounter them is vital for novice negotiators. Here are a few of the most common bad negotiation tactics and how to avoid them.

  1. Exaggerating future sales growth. Some negotiators, in an attempt to make their company more intimidating or more appealing for a partnership, will lie about their estimated future sales growth. The way to combat this is simple: do research. If you come prepared with copies of their past growth records, then you can nip this strategy in the bud.
  2. Pretending to back out. This is a somewhat childish but unfortunately still effective attempt to persuade other negotiators to cave to their demands. By making it seem like their company is no longer interested, negotiators hope to force opponents to offer better deals to bring them back to the table. Recognize this farce for what it is, and call the negotiator’s bluff. Retract your offers, and if his company is truly not interested, you can find better deals elsewhere.
  3. Withholding important information. Negotiations are most effective when everyone at the table has all of the information they need. If you are negotiating a corporate buyout, for example, you need to have all of the sales information for the company you are buying. If your fellow negotiator withholds that information or other important documents, you may end up making a bad deal. Do not be afraid to be direct with your questions, and accept nothing less than a straight and complete answer.
  4. Faking offense at typical questions. When you ask direct questions about a company’s finances or sales success, your opponent may act offended and insulted. In all likelihood, he or she is simply trying to avoid answering the question. With the right corporate sales training, negotiators should be prepared for all business-related questions, and if someone takes pains to avoid giving an answer, you should be wary of them.
  5. Demanding last minute changes. Do not give in to last minute demands; they are often nothing more than a ploy to take advantage of your surprise. When you have settled the stipulations of an agreement, stick to them and do not change them just to keep the other negotiator in the game. If the other company is successful in making minute demands before entering into an agreement, then they will try to take advantage of your company again in the future.

Learning Negotiation Skills From Your Kids

Jeff Cochran


Think about parent-children interactions you’ve met with. How often does the child get what he or she wanted in the end? We like to think, as adults, that we are much smarter and more complex than children, but children are the ultimate negotiators, using surprisingly elegant tactics to get what they want. As adults, we often disregard the more simplistic negotiating skills children employ, but sometimes simple is the best. The following are a few of the simplest child negotiation techniques and what we can learn from them in corporate negotiations training:

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Aim high. Children have a seemingly intuitive knowledge that starting out with a large request will result in more a more beneficial outcome. Whether this begins as simple greed or a childlike hopefulness, we can’t be sure. Yet somehow children know when they ask for 3 more scoops of ice cream, they will end up getting at least one more. Perhaps this explains why they always look so overjoyed when they get what they originally ask for: they weren’t expecting it. In business, always ask for more than you expect.

Ask at the right time. One of the most devious tricks children employ is asking for something when their parents are distracted. They learn at an early age – if mom or dad is distracted by watching TV or talking on the phone, they will be more likely to get a positive answer. Negotiators can use this trick, as well: when negotiating, slip in a seemingly unrelated request that will provide your company with a big reward. Even politicians use this tactic, slipping unwanted bills and stipulations into otherwise popular legislation.

Offer something first. Children almost always preface their negotiations with reminders of their good behavior, performances of odd favors and tasks, or gifts and compliments. Most parents have wised up to this trick, prompting the well-used line “what do you want now?” Nevertheless, it is still effective. Everyone knows that you don’t get something for nothing, and doing a favor for or offering assistance to a company before beginning negotiations is one way to get better results.

Be persistent. This is perhaps a child’s most effective negotiation tool, and it’s one we incorporate into our negotiations training module. Kids understand a “no” often means “not right now” and even the strongest parents can eventually be worn down by sheer persistence. If you know what you want, go after it, and don’t stop until you have achieved your goal. This is just as applicable in negotiation settings as it is in the rest of life.