3 Reasons Interviews Fail and How to Avoid Them

Jeff Cochran


Despite our technologically-driven world, face to face interviews remain a key component of any negotiation. Whether you’re a prospective employee netting your first interview or a seasoned professional negotiating with an important client, interview skills are paramount. But sometimes interviews fail, and you may be bewildered as to why. Today, we’ll discuss the top reasons you didn’t ace your interview and how to avoid them in the future.

Reason 1: Rudeness

Hopefully, most of us wouldn’t walk into an interview or negotiation and make snide comments about the interviewer or stick our feet on the desk. However, there are subtle examples of rudeness that are just as harmful. For instance, you should avoid blunt, impertinent questions.

If you left your last job due to low pay, don’t start the question-and-answer session with, “How long would it be before I got a raise?” If you’ve heard the client you’re negotiating with had an EEOC complaint filed against him, don’t ask about it. He won’t answer, and he’ll assume you think the worst of everyone you meet. Additionally, don’t do small, potentially rude things such as drumming your fingernails on the chair arm.

Reason 2: Lies

If your resume says you worked for your last company for a year, but you tell the interviewer it was eight months, he or she will assume you’re lying. Most interviewers can also spot resume padding a mile away, so don’t claim you’re proficient in French because you made an A in French II senior year of college.

Additionally, don’t fib to make the employer feel good; for example, don’t say you’ll accept a certain salary when you really need more. Employers respect people who are open. Double-check your resume for any inconsistencies, no matter how small. Be assertive – but not aggressive – in negotiations, and offer to explain anything the interviewer has questions about.

Reason 3: Cluelessness

Few things irritate an employer or client more than an interviewee who doesn’t know much about the job or company. Do plenty of research before the interview, even if you won’t be working with this client long or the job is an entry-level position. Ask company-specific questions such as, “Does your special education program embrace full or partial inclusion?” If you don’t do your homework, it sends the message you don’t care and would prefer not to work with the company or client. In this case, you will not get the job or deal.

How to Respond to 7 Common Sales Objections

Jeff Cochran


One of the most terrifying words in the English language is ‘NO.’ It’s the spoken expression of rejection, and it can really sting. For those who work in sales or jobs that involve heavy amounts of negotiation, and interpersonal communication the word ‘NO’ sounds like a death sentence. And a long-term string of NO’s can turn into a situation that does more than just sound like a death sentence. Human being communicate with each other all day long. Our capacity for language is what distinguishes us as a species. But, because it comes naturally to us, many of us tend to take it for granted.

Those of us who have an aversion to hearing the word ‘NO’ need to stop doing that. Really elegant communication skills are an art form, something that requires practice, study, and long-term cultivation. For people who work in sales and negotiation jobs, communication is their bread and butter. The following infographic outlines a few of the ways people say ‘NO.” It also includes some of the techniques we teach in our corporate sales training and sales negotiation training programs, to ensure that ‘NO’ is not the last word in the conversation.

INF--7-most-common-Sales-Objections-AUG-19-2015 (1)

How to Negotiate With Any Personality Type

Jeff Cochran


To negotiate successfully, understand each potential client needs a different negotiation style. Which negotiation approach you use depends on your client’s personality. Below, we’ve outlined four basic personality types and the best ways to negotiate with each.

Type 1: The Choleric

Choleric people, sometimes known as “drivers,” are “bottom line” people. They like to get things done as quickly, efficiently, and correctly as possible. They make quick judgments and are usually right, and they want things done their way. When negotiating with a choleric, logic is your best friend. Present the facts and explain why the deal makes logical sense. Focus on results – what’s in it for the choleric if he or she agrees with you? Be assertive; choleric people can become inflexible if you disagree with them, but you may need to do so to get the deal.

Type 2: The Sanguine

Sanguine people, sometimes called socializers, love people. They’re the ones who will laugh at your jokes – and tell their own – and share stories. With a sanguine, focus on what your idea or product will mean for relationships. Will the sanguine’s company like it? Will it benefit people? Is it fun? Use stories and experiences to keep this person focused; otherwise he or she may drift. Present facts optimistically and show the sanguine how he or she can use your idea or product in creative ways.

Type 3: The Melancholic

Melancholic people are often called clinicians because they analyze everything, sometimes too much. They love order and want everything perfect. This type of person wants to know the details and feel secure. Successful negotiation with a melancholic depends on details. Present both the positives and negatives of your product or idea, and give specific reasons why they need it. Allow them time to think through a decision, and show interest in building deep rapport.

Type 4: The Phlegmatic

Phlegmatic people are known for being amiable. They like to do things the easy way without ruffling feathers. They can be agreeable and sensitive to a fault, and they like working in groups and building personal bridges. Never make a phlegmatic feel patronized; this person has an iron will and will shut down if you do. Instead, be patient and build rapport. Keep words and body language open. Focus your discussion on how the product or idea works. Emphasize how negotiation benefits both parties, and stay away from too many statements about “my” product or “my” services. Otherwise, the phlegmatic might feel railroaded.

Beating the Fear of Public Speaking

Jeff Cochran


For some people, having to speak in public is the most feared situation on earth, second only to death. Many people experience panic attacks during public speaking that make them feel like they’re actually dying. A phobia of public speaking can derail a negotiation, but it doesn’t have to. If you fear public speaking, read on. We’ve outlined some key ways to help you conquer that fear.

You’re Not Your Fear

Public speaking debilitates people because they equate it with personal self-worth. Their thought process is, “Because I can’t speak well, I don’t deserve to be considered a competent professional.” This is one of the biggest lies you can tell yourself. If your company has asked you to speak in public, it’s because they know you’re competent and intelligent. Don’t get hung up on perfection. Relax and remind yourself of your positive traits. Tell yourself, “I can do this.”

Don’t Memorize or Read off the Page

Most professionals feel pressure to memorize speeches, which compounds their nervousness. To alleviate pressure, don’t memorize every word. Instead, commit only key points to memory. On the other hand, resist the urge to read directly from notes. The audience can tell what you’re doing, and they’ll quickly get bored and won’t remember what you’ve said. Bring a few index cards or a single sheet with important notes. Glance at it as needed, but let the speech flow.

Get Personal

The best speakers tell stories rather than simply conveying information. When possible, start your speech with a relevant anecdote. This approach will help the audience warm to you. Use your sense of humor; a well-placed joke will help plant information in the audience’s head. Additionally, using the personal stories and details you know best will help you relax and have fun.

Use Support 

Like other phobias, the fear of public speaking can be intimidating when people try to deal with it alone. They won’t share their fears with family or coworkers because they think fear indicates incompetence. In reality, even your most put-together mentors have probably been where you are. Be honest about your fear and seek support. Ask trusted people to help you practice for the speech. When the big moment comes, picture the audience full of supportive, familiar faces to remind you your listeners are rooting for you. If your fear is particularly debilitating, there is no shame in seeking short-term counseling; ask human resources for recommendations.

What Are Sales Enablement Tools, and How Do They Work?

Jeff Cochran


Automation software can be greatly beneficial for sales and marketing professionals. Not only does it make sales processes and marketing campaigns easier to design and launch, but it can enable a sales team itself. A variety of sales enablement tools exist, each offering a different way to manage your sales and marketing team. Here’s how a bevy of sales enablement tools can help you gain real insight into your customers and empower your teams to sell.

Go Beyond Leads

Most sales and marketing departments use sales enablement tools for generating leads. Some go beyond that and use these tools to follow up with prospects, as well. But sales enablement tools have the potential to do more. In fact, using their data collection capability, you can gain insights on your buyer and mitigate a lot of legwork.

Gain Insight 

Sales enablement tools let you collect deep pools of data for developing buyer insights. You can find out who has buying power in a certain company, what their company challenges are, and what industry trends are influencing their behavior. This type of data, paired with market research, gives you the information you need to empower your sales team. Enablement tools like Amacus automatically collect and analyze data like this and display real-time sales analytics.

Stay in Front of Your Customers

Following up with your prospects and providing them with valuable content keeps you in the forefront of their minds. Content marketing is a great way to do this across a variety of channels. You can keep your customers up to date with social media, e-mail newsletters, and blog posts. However, some busy sales teams might not have time to dominate all these channels.

Platforms like LogicBay help you create and optimize multiple sales channels and manage individual leads. Likewise, Eloqua by Oracle is marketing automation software that optimizes both sales and marketing efforts. It analyzes prospect behavior and delivers it in a way you can use to launch new campaigns and improve old ones.

Manage Your Sales Team

Some enablement tools put everything you need to manage a sales team right in your hands. Help your sales team perform like they are meant to with coaching tools, best practice policies, call management, and playbook development. The PlayBoox platform, and other platforms like MindMatrix, let you manage the processes and tools you use to run your sales team efficiently. These platforms offer insight as to what material you need at any given point in the sales cycle, and they then help you develop them.

Using a combination of these tools, you can manage every step of the sales cycle. From lead generation to prospect nurturing and follow up, and even managing sellers themselves, sales enablement tools give you full control.