How to Negotiate with Different Genders

Jeff Cochran


Successful negotiations often depend on how well you relate to the other person. For example, many people wonder how to negotiate with different genders. If you find yourself negotiating with people of different genders on a regular basis, there are tips you can follow to ensure everyone walks away friends.

Empathy vs. Aggression

In today’s culture, striking a balance between empathy and aggression is vital, but can be difficult. For example, women are often taught not to be assertive. They are told that assertion is the same thing as aggression and that it makes them seem uncaring. Therefore, women sometimes take an overly empathetic approach to negotiations and don’t push for what they want or need.

On the other hand, men are often taught that aggression shows strength, while too much empathy shows weakness. They are told that if they are too empathetic, they will lose negotiations, letting themselves and others down. Thus, some men “play hardball” more than they should.

The key to solving both these quandaries is to find your personal balance between empathy and aggression. To do so, analyze the type of negotiation you are in. If you want to sell a product or service to a client, for instance, you need to find points of agreement and empathize with his or her needs, rather than push for a decision.

Establishing Authority

Establishing authority is another tricky part of negotiating with different genders. Authority equals control, and exerting too much control could be seen as arrogant or demanding. Both genders tend to have a difficult time with this, although women are often more reluctant to take seats at the head of the table, make wide gestures, or use up space.

Experts agree that there are key ways men and women should establish authority without looking aggressive. For example, spread your materials out instead of keeping them in a small, neat stack. As much as possible, avoid reading from your material; this can make you look unprepared and not confident. Maintain friendly eye contact. Use silence to emphasize a point or give people time to think through what you have said.


When most people think of negotiations, they think of talking. Talking is a big part of any negotiation, but listening is even more vital. Both genders can be accused of not listening, or of using silence to plan what they want to say next. Learn how to actively listen, perhaps through professional negotiation training. When the other person is talking, maintain eye contact, nod, or say things like, “Tell me more about that” to show engagement. If you didn’t hear or understand something, be honest and ask for it to be repeated.

Don’t Bow to Stereotypes

Don’t let stereotypes influence your success in negotiations. If you are a woman who needs to be more assertive, ask for tips or assertiveness training from other women you trust. Seek opportunities to negotiate with men, and learn from key phrases they might use such as “I think” or “you know.” If you are a man, don’t be afraid to compete as much with women as you do other males. Learn from women as well – for example, women are less likely to “wing it” during negotiations, and this can help them succeed.

Mass Marketing: Theory and Strategies

Jeff Cochran


Mass Marketing: Theory and Strategies  

What is mass marketing? Mass marketing is a market strategy whose aim is to appeal to the largest portion of the market while ignoring niche demographic differences, in order to reach the highest number of potential customers possible. This marketing strategy focuses on high sales volumes at lower price points, traditionally using radio, television and print media to gain maximum exposure for the product. This large market coverage strategy is the opposite of niche marketing and seeks to appeal to all customers regardless of niche or segmentation by offering products that are useful to a wide variety of consumers with different needs. 

Mass marketing is most effective when used to advertise products that are considered necessities, products that a large number of people are already guaranteed to be shopping for anyway. By building brand awareness through memorable advertisements, mass marketing aims to alter the behavior of consumers so they will be directed towards the product being marketed. By producing goods that are needed by a large market and offering them at competitive prices, a mass marketing strategy increases the potential for high volume sales while reducing the costs of manufacturing through mass production. 

Products that are mass marketed often practice planned obsolescence in order to reduce the cost of production and ensure that consumers will have to come back and buy the product again. By manufacturing products with low quality materials, companies can ensure consumers will need to replace their items, creating opportunity for future sales. A large number of these products are considered staples—items that customers regularly purchase after they wear out or are used up. Staples can be promoted as being cheaper, even they are a less durable product, because they are sold at a low enough cost to make recurring purchases affordable. 

Mass Marketing Techniques

A number of techniques are used by mass marketers to appeal to the largest audience possible. The shotgun approach, which attempts to reach the audience with advertising on traditional mass media such as television, radio, and the internet, has been widely used and is likely the most familiar technique Advertisements utilizing the shotgun approach present a non-exclusive message that appeals to a broad range of customers. 

Guerrilla marketing is another commonly used tactic in mass market strategies. This strategy aims to produce advertisements that capture the attention of a large market with exciting and memorable messages while engaging consumers in a positive way. By utilizing online distribution methods, this strategy tends to minimize the cost of advertising while offering companies the ability to interact with a large base of viewers. In theory, guerrilla marketing allows a company to leave a stronger impression with consumers by cutting through the noise of a saturated market. 

Disadvantages of Mass Marketing 

Although mass marketing is widely used, a number of disadvantages that can make this strategy less effective than market segmentation should be considered. An increasing number of consumers are dissatisfied with the “one size fits all” approach and seek out more specialized products than those offered under the mass marketing umbrella. The rise of online reviews has muted the swaying power of advertisements, taking the effectiveness of directing messages about their products away from companies and placing it in the hands of consumers. The effectiveness of mass marketing to attract customers has decreased as companies’ marketing strategies attempt to replicate traditional advertising efforts in the new world of online marketing. 

Culture and location’s impact on how advertising messages are received by customers is another disadvantage of mass marketing. A mass marketing campaign may be successful in one region while failing to make an impression on consumers in another. The geographic location and culture of a consumer base have an impact on how those consumers respond to a message, and consumers in different regions will often require different services and products related to their locations. By targeting advertising in regions that may not have a need or interest in a type of product or service, companies can end up wasting money on marketing efforts that don’t attract new sales or customers. 

Because of the high cost of mass market efforts, this strategy often yields a lower return on investment than other strategies, in spite of its potential to generate high volumes of sales. Production costs for advertising spots, as well as the cost of placing those ads on the radio, internet, and television mean that this strategy often requires a large marketing budget. While mass marketing can be successful for general products and is typically considered low risk, the potential of a company’s message not resonating with consumers could lead to money wasted on failed advertising. 

Customer Experience

As the internet has risen to prominence over recent decades, it has become apparent that a better user experience for customers is more and more important, and mass marketing strategies have failed to maintain the effectiveness they had in the past. Consumers find online reviews on sites like Amazon and Yelp to be more trustworthy than commercials and advertising, meaning companies can no longer take the same liberties regarding quality in their products. Word of mouth has become a powerful tool for marketers, and the first step in generating that kind of buzz is to produce goods that can back it up. 

Audience segmentation is the process of determining which consumer traits characterize a certain group, or segment of a given market. In mass marketing, marketers ignore audience segmentation in favor of reaching all consumers in a large market and appealing to them with a product that most people need or use. However, by not targeting a specific niche, mass marketing can lead to dilution of branding efforts by causing consumers to become bored in an oversaturated environment. 

By understanding a narrow niche of consumers, businesses can better serve that segment of the market and create stronger relationships with their customers. By establishing itself as a provider of quality products or services and catering to a specific segment with a marketing strategy that resonates with customers on a deeper level, a company can generate positive word of mouth and spread its message effectively and efficiently.


Segmentation and the Sales Funnel 

One element of sales psychology not taken into account by the traditional mass marketing definition is the concept of buyer personas. Buyer personas are theoretical, idealized versions of customers who purchase a company’s products. These personas help to focus marketing efforts by describing the type of consumer that the advertisement is trying to reach, giving marketers deeper insight into the behaviors and patterns exhibited by their customers. By understanding the potential buyer personas that a marketing effort targets, a company can fine tune its product development to best appeal to the given market segment.

The “sales funnel” is the buying process consumers go through in order to acquire goods or services from a company. By understanding the target segment, companies can fine tune their market efforts to appeal to their consumer base while delivering goods or services in a manner that best fits that particular niche. Studying buyer personas, marketers can better understand the different ways that consumers receive and respond to different sales techniques, allowing for the implementation of a sales funnel, staffed with salespeople who have been given proper training in effective sales techniques like that offered by Shapiro Negotiations. In addition to buyer personas that map out the ideal customer, personas can also be developed to describe problematic customers and develop tactics to prevent problems with these customers before they arise.

By advertising with buyer personas in mind, companies can tailor products and content to the appropriate segment, resulting in greater market penetration and more effective marketing campaigns. By nurturing specific buyer personas and providing them with the optimum sales process, both small and large companies can increase their customers’ satisfaction and foster a more positive user experience. With a strong product and effective market segment research, rather than the broad and unfocused technique involved in mass marketing, marketers can increase their appeal to consumers through targeted strategies that improve customer satisfaction and leave a lasting impression.

Tips for Communicating Value to Clients

Jeff Cochran


Every business needs clients to function. To keep clients, you must convince them they are investing in a valuable product or service. Communicating value can be difficult if you own a large company or business, but it isn’t impossible. With the right strategies, you can communicate the value of any product or service, maintain your current client base, and find new clients.

Ask First

It might seem like common sense to ask customers or clients what they value in a product. Surprisingly though, many business owners don’t ask. Thus, their clients don’t feel valued and don’t get the product they are looking for. Before selling one product or service, ask customers what they value most about what you offer. If you’re a baker, is it healthy, gluten-free ingredients? If you’re a mechanic, is it your response time or the specific tools you use? Ask customers what they like about your existing product, what they would change, and what they would like to see more in the future.

Think Beyond Price

Most customers or clients want an inexpensive product, but they also want to come away satisfied with their purchase. For example, no one wants a well-priced product that breaks down easily, or a service that is fast and inexpensive, but of poor quality. When deciding how to sell your product, think about other factors such as –

  • The specific response you want
  • What you are willing to guarantee (e.g. is your new electric blanket safer and warmer than competing products)?
  • The knowledge your customers already have. Customers who frequently restore old cars will come to your mechanic shop with a greater knowledge base than those who don’t.

Use a Rating System

Rating systems are one of the quickest, most efficient ways to get customer feedback. A rating scale can tell you in one number how your business or product is doing in several areas, and it saves you the time it would take to read through paragraphs of feedback. A rating scale will also draw your attention to additional comments; if someone takes the time to specifically say what they liked or did not like, you’ll notice it right away and be in a better position to change it if necessary.

Find a rating system that works for you – for example, 1-5 with 5 being the best – and stick with it. Check your ratings often. If one or two areas get consistently low ratings, focus most of your energy on improving them.

Build Rapport with Customers

You can’t communicate value to clients without talking to them. Good communication often starts with rapport. Remember your customers’ names when possible, as well as details about the products or service types they like. For example, if you own a ‘50s-style café, get to know your customers well enough that you can ask, “The usual?” If you own a bookstore and know one specific customer likes a certain author, call or email her when a new release from that person is in. If you need help building and maintaining rapport, you can also check out our negotiation training or influence training for assistance.

How to Know When to Up-Sell a Client

Jeff Cochran


Whether you are shopping for shoes or updating your computer, it’s likely you’ve been asked if you’d like an upgrade. Although these requests can be irritating, up-selling is a beneficial move if done correctly. Knowing when and how to up-sell a client can improve your sales approach and make you a more successful negotiator.

When to Up-sell Clients

Up-selling clients, or getting them to agree to an upgrade or a more expensive version of your item, is a delicate process. It requires tact, negotiation, and good timing. The first step to successful up-selling is knowing exactly when to up-sell your client.

One of the easiest times to up-sell is when a customer has already bought a product similar to the one you’re trying to sell them now. Many clothing store owners do this when customers are coming in or checking out. They remind them of current sales or “buy one, get one free” specials. Bookstore owners often place bargain books or “buy one, get one free” books on the same shelves so that customers will be enticed to buy an extra product while shopping for the one they intended to buy.

Busy seasons are also great times to up-sell clients. The Christmas season won’t be here for another two months, but most retailers are already taking advantage of its approach. Many stores currently offer prime Christmas items at cheaper prices than normal when a customer makes a Halloween or Thanksgiving purchase. Similarly, a hotel might up-sell you a continental breakfast at $20 cheaper than normal if you book during November or December.

Reading Clients’ Needs

Up-selling is a type of negotiation. As with other negotiations, a successful up-sell depends on how well you can read the clients’ needs. Let’s say you are a website designer and a client purchases your basic package. This could be the design of a homepage plus three additional pages at a set charge. Perhaps you want this client to buy your logo design services as well. You will be more likely to make the sale if you already know what their logo needs. You could say something like, “I see your store targets elementary teachers, but your logo looks like a university. I can help you redesign a logo that better reaches your target audience.”

Finding New Clients

If you’ve noticed your sales numbers falling, it might be time to consider up-selling clients. Many business owners shy away from up-selling because they don’t want to be pushy. The truth is, the right up-sells can bring more customers to you. You might be an independent bookstore owner who is worried about what chain stores will do to your client base. However, perhaps you also have a loyal group of customers who come in for books and coffee every weekend.

Offer those existing customers up-sells, such as a free book with every tenth purchase or discount pastries and cupcakes on a designated Family Day. To make the most of such offers, use corporate sales training and determine what types of offers are best for you.

Learning the Art

When you up-sell, you must do so with confidence and warmth. If you’re feeling unsure about up-sells or want to refine your skills, ask us about our negotiation training. It can help you keep existing customers, find new ones, and make great sales.