Tips for Negotiations When the Going Gets Tough

Jeff Cochran


Everyone can negotiate from a place of strength. When you know you offer the best product, service, or customer support, you can easily push through the tough talks. What happens when your company asks you to keep producing results after a major professional or organizational setback? Knowing how to negotiate at your weakest will give you strength.


Create a Mindset of Resilience

 Perhaps a powerful client wrote a scathing review of the business online or you gave a client the wrong quote and need to backtrack in your negotiations to meet your sales targets. In any tough situation, a negotiator could crumble or could look for ways to turn those seeming setbacks into opportunity. Negotiation resiliency is a concept that describes a person’s ability to recover quickly in the light of adverse negotiation outcomes.

Anyone can train his or her mind to immediately go into problem-solving mode, persevere, and see opportunity in the face of adversity. If you can master negotiation resiliency, you can salvage the deal and/or relationship.


Recognize Your Own Value

Use your newfound resilience to take a second glance at the situation. Assess the situation placing an emphasis on the other party’s needs, weaknesses, and attitudes. If you understand the motivations driving someone else, you can craft a pitch or negotiation argument to match even the most powerful positions. You always have something of value to offer. Find your competitive advantage and deliver. Actively listen in negotiations to find the opportunity in every interaction.

Successful negotiation is about finding a way for both parties to succeed. Look for the mutual benefit in promotion negotiations, client relationships, and contract negotiations.


Engage Effectively

With the right mindset and research supporting the claim, a negotiator can move into an engagement phase. Many people benefit from negotiations training as a way to put preparation into action. Tone, appearance, diction, and even handshakes build confidence and credibility.

Practice the following negotiation techniques to maintain your position of strength:

  • Avoid rushing your speech. Take measured breaths, pause for effect, and practice your position until you can present it with confidence.
  • Ask questions. Ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to answers. Take notes and use the other party’s comments to strengthen your own position.
  • Give the other party time to think. In difficult negotiations, avoid forcing someone into a decision too early.

Every interaction builds a narrative. You can choose to react to the other person’s point of view or create your own. In negotiations, the person who shapes the narrative often receives the most support. Look for ways to counter weaknesses without appearing defensive. Take responsibility for shortcomings while firmly promoting your strengths.


Shift Your Definition of Success

 Consider the big picture in every negotiation. Occasionally, conceding terms can set you and/or your organization up for future success. If, for example, you might lose a client if you refuse to drop a small contracted service, altering the terms of the contract may make more sense than enforcing the terms of the full contract.

Prioritize your mindset, conduct research, and carefully engage the other party to negotiate from a point of weakness. Handling a difficult situation with grace, maturity, and ease can turn a defeat into an unmitigated success.

The Benefits and Pitfalls of Gamification for Sales Team Training

Jeff Cochran


Gamification, or making ordinary training practices into interactive employee games, is a popular trend sweeping offices throughout the nation. While there are proven benefits to gamification for sales training, such as making training fun and more memorable, it also has significant pitfalls, such as distracting your employees and reducing productivity. It’s up to you to compare the pros and cons before deciding if it’s the right course for your business.


Good: Better Employee Engagement

Gamification increases engagement for your employees. It’s no secret that almost every business can benefit from more energetic and determined workers. A 2013 Gallup poll revealed that as many as 70 percent of employees in the United States don’t feel engaged in their jobs.

LiveOps did a study about adding game elements to reward its employees. The single change actually shortened call times by as much as 15 percent, increased sales by 8 percent, and increased customer satisfaction by 9 percent.


Bad: It Can Be too Generic

If you don’t make the efforts to create a thoughtful and customized plan, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Generic enterprise gamification just slaps point systems and badges onto any process instead of putting emphasis onto the ones that matter. In fact, as much as 80 percent of gamification efforts will fail because of this.


Good: Encouraging Progress

Gamification also provides immediate signs of progress and achievement. Employees get many smaller rewards that help track their progress and show their rankings to colleagues and supervisors. This keeps them motivated to always move forward and strive for improvement.


Bad: Mandating Drains the Fun

The point of gamification is to encourage workers to play games and have fun. Forcing everyone to partake defeats the purpose. Unfortunately, many employers make this mistake and end up making their workers resent the changes that were supposed to make them happier.


Good: Filtering the Best Employees

A gamified workplace also allows the best and brightest employees to shine. The people who make the most progress will stand out. This opens up an entire new platform for recognition and can help businesses pick out good employees.


Bad: It Can Cause Discord

People are unavoidably competitive. Gamification creates an outlet for workers to try to cheat their way to the top. This can cause personal issues between employees as they try to scrabble toward progress and rewards.

There are disadvantages to gamification, of course, but with careful planning and implementation, it can be a vital tool for encouraging engagement in the workplace.

Could Accepting Cash Payments Positively Influence Your Buyers?

Jeff Cochran


A study published in December 2016 by the International Journal of Central Banking reports that despite electronic payment systems’ integration around the world, customers still prefer to pay with cash. The study found that despite the switch from paper money to “bitcoins,” cash holding and use have not disappeared. Some companies rely on electronic systems exclusively, but this decision could be costing them.

The Study

According to the study, cash is the primary payment for customers across seven major countries. Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States are all proven to prefer physical money. In the United States alone, 46 percent of transactions rely on cash – and America uses it less than the other six on the list.

Interestingly, France and the U.S. are the only two out of the seven where paper checks are still relevant. Meanwhile, Germans and Austrians carry and use the highest amount of cash. Across the other five countries, the average consumer kept only $30 on them at any time.

Many experts attribute these cash-carrying habits to the fact that paper money is primarily used for multiple small transactions throughout the day. This also explains why it comprises such a small amount of total transaction value in other countries

Benefits of Using Cash

Some people see using cash as an inconvenience, but it affords a lot of benefits for both the individual and society as a whole. Bloomberg reported excerpts from the same study, finding that the value of dollars and euros has more than doubled since 2005. This is largely due to people continuing to carry and spend cash, although some of it may also be due to a demand for currencies in foreign countries.

Another benefit of using cash is that people value their money more. Consumers get a better sense of the “value” of their dollars when they physically have to hand them over during a transaction. This can actually be a key way of learning how to control spending.

Accepting Cash

The numbers don’t lie. With 46 percent of transactions in America relying on cash, can you really afford not to accept it? The more checkout choices you offer, the more likely it is you’ll draw in more customers and close those deals. Bitcoins and debit cards are interesting, and they may play a bigger part in the future of retail, but for now cash is still king.

How to Keep Up With the Competition

Jeff Cochran


In a business atmosphere that’s adapting to new technologies and consumer demands at a faster pace than ever before, it’s no surprise sales tactics are also changing. Salespeople in modern business must periodically analyze their performance, identify weak points, and learn new sales techniques based on changing customer needs. If you want your employees to be their best, they need to be ready to adapt.

The Five Forces of Change

There are five main forces that drive change for sales people: the threat of new people and competition, suppliers’ bargaining power, competition among existing firms, negotiating power of the buyers, and the threat of substitute services and products.

  1. Competition among salespeople. Marketing and inside sales roles have been consistently expanding and eroding the position of the B2B outside salespeople. In turn, this has sparked a golden age for inside the salespeople, but makes positions much more competitive for the outside salesperson.
  1. The threat of new entrants. There are always advancements changing the entire industry. Job automation is the biggest challenge right now as artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual/augmented reality are switching up the game. It takes polished skill to compete with technical advancements for both inside and outside salespeople.
  1. Threat of salespeople substitutes. Self-service and e-commerce advancements are putting more pressure on B2B sales.
  1. Bargaining power of the buyers. In this area of customer power, salespeople have very little influence and control. Success is dependent on adaptability.
  1. Bargaining power of the suppliers. It’s easy for even the smallest businesses to get supplies from across the world. Although it offers more opportunities, it also means salespeople have to work with more and more business partners. Being able to bargain with other companies may determine whether or not you keep a comfortable arrangement.


Preparing for Change

Even though the world is always changing, there are ways salespeople can prepare for whatever the future holds. One of the best ways to keep up with the crazy pace is by taking sales training courses from SNI. We always build the programs based around the current market trends so you’ll have exactly what you need.

Sales training courses from SNI are engineered to teach you how to adjust to these five factors of change, plus give you an edge over your competition. When your livelihood is on the line, you need to be able to roll with the punches, stay current, and prove to your customers that you’re the best around. Period.