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5 Reasons Your Sales Team Needs Integrated Sales Training

Josh Jenkins

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A formerly high-performing sales team has appeared to hit a slump, and the sales manager can’t seem to make sense of the cause behind this drop in performance. The team seems to continue relying on the sales tactics and negotiation strategies that guided them toward success in the past, but these methods seem to lack their previous effectiveness. In this situation, the sales manager needs to carefully assess potential remedies that will not only pull the sales team out of their current funk, but also empower them for continued success in the future.

Integrated sales training provided on a consistent basis is a vital component to any company’s success. Even the best sales teams need consistent training. Changes in consumer behaviors, new sales methodologies, and new research findings all impact sales strategy, and staying current on these issues is one of the best ways to ensure continued success in any type of sales.

 

Consistent Sales Training Helps Make Your Sales Team Unique

Your business is unique, so your sales team should be, too. Consistent training helps your team avoid complacency. For example, a fresh sales representative may discover a negotiation technique or pitching strategy that works very well, eventually coming to rely on this stratagem for future use. Eventually, the effectiveness seems to fade. The unique spin this representative puts on their sales negotiations is not unique anymore and has simply become a mainstay of their sales tactics.

Consistent training helps your sales team adapt their practices and strategies over time so they don’t lose their effectiveness. Instead of allowing your sales team to fall into complacency, provide them with regular opportunities to practice and sharpen their skills while introducing them to new approaches to sales negotiations. Over time, these consistent training sessions help ensure your team stays uniquely competitive.

 

Customer Habits Are Constantly Changing

The consumer base of 2019 is very different from the consumer bases of 2009 or 1999. While some of those consumers are still making purchases today, their habits have changed. No matter how long you are in business, your sales team will eventually need to adopt new tactics to connect with new customers. Regular training sessions can help your sales team reconnect with modern consumers and better understand their spending habits, needs, and desires.

Some sales managers may wonder why this is necessary for industries that cater to specific niches or rely on the same types of customers year over year. Even if your business is the definition of consistent, you still need to learn how to approach new customers and adapt to your buyers’ changing habits. For example, if you have had one customer for 20 years who purchases consistently, regular sales training sessions can help your team remain focused on providing that customer with true value and understanding the customer’s changing business needs. This is yet another way to help your team avoid complacency and stagnation.

 

Your Sales Force Represents Your Brand

Your sales team is the front line between your brand and your customers. To ensure your sales team is always putting the best foot forward, work to make strong, memorable impressions with old and new customers alike. An integrated sales training program ensures your sales team remains aligned with the company’s goals and can remind them that they represent your brand to every customer they contact.

Consistent sales training through an integrated program also shows your sales team that your organization is willing to continue investing in them and wants to help them hone their skills over time. When you show your employees that you remain committed to their individual success, this builds confidence and helps ensure your sales team knows they are a valued part of the company.

 

Consistent Training Keeps Your Sales Team Engaged and Motivated

Every business is different, and your company likely experiences peaks and lulls when it comes to sales year after year. Falling into routine can be beneficial in some ways and detrimental in others. Remember, complacency is not a good thing when it comes to your sales force. You need to do everything you can to continue to improve upon your sales team’s skill and effectiveness, and an integrated training program that offers consistent training sessions can do just that.

Training sessions for your sales team are opportunities to explore new sales strategies, unpack the latest market research, and collaborate. These sessions can reinvigorate a team that has experienced a recent lull in productivity and motivation, encourage them to expand their sales strategies and capitalize on newly discovered information, and ultimately reignite their desire to work harder.

 

Well-Trained Employees Feel More Confident and Empowered

Providing your sales team with access to an integrated sales training program is a sure way to grow your business. When your sales team has access to the latest sales techniques, industry information, consumer behavior reports, and up-to-date research, they will inherently feel better equipped to not only meet their quotas but also explore beyond their typical day-to-day operations to find new opportunities to excel and grow the business.

Personal investment into your company’s sales force is one of the best investments any business leader can make. Providing an integrated training program not only helps your sales team perform better and protect the company’s bottom line, but also shows that you value them as individuals and consider them worth the investment. This, in turn, boosts employee retention rates, which cuts overhead from hiring, training, and replacing employees who decide to look elsewhere for more fulfilling work.

 

An integrated training program offers these and several other distinct benefits to any sales-oriented business. If you are searching for ways to improve the bottom line, improve sales team performance, or reignite the spark for a previously high-performing sales team, a training program could be the answer you’ve been seeking.

Negotiating Strategy: How to Compromise to Win

Andres Lares

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Every good negotiator needs to understand the value of compromising as well as recognizing the right time to seek compromise. Compromise is a powerful negotiation tool, and the way you achieve compromise is also important. If you want to learn how to compromise to win, you need to understand how to compromise effectively.

 

 

Take Your Time

Some negotiations may be time-sensitive, but that does not mean you should rush through to whatever result you can obtain as quickly as possible. Reaching an acceptable compromise with the opposition often requires taking more time than you may have originally planned for a negotiation but doing so ultimately leads to more favorable results for both parties.

Take your time and don’t negotiate too quickly. Gather as much information as possible from your opposition, learning everything you can about their desires, hopes, and fears concerning your discussion. When you offer something up haphazardly or cast aside some items of your negotiation without giving them the appropriate attention, you inherently weaken your position. Ultimately, taking your time during a negotiation increases the chances of finding the ideal “win-win” scenario for both sides of the table.

Negotiating isn’t mindreading – the party on the other side of the negotiating table may be more flexible than they initially appear or their goals may vary wildly from your initial assumptions. This is why taking your time is so important. If you’re striving for a compromise, you need to allow adequate time to learn everything you can about the situation before giving any ground or advancing your position.

 

If You Give, Be Sure to Obtain in Kind

A large part of compromising for a win is to never give anything up without obtaining something of equal value in return. Remember, compromise is about ensuring that both sides feel good about the outcome of a negotiation. You shouldn’t need to sacrifice the strength of your position to secure whatever deal you can, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some concessions to your opposition as long as you get something in return.

The potential for compromise varies in every negotiation in every industry, so there is no solid formula for determining what is acceptable to give up and at what price. Instead, strive to remain flexible during your negotiations. If certain terms of your deal are non-negotiable, look for other parts of your deal that might not be so rigid and explore the potential for compromise in these areas instead.  Ultimately, as long as you’re getting something in return and you reach favorable terms with the opposition, you haven’t lost but simply compromised for more mutually agreeable terms.

 

Always Strive to Minimize Your Losses

To obtain something, you need to be willing to lose something of equivalent value. Remember to focus on interests, not people. Do not allow your negotiation team to become fixated on the people on the other side of the table. Instead, have them focus on their goals and interests. This applies to your own side as well; do not allow your team to become fixated on reaching terms with the opposition and exceed your threshold for acceptable losses in the negotiation.

Buyers and sellers have different priorities, and this often leads to competitive tactics, attempts to split the difference, and other strategies that can prolong the negotiations and frustrate both parties. Stay focused on your organization’s goals and your immediate goals for the negotiation. Find out what you can offer the other party that does not require conceding ground.

As you work toward a compromise, your opposition will begin to show their hand and you’ll be able to more easily identify room for compromise that doesn’t require taking additional losses. Try to approach each negotiation with a firm idea of your best alternative to a negotiated agreement or your “consolation prize” compared to your ideal outcome. This should provide you with the right framework to decide where to make concessions and where to remain firm so you can mitigate your losses.

 

Use Implied Compromise to Stall for Time, If Necessary

Don’t shy away from telling the opposition that you might be able to agree to the suggested terms, but you need to verify some details first. This type of “implied compromise” not only gives you more time to work with but also shows the other side of the table that you’re looking for a compromise. Take this opportunity to formulate a new strategy or approach the negotiations from a new angle. Perhaps while verifying the proposed terms, you discover more information that alters the course of the discussion or find room for another type of compromise. A little bit of breathing room can go a long way toward helping you reach a more favorable outcome.

 

Know When a Loss Is Unavoidable

When a negotiation takes a turn for the worse, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to cut your losses. Sometimes the best compromise possible is making no deal at all. While this may not be an ideal outcome, it may be more beneficial to your organization than offering undue concessions to simply try and save face.

It is possible to eventually turn a loss into a win as long as you take adequate time to determine if a strategic position for the future is obtainable. Continuing negotiations even when you know a loss is imminent may not be a bad idea as long as there is something to gain in the future. Your discussion may uncover alternative routes toward a compromise or pave the way for future negotiations while minimizing your loss.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for compromising for a win. Negotiations can take unexpected turns, and you may not have all the information you need to solidify your bargaining position right away. Remember these five tips for your future negotiations and that compromising for a win can not only help your team advance your organization’s goals, but also cultivate professional relationships and hone your negotiation skills for future success.

9 Negotiating Techniques to Avoid

Jeff Cochran

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Negotiation can be a tricky skill to manage. Solid negotiation tactics can not only help a company achieve short-term success but also forge long-lasting partnerships and business relationships. Unethical negotiation tactics, however, ultimately harm the company, even when they seem to have positive results. If you allow these behaviors to continue unchecked, they will not only diminish the effectiveness of your team as a whole, but also ultimately harm your organization’s reputation.

 

Why Do People Use Questionable Negotiation Tactics?

Negotiation can be difficult, but that does not mean it is ever acceptable to delve into ethically questionable territory or use abusive negotiation tactics. Unfortunately, some professionals use these tactics for a number of reasons:

  • The “power motive” encourages people to exercise power over others to gain prestige or personal power. An individual may engage in questionable negotiation tactics simply for the personal satisfaction of obtaining power over the opposition.

 

  • The “competitive motive” encourages people to outperform their competition. Some professionals may feel compelled to win at any cost, including using deceptive or abusive negotiation tactics.

 

  • Survival can encourage an individual to use whatever means necessary to close a deal if doing so helps keep the individual in their job or a company afloat. If an organization has hit dire circumstances, this might compel some members of the organization to engage in questionable negotiation tactics.

 

These are just a few of the most common motivations behind some individuals’ decisions to employ marginally ethical negotiation tactics. If your team relies on negotiation skills on a regular basis, keep an eye out for any of the following negotiation tactics. These situations could ultimately become great opportunities for retraining or coaching on proper negotiation technique.

 

Negotiation Tactics to Avoid

Your team’s negotiation skills should rest on an ethical foundation of proper modern training and a commitment to advancing the organization’s goals in healthy, respectable ways. Stay alert for any marginally ethical or questionable negotiation tactics, including:

 

  • Competitive bargaining. Although this negotiation style is largely considered ethical, it is mostly used in situations where the customer-client relationship isn’t considered a long-term investment. Placing customers in a win-lose situation or presenting them with a “take it or leave it” stance does nothing to foster long-term relationships and may instead cultivate resentment.

 

  • Emotional manipulation. Intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the opposition to secure a superior bargaining position is underhanded and reflects poorly on your organization. You should strive to prove the value and benefits of what you have to offer rather than try to back the opposition into a corner out of fear, shame, or guilt.

 

  • Duping someone into agreeing to your terms is not a successful negotiation, it is a successful deception. Always ensure your team represents your organization’s products, services, and bargaining position accurately. Never leave out key details or misrepresent what you have to offer, otherwise the opposition will simply feel taken advantage of and will probably never do business with your organization again.

 

  • The decoy. A negotiation decoy is essential the practice of making a big deal out of one aspect of your discussion that ultimately doesn’t matter much in order to draw attention away from your true aim. Encourage your team to be straightforward in their negotiations, arguing from positions of strength while remaining committed to offering real value rather than hoping a distraction will dupe the opposition into agreeing to their terms.

 

  • Red herring. A red herring in the negotiation world is simply an illogical argument that sounds believable, something to throw the opposition off your “scent” and lulling them into a false sense of security. Do not allow your team to bluff or attempt to throw off the opposition by introducing distractions. Doing so only harms the reputation of your organization, so encourage honest and straightforward bargaining at all times.

 

  • Cherry picking. This tactic involves aggressively and systematically scanning the terms of a deal and highlighting those found agreeable and pointing out those found to be disagreeable. This is an attempt to exercise power over the opposition, causing them to second-guess their most desired outcomes. Encourage your team to refrain from terms that imply a deal is contingent on specific items and engage in more holistic discussions instead.

 

  • Deliberate mistake. Leaving out a crucial detail or hoping the opposition overlooks a key term of a deal is unethical, a tactic your team should avoid at all times. Duping another party into a deal after depriving them of necessary information is not a successful deal; it is simply a successful deception. It’s also one that could tarnish your company’s reputation and sully the relationship you could have cultivated with that customer. Ensure your team is always forthright will the terms of every deal they discuss, with every customer, every time.

 

  • Backing out of a negotiated offer. Breaching a legally binding contract is illegal in most cases, but backing out of a negotiated offer before the contract is signed falls more within the realm of unethical. It may not be illegal to back out of a negotiated deal before signing, but this should only happen under extreme circumstances when there is a very good reason to avoid going through with the deal.

 

  • Revoking an offer. This, like backing out of a negotiated offer, should only happen under extreme circumstances and in good faith. Revoking an offer in bad faith is generally viewed as unethical, so never allow your team to do so out of a desire to secure a more favorable bargaining position.

 

Teaching your team to avoid these tactics will help evolve their skillset and ultimately cultivate a stronger reputation for your business. The people with whom your team negotiates will respect straightforward discussions and ethical negotiation tactics.

4 Signs Your Team Needs Negotiation Training

Andres Lares

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Many professional teams experience issues that can impact performance, deteriorate team cohesion, and ultimately drive down the business’s bottom line. Some members may be underperforming for any number of reasons, from failure to capitalize on their potential to personal struggles that bleed into their professional work. Slow business periods, missed opportunities for connections with new customers or business partners, and interorganizational hiccups can all eventually hamper a professional team’s performance.

Managers who encounter these problems often find themselves struggling to find room for improvement. Helping team members realize their potential isn’t as easy as it might sound, and the answer isn’t always obvious. One of the most overlooked solutions is negotiation training. All types of professional business teams can benefit from a solid negotiations training course. Look for these signs that negotiation training might be the best available route to help a team out of a rut.

 

Your Organization Is Falling Short of Its Goals

Negotiation skills are necessary for every team at every level of a company, not just the sales force. A business professional in almost any department in any industry can benefit from knowing how to negotiate the right way. An organization failing to meet its goals may contain several teams that would all benefit from negotiation training. Consider how the following teams can benefit from negotiation training.

  • Negotiation training can assist teams that work with vendors, ensuring the organization’s concessions for vendor contracts are reasonable and advance the company’s goals.
  • Senior management across all departments within an organization may all offer input on internal budget decisions. Negotiation training can assist these managers in making strong cases to ensure the budget discussion flows in the right direction.
  • Organization members in all departments can enjoy smoother interactions with their colleagues, partners, supervisors, and clients when they know how to negotiate the right way. Negotiation inherently teaches one how to successfully navigate difficult conversations, regardless of who is on the other side of the table.
  • The right negotiation tactics can mean the difference between simply closing a deal with a client and forging a long-lasting partnership with that client. Some team members may be relying on heavy-handed tactics, which, while successful in the short term, ultimately create division between the organization and its vendors, partners, and clients.
  • Successful negotiations build confidence, which not only increases performance metrics but also boost overall job satisfaction. Happy employees are productive employees who want to remain with their organization, so negotiation training may ultimately boost employee retention rates.

These are just a few examples of how negotiation training can potentially benefit all levels of virtually any company, from entry-level employees to upper management at the C-suite.

 

The Organization Has No Systematic Approach to Negotiation

Your company likely has firm policies in place for handling specific issues, but does it have a solid system for handling negotiation? Negotiation training can become the foundation of your organization’s negotiation philosophy, and this will eventually permeate through all levels of your organization and lead to several surprising benefits. Each member of your team will likely evolve their own individual negotiation styles; that is perfectly fine as long as all those skillsets stem from the same foundational training to keep everyone in tune with the organization’s goals.

A systematic approach to negotiation inherently encourages team cohesion; when your team has all the fundamentals of negotiation down to a science, they will work better both individually and as a unit. Systematic negotiation means the team subconsciously creates its own check and balance system. When every member of a team completes the same negotiation training, they will instinctively discover and begin to capitalize on each other’s strengths and learn from one another simultaneously.

 

Your Team Doesn’t Have Opportunities to Practice Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is somewhat of a “use it or lose it” type of skill. If your team doesn’t have many opportunities to practice their negotiation skills, those skills will inevitably deteriorate. Negotiation training doesn’t just provide a framework for how to negotiate; it also helps your team shake the dust off their existing skills and hone them more finely. If your team doesn’t have many opportunities to practice negotiation, a professional negotiation training session can ensure they are fully prepared when the next opportunity arises.

Your team may also feel as though they have been lacking opportunities to practice negotiation skills because they simply aren’t recognizing them. Negotiation training can help your team quickly and accurately identify the times when negotiation skills are most important and recognize opportunities to negotiate on behalf of the organization. These opportunities may come in the form of interorganizational discussions with colleagues, interactions with clients, and discussions with other businesses that support your company.

 

Overall Lack of Training or Outdated Training

If it’s been years since your team’s last negotiation training or if they have never received any formal negotiation training, they may be simply out of touch with the latest research and methods in the professional negotiation realm. Even if a team member has decades of industry experience, complacency can take a toll and diminish even the most hardworking employee’s skillset. This is especially true when it comes to negotiation skills; this type of training should happen on a somewhat regular basis to ensure the team is fully up to speed with the latest negotiation methodology and information that influences their day-to-day interactions inside and outside of the company.

If you have noticed any of these warning signs within your organization or your team, it’s important to take decisive action and capitalize on the potential that negotiation training offers. A professional negotiation training program can help your team feel more aligned with the organization’s goals, more easily recognize opportunities to negotiate, and complete their negotiations in healthier and ultimately more successful ways.