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What Negotiation Training Options Would Benefit My Team Most?

Andres Lares

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Negotiation ClassHow confident are you in your team’s negotiation skills? Do you have at least one person on your team you consider to be a skilled negotiator, or do you tend to handle the negotiation end of your business dealings personally? An important part of business leadership is acknowledging your team’s strengths and capitalizing on them while simultaneously identifying and addressing gaps in their skillsets. Negotiations training courses can be a tremendously potent investment for any business leader who wants to take their organization into the future with confidence.

If you are considering negotiation training for your team or think participating in negotiation workshops could be beneficial, you should know the full range of options available that can provide effective negotiating training to you and your team. If you haven’t yet considered negotiations training courses, step back and analyze your negotiation skills and determine whether you could benefit from such programs.

 

Benefits of Negotiations Training Courses

No matter how experienced you might think you are at negotiating, things can always go awry or you may face an unfamiliar situation with no idea of how to proceed. Top negotiation workshops can provide you with a firmer understanding of the essential negotiation skills you need to carry your business forward. Some of the benefits your team can enjoy by investing in negotiations training courses include:

  • More robust self-assessment tools to identify your strengths and opportunities to improve.
  • Honing your conflict resolution skills, which can help you achieve your best alternative to a negotiated agreement should negotiations fail.
  • More effective preparation, both in terms of pre-negotiation research as well as formulating appropriate responses during negotiations for more successful bargaining.
  • Better results. Skilled negotiators have a higher chance of successfully navigating toward positive outcomes in all types of negotiation.
  • Increased confidence. When your team is aware of the latest negotiation tactics and learns how to leverage them effectively, you can approach a more diverse range of situations with greater confidence.

This is not an exhaustive list, and the benefits of negotiation workshops will vary from team to team. Once you understand the options available when it comes to negotiations training classes, you can determine which type would benefit your team the most or experiment with multiple training types.

 

Online vs. Classroom Training

You can find very high-quality negotiations training courses that provide your team with robust training modules delivered via online portals. This can be incredibly convenient, allowing your team to work through these classes from the comfort of their own workspaces or even at home in some cases. However, some people learn more effectively and retain information better when they participate in classroom-style training sessions.

Think carefully about which type of training your team would enjoy and benefit from the most. It may be possible to conduct both types of training in some cases, such as an online training course enhanced with more in-depth classroom sessions that may lead to better retention. Effective negotiating requires drawing on a wide range of topics, and it’s vital to expose your team to all of them without overwhelming them.

 

Customized Negotiation Training Solutions vs. Boxed Training Programs

If you’re considering your options when it comes to negotiations training courses, you should determine whether your team needs a customized program or if a boxed program would suffice. However, more experienced teams and sales teams working in highly specialized fields will likely need a more in-depth training course that addresses their business-critical operations.

Remember, your sales team aren’t the only members of your organization that require negotiation training. Every member of every organization needs to know how to negotiate effectively, from your sales representatives to your project managers and business leaders. A boxed solution may not provide effective training to every level of your organization, but it may be more affordable than more robust customized negotiations training courses.

 

Class Length

It’s no secret that many people working in the business world dread participating in training workshops. However, there are just as many people who enjoy these opportunities both as a break from their day-to-day operations as well as opportunities to learn new skills. As you weigh your options for negotiation workshops for your team, consider class length. Do you think your team would benefit from quicker sessions that only take a few hours a day, or would a lengthier, more in-depth program spanning several full days offer a greater benefit?

Take a close look at your available negotiation training options. They will probably offer different class lengths, different topic coverage, and vary in other ways that you should carefully examine before committing to any of them. When it comes to class length, consider how much time your team can spare to participate in training without neglecting business-critical tasks.

 

Consider Class Size

To take advantage of negotiation training courses, you need to ensure the course providers can serve your whole team efficiently. Take a look at the class sizes offered. Does the program offer enough space for everyone in your sales team to participate, or do you plan on having every level of your organization participate in negotiation training? Before committing to any type of negotiation workshop, make sure the provider can handle the class sizes you need.

Think about the available class sizes and consider sending in teams to participate in training one at a time. This could not only help ensure everyone you want to participate in the training has the opportunity to do so, but also ensure your business-critical operations aren’t neglecting throughout the training.

 

Choose Negotiations Training Courses Built for Your Needs

Once you consider all of the variables necessary for finding the best possible training program for your team, you can take advantage of everything the program has to offer. Even the most skilled negotiator needs to stay up to date on the latest negotiation trends and tactics to stay sharp, and effective negotiating skills are potent assets at all levels of your organization. Think carefully about the type of negotiation training courses that would benefit your team the most.

Negotiating in an Insight Sales Environment

Andres Lares

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Thanks to technology, customers are savvier than ever. A myriad of options are available for their consideration at the touch of a button – pricing data, user reviews, expert analysis, independent research, etc., making the buying process a looping, iterative engagement rather than the historical “feature – benefits – value” process of days gone by. Consider this – for the first time ever buyers are more than halfway through their purchasing process before they even reach out to sales!

In 2017, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported that, “U.S. companies spend over $70 billion annually on (sales) training, and an average of $1,459 per salesperson — almost 20 percent more than they spend on workers in all other functions.”[1]  Despite this significant investment of money and lost time in front of customers, the article reported ‘lackluster’ results for ROI, which can be elusive when measuring sales results in a fast-charging and changing marketplace. Why do disappointing results most commonly happen? Based on our 25 years of experience, SNI believes when training falls short it’s often because they miss one or more of these critical success factors:

  • Experiential – Should be simulation-based, this is what anchors the learning
  • Relevant – The answer to “how do I use this tomorrow?” must be obvious
  • Customized – Not only to the company, but to the specific role
  • Reinforced – It cannot be a one-time training event
  • On-going accountability – Requires management buy-in, on-going coaching, etc.

Yet, through all of the successes and failures companies continue to train. Perhaps it is because they believe they will get it right, even against the odds. Or, because they feel that regardless of impact on performance it will at least help employee retention. Or, because even if not perfect, companies expect a positive return on investment, which makes it worthwhile, even if not a home run. The motivations behind each organization are very difficult to deduce, but, what we do know is that there is a recipe for success, that if followed, makes it VERY likely that organizations will be satisfied with the result.

 

Negotiation is a Key Sales Skill…. and We are Expert Negotiators

SNI has 25 years of experience negotiating deals and teaching a proven process for negotiating with today’s informed buyer. We build foundational habits for negotiating, which are customized to align, enhance and reinforce your existing sales training and processes. Whether it is SPIN, Challenger, Insights, Sandler System, or any other out there, we have come behind it and helped optimize its results. It is what we do. We are experts on negotiation, and our training rarely fails to produce measurable results in concert with your sales model. What makes negotiation training in particular so attractive? How close it is to the bottom line. Revenues and margin are two easy ways to measure training impact – we are strong proponents of measuring those or other KPIs pre and post training.

 

We Know a Lot about Sales Training

The SNI team travels the world to design and deliver training that ‘fits’ the needs. From professional services to software to manufacturing to banking and even pharmaceuticals, we have seen just about every sales training out there. We learn new insights every single time. We ensure that our process not only references, but directly utilizes and reinforces the sales training your team has already received.

SNI stays focused on the art of influence and motivation while supporting your organization’s choice of sales methodology. We get right in the middle of it, while staying out of it. We see no need to overcomplicate things.

 

We Help Accelerate Your ROI Investment in Sales Training

HBR points out that sales training ROI can be hard to nail down. For example, Richardson is a leading sales training company.[2] We see their training all over the world, because it’s good and it works. Their Selling with Insights program teaches sales reps what to do in order to learn skills to help run engaging, productive sales calls; provide insights; link their prospects’ objectives and pain points to available solutions; resolve objections and resistance, and more.

They learn what to do in the classroom, practice it and then they go out and try it. Some skills have immediate impact while others take longer to develop in real situations.

Our negotiation program helps them learn different ways how to do it. SNI’s negotiation and influence programs reinforce and expand the skills delivered in Selling with Insights by coming in behind that program to re-examine, reinforce and apply new techniques to emerging skills in real situations.

 

We Deliver Just-in-Time and/or Customized Training Reinforcement

A critical strategy for making sales training ‘stick’ is to keep building on existing knowledge and skills. In a 2017 Forbes article, the author states: “Now that technology allows multimedia training and development, it’s easier than ever to reinforce the training to ensure the sales force has reinforcement through additional time and content, as well as virtual coaching. If you want change to stick, you need to be willing to stay the course for 24 months.”[3]

SNI has always felt that reinforcement is imperative to the success of training (see above list of critical success factors). As a result, SNI offers a mobile application, wallet cards, coaching field guides, online interactive sessions, video-taped roleplay, VR and AI based applications, integration into CRMs, and many other forms of reinforcement. Ultimately these are what bridge the gap between training and performance improvement and ensure long lasting accountability.

 

Preparation for Confidence and Direction

SNI’s Preparation Checklist tool helps sales professionals gather and organize information about the customer’s needs by looking at precedents, alternatives, interests, deadlines and other pertinent data prior to starting a dialogue. The confidence that comes from preparation before engaging the customer will enhance your sales process by forming a negotiation strategy to maximize results.

SNI customizes the Preparation Checklist to work with your pre-call planners, opportunity plans, value plans and account plans so your sales team isn’t overwhelmed or paralyzed by analysis or wholesale change.

For example, for those that have gone through Selling with Insights, alternatives would have a sales person think through what he/she offers other than money, strengths and weaknesses would be a tool to ensure one is not intimidated by the competition, strategy is a reminder that you have the right to suggest and direct the conversation appropriately, etc.

 

Probing for Information and Insights

SNI’s probing techniques allow for a natural, non-interrogative way to lead the conversation into a collaborative discussion of possible solutions, which in many cases leads to a more mutually satisfactory outcome. It is a standalone tool for deeper discovery – to truly understand what motivates the other side. However, how it is implemented is customized – for example, with one recent client that had just implemented Selling With Insights, the model fit into their questions around – what are the challenges, impact, need, and what does the other party really care about?  Not only did our negotiating training reinforce many of the sales training concepts, it also provided the sales organization with several additional tools and skills to implement them immediately, with precision, and to accomplish sustained success.

Simply stated, we help people close more deals, faster and with better outcomes.

 

Proposing to Maximize Results

In order to improve a sales organization’s ability to propose solutions, we put them through a simulation that reinforces good closing behavior while teaching strong skills for exchanging value and generating mutual satisfaction. It is a tough simulation that often allows them to self-discover areas of deficiency, which then allows us to provide several fundamental rules for effective proposing that lead to the close. This experiential-based teaching methodology allows participants to remember how it felt when they succeeded (or failed) in their closing behaviors.

Most ‘margin leak’ happens in the final stages of a negotiation, and our guidelines align with the desired outcomes of every sales opportunity. Using SNI’s rules for proposing gives sales professionals a way to protect margins by not leaving money on the table.

 

How to Make More, Faster….with Better Margins

Are your sales-people feeling overworked yet not producing the results you or they expect? Are your margins eroding? Are you feeling commoditization pressure from your clients? Are there new competitors in the space? These are the types of challenges that lead some of the most successful organizations in the world to call on SNI. We solve that problem by enveloping our skills and techniques around your sales process if you have one, or a standalone negotiation process if you don’t. We see no need to reinvent the wheel…let’s focus on making what works for you today even better tomorrow.

We put sales professionals into familiar scenarios, using language they know and giving them opportunities to explore how new negotiation skills can help drive better conversations without giving in to the temptation to sacrifice pricing and terms to close deals. They learn how and when to share information, ask better questions and make more insightful proposals. This builds on and accelerates any form of sales skills development.

Give us a call at 410-662-4764 if you are interested in learning more about SNI and how we work with an organization to optimize selling through the addition of negotiation and/or influence skills.

References:

[1] Harvard Business Review, June 12, 2017, Your Sales Training is Probably Lackluster. Here’s How to  Fix It. Cespedes and Lee.

[2] Hubspot Academy. Richardson ranked #6 in 2019 for Onsite Sales Training Programs. Originally published Aug 1, 2019 10:31:00 AM, updated December 03 2019

[3] Iannarino, Anthony, Four Ways to Make Sales Training Stick. Forbes, Sept. 19, 2018.

Benefits of Investing in Negotiations Classes for Your Organization

Jeff Cochran

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From learning the basics of arithmetic and reading in childhood to honing a professional career through specialized classes as an adult, education is an important part of all aspects of life. Likewise, from policy topics and concepts down to the types of pencils available in the classroom, all the decisions we make to promote education matter. Experience is also important, but education is what helps us recognize gaps in our existing knowledge about multifaceted topics so we can grow and put certain concepts into practice more effectively.

Negotiation is one of the most pivotal aspects of modern business. Even if your organization does not seem to be too focused on competition, negotiation happens every day throughout all levels of a business, often unrecognized. Negotiation does not always involve a formal setting designed specifically around negotiating a particular topic; it happens in lots of informal settings and seemingly as part of regular conversation all the time. Comprehensive negotiations classes can help business leaders and their teams prepare for these interactions better, learn how to ask the right questions, and practice the art of true listening.

 

A Negotiations Course Will Help You Identify When You Are in a Negotiation

One of the most important parts of successful negotiations is preparing for them accordingly, but it can be difficult to predict when some negotiations will take place. A negotiation course from an experienced training group can help your team recognize when negotiation skills should come into play. Once they acknowledge that any type of negotiation is taking place, they can begin drawing upon their skills and acquired knowledge to successfully navigate the interaction regardless of the circumstances. The ability to accurately identify negotiations and respond appropriately is a critical skill in the modern business world.

 

Learn How to Probe for Information Successfully

Preparation is the first step in successful negotiation but probing for information is arguably the most important. To successfully navigate any type of negotiation, you need to have as much information about the subject of the negotiation as possible, ideally before negotiations actually begin. Probing for information happens in two main ways – one, research your conduct prior to the negotiation and, two, what you can discover during the negotiation itself by asking the right questions. Participating in a negotiations course can teach your team how to glean as much information as possible before and during a negotiation so you can achieve the most desirable results.

 

Hone Your Proposal Skills

Any type of negotiation hinges on proposals. Typically, a negotiation will start with some kind of proposal, and then the responding party can accept, reject, or counter the proposal with their own terms. This may go back and forth until the parties reach agreeable terms or it could lead to a breakdown of negotiations and all parties will simply walk away from the table. Negotiations classes can teach your team how to draft better initial proposals and navigate the back-and-forth proposals common to many different types of negotiations.

 

Learn How to Really Listen

Listening is much more than simply waiting your turn to talk. It’s acknowledging a speaker, taking in everything they have to say, and inferring the intentions behind what they say. A negotiation course can help your team learn how to listen more effectively, how to pick up on subtle intonations, and how to discern a negotiator’s intentions based on body language and reading between the lines.

 

Overcome Objections to Your Proposals More Gracefully

One of the most important arts of negotiation is how to handle objections, or how to navigate toward your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Negotiations classes can teach your team how to identify when the other side is disagreeable toward a position as well as a range of conflict resolution tools to help salvage negotiations that fall into murky territory. Sales negotiation in particular hinges on appropriate conflict resolution to not only secure sales but to also preserve the reputation of a business. Even if your negotiations do not result in sales, with the right negotiation training, it is still very possible to leave the table having made a positive impression on the other side.

 

Expand Your Arsenal of Negotiation Tactics

Negotiation is a combination of several constantly shifting concepts. While many seasoned negotiators develop a skill set or reliable policy they rely on for most of their negotiations, it is essential to learn new ways to approach negotiation and develop new tactics. Negotiations can be unpredictable, so your tried-and-true method of navigating a negotiation may be nullified by certain scenarios. A negotiation course could involve new negotiation models, simulations, and valuable self-assessment tools to identify gaps in your negotiation skill set.

Even if you and your team are confident in your sales negotiation skills, negotiations classes can be an incredibly potent investment that helps your team prepare for the future, handle unpredictable negotiation situations more gracefully, and reach more positive outcomes through your professional negotiations in the future.