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The Big Ask: How to get That Promotion

Andres Lares

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Quick! What are you worth to your company? If you hesitated before answering, you are not alone. Most people are uncertain about their actual value in the corporate structure of a company. In fact, after initially accepting a job, people tend to use their starting salary as a guide. While this might be helpful, if you accepted the job at a lower-than-market-rate salary, you will be starting promotion/salary negotiations at a disadvantage.

Before you ask for a promotion, you should consider the following:


Find out the salary range for the promotion you want. Obviously, you are not going to get this information from your company. Consult online salary surveys, and speak with other people in similar positions (if they are willing to share their information). Once you have at least a ballpark figure, you have a starting place.


• Research the position for which you want to be considered. Check your company’s website for job descriptions, research competitors’ job descriptions and speak with people who have done the job.


Be sure you are performing your current job at your optimal level. That means you need to be able to show you go above and beyond at your job. Be willing to take on additional projects and look for leadership opportunities.


Some companies only consider promotions during annual performance reviews. These are often dependent upon the organization’s fiscal year (which may or may not be in sync with the regular calendar).
If you are hoping to ask for a promotion before your yearly performance review, be prepared to face some pushback. This does not mean that you should give up; rather, it just means you have to be a bit more creative in your approach.

Action Plan


Experts suggest having a roadmap before you approach your boss to request a promotion. Most agree that the following are important steps:


Keep an ongoing record of your accomplishments. Be sure your manager is aware of your hard work and what you contribute to the team. This does not mean you should brag or oversell yourself; that could backfire.


Increase your knowledge base. Continue to add to your wheelhouse of skills by learning all you can. Enroll in some evening courses, ask about continuing education opportunities provided by your company — these efforts will increase your value to your employer.


Take your annual performance reviews seriously. Be sure to ask questions of your manager, including ways you can improve and grow within the company.


Look for opportunities to communicate with your managers about your career goals and aspirations. If they do not know your plans, they cannot help you achieve them.


Self-Assessment


Some companies offer employees the opportunity to do a “self-review” as part of the evaluation process. This, no doubt, can be an uncomfortable task: Most people are not accustomed to citing their own accomplishments, or facing their own shortcomings. This is an important task because it forces the employee to be honest about his/her career.


Career counselors and hiring managers recommend that employees who are looking to grow find a mentor. This can be as simple as meeting with someone in your company over lunch to discuss a path forward. This person should be someone who can help you grow your career. Or, a mentor might be someone out of your company whose career has followed a similar path to you the one you are seeking.

Passed Over


OK, so what if you’ve done everything suggested here and you still do not get that promotion? What’s next? There are myriad reasons that you did not get the promotion. Perhaps there was someone more seniority. Maybe the job in which you are interested is not available. Or maybe your manager simply does not feel you are qualified for the position. If that is the case, ask for a follow-up review prior to your next yearly evaluation. Ask your manager what you can do to improve your chances of getting that promotion.

How to Help your B2B Sales Team Conquer the Field

Andres Lares

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Sales in the B2B space are complicated. As the business landscape becomes more and more crowded, sales teams need an edge to stay at the top and create a path to successful sales.

In a traditional corporate structure, sales and marketing do not always work together. That’s not to say they function as adversarial departments; however, the need to collaborate has never been more important. In some cases, the marketing department can become a sales team’s best resource.

Why? We live in an active, visual world. The tried-and-true sales meetings of a few years ago are not always the most effective way to woo a potential client. People need to be engaged. They do not want to be told, they want to be shown. Clients want to be an active participant in a sales presentation. They want to make sure you earn their business. Your marketing department can help you create augmented- and virtual-reality presentations that can take your clients into to the heart of your presentation. PowerPoint does not always suffice.

Make your sales presentation content active, rather than passive. You can let the customer experience your products and services in a virtual environment, which can encourage them to work with your company.

Here are some ways to create active content to engage your potential clients:

  • Work with your marketing department to create easy-to-use apps.
  • Create or obtain specialized software that works with your product or service.
  • Make your displays interactive and engaging. Active content is two times as effective as passive content.

 

Lines of Communication

Open communication sounds like a given, but salespeople often struggle with the best way to reach potential clients. Cold-calling emails often end up in the recipient’s junk file, which means you’ve lost a lead. Find out who the decision makers are and address them directly. Once you secure a meeting, then you can put your new strategies into place.

Do your homework before your first meeting. Sure, everyone knows to research the prospective client. But it’s equally important to research the client’s competition. This is a crucial step because it will allow you to show the prospect how your product or service can help take the client’s business to the next level — above and beyond that of their competition. You also need to include some deep-dive research into your own competitors. You know that your products and services are the best, but you need to convince your prospects of your company’s value. This is how you differentiate yourself from your competition. This will help prepare you for any off-the-cuff questions you may receive.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Know your audience. Are you pitching to the CEO of the company or to one of his/her assistants? Gear your presentation to the appropriate person.
  • Identify with your client. Try to empathize with his/her needs and approach your presentation from a place of understanding.

When it’s time to close the sale, perhaps the most important thing you can do is to set a time limit for a decision. Do not leave the meeting without a firm deadline to close the sale. Open-ended timelines give the client too much time to look for other options — and to forget why you can provide the best solutions for the client. Be sure to follow up within a reasonable time prior to your deadline. You want to keep your company fresh in the minds of decision-makers.

It sounds cliché to say you need to think outside the box, but innovation really is the key sales in the 21st century. The more your sales team can differentiate itself from the competition, the more sales they will make. Combining efforts with the in-house marketing department is key to creating fresh, interesting, compelling sales presentations.

Negotiation tactics, strategies, and skills to win you a better deal.

Andres Lares

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Negotiation is a balance between the science of preparation and strategy development and the art of connecting with the other side’s needs and wants. The trick is to know just how much you have to ‘give’ in order to get all of your needs met (and with solid negotiation habits… some or most of your ‘wants’ as well). 

 

Better habits will lead to better results in all of your negotiations whether it is a business deal, a personal purchase or even ‘Where are we going for dinner?’ decisions made under the stress of being hungry and in a hurry with family and friends!

 

SNI has a proven method for maximizing your objectives in a negotiation while maintaining a careful eye toward improving relationships. We firmly believe in using a system for negotiation not only because it improves performance, but also because it makes it repeatable and sustainable across an organization. 

 

Our relationship based approach to negotiation is based around the core principle – the best way to get what you want in a negotiation is to help them get at least some of what they want.

 

Below are a host of negotiation tactics, strategies, and skills based on our negotiation training that will surely positively impact your negotiations. 

 

Negotiation Strategies for Getting What You Want and Need

 

Don’t ever overestimate your weakness, nor underestimate the other side’s. 

Many negotiators give in too easily when they believe they are weaker than the other side. One aspect of preparation is to identify the strengths and weaknesses for both sides. 

You need reliable transportation, and you want a car that is $2000 over your budget. It is not unreasonably priced, but it is $2000 over your budget. 

  • Experts don’t haggle here. They weigh the other side’s needs (to move cars) and wants (to make commission) and with that leverage, they walk in and make a reasonable offer below their target price (leaving room to move). 
  • When faced with options to maximize the price (or switch to a less desirable car), the experts stick to their initial offer for a specific car. 
  • The experts point out how their offer meets the salesperson’s need to sell a car today. 
  • When the price starts to drop, the expert sticks to their offer and asks if the desired price is possible. 
  • If/when an expert does need to make a concession, they remember the three keys to making concessions- move slowly ($100 up), show pain (“my wife won’t be happy”), and ask for something in return (“but I’ll need free oil changes for the first year”). 

And so on until they reach their target price. Sticking to your first reasonable offer and using the laws of concession forces the other side to start conceding in an attempt to get you to ‘trade’ with them. Resist the temptation to change your offer until you get your primary goal(s) met. 

 

Scripting Your Exchanges

It is always a good idea to write out your needs and wants, along with their relative values, to plan for the exchange of value in a negotiation. 

You are in the final stages of a salary negotiation with a great candidate for your team, and the candidate asks you for $5000 more than your budget for the position. 

Experts:

  • Already know what they are going to say when this situation arises. They plan to:
    • Ask the candidate to reconsider the offer. 
    • If that is rejected, the next ‘offer’ should be worth far less than $5000 but should still be a move in the right direction. Ideally it’s a combination of moving in salary along with other variables. 
    • Trades such as an extra week of vacation, a 1% bump in 401(k) contributions or stock, ability to telework, flexibility in schedule and subsidized parking cost you less than the hard cost of that $5000 that is not in your hiring budget. These solutions will have less impact on your cash flow. 

Writing out your strategy is the science and knowing when/how to offer these exchanges is an art. Fortunately, it is a strategy that you can learn and practice to get better. Here is another technique to help you practice this strategy and close difficult deals. 

 

Offering 3 Options

An excellent closing strategy is to offer three options. Buyers like to feel in control. By presenting three choices: a premium package, an enhanced package and a basic package, you can usually influence the other side to choose your preferred option by simply offering it as the last choice. Three options balances people having a feeling of choice with not being overwhelmed by too many choices (paralysis by analysis). 

You are selling a subscription service and the other side is asking for your most expensive package at a 20% discount. 

Let’s assume that you have a basic service at $1200, enhanced service at $1500 and premium service at $2000. Your customer is trying to get you to offer premium service at $1600. You can’t mix and match components of your services a la carte, so:

  • Offer the premium service hard at full price. Set the bar high. 
  • Next compare it to the basic service. They don’t want that. 
  • Ask questions and listen to their needs/objections. 
  • Make an offer to meet most of their needs and wants with the enhanced service at the price of $1500 saving the customer more than the 20% discount they requested while meeting most of their needs and wants. 

Most negotiations will end with the other side choosing their price point (the enhanced service) or your value (enhanced at $1500 or the premium service at $2000). A nice win-win. 

 

Negotiation Tactics for Dealing with Difficult People

Some negotiators bargain in a difficult way because they are in a bad spot, while others use power, tricks and tactics because they often work! In either scenario, you can counter the positional or argumentative negotiator by changing your mindset about these difficult deals, and utilizing some of their own tactics to neutralize them. 

Here are some quick tips for dealing with tactical negotiators.

 

Neutralize your own emotions. 

Take a deep breath. This isn’t about you. You have prepared well and you are negotiating in good faith. 

Your customer says “I thought the customer is your first priority!? You have to help me out with a discount on this job so I can win US BOTH more business.”

Count to ten and stay in your ‘safe harbor’ of asking questions in the face of objections and power plays. 

Ask questions:

  • Tell me about your agreement with your client? 
  • Do you have a contract ready for this future work? 
  • Can I help you with the response to this RFP?

Use hypotheticals:

  • Hypothetically, could we approach this customer together? With our combined buying power, we might be able to offer more value if we can win a bigger order.
  • If we agree on X can we talk about Y?

 

If your gut tells you it’s a tactic, name it and neutralize it. 

Sometimes you think the deal is done, and then someone new enters the deal for ‘final approval’. You suspect something (we call it “Higher Authority” or the “Nibble” if they ask for something last minute), but you’re not sure. Your gut says this is a tactic. 

You’re probably right. 

Here’s one way to handle it…

Your longtime customer Jenny says you have to meet her new budget manager to get your agreement approved. 

“This is Bruce. We want to give you the business, but you have to lower the price to get his buy-in.”

The expert greets Bruce and asks him what he needs to make a decision. Bruce replies “Lower your price.” 

The expert responds with a prepared response: 

  • “I believe you’re negotiating in good faith, but having you come in now with only one need – ‘Lower price’…this makes me feel like you’re using a ‘good cop-bad cop’ tactic. 
  • “Jenny and I have had many discussions. Can we catch you up on some points before we talk about price?” 

Whether they confess or deny it, you have blocked the good cop/bad cop strategy because:

  • You named it. They have to adopt another approach. 
  • Be polite, but know that you are on moral high ground. 
  • Protest (gently) and take the opportunity to restate your offer (or an alternative).

You cannot be wrong when you tell someone how their behavior makes you feel. When you feel it, name it and neutralize it. Try to get back to having a two-way dialogue. 

 

Silence is a great tactic when combined with active listening.

Your negotiation has reached a moment when there seems to be an impasse. Try staying quiet. A pleasant, unworried and perfectly calm expression while your last offer is considered can be powerful. 

A customer says the following at the last minute: “Thank you for your revised proposal, we like everything about it but need it for 5% less.” 

Expert response: Let there be silence. It may feel uncomfortable but it’s ok to take a few seconds to think and put pressure on them. Then, eventually, if you need to break the silence, ask a question such as “What if that is the best I can do?”

As long as you stick to your offer and stay quiet, you cannot concede. 

  • Encourage the other side to state their objection(s) precisely and simply listen.
  • Let them talk. Take notes, and ask them to clarify. 
  • Make the other side work hard to justify their position (objection) by simply staying silent or using a probing encourager (such as “Tell me more”). 

Use silence and thoughtful probing to break the impasse. The other side may start sweetening the deal to move toward a resolution. It is now your decision whether to move from your last offer if you decide it is worthwhile. 

 

Use time to your advantage. 

Have you ever noticed how many deadlocks (strikes, Congress, bedtime) come down to a flurry of negotiating right before the deadline? There’s a reason why people believe it’s smart to buy cars at the end of the month (or at year-end). They believe that these deals might go away. Now is the time to buy. 

We often react to perceived scarcity and allow the pressure of a deadline to drive bad decisions. 

A new client sends an email stating: “If you cannot meet our conditions by midnight, then we have no choice but to select your competitor.”

Slow down. Nothing about your deal has changed, or needs to change, simply because the hands of the clock change or the calendar flips. The product or service costs nearly the same tomorrow as it does today. Deadlines are usually a power play, pure and simple. 

To fight it:

  • Ask the other side “What’s changing? Why can’t we continue to negotiate?”
  • Use a hypothetical: “If, hypothetically, we decide to continue negotiating, we might be able to enhance our offer.”

On the other hand, most people seem to fall for it. Use it whenever you can. ”This offer is good until Tuesday” works as well as any other tactic. 

 

Negotiation Skills for Winning More Deals, Faster and Getting Better Results

We teach a systematic approach to negotiating based on 4 primary skills – Preparation, Probing, Listening and Proposing. By using these skills in a systematic way, you can negotiate more confidently and minimize your emotional reactions to the other side’s positions, tactics and strategies. 

 

Preparation is the only aspect of a negotiation under your complete control. 

Our Preparation Checklist helps negotiators capture, organize and prioritize the information you gather prior to a negotiation. Your level of effort in preparation directly correlates to your results when the negotiation concludes.

Even with little or no time to formally prepare, the Checklist will help you focus your questions on issues that are relevant to finding a mutually acceptable solution. 

If you want to get paid, use P.A.I.D. to remember these 4 crucial components of every negotiation. 

  • Precedents – Past deals that could affect this deal for both sides
  • Alternatives – What options are available from a highest goal down to a walkaway?
  • Interests – Beyond positions, what does each side really need and want?
  • Deadlines – When does a deal have to be done to satisfy each side? 

Additionally, you should prepare strengths and weaknesses for both sides, a list of your needs and wants, a situation summary, information on the other side’s style, and a script for exchanging value in the negotiation. The more you prepare, the more successful you will be. 

 

Probing is a safe harbor when under pressure. 

Ask questions instead of taking positions or making offers too early in a negotiation. The other side might use tactics to make you concede. Rather than reacting to the tactics, probe to find precedents, alternatives, interests, deadlines as well as their goals and priorities. Your objective is to find leverage for your side. 

Ask these questions to do your preparation on the fly. 

  • Precedents – “How did you come to that price? What are you basing that on?”
  • Alternatives – “What options are you considering?”
  • Interests – “What is important to you? What else? What else?”
  • Prioritizing Interests – “Which is most important? Why is that important to you?”
  • Deadlines – “Is there a deadline? When? Why is that deadline important?”

Notice that we are trying to flush out all of the important factors for the other side before we address each. 

Here is a sample exchange: 

What is important to you?  Price

What else is important to you? On time delivery

What else?  A strong warranty

What else? Those are the top 3

Great. Of those top 3, what is most important and why?

Now you have a list of the decision-making factors and can address each carefully and strategically, with a sense of how they rank in importance to the other side.

 

Active listening is harder than it looks. 

In a negotiation between two or more parties, everyone involved wants to be heard but the parties often spend too much time talking instead of listening. The Greek philosopher Epictetus stated, “Nature gave man two ears but only one mouth so he might listen twice as often as he speaks.” 

You can increase your active listening skills by connecting with the speaker. 

  • Eliminate distractions. Put the phone away. Find a quiet place to negotiate. 
  • Make a point of being ‘present in the moment’ and consciously focus all of your attention on the speaker. 
  • Encourage the other side to continue speaking. “Tell me more about that.”
  • Take notes. When a great idea comes to you and you don’t want to forget, do not blurt it out, write it down so that you can continue to listen without the distraction of trying to remember.

You should also consider your response before replying. 

  • Listen to hear instead of waiting for your turn to speak. When we listen to reply, we tend to miss critical information.
  • Pause for a moment to check your preparation checklist before responding to an offer or position. Don’t ‘wing it’. Use your preparation to full advantage. 
  • If you are asked a tough question which puts pressure on you, answer their question with a question of your own. “I’m interested in why you asked that question? Help me understand.”

Last, you should confirm what was said and agreed to. 

  • Restate, paraphrase and summarize the agreements at the end of a negotiating session. Focus on creating mutual understanding and a clear path to a full agreement. 
  • Follow up in writing to solidify agreements. Sending a short memo of understanding after a session in a negotiation creates a stronger commitment to those agreements. 
  • Deliver on your commitments. Nothing erodes trust and confidence faster than a missed commitment during a negotiation. 

 

Proposing rules to maximize your wins. 

When it comes to proposing, there are four critical skills to use when coming to a final agreement. It is where the results of your hard work and strategy come to fruition. 

  • Be strategic about the first offer. If you both know the market very well, go first in order to ‘anchor’ the negotiation at the best reasonable first offer you can make. If you get the sense that the other side does not know the market very well, let them go first. You ever know what they will say or share. At best you have an offer better than you expected, at worst you know where they stand and can educate them with precedents on the market. 
  • Aim reasonably high (or low). When you do make an offer, whether it is the first or not, make the best (for you) reasonable offer you can based on precedents and other information you have prepared. Reasonable is key here – if your offer is too high (or low), the other side may elect to move on to other options. 
  • Avoid using (or responding to) ranges. A recruiter asks you for a ‘ballpark figure’ for your salary requirements. Experts never reply with “I’m looking for something between $60 – 70,000.” The only number the recruiter heard was $60,000 and you will probably end up slightly south of that low end of your range. Why do we use ranges? Because we are not confident in our ask. Get rid of that crutch. Ask for $70,000 and let them respond. 
  • Don’t accept the other side’s first offer too quickly. If you immediately accept their first offer, they will feel as if they left money on the table. Even if it is a really fair deal for you, pause at least, and counteroffer if it makes sense. Often the other side will feel better about the deal because they will believe they worked for it. 
  • Don’t settle for ‘splitting the difference.’ It is a lazy way to end a negotiation, and the only benefit is a perceived sense of fairness and getting the deal done quickly. Splitting the difference rarely satisfies each side completely and can become a ritual of haggling to meet in the middle on future deals. Use a ‘nibble’ tactic to get something ‘extra’ so you get the bigger ‘win’. 

By combining negotiation strategies with tactics and skill, you can win more deals while also developing long-term relationships. The approach above has helped organizations maximize their results since 1995 and proven that negotiation is a skill anyone can learn to improve outcomes. 

If you are interested in learning more take a look at our various programs (sales training, negotiation training, influence training), give us a call (410-662-4764), or fill out the form below to schedule a call. 

 

Key Challenges for Effective Procurement Negotiation

Andres Lares

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The art of negotiation is not rocket science, but it’s not a breeze either—at least not with every supplier you’ll sit across. Some are sharks and the only secret to winning against them is having negotiation skills twice as good as the strongest shark you’ll ever encounter.

Mastering procurement negotiation might be a process but you’ve probably heard the saying ‘train hard, fight easy’.

Good thing is, it’s not always like that… The best-case scenario for a procurement negotiation is concluding with two smiles—yours and the supplier’s, having sealed a deal that favors both parties.

Knowing how to negotiate when decks are stacked against you and when factors are constant, is important. For an effective procurement negotiation, avoid these pitfalls:

 

1. Rushing

You need enough time to negotiate effectively. Sealing a deal in a hurry is a cardinal sin in procurement. Analyze the product and its value, hear the supplier out, make an offer and justify it to the supplier’s satisfaction. Never rush to buy or to seal a deal.

 

2. Lack of information and proper planning

You win half the battle in the preparation stage. Conduct thorough background research on the product and the supplier, have all important details at your fingertips including the supplier’s operational facilities, company history, management profile, their major clients, development plans, and history of performance; and prepare answers for all hard questions the supplier might have.

Suppliers do their homework. Don’t be caught flatfooted. Like Abraham Lincoln, if you have eight hours to chop down a tree, spend six sharpening your ax.

 

3. Closed mind

Remembering both of you want a favorable deal is key in effective procurement negotiation. Flexibility begets the same. Have your non-negotiable demands but don’t be so rigid with other things that you’re only looking at the extra dollar a product will cost, without paying attention to any unique properties or value the product might have or a special deal that’s tied to it. Listen, think, and ask questions.

 

4. Poor communication

Communication is a three-step process: encoding, decoding, reply. You speak, supplier understands, and then responds, and the wheel keeps rolling. If either of you does not listen, or understand, negotiation will stall.

You might have little to no control over how the supplier communicates, but be clear on your end to save the situation.

 

5. Overthinking the power dynamics

As a rule of thumb, never be in awe of the supplier, however big they are. You have what they want however small it is. You might not even know what’s important to them—it might NOT be money. If they didn’t want to have you on their list of clients, they would not be at the negotiating table with you.

Be well versed with the product, understand the market, and stick to your non-negotiable demands, your company’s bottom line, and the walk-away figure. Ask questions too and shoot for the best deal. If the offer on the table doesn’t work for you, it is what it is. Move on.

 

6. Using short-term negotiation tactics with long-term suppliers

It is one thing to want a product real fast and cheap, and another to want the same—great—product for a long-term supply, at the same price. Giving a supplier a thin margin when you have to, is okay, but if you’re looking to establish a cordial long-term relationship, make better offers. Your supplier will stay in business and you’ll be on the priority list.

 

Bottom line

A procurement negotiation is like a tug of war. The savvy supplier is pulling from one end, to squeeze the best deal out of you, and you are on the other side pulling harder to save your company every dollar possible. Avoid these pitfalls and you’ll not be the one crossing the line in defeat.

 

How to Increase Your Productivity at Work

Andres Lares

0

ProductivityHow productive are you being right now? Are you choosing to avoid work and read this? Or maybe reading this is part of your work?

Productivity at work is an important quality for all employees. Those who are less productive tend to be closer to the chopping block than others.

 

Productivity

Employers don’t want someone who plays on their phones all day or looks at their social media accounts instead of working. They expect their employees to be productive.

Productivity is the essential quality of a good employee and provides top ratings for the company. Being productive means you’re striving to focus on your work and finish it in a timely manner. Productivity is knowing that being on social media or reading an article or a book that doesn’t pertain to your work is the opposite of productive.

 

How to Be Productive

There are ten important ways to be productive in your work and make your boss see you aren’t slacking off:

  • Complete tasks in batches
  • Prioritize the important tasks
  • Organize your environment
  • Wake up early
  • Wear headphones
  • Set deadlines
  • Quit multitasking
  • Avoid perfection
  • Work in 90-minute intervals
  • Minimize interruptions

It’s important to follow these steps to ensure you’re being as productive as possible while at work.

 

Complete Tasks in Batches

Focus on working in sections. A good way to go about this is by setting up a single time to fit multiple meetings into. If you have more than a single meeting in a day, try to squeeze them into one time block. This way you aren’t taking up most of your day with meetings and you can be more productive elsewhere.

You can also achieve this by working with the 2-minute rule and working on small tasks in two minutes to move forward with the larger ones later. Or set aside a specific block of time to answer voicemails or work on specific projects that require a longer span of time.

 

Prioritize the Important Tasks

Look at what you’re meant to do for the day. Find the most important tasks on your plate and do those first. You should finish your most important tasks before you start worrying about the others. It’s important to remember that what’s most important should have priority over less urgent tasks.

 

Organize Your Environment

Is your desk or office cluttered or unorganized? This can lower your productivity. You’ll be so focused on the clutter and the lack of knowing where things are that you won’t be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand for the day.

Spend a little time organizing your office and cleaning off your desk. It’s important to have a workspace that doesn’t detract from your attention to your work. You shouldn’t lose productivity because of a messy office or cluttered desk.

 

Wake Up Early

Getting up early is better for your productivity than you might think. Someone had it right when they coined the phrase, the early bird catches the worm. By getting up earlier, you’re able to eat a better breakfast and exercise before going to the office. It’s also possible to give you the motivation you need to start the day off right and be productive.

 

Wear Headphones

How can headphones help you work? Simple. They should be noise cancelling or have some version of music that isn’t distracting to keep you focused. If you can’t hear anyone or anything, you can focus on your work and be more productive. This aids in moving your productivity forward.

 

Set Deadlines

It’s important to set your own deadlines. If a project is due by 5pm, set a deadline to have it done by 3pm or 4pm. Try to work ahead of schedule so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. It’s also possible to set deadlines for future projects to keep your productivity up. If you have a task due tomorrow, try setting a deadline to finish it today. Work toward a better schedule and watch your productivity soar.

 

Quit Multitasking

This is one of the easiest ways to ruin your productivity. Attempting to work on multiple tasks at once destroys the ability to finish a single task in a timely manner. It’s more important to focus on one task at a time and work toward finishing it before starting another than it is to attempt to finish multiple tasks at once. This way of thinking makes being productive a joke.

 

Avoid Perfection

Being perfect, or attempting it, can ruin your productivity as well. Focus on finishing the task the best you can, not making it perfect. Perfection isn’t real and trying to achieve it will hurt you in the long run. Focus on the important tasks at hand. Finish your projects, move on to other tasks, and keep working throughout the day. Focusing on trying to make one project perfect, or the illusion of it, will ruin any chance you have of finishing other projects the same day.

 

Work in 90-Minute Intervals

A proven productivity technique is setting 90-minute intervals of work, then taking a break. This  can help make you more productive while you’re at your desk. Being productive when you’re taking so many breaks seems counterproductive, but it’s actually better to give your brain that break and allow your body the opportunity to relax after working hard for 90 minutes.

 

Minimize Interruptions

Put your phone on silent, let your work phone go to voicemail, place a do not disturb sign on your office door; all of these and more can help minimize interruptions. While some interruptions are unavoidable, it’s important to try as best you can. By trying to minimize interruptions, you are pushing yourself into a productive mode and adding to your productivity, rather than taking away from it.

 

Conclusion

Each of these options, and more, can provide great ways to make yourself more productive at work. Now that you’ve read through them and had the chance to find ones you’d like to try or think might work, go try them. Implement them into your workday and find the ones that work for you. Make yourself more productive at work.

Are You a Hard Worker? Characteristics of a Hard-Working Employee

Andres Lares

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Hard WorkerCompanies seek to hire top employees for their companies. Top employees can come in a number of packages that make them the best.

One of these packages is hard-working. Having a hard-working employee, or multiple, can move the company into the future on great terms and bring the workforce to a higher level.

 

What Does it Mean to be Hard-Working?

A hard-working employee can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not always about finding the most knowledgeable person for the job or someone who has an idea about your company. Sometimes it’s more about the effort they put in.

A hard-working employee is someone who’s willing to learn and always looking for new ways to grow within the company. They won’t settle for this position or that answer, they want to be the best and move ahead among their coworkers. During an interview, a hard-working candidate will tell the interviewer that he or she enjoys learning new things and wants to be with a company he or she can grow with.

A hard-working person focuses on growth, knowledge, and experience within a company. They want to learn more and advance themselves within the field.

 

Hard-Working Characteristics

There are a lot of reasons to consider an employee to be hard-working. It comes down to the top ten characteristics that make the employee truly deserve that title:

  • Punctuality and dependability
  • Initiative and flexibility
  • Motivation and priorities
  • Learning and self-reliance
  • Stamina and perseverance
  • Culturally fit
  • Team spirit
  • Marketable
  • Detail-oriented
  • Leadership qualities

What makes these characteristics so special? Each of these characteristics provides one more quality to an employee who gives them a top notch rating and allows them to stand out among their coworkers. Each quality is special in its own way.

 

Punctuality and Dependability

It’s important to have a reliable worker for your company – someone who is on time and you can call into work at the drop of a hat. It’s important from an employer’s standpoint to know that an employee will be on time and do the work you hired them to do. Someone who comes in and leaves randomly or works when they feel like it is not punctual and dependable.

It’s important that, as an employee, you arrive on time and stay at work. Once you’re clocked in, stay there. Work your shift, finish all your work on time, and maybe ask for more if you finish early. You could even use the time to get ahead for the next day or the next week. These are all important aspects of being punctual and dependable. Being punctual and dependable is part of what makes a hard-working employee.

 

Initiative and Flexibility

These two seem fairly straight forward, but there’s more to these qualities than meets the eye. Taking the initiative is more than just doing your work without your boss telling you to. It’s about being positive while working and having the ambition to do the work. Simply clocking in and working on something left over from yesterday isn’t enough to bring you to hard-working employee status.

You need to be positive about your work and ambitious enough to finish it. Show up at work thinking you’re going to finish yesterday’s work, today’s work, and get a jump start on tomorrow’s work. This will provide you with the positive attitude you need to show you’re taking the initiative. It also shows your ambition to work and move forward in your endeavors.

Being flexible is more than just working extra hours or taking on another project. It’s important to assist others as best you can, even while trying to finish your own work. Jump in if you see someone struggling to keep up and offer to help. Become the team player who pushes you into hard-working employee status.

 

Motivation and Priorities

Self-motivation is a key component to being a hard worker. It’s more than just showing up and working. You need to prove you’ve got the motivation to work hard and do what the job without prompting from the boss. Having self-motivation provides the freedom for higher-ups to notice you’re working and worry more about someone else who might need them. They won’t feel as obligated to focus their attention on you if they can see you’ve been self-motivated to work on this project or help that coworker.

Priorities are another important characteristic. It’s important to set goals for yourself at work and have priorities to help you achieve them. If you’re plan is to finish five assignments in one day, focus on those five assignments and decide which ones will take you longer to finish. Prioritize the longer ones in the best place for your abilities. If you feel you can speed through the others first and focus more on the longer ones after, then follow that priority set.

 

Learning and Self-Reliance

Learning all you can at your job is one way to make yourself known as a hard worker. By focusing on the things you don’t know and learning more each day, you’re showing your employer you have what it takes to work hard and provide the quality work they’re seeking. It’s important to continue learning, no matter how much you think you already know.

Being self-reliant is another top quality in a hard-working employee. It shows that managers and others above you don’t need to worry about your performance. If you truly need help, you’ll ask, and they can be free to focus on someone else who needs them more.

 

Stamina and Perseverance

Working hard requires the stamina to perform. In order to be a hard worker, you have to have the stamina to stand strong and put in the required work. It’s not as simple as saying you’re working and you’re trying. You need the stamina to push yourself and finish all your assignments and work to help others when needed.

Persevere to the end. Finishing what you start and working hard to get there is a bigger deal to your employer than you might think. It’s important to not give up and be sure to remain committed and ambitious. Work hard to get where you want to be and have the confidence to succeed.

 

Culturally Fit

Every company has a specific culture about it. They have ways of doing things, a dynamic among the employees, and even specifics about how employees should act toward each other and in general. In order for your coworkers to consider you a hard worker, you need to prove you fit into the culture. If you’re on the border, work harder to fit in once you’ve got the job. If the higher-ups can see you’re trying, they’ll be willing to help you fit in.

 

Team Spirit

Having team spirit is as important in the workplace as it is during the big game. Although, it’s a different type of spirit in the workplace. Team spirit means you’ve got what it takes to work well with your coworkers. You get along with almost everyone and you’re on good terms with people above you. Any effort to make these statements true will deem you a hard worker and provide a more positive environment for you.

 

Marketable

This isn’t as easy to achieve as it seems. Being marketable doesn’t mean you can work anywhere. It means you can work with anyone, namely clients or customers. An employee who’s marketable is someone the company trusts and can present to clients. They are able to interact and relate with clients and keep them happy with the company. Your ability to please clients on this level is a quality that makes you a hard worker.

 

Detail Oriented

This is an imperative quality for a hard worker. Having the ability to focus on details and make specifics your top priority is something many people don’t have. It’s important to pay close attention to specific details and to understand every detail, large or small, matters more than you might think.

 

Leadership Qualities

Do you have what it takes? Leadership is a top quality for hard-working employees. It means you understand what the company’s needs, you’re willing to go the distance to meet them, and help other coworkers do the same. Proving you can be a leader is one quality a hard-working employee can never be without.

 

Conclusion

With so many qualities required or helpful for being a hard-working employee, it’s easy to fit that category. Finding a way to work harder and prove your worth is important to having a job at any reputable company.

 

A Case Study on eLearning: What It Is and Why Your Employees Need It

Andres Lares

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eLearningA growing business in employee training is eLearning. It provides 40-60% less time learning than in a classroom and increased retention rates to 25-60%, compared to the 8-10% of classroom learning.

eLearning also has a material rate of five times more than a classroom setting. 42% of businesses say eLearning for their employees has increased their revenue.

 

What Is eLearning?

Reading those statistics makes a person wonder what eLearning is and how it can become so great for companies to have such high statistics. A web-based approach to learning, eLearning provides courses online for training, classroom, and book learning opportunities. As the world moves into the digital age, eLearning has become more popular with every passing year.

From a business standpoint, eLearning requires less time – the employees have to be out of the office for training. By providing emails, video conferences, books, and classroom information, eLearning allows employees to train in comfort from their desktops. Should a company require a training program, eLearning would allow the employees to work on this training while being on site at their desks.

Employees can use eLearning to work on training activities on their own. If they have deadlines to meet or projects to finish, they are able to do those things and train after. By providing eLearning, employees don’t have to miss deadlines or be away from their work to attend an offsite training course.

 

Advantages of eLearning

Having your training at your fingertips provides a lot of advantages for employees. It’s easy to link to resources you may need during training because you’re already on the computer. Flexibility and efficiency provide resources and courses any time the employee is able to login and work.

There are so many options for eLearning to provide advantages over other training. Having eLearning available means the employee can work at his or her own pace and still meet deadlines or finish projects they might have been in the middle of but would need to stop if required to attend offsite training.

With eLearning, employees have discussion boards and chats to work with other employees on training as if they were in a classroom together. There are even options for videos and video instructors. Having these options allows the employee to feel like they’re in training but still able to get their work done and meet deadlines.

 

Disadvantages to eLearning

Despite having many advantages, eLearning does have some disadvantages. While they are very few, it’s important to note them for reference so you can see eLearning as a whole. The disadvantages, while small, include limited questions and security and authenticity of work.

Because eLearning is computer based, it’s easy for someone to cheat on the work or have security concerns with their eLearning classroom. This isn’t generally a major problem, but it would be a disadvantage should it occur.

Another concern is the limited number of questions available. Being computer-based, questions tend to be more generic and knowledge-based rather than practical or subjective. Should a company require their employees to use eLearning, it might be pertinent to check the eLearning information and ensure the questions fit the needs of the training.

 

Benefits of eLearning

The disadvantages above provide an insight into eLearning as a whole. However, it’s an overall benefit for employee training.

Providing your employees freedom and abilities to work from their desk will give them a sense of empowerment. They’ll have the ability to continue working on partially finished projects while watching training videos. Or maybe they have to meet a deadline and they will chat with others in the training about certain talking points while working toward that deadline.

Allowing employees the opportunity to get the training you feel they should have without taking them away from their work provides a less stressful environment. Since they don’t have to leave their desks to receive training, they won’t be stressing over missing a deadline or finishing a project. They won’t feel the need to rush back to the office after training to finish that project or pray they can make their deadline.

Employees stress more if they have to leave their desks for training. Especially if they’re dedicated to their work and meeting deadlines.

 

Conclusion

Providing eLearning for employees can provide the training a company requires without the stress on the employees of walking away from their work. By preventing the stress on employees, the company is boosting morale and providing a better way to achieve the training they feel necessary.

How can you get an eLearning training set up for your employees? With a little help from Shapiro Negotiations. Shapiro provides effective eLearning for all situations. Your employees can use LMS, smartphones and virtual reality options for training opportunities. This will provide a number of options to keep them at their desks and stress-free.

Worried about the disadvantages mentioned earlier? Don’t be. Shapiro finds innovative ways to provide exercise-driven webinars and on-demand modular training that eliminates the worry of cheating, knowledge-based questions, and objective learning. Shapiro will provide your employees with the best training available for their needs and give the company peace of mind in the training they’re providing.

Ensure your employees are working hard and training harder for your company. Does your training have top of the line opportunities and innovative methods to keep up with the times? If you can’t answer yes, you’re using the wrong training. Let Shapiro Negotiations help you fix this problem.

It’s time to provide your employees with a less stressful training program. Provide your employees with top training to receive top results. Give them a stress free opportunity to receive the training you require while still meeting the deadlines and finishing the projects they’re so concerned with.

Contact Shapiro Negotiations today for all your training needs and keep your company morale at its peak with stress-free employees. Don’t wait until morale has dropped past the point of no return. Contact Shapiro today.

 

Training vs. Consulting: Why Your Employees Need Both

Andres Lares

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Training Employees need support from their employers and management on multiple levels. The best, and easiest, way to provide this support is by utilizing both training and consulting. So, how can these two supportive ideas help? What’s the difference between the two? Knowing the difference and how they can help is the first step to helping employees become better at their jobs.

 

Training

Although training and consulting are very similar, they are not quite close enough to be considered the same thing. Training provides the knowledge and examples required to perform the task at hand. From a customer standpoint, it’s the idea of providing them with tools to make the decisions at hand. Providing training for your employees allows them to have the skills and knowledge base to effectively communicate and work with customers.

Employees require training to ensure they’re updated on any new policies or approaches in working with customers. Ensuring your employees know their job and are able to provide the best customer service should be your number one priority.

 

Consulting

Consulting with your employees is a way to ensure their training has done its job. By having one-on-one consultations, each employee can prove their able to provide customers with accurate information. This information should include pros and cons of each offered service. Consulting is important for your employees to showcase their skills with you. By doing this, they are providing you with insight into the training you offer.

A consultation with your employees shows whether the training you’re offering them is working based on the knowledge and skills they have about their job and the company’s products and services. It’s important to know your employees are knowledgeable about the company and their jobs.

 

Training vs. Consulting

Many people think training and consulting are the same, or at least similar enough to go hand-in-hand. They’d be partially correct. Consulting and training are similar enough for both to be acceptable in a company; however, one without the other could be trouble.

Training has its basis in knowledge and skill. It’s knowing exactly what and how to teach employees. Training is ensuring they’ve got the knowledge and skill to go back to the customer and explain what products and services are available and what each includes. It’s a broad spectrum of knowledge to understand products and services and the full information about each one.

Consulting is more in-depth. It’s based on team building and the ability to provide specifics about the products and services. This is the ability of the employee to tell the customer this product or service has these pros and cons as compared with the pros and cons of another product or service. Employee knowledge at the consulting level should be more in-depth and specific to the customer’s needs and the inner workings of the products and services offered by the company.

 

When to Use Each

Both training and consulting are important resources, but you don’t always need both at the same time. It’s important to understand the differences and know when to use one over the other.

Training is important when your employees need the knowledge and skills to explain products and services to a customer on a general level. They require the ability to provide examples and give the customer an overview of each product or service to assist them in choosing the correct one for their needs.

Consulting is necessary to provide more specific details to the customer. It’s important for a customer to have an employee versed in consulting when they want the pros and cons of the product and what that might mean versus the other product they’re considering.

While training and consulting are a great skill set to have, it’s important for your employees to have the best knowledge of both and know when to interchange the two. Perhaps they need to use both skills on a customer at once. There are circumstances where an overview of the product or service helps the customer narrow down what they’re looking for, but then it’s required for the consulting side of the employee to provide pros and cons to aid in choosing between what’s left.

 

Conclusion

Having the skills to perform your job is important in any company. The best options in a company that requires one or the other of these skills is to have both. Why both? It’s important for employees to have both skills to ensure they are able to properly perform customer service.

Individual customers have different needs and require specific information about products. By having the skills and knowledge of training and consulting, employees are able to understand the customer’s needs and perform the tasks required to assist the customer in their endeavor to find the perfect product or service.

If an employee only had the training and not the consulting, they could potentially lose a sale. When customers ask for information about a product or service and have an employee who only has information about the pros and cons, they have a tendency to walk away if that’s not the information they were looking for. The same is true of the opposite. A customer seeking pros and cons won’t be happy with an overview of information on a product or service.

Many customers also won’t be satisfied with hearing phrases like, “I don’t know” or “Let me find someone to answer that” when they want answers now. The employee doesn’t look knowledgeable and the customer won’t be happy with that. No customer wants to purchase a product or service from a company where the employees don’t seem to know what they’re doing. It’s important for employees to have and retain both skills to ensure optimum customer service.

Though having both skills may require more training through the company or attending a seminar or workshop, it will be worth their time in the long run. By providing your employees with these skills and the opportunity to improve in each of them, you’re giving them a chance at knowing and working their job better.

SNI’s Jeff Cochran Receives Top Speaking Scores at 2019 SAMA Conference

Andres Lares

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Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, Jeff Cochran presented “Influencing Without Authority”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on influencing.

His ability to captivate and provide value to his audience was shown in his post evaluation scores and anonymous participants’ comments. Two examples are:

  • “Jeff’s way to deliver the content is simply amazing!”
  • “Jeff is an outstanding facilitator and I highly recommend for his content as well as presentation.”

Here is a summary of scores that made him the #1 ranked speaker at the conference:

How to Tell If You Are Experiencing Burnout

Andres Lares

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We all know the stereotype of a salesperson: bubbly, energetic, a go-getter, and a people person. Some might guess that this type of person with a seemingly endless supply of energy and things to talk about never wears out. However, in a career full of high-pressure goals and demands, burnout is very common. Let’s find out more about what burnout means, and how to handle it when it happens.

 

What Is Burnout?

We all feel stressed at work from time to time, but when that stress is extreme and all-encompassing, it becomes job burnout. It can happen to the best of us, even those in high-powered jobs, with great attitudes and outlooks. This is when the job-related stress is so extreme that it leads to a lessened sense of accomplishment or personal identity. While not a medically recognized condition on its own, burnout can lead to a number of dangerous health conditions, and is often tied to depression.

 

Symptoms of Burnout

The feeling of job burnout can creep up slowly on you, but suddenly feel quite despairing. There are many warning signs that burnout is on the horizon. Here are a few to watch for:

1.Good sleep may be hard to come by, especially in high-pressure jobs with long hours, like sales. But even with decent sleep habits, stress can make you feel tired all the time.

2. Lack of appetite. When you are constantly busy and over-stressed, you may not pay attention to your body’s hunger cues, or may not even feel them at all. You run on adrenaline and may lack healthy eating habits and schedules.

3. Everything feels harder. Sales calls that used to be easy seem to take all day. Tasks that should be a breeze feel monumental. Extreme stress can make simple tasks seem more difficult. It’s also harder to focus, so distractions take hold and it’s more difficult to complete necessary work tasks.

4. You’re frustrated with clients and co-workers. Burnout comes with a shorter fuse, and you may find yourself easily annoyed or angered by simple irritations. Every little thing can seem so overwhelmingly annoying when you are stressed to the max.

5. You feel pessimistic. All of the previous factors can create a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that lead to an overall lack of optimism in your job. Your numbers might be slipping, and it feels utterly hopeless. You no longer enjoy your job.

 

Consequences of Burnout

If you have any of the above symptoms, it is likely that you are experiencing burnout, or will soon be. It is definitely possible to recover on your own, but do not take these symptoms lightly. Dealing with burnout for too long can have serious repercussions on your career – and your health.

This heightened level of stress can lead to many side effects on the body. Those experiencing burnout can also feel extreme levels of fatigue and insomnia. The high stress can also lead to self-medicating and overuse of alcohol and drugs. A suppressed immune system and lessened ability to fight off common illnesses are also common with higher periods of stress. Over an extended time period, extreme stress and burnout can be a factor in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Depression is often tied to burnout, and should be taken seriously.

Beyond the serious health consequences, burnout can also affect your career. If you are experiencing extreme fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms of burnout, it’s easy to see that your job performance can start to slip. If you cannot gain control of a burnout situation, sales numbers can easily go down, and your job may be in jeopardy.

 

 

What Can You Do About Burnout?

If you are feeling burnout creeping in, it is best to take action quickly to get back on track. First of all, if you feel any of the intense physical symptoms of stress, check in with a doctor. And if you feel any signs of overwhelming depression, seek out a mental health practitioner for help.

There are also several actionable steps you can take to gain control of this intensely stressful situation:

1.Seek help and support. Healthcare and mental health practitioners are trained to help. Sometimes confiding or venting to friends, family, or trusted co-workers can also help gain perspective.

2. Try relaxation. Whether you prefer yoga, exercise, meditation, or massage, find ways to practice self-care.

3. Increase your sleep. It’s difficult with busy lives and high-pressure jobs, but try to find ways to go to bed earlier, or sneak in naps or rest periods. Relax and recharge on weekends and days off.

4. Talk to supervisors. Discuss your concerns and try to find solutions that may reduce stress. Is it possible to take a day off or to have some of your responsibilities (at least temporarily) reduced? Your mentors should want to help you succeed and may have suggestions to help your situation.

5. Find structure and routine. Organize your day and have specific goals and lists so that you feel accomplished each day. Stick to your action plan and avoid interruptions if possible.

6. Improve efficiency. Perhaps some of the burnout comes from strategies that just aren’t working. Talk to mentors or do research on other strategies you can try to be more effective and efficient.

Any of these tips can help to improve the situation when burnout has crept in. They can also be used as a roadmap for prevention of burnout. If you are not yet at the point of burnout, but feeling some stress build up, practice these tips and seek out measures for self-care to keep yourself healthy and ready to keep tackling those sales goals.

Sales jobs can be a marathon, and like a marathon runner, you need effective strategies to keep running at top speed, while taking care of your body, mental health, and your job. Shapiro Negotiations has the experience you need to train your team. We offer speakers and training to keep your sales team running, with tips for habits and tools for sales success. Contact us for more information.