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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.

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.

 

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

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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.