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Saying Thank You

Jeff Cochran

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Some people believe writing thank you notes is an archaic practice — a lost art. The truth is, certain social niceties never go out of style. In fact, the simple courtesy and acknowledgement of a thank you note can mean the difference between closing that sale and becoming another blip on a customer’s screen.

 

Getting the Job

Interviews can be taxing: The potential employee feels pressure to perform, while hiring managers often meet with multiple candidates in a day. Standing out to an employer is one of the most important things a potential hire can do during the hiring process. It’s crucial to be prepared for the physical interview, but it’s just as important to make sure the follow up has positive impact.

Manners matter. Sending a thank you note via email soon after an interview is the best way to let the potential employer know you are serious and really want the job. Back in the pre-digital era, people were expected to send handwritten thank you notes, sent through the mail. There is definitely something to be said for crafting a well-written, neatly printed note; however, by the time that lovely note arrives, other candidates’ emails have already been written, received, read and, perhaps, acted upon.

 

Closing the Sale

Job seekers are not the only ones who should realize the importance of thank you notes. Selling requires account managers and executives to interact with potential clients and differentiate their products and services from those of their competitors. Wining, dining and golfing with potential clients may or may not be possibilities, but sending a follow-up thank you note after a meeting is an easy to way to solidify your interest in doing business.

 

Crafting the Perfect Thank You Note for a Job Interview

Email thank you notes do not require fancy stationary or cards, so focus on content. Here are the key things that should be included in a thank you note to a potential employer:

  • Be sure the name of person with whom you met is spelling correctly. Double-check his/her title. If you met with more than one person, be sure to send separate notes to each. Misspelling or misidentifying someone in a note is a sure way to have your resume placed in the round file.
  • Review at least one important topic discussed during the interview. For example, reiterate your interest in the company’s corporate stewardship initiatives and how your background will complement the company’s mission.
  • Proofread your message before you hit the send button. Poor grammar, spelling and punctuation are off-putting. The best thing you can do: Draft your email, then put it aside for at least an hour. Come back and look at it with “fresh” eyes.

 

Sending a Thank You Note to Potential Clients

You meet with numerous clients. Be sure you are addressing the correct person in your email. There are many anecdotes floating around about salespeople addressing an email to the name of a competitor. That’s a surefire way to lose a sale.

  • Review notes from the meeting and include a few points that were discussed.
  • Reiterate why your product or service is the best solution for the client.
  • Thank the client for his/her time. This sounds obvious, but simply acknowledging your appreciation for a meeting can go a long way.

 

Bottom line:

The digital age has caused most people to seek instant gratification. The truth is, hiring the perfect employee, or selecting a great vendor, takes time. Your contact may have to discuss his/her choice with a committee, a board of directors or other higher-ups in the organization. A well-written thank you note after an interview might be the item that pushes your resume to the top of pile. It shows your interest in the position and reiterates your skills and why the company should hire you.

From a sales perspective, clients have many choices when it comes to contracting with a supplier. Make your product or service stand out by reminding the potential client of your dedication to providing the best possible service.

Dealing with Difficult Situations: The Bargaining and Negotiation Tactics That Work

Jeff Cochran

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Sales negotiations are ideally supposed to flow in a mutually beneficial direction. But that’s not always the case. We sometimes run into negotiation counterparts who are downright difficult. In such a challenging negotiation, strong emotions and feelings of desperation may easily set in, increasing the odds of losing the deal.

It is not easy to manage such difficult negotiations, but with the right tactics, you can turn the challenge into an opportunity each time. Here are the tactics to employ if your find yourself in a difficult negotiation situation.

 

Don’t react, stay calm

Being faced with an adversarial or even abusive negotiation counterpart can make you lose your cool. But that will not benefit the negotiation. To keep your emotions in check, start by taking a deep breath.

A deep breath helps you retain your composure by stopping you from plunging into a fight-or-flight response. With your heartbeat and breathing in check, your mind can work optimally to figure out the next smart move.

Even though an unexpected display of anger can frighten some people into making concessions that benefit your interests, this approach can be counterproductive. In most cases, the anger will only convey desperation and not strength on your part. Also, strong emotions tend to cloud your judgment, keeping you from thinking clearly. This could lead you into giving in prematurely.

It helps to retain your composure, take a step back from the hard line, take an objective look at the dispute, and plan your comeback. In all cases, always remain professional as you approach the negotiation.

 

Disarm the other party by acknowledging their points of view

Because everyone wishes to get the advantage in a bargain, the last thing a person will expect is for you to cross over to their side. For a particularly difficult person, this should be one effective way to make them lower their guard.

Start by acknowledging the disagreement as you express the willingness to understand the person’s point of view. Consider acknowledging their position and make it clear that you realize the position is important to them.

Such a concession will go a long way in calming the adversarial negotiator down. What this does is show the person that you are willing to hear them out – people like to be heard and their points recognized.

Take a moment to play along. It doesn’t mean you are drifting away from your standpoint, it’s just a necessary break to create a conducive atmosphere where everyone can be adequately heard.

Encourage the person to talk by asking them solicitous, open-ended questions that help clarify the nature of their hardline position. You’ll notice that this also helps you understand the interests behind the other party’s position. Such understanding also normally helps open your eyes to vistas of alternative ways to resolve the sticking point.

With this, the atmosphere should slowly change from one of conflict into one of collaboration. Ultimately, you’ll be able to respond more accurately to the actual points of concern, rather than just offering general responses to things that you have assumed in your head. Done properly, this tactic should indicate genuine interest to your negotiation counterpart and completely shift the nature of the conversation for the better.

 

Transfer the focus to the less contentious aspects of discussion

Once you have sufficiently understood the nature of the adversarial situation, it is sometimes a good idea to shift attention away from the most contentious item of discussion. This is basically a tactical move to diffuse the tension before you can return to the topic from a less contentious angle.

Reframe the dialog around some items of collaboration. What are the shared interests that you both have? What constitutes the foundation of your working together? Is there a way this deal can help the customer save face? How getting this deal done will be a win for them?

Once you find answers to these questions in your head, it should be easier to remind the other party as to why they should see the deal through. Make them sober up and climb down from their high ground. Make them see why you are on the negotiation table in the first place and it will be easier to get them to say “yes”.

Pointing out the shared interests, helping the customer see why they need the services or product under discussion can be a great way to lead them into making a concession. Then, you can reintroduce the more difficult issue(s) in a more relaxed way once the tension has eased down.

 

Wrap up

As a salesperson, you will sometimes have to deal with a difficult customer. Sometimes the bargaining session may shift in the other party’s direction, and without good preparation, this can easily throw you off balance. However, arming yourself with these tactics should ensure that you survive (and increase your chances of winning) just about any sales situation.

Top 5 Essential Negotiation Skills for Salespeople

Jeff Cochran

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Successful sales are what makes businesses grow. But every so often, a customer will want to discuss the details of your contract with them before signing. Regardless of how well the sales process appears to have gone, your one-one-one interaction with the customer can always make or break the deal.

This is where effective negotiation skills come in. For a deal to survive past the negotiation table, certain skills come handy. So, here are five negotiation sills that a salesperson must possess to succeed in closing deals with customers.

 

Active listening

People want to feel that your product or service is going to solve their problem or satisfy their need. Oftentimes, the prospect wants to see how this is going to happen, and will ask questions that directly link your solution to their need(s).

It is only through active listening that you’ll be able to understand what the customer really wants. Don’t just fix your mind on closing the sale, pay attention to the customer – listen to both their spoken and unspoken messages and provide them with the answers.

When the customer is speaking, allow them to finish. Then, take a brief moment to evaluate the response in your head before you speak it out. The pause not only lets you refine your response but also shows the customer that you truly are thoughtful and interested in what they are saying.

It helps to speak slowly in a composed manner, articulating your words clearly to get the message across.

Whether it’s a face to face or phone conversation, you should be able to get the non-verbal cues that tell you more than the person says. Pay attention to these emotions and respond to them.

This way, you will create an atmosphere of trust and easily build a rapport with your leads. You’ll overcome the assumption that you are simply after the person’s money, and create the indication that you care for their needs.

Active listening enables you to properly address your prospect’s questions and match their focus. This makes it much easier to close sales.

 

Quick decision making

Negotiation is always about give and take. A customer will come with a set of demands, or the acceptable minimums. And you need to know just what concessions you can make and which ones you cannot take without hurting your business.

Since you won’t always know all the angles to expect before reaching the negotiation table, you should be able to make a proper decision in the heat of the moment.

It could be a huge discount that the customer is proposing, or even some extra support. A prospect could ask for premium features or even a bigger package. In any case, being able to evaluate the proposition and making up your mind quickly will be instrumental in letting you close sales before the prospect withdraws their business.

 

Knowledge of the product or service

Persuasion is inherent to any sales negotiation. Unless you are truly knowledgeable about the brand, product or service you are representing, you can easily lose a lead.

The customer simply isn’t looking to hear some unfounded justifications supporting the deal. Rather, they want to know how they’re going to benefit from buying what you are offering. This way, knowledge of the product is an essential sales skill. Demonstrate clear understanding of the products’ features so you can accurately present their benefits to the customer – that’s what persuades the customer to buy.

Also, even though most customers are likely to ask the same questions, there are cases where a customer will ask something particularly new or different. As long as you know your product in and out, you should have no problem navigating your way through any question that arises.

 

Assertiveness

Clear confidence in your brand can go a long way in assuring the potential customer about the value of your solution.

Customers generally respond well to enthusiastic reps who are passionate about their offerings, especially when they’re eager to clearly articulate the benefits.

What this means is, be willing and able to quantify the value of your product or service and share it with the prospect. A prospective client will be much likely willing to pay what a solution is worth if they clearly understand the value of that solution.

It is your job as a sales rep to establish that value and show confidence in your solution in terms of how it will benefit the customer. You will need to be assertive to be able to instil that confidence in the customer and give them a reason to buy.

 

Eloquence

You could have all the great ideas about your solution, but unless you can articulate it, you’ll have difficulty communicating it to the customer.

Though they usually need the solution, most prospects are often undecided whether or not to buy (from you). As a salesperson, it is your role to drive the prospect from their state of indecision to decision and be able to close the sale. Sometimes all you have is only few minutes with the customer. This is where some eloquence, coupled with sufficient knowledge of the product will guarantee a successful pitch.

Use a clear voice to explain the product detail by detail, enunciating all the useful features and linking them to the needs of the customer.  Done correctly, closing a sale will be a near guarantee.

 

Bottom line

Sales negotiations can feel intimidating to salespeople as no one wants to lose a well-qualified prospect. Nonetheless, while every negotiation can go in any number of directions, sales reps with these negotiation skills will be well-equipped to roll with the punches.

User’s Guide to Being the Best Negotiator

Jeff Cochran

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User Guide NegotiationNegotiations are important for any aspect of life. Sometimes you have to negotiate business deals, what’s for dinner at home, or a sale for a product. Being such a large part of life, it’s important to understand what negotiations are and how to do them well.

 

Negotiations

A negotiation is an agreement among more than one party in regards to a specific topic. People use negotiation in business transactions to find a price or terms to settle on, with family to decide what’s for dinner or how to resolve an issue, or even in sales to find an agreeable price for a product or a home.

Almost everyone uses negotiations on a daily basis, whether at work or at home, and should be able to negotiate well. How do you know if you’re negotiating well? Based on how many time you negotiate and get what you want from it determines whether you negotiate well.

 

Negotiating With Family

Negotiations with family are more difficult than any business negotiations you could face. It’s much easier to stand firm in a business negotiation than it is with a loved one. How do you negotiate with family? Understanding these difficulties can help:

  • Expectations are exponentially higher
  • Logic is more difficult to tolerate
  • Quicker to react
  • More focused on yourself
  • Get ahead of yourself

Having these concerns in mind can make negotiations easier. You can address these issues in advance and understand what your loved one is thinking or feeling while you’re trying to negotiate.

Focusing on expectations can be difficult. It’s important to focus on the things you already know about them and work from there to discuss the problem and reach an understanding and agreement. From there, you can move forward with negotiations to find a solution to the problem.

Working with logic from a loved one is harder than working with logic from a coworker. It’s best to try avoiding logic in any negotiations with a loved one. Hearing logic from someone you care for is usually harder to handle than having them yell at you. It’s important to try focusing on empathy and labels instead of logic when trying to provide answers and explanations.

Negotiating with loved ones raises our reaction time. It’s easier to be sensitive to tone and words from a loved one than a coworker. Focus on understanding that can help avoid an argument during a negotiation. It’s important not to assume certain meanings based on words or tones when your loved one is speaking. Remembering to keep your calm can help you stay focused on the negotiation at hand.

Focusing on yourself during a negotiation with a loved one is similar to playing cards: focusing on your hand causes you to miss what someone else might play. It’s important to pay attention to what your loved one is telling you. Don’t let your own thoughts and feelings keep you from understanding their needs.

Getting ahead of yourself can cause issues for negotiating later. If you’re already set that an outcome will occur or you’ve stopped trying to resolve the outcome, you’re breaking the connection you gained from communication and understanding. You’ll need to mend this connection before you can move forward in negotiating to resolve the issue.

 

Buyer Negotiations

As a buyer, you strive to purchase products at the best prices available. Sometimes this can mean having special negotiation skills to get a top price for the product or service. These skills can help you negotiate top prices:

  • Anchoring
  • Whack back
  • Sticker shock
  • Cherry picking
  • Pencil sharpening
  • Going, going, gone

Anchoring provides a price range for negotiation. For example, telling the seller you want to spend no more than $100,000 for a product or service caps the negotiations at that price. The seller now understands he or she can’t go higher than this price or they’ll lose the sale. It’s an important tactic to keep negotiations in a price range you’re comfortable with.

The whack back is a tactic used by many buyers to push the seller down. It’s a simple “your price is too high” comment to try forcing the seller to lower the price. Most sellers will ask why and try to refute your reasons.

Faking, or seriously having, sticker shock is another buyer tactic. This shock over the price is a hard hit to the seller to make them question their pricing. They might ask why it seems high and try to refute your reasons to keep the price at their level.

Cherry picking is a buyer tactic that can offend the seller. It’s the buyer’s way of getting less product at the same bulk cost. For example, if they ordered 50 shirts and the price came to $2.00 per shirt because of the bulk order, they might try to take 20 shirts at the same bulk price, still paying $2.00 per shirt.

Sometimes negotiators use a tactic called pencil sharpening to try forcing the seller to drop the price by using phrases such as “You need to do better” or “We need this for less.” It’s a way to make the seller feel as though they have no choice but to lower the cost or ask the buyer where the price should be in an attempt to keep them happy and sell.

A final, and harsh, negotiating tactic is the going, going, gone test. It’s the buyer’s way of pushing the seller into a corner with a time crunch. In this tactic, the buyer informs the seller they will be going with a competitor for the product or service if the seller doesn’t agree with the buyer’s price by a specific time and/or day.

People use these tactics in price negotiations on a regular basis and they can sometimes make them tougher to agree on.

 

Business Negotiations

Negotiating in business can mean a lot of things. Maybe you’re negotiating a deal or a job offer. The tougher of the two is generally a job offer and can mean the difference between having the job you deserve and having the job you took. There are ten main rules to follow when negotiating for a job:

  • Get it in writing
  • Keep the door open
  • Information is power
  • Be positive
  • Don’t make decisions
  • Have options
  • Have reasons for everything
  • Be motivated by more than money
  • Understand their values
  • Be winnable

Rule number one says everything should be in writing. In today’s society, people are continuously changing their minds or forgetting what they said. When negotiating for a job, that’s a bad thing. It’s imperative to write everything down as you go. This is a promise to remember every detail in case you need to reference it later.

The second rule is to keep the door open. This one isn’t quite as self-explanatory. It means to hold on to your negotiation power. Don’t give up your power to negotiate the best terms until you’re 100% ready to make a final decision.

Information is the key to the third rule. Don’t give up too much information until you’re ready to agree. If you’ve negotiated every aspect of the job and decided this is what you want and you’re ready to say yes, then go ahead and provide all the information they want.

Positivity makes rule four an important one. Being positive is your most valuable asset. Never seem like you’re getting angry or losing your temper. It’s important to keep a level head and stay positive in order to have the best negotiations. If the person you’re working with feels you’re losing your positive attitude, he or she may feel they’re winning and you’ll settle for whatever they want to give you.

Being the decision maker is what brings rule five into play. It’s important not to be the decision maker in a job negotiation. Be sure to confirm all the details and make it seem like they have the final say in your decision to accept the job. It’s also an option to confirm details and compare this with other offers before making a choice.

Options are important for job negotiations. If you have more than one job offer, you can play this to your advantage to negotiate a better offer for the job you truly want.

Options are also a good way to have reasons for everything, as rule seven tells you. It’s important to have a reason to back up every answer you provide. Without reasons, they believe they can force you into the job terms they want instead of the ones you want.

Money isn’t everything. While it helps to have money, that shouldn’t be your primary focus in choosing a job. Focus on the important benefits or the work environment and worry about the lowest amount of money you’ll settle for if everything else fits.

The values of the company can help you negotiate a better deal. Understanding what they strive for can give you a few selling points to negotiate yourself better terms if you can prove you have those values as well.

Make them want to win you over. Being winnable is about more than just winning the negotiation. It’s always a great feeling when the company feels they have to win you from the competition and they try to do just that.

 

Conclusion

Still unsure about your negotiation skills? Shapiro Negotiations has a team of experts waiting to help. Their knowledge and training allows them to help you become the best negotiator you can be. Contact them now for more information.

 

Why Empathy Is Necessary in Negotiation

Jeff Cochran

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Empathy is often both the most misunderstood, and least utilized tactic when it comes to business negotiations. However, successful negotiators who understand empathy and how it relates to negotiation, and can put it into practice, can experience a significant difference in their sales. Read on to find out more about empathy and how you can use it to your benefit in your negotiation tactics.

 

What Is Empathy?

Often confused or lumped in together with sympathy, empathy is all about relating to how others feel. Most of us have at one time sent a sympathy card to express feeling sorry for another’s misfortune or loss. Sympathy is what we say we feel for another person’s situation, and while empathy is similar, it goes a little deeper than that.

When you feel and express empathy, it means you truly consider what the other person is going through and understand the range of emotions that they feel as a result. Being empathetic involves being more compassionate, listening more, and imagining yourself “walking around in someone else’s shoes.” It’s often easy to tell the difference between sympathy and empathy because true empathy feels more genuine. It is felt on a deeper emotional level and helps to build trust in relationships.

 

Empathy in Negotiation

In any negotiation, the goal is a compromise or agreement between two parties. It can be very intimidating, especially if dealing with contentious topics. Arguments, discussion, and bargaining can all be part of the process of negotiating. You may feel inclined to rush through a negotiation quickly just to get it over with. But those who are most successful in negotiations know how to listen to the other party so as to understand their side of the negotiation and what their wants and needs are. Taking the time to listen and understand can defuse the tension, and lead to more satisfying results for both sides.

Negotiation usually involves some type of relationship building, and the process of listening and learning about the other party’s views. Empathy is a natural fit for this process, and when utilized can lead to much greater success in getting the other party to agree to your terms and compromises. Try to understand the other point of view by listening more. Vocalize your understanding of their feelings to let them know that you relate to their ideas or needs.

 

How to Be More Empathetic

Using and expressing empathy isn’t always easy, and it’s more than just “being nice” to others. In fact, to be empathetic, you don’t even have to like the other person or their viewpoints, or agree with them. You just need to genuinely understand their side of the negotiation. Some people are naturally better at using empathy, but it is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and honed over time. Here are some steps you can take to practice more empathy in any relationship:

1. Identify your own emotions. Make a mental note of your own feelings whenever you feel happy, sad, angry, or excited. Notice your facial expressions and body language and how they correlate to your inner feelings. When you understand and recognize your own emotions, you’ll be able to identify them in others more easily.

2.Watch for body language. Nonverbal cues include tone of voice, body language, and other hints. These hints can often give more information about emotions than what the other person is saying, and sometimes even contradict the spoken words to reveal true feelings.

3. Listen intently. Ask lots of insightful, open-ended questions of your opponent, but sit back and let them speak. Be open and show genuine interest in their answers.

4.Find common ground. Often called “building a bridge,” this involves discovering shared interests and ideas. Find out especially if there are any shared goals in your negotiation resolution. This can lead to compromise quickly and efficiently.

5. Do not express disagreement, judgment, or get defensive. Even if you disagree on the inside, try to remain as neutral as possible and continue to listen. Judging or attacking ideas can lead to the other person shutting down and delaying resolution.

6. Show you are listening. Encourage the other person to share, smile at them, and use your own body language to express interest, instead of appearing closed off. Relax, don’t cross your arms, and watch your tone of voice to show that you are open.

Practicing these steps in conversations, and in negotiations will demonstrate to the other party that you have empathy. You will find that others will then be able to trust you more easily and open up to you more.

 

Why Empathy Is Necessary

Without empathy in the negotiation process, it can be easy to come to an impasse. Those on either side of the table can just dig in their heels and be less willing to budge. However, when empathy is utilized, the opposing side feels understood, and that their feelings are heard. They may be more willing to understand your side as well, and it may be easier to reach an agreement.

Some people may fear that they can be too empathetic, taking it too far and getting so overwhelmed by the other person’s feelings that they forget their own needs. This can be tricky, but take a step back and remind yourself of your goals in negotiating. Use the insights you’ve gained from listening to the other person and come back to the table ready to reach an agreement. When you understand the other person’s needs and motivations, you can use this information to suggest bargains that will appeal to what they want, ultimately leading you to negotiating success.

Negotiation is an important business skill to master, and practicing empathy can make you a better negotiator. If you want to learn more about negotiation in general and find resources for negotiation training, contact Shapiro Negotiations. We have the necessary experience and tools to help you improve your negotiation skills or train your team through classroom training, consulting, keynote speeches, and virtual options.

 

How Setting the Right Tone Will Affect Sales at Your Next Event

Jeff Cochran

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When planning any big event, many factors can affect the overall tone – and success – of the event. Choosing the proper venue, music, printed materials, food options, and even dress codes are all part of the planning process. However, the most important factor in achieving the desired tone for your event may be the keynote speaker. The right keynote speaker will help to develop the theme for the event, get your audience excited, and let them know what to expect during the event. The keynote speaker can make or break the whole event, so it is important to choose wisely.

 

What to Look for in a Keynote Speaker

Long before your event even begins, you must research so you can choose the right keynote speaker. Look for leaders and influencers in your industry, but also make sure that they are relevant and knowledgeable to the particular topic or theme of your event. Also, they must be experienced and skilled in public speaking, not just an industry leader. A keynote speaker needs the ability to successfully draw people to your event, capture their interest, and inspire them to engage in the rest of the event.

Plan well in advance of your event and contact potential speakers months ahead of time. The norm is now to book speakers six to twelve months before your event date, but can sometimes be shorter than that, depending on the particular event and industry. Consider your needs in a keynote speaker – would it be more inspiring to have a corporate leader, or a motivational speaker? Think about your audience and the theme and tone of your event when coming up with ideas for guest speakers. Make sure to also budget properly for the caliber of speaker you hope to book, as some can command expensive fees.

If possible, attend events with keynote speakers you are seeking out, to see them in action. Take note of their speaking style and how the audience is responding. This isn’t always possible, but if you can check them out beforehand, it can help you make decisions about which speakers to go after. If you can’t attend in person, check out videos online of past events and speeches to give you a good idea of the speaker’s style.

 

Marketing Your Event With the Keynote Speaker

When booking your key speakers, find out if they would be willing to participate in some pre- and post-event marketing. These efforts can go a long way toward attracting your audience, and getting them excited for the event. Advertise your keynote speaker long before the event. Use a good photo of your speaker, and get an attention-grabbing quote, exciting speaking points, and/or a list of past accomplishments from him or her. Encourage your speaker to post on their social media about the event beforehand, attracting more followers.

A published interview or article pre-event is also helpful to build excitement. Find out if your speaker would also be willing to make an appearance at a pre-event luncheon or social hour as well. These pre-event appearances give part of your audience a small taste of what is to come at the main event.

 

Qualities of Successful Keynote Speakers

At your event, the impact of your chosen keynote speaker, as well as other event speakers, should be easy to see. A good keynote address will wow your audience, and garner enthusiasm for the other sessions and speakers to follow. A world-class speaker has a magnetic quality that enthralls audiences with their energy and enthusiasm for the topics at hand. Watching a skilled speaker is much more powerful than just reading a blog or article with the same information.

Your conference will likely have lots of other speakers, breakout sessions, luncheons, panel discussions, and dinners or cocktail hours, that each provides more detailed, relevant information to your event-goers. But the keynote speaker sets the tone for the whole conference. It’s not the main speaker’s job to provide detailed information or give an overview of everything to come, but a good speaker will motivate the audience about the main topic, and give examples of how the audience can incorporate the topics and ideas of the event into their daily lives – whether it’s more personal or career based.

 

How a Keynote Inspires

The right keynote address will be inspiring, and show audience members how to use the information they gather at the conference, as well as why it is important. A good keynote speaker will also be entertaining, and enjoyable for your audience to listen to. This speech is the first impression of your event for most of your attendees, so it is important to have a charismatic speaker who will reflect the overall tone of your event and inspire further participation.

Although a keynote speaker does not need to provide an overall outline or overview of other speakers and events to come, the energy and information from their presentation should inspire audience members to participate in other events, and interact with each other. If your event features small-group classes, discussion groups, or vendors, attendees will be more likely to be more involved in these following events. They will be excited to approach vendors and fellow attendees to practice what they’ve learned.

 

Closing Speakers

Almost as important as the keynote address, a closing speaker for an event is another important anchor to choose wisely. The closing speaker should bookend the event with the keynote, providing concluding thoughts, and tying in the main topics presented. The closing speaker should also be exciting and inspiring, encouraging audience members to go back to their lives or careers with the knowledge and experiences they’ve gained at your conference.

Shapiro Negotiations offers services that can help your business or conference be successful. SNI can provide resources and keynote speakers for your next event, conference, or retreat. Our in-house presenters are informative and entertaining, and we have the connections and resources to reach out and find the right keynote speaker for your event. Contact us today for more information.

 

How to Use Any Negotiation Location to Your Advantage

Jeff Cochran

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When it comes to negotiating, everyone wants a leg up on the competition. How can we get the best deal for ourselves? There is an abundance of books on achieving an advantage through every conceivable angle in bargaining. One that gets a fair amount of scrutiny is location.

While most experts agree that location can affect the proceedings, not everyone agrees on just how location affects things and what sort of location is best. It seems that different sites offer different advantages and disadvantages. The one you choose may depend on your own skill set.

 

Negotiating at Their Place

While your first instinct might be to avoid playing an away game, there are several reasons why it can be to your advantage. If you feel comfortable with the idea, taking a trip to the other party’s home base can provide you with a few subjective as well as objective advantages.

• Confidence. A willingness to visit the other side’s turf can be a keen demonstration of confidence. Confidence is always a good thing to demonstrate during negotiations and can elicit concessions that otherwise would not have been forthcoming.

• Opportunity. Going to the other side’s place is a chance to demonstrate respect for them. A good negotiation is usually more of a partnership than a battle, and visiting them can set the right tone to achieve that partnership. It also tells the other side that you don’t fear them either.

• Comfort Zone. By allowing the other party to remain in his or her comfort zone, you might make them more amenable to a partnership-based negotiation rather than a more hostile encounter. You may increase the chance of cooperation rather than competition.

• Intelligence gathering. By visiting their site, you afford yourself the opportunity to learn more about them. You might discover what drives them, or where they are weak. Knowledge like that can be an advantage in a critical moment.

• Information. When you go to their place, you deprive them of the excuse that they don’t have certain information on hand. Their files are right there, ready for perusal. It also gives you that same excuse you have just taken away from them.

 

Negotiating on Home Turf

If negotiating on the road can be advantageous, then for the same reasons negotiating at home can give the other party those same advantages. Nevertheless, there are ways to make a home field negotiation work for you.

• Impress. When they come to your home turf, you can put on a display of your strengths. You can show your prowess and influence the way they see you. If they come to the bargaining table properly impressed, you may have an easier time getting concessions from them.

• The Ego Wall. In your office, you can build your own personal Hall of Fame. You can fill it with awards and newspaper clippings and anything else that portrays you in the light you want to convey.

 

Neutral Location Negotiations

A neutral site is often seen as a fair way for both parties to meet in the middle. No one will have the benefit or detriment of a meeting in their own territory. However, even in neutral space, the playing field may not be entirely level.

The site chosen is still likely to be in the orbit of one of the two parties. It can still be a way for one party to be ostentatious about how they do things, or miserly if that is the tactic they have chosen. They can choose a noisy site where communication is difficult, or a place where business negotiations are prohibited. Every choice sends a message of some sort.

 

A Few More Tips for That Extra Advantage

If you can choose the site of the negotiation, you may be able to manipulate things to your advantage. There are a few psychological tricks which studies indicate can be helpful for you at the bargaining table.

• A hot drink. Studies indicate that the temperature of an object we hold in our hand affects the way we perceive the world and other people in it. According to research, when we hold a warm object in our hands, we tend to have “warmer” thoughts about other people. Likewise, a cold object makes us more negative about those around us. If your negotiating partner views you more warmly, you may be able to get better concessions from him or her. The next time you negotiate, you may want to offer the other party a warm beverage.

• A soft surface. Psychologists believe that in our childhood we develop associations with the hardness and softness of objects, and with their smoothness and roughness. Smooth and soft objects are associated with comfort and security, while rough and hard objects the opposite. If you want the other party to drop his or her guard and relax during the negotiations, you might consider providing them with a chair with a soft cushion. Make sure the negotiating table is smooth to the touch. You can combine this with a warm drink for extra effect.

• Seating arrangements. The seating arrangements can have a subtle yet significant effect on how the negotiations turn out. According to some experts, you should arrange the seats based on your strategy. If you plan on establishing a warm rapport with the other party and have a friendly negotiation, it might be better to put the seats closer together. On the other hand, if you want to establish a logical, formal negotiation, it might be better to separate the chairs more. More distance allows for more dispassion and can avoid emotional reactions to objective information.

• The environment. Contrary to what some suppose, an active background with ambient noise and the activity of other people can promote good negotiations. Background activity keeps us alert and aware of the surroundings, which aids in the negotiation process. If your negotiations seem to have reached a stalemate, changing the location might be an emotional cue that gets things going again. If you choose a vibrant background, this can aid your cause even more.

 

Sometimes, even a small advantage can make a big difference. Negotiators are always on the lookout for that small aspect that makes them more competitive as negotiators. Choosing the right location can give you that edge, but be sure you know yourself and your opposing party. Each location comes with drawbacks along with advantages.

Ten Traits of an Ideal Annual Sales Event Speaker

Jeff Cochran

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The annual sales event is important for your sales team – maybe even the most important part of the year. It’s an opportunity to accomplish several different things, from boosting morale to developing your team as professionals and even making an operational forecast for the coming year. It’s a social event, as well as an educational opportunity.

The keynote speaker at your annual sales event will be the foundation for a successful event for your organization. The ideal speaker can accomplish everything you set out to do and leave you feeling fulfilled and your sales team eager for success in the coming year. Given this, it is important to put time and consideration into choosing the right speaker. First, consider what is important to accomplish at the event, given your professional goals as well as your sales team’s expectations.

 

  • Focus on the team. There are specific points you will want to cover with your team. For instance, you may want to talk about quotas for the coming year, or forecasts for the industry in general and your team specifically. You may want to give them information on sales growth. It is also a good idea to solicit input from your team. What topics do they want to cover? What information do they feel they need to know or learn better?

 

  • This is an excellent chance to provide ongoing education to your sales team. Are there areas where they might need improvement? Perhaps you just want to give them a good review of policies and practices. Everyone needs refreshers from time to time, and the annual sales event is the perfect time to do it while adding an element of fun and camaraderie to the event.

 

  • Sales is about motivation and drive. Your sales team needs to look forward to their work and be excited about their prospects. A good charge of inspiration at the annual sales event can mean a lot for the coming year. This is a good opportunity to think big, to talk about broad topics like leadership or perseverance. Often, a person outside your organization is the ideal candidate to do this.

 

  • Recognize excellence. Nothing generates excitement like the pride a salesperson takes from getting their due recognition. Your team has worked hard over the course of the year, and now is the time to make sure they know you value their contributions. You can hand out awards, for instance, for achievements. Try to include everyone in some way, and don’t leave the planning for this until the last moment.

 

With these goals in mind, you can begin your search for the ideal keynote speaker for your annual sales event. There are certain traits that indicate the right person, the one who can develop your professionals and motivate them. The one who can uplift them with deserved recognition and prepare them for the coming year. These are ten key traits to look for when choosing the keynote speaker for an annual sales conference.

 

1. They have a strong social media presence. Modern conference speakers engage with a following on social media. The number of followers can be faked, but true audience engagement cannot. Look for a speaker who knows the importance of social media engagement.

 

2. They don’t work for free. They say you get what you pay for, and this usually proves to be true. A gifted speaker is in demand and unless it is for a cause, does not usually choose to donate his or her time for free. A lot of work goes into making a good keynote speech for any type of conference, and a good speaker is going to charge a fee for that.

 

3. They are active on Slideshare. Professional quality slides are a given with an ideal speaker. When a speaker has put in the effort to make slides of quality, they will cultivate a following on Slideshare. Look for engagement there as a sign of a worthwhile speaker.

 

4. They know audio and video. A good speaker will ask you questions about your setup. They will want to know the projector display ratio and whether there is WI-FI available. They will ask about mobile apps for the event. A good speaker is knowledgeable and their questions will demonstrate this to you.

 

5. Their slides are professional quality. The slides are a key component of the speech, and will aid in maintaining audience engagement. If a speaker has poor slides, the audience will lose trust.

 

6. They solicit the audience’s opinion. Every event should poll the audience while it is going on. A good speaker will be familiar with the practice and use it him or herself.

 

7. They know your audience. A good speaker will get to know your audience before the event. This way, he or she can address specific points important to your team and even participate in the recognition portion of the event. The more the speaker tailors the speech to the audience, the more engaged the audience will be.

 

8. They get audience members to interact with each other. When a speaker has electrified the audience, they will engage with each other, not just sit there and passively listen to the speaker.

 

9. They engage with the mobile app of the event. Every event should have a mobile app, and a sign of a good speaker is that he or she engages with that app to make the most of the event.

 

10. Their content is meaningful. A modern speaker knows how to use social media like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube videos to make their content relevant and accessible before, during and after the show.

 

The right keynote speaker at your annual sales conference can give your sales team a sense of satisfaction in what they have accomplished, give them some professional development and leave them eager for the coming year’s challenges. The event should be a reward and an inspiration. Knowing what to look for in potential keynote speaker candidates is vitally important to choosing the right speaker for your event. Keep these qualities in mind when the time comes to find the right speaker for your annual sales event.

How a Keynote Speech Transforms an Event

Jeff Cochran

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The keynote speaker sets the tone of a meeting or event. He or she will usually kick things off with a speech that is longer than most or all other speeches or addresses delivered during the event, such as a weekend conference. The keynote speech will be a broad speech, covering many topics. The other speakers will then dig deeper into one aspect of the keynote speech. Whatever the theme of the conference, the keynote summarizes the ideas that follow and generates excitement for the event.

For people who do not attend the event but still have some interest in the topic, the keynote speech is what they will most likely listen to later. For this reason, the keynote speech can serve as an advertisement for the entire conference. It is quite common, therefore, to get a popular personality or a person of prominence or notoriety to deliver the keynote address.

A keynote speaker is often confused with other kinds of speakers, such as a motivational speaker. However, while a keynote speaker can motivate people, the terms are not synonymous. A keynote speaker is the one who delivers the big picture speech to the audience, who develops the overall theme of an event and creates expectations for what is to come. In whatever manner he or she chooses to do that, whether by motivation, humor, edification or other method, the speech that kicks off the event with the broadest coverage of what is to come is the identifiable keynote speech.

 

What Kind of Keynote Speaker Is the Right Choice?

Some occasions call for a specific kind of keynote speaker due to the type of event, while other occasions lend themselves to a less-specific style of speaker. It all comes down to subject matter, audience and what the goals of the organization are. An event organizer needs to consider what the specific goal of the event is for the organization. There are several possibilities.

  • It could be a scientific symposium or a political event about an important issue. If the main goal of the event is to educate the audience, the speaker will have to have a familiarity with the topic. If the audience is going to consist of experts in the field, the keynote speaker must have impeccable credentials. If it will be a general audience, the keynote speaker will need to be adept at communicating material to a lay audience.

 

  • Motivation is often the goal for sales conferences, or other industry-specific events open to people working in the field. In this case, the keynote speaker will need a flare for oratory. However, it will also be important to set an example. At a sales conference, a motivational keynote speaker should have achieved something notable in the field, or in some way done remarkable things through dedication and effort.

 

  • An inspirational speaker is like a motivational one, and often the same person can deliver both kinds of keynote address. An inspirational speaker often focuses on overcoming the odds. This type of keynote speaker, for instance, might have excelled as an editor despite being dyslexic, or lost his or her legs in combat and has learned to live a fulfilling live despite their setback. An inspirational speaker focuses on a feeling and a lesson, while a motivational speaker focuses on action.

 

  • Promote change. If the goal of an event is to achieve change in behavior or attitude, a keynote speaker who can motivate as well as educate might be the best solution. The purely motivational speaker is often speaking to people who already share a common goal and are just looking for some emotional energy to get them going. An educational speaker is usually addressing an audience that came eager to learn. An organization that seeks change may have to overcome biases and predispositions in the audience, and so a more complex approach is warranted.

 

  • Increase Awareness. If there is an important issue that an organization deals with, the first step on the path to promoting change could be raising the awareness of the general public. An educational speaker may tell an audience of professionals about a new cancer therapy, but a keynote speaker who seeks to increase awareness will speak more about the prevalence and consequences of cancer to a more general audience. If the goal is to increase awareness, expertise in a subject matter may be less important than the high profile of the keynote speaker.

 

  • Promote development. This sort of keynote speech is usually for professionals of a common industry. There should be an element of education as well as motivation. The keynote speaker must have experience in the industry, a recognized leader with many stories to tell and a wealth of wisdom gained from experience. In dynamic, evolving industries the keynote speech may highlight the latest advances and developments in the industry.

 

  • Sometimes the goal is simply to entertain. Rather than giving an overview of a theme or delivering the essence of a conference, the keynote speech is more about setting the right mood. The event may not have a single topic and thus there is no core theme to sketch during the speech. The event organizers simply want to make sure the audience enjoys themselves. The keynote speaker should have a gift for connecting with an audience. A proficiency in humor is also important for such a speaker.

 

There are many ways to deliver a keynote speech. One should consider the audience and the subject matter when determining the tone and approach of the speech. Smaller conferences might have more specialists in a field and therefore the keynote speech can reflect this with more in-depth coverage. For a large audience or a lay audience, humor may work better.

The keynote address could be the most important part of a rally, meeting or conference. It is important to choose the right person who knows the subject matter but can also bring a higher profile to the proceedings.

The keynote speaker needs to understand the size and composition of the audience to fashion the appropriate speech for the occasion, and he or she must also understand the tone the organizers of the conference wish to imbue to the occasion. The success of a conference often hinges on the effectiveness of the keynote speaker; getting the keynote address right is a large part of the battle.

What Is BATNA?

Jeff Cochran

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Sometimes, the worst scenario occurs: a negotiation breaks down and an agreement may fall apart between the parties involved. When all else fails, having a prepared BATNA is essential in keeping the negotiation from shutting down and a last resort at resolving conflict. If a salesperson is careful enough, they can still have control of the deal.

Definition of BATNA

You might be wondering, what is BATNA? BATNA is the acronym for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. According to the Business Dictionary, BATNA is defined as “a term used by negotiators to describe options available to their side if negotiations fail.” The entry continues and points out that, “negotiators who have a strong, well-defined BATNA have an advantage because they have a clear benchmark to which they can compare any negotiated settlement.”

 

Importance of BATNA in Negotiation

Before you even schedule a business meeting or agree to see your negotiating partner, you should have a BATNA in mind. Preparing a BATNA ahead of the meeting yields numerous rewards for you, such as:

  • Giving you an alternative when the negotiations fall through
  • Giving you negotiation power over your negotiation partner
  • Considering the lowest point that you are willing to offer

In contrast, by having a weak BATNA or no BATNA at all, your partner can take advantage of your flaws, it will reduce your bargaining options, and will leave you in agreement for something lower in value than what you expected.

 

Know Your Partner’s BATNA

As you develop your BATNA, it is just as important to learn as much of your partner’s BATNA as possible. For one, it will leave you less vulnerable in case your partner is just as savvy as you. Also, you need to figure out your partner’s business needs and position in order to meet them. If you can understand what your partner wants, you will come up with a deal that will benefit both parties involved.

In general, to create the ideal BATNA, assess your business needs and make of a list of everything you would do to meet a solution with the negotiating partner. Then, pick the lowest option that is only better than not working with the partner at all. The most balanced approach is to meet the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA), which is the compromise range that lies between the highest amount a buyer will pay and the lowest a seller will go for before both parties walk away.

 

Approaching BATNA

Once you have your BATNA set, proceed with the negotiations. If you and your partner come to an agreement immediately, then the bargaining went well and there is no need to reach that next stage. If the conflict escalates to the point of ending the negotiation, then offer your BATNA. However, when you set up the BATNA, make the impression that you are ready to get up and leave if the other party doesn’t consider it. This action communicates to your partner that they are acting like an opponent, and that you are better off not doing any business with them. In addition, you can avoid the other party taking advantage of you and forcing you to settle for less, or no deal.

At the same time, ensure that both of you ultimately reach a mutually beneficial result. Every time you agree to a concession, ask one for yourself as well. Ultimately, negotiations are about maintaining a power balance between the involved parties when reaching an agreement. If you remain both insistent in your bargaining and fair when reaching out to the other negotiator, it will boost your reputation as a negotiator and potentially bring further business to you.

 

Examples of BATNA

Though BATNA is a last resort when it comes to negotiation, it manifests in plenty of scenarios where any amount of negotiation is present. The following are examples of how BATNA operates in different negotiation scenarios:

  • Customer needs. A customer needs a product that has no alternative, and his BATNA is to live with it, while the salesperson can offer the product for a discount, but nothing lower than that.
  • Customer preference. A salesperson can tell a customer prefers their products to the competition. The customer’s BATNA is choosing the competition, while the salesperson will hope to complete the deal with a discount.
  • Sales target. A customer notices that a salesperson has not hit a sales target. The salesperson’s BATNA is missing their sales quota. The customer is willing to persuade the salesperson for some discounts, so the salesperson can close the deal and meet the target.
  • The employer knows that the economy is in danger and jobs are hard to find. The employer has the negotiating power, since the candidates have no other options besides unemployment.
  • In the reverse of the employment scenario, an employee is talented and in high demand, while the employer needs the employee’s talent for their business and has much to lose if the negotiation fails. Therefore, the candidate can demand more, and the employer’s best interest is to accommodate.
  • A customer in the process of buying a product declares a specific brand superior to the others. His or her BATNA is to end up buying an inferior brand instead, which motivates them to buy. However, the customer may use bluffing to hide their interest and deal with the salesperson.
  • A product is in short supply because the industry cannot keep up with the high demand. The customers have the BATNA of not buying a product at all or to cut back, while the manufacturer is able to offer the highest price available.

 

Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Despite the importance of having a best alternative to your negotiating agreement ready for every negotiation, it is always best to avoid that situation in the first place. Shapiro Negotiations’ training course can prepare you to become a better negotiator. The course is available in different methods, from classroom and virtual training, to keynotes and consulting, and will bring you benefits such as developing better business partnerships and increasing confidence and results in negotiations. Contact us for more information and improve your negotiation skills today.