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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.

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.

 

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Management: 6 Ways to Manage Sales Leads Better

Josh Jenkins

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The major function of the sales management department is conducting sales operations; planning, and implementing sales techniques.

Without proper sales management, you will not meet your sales targets, but with better sales management, you will exceed your set targets. A thin line lies between good and bad management. A small oversight might cost you and sometimes—you’ll be shocked to find out how much.

The sales management department holds the destiny of a company in its hands. It’s critical to the growth and development of any business because the bottom line is everything. The bigger the returns, the further you will go.

 

Effective Sales Management

Astute business people will tell you: there’s nothing in the sales management department that is too small for your attention. From building a team with diverse talents and skills, to arming it with effective sales tools, keeping everyone’s eyes on the bigger goal, projecting future performance, helping every team member tap into their power to achieve set objectives through analyzing past performance, visualizing future goals, proper planning, and smart goal-setting…the sales management team can’t afford to drop any ball.

Even as more attention is on market research, pricing of new products, marketing, promotion, advertising, and distribution to maximize profits… the above functions cannot be neglected. They play a big role in realizing a company’s sales management goals.

 

The Leader

Any sales team is as good as the sales manager. As Alexander the Great said, “An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.”

A lion sales manager is keen on managing the processes, invested in both short-term and long-term sales goals, selling to customers’ needs, great at sales planning, and possesses these key skills: people management, motivation and coaching, building lasting relationships, and negotiation.

With a great team and a lion sales manager, these SIX surefire techniques will help you better manage sales leads:

1.Define ‘lead’ as a team – you need to agree on the point at which the sales team takes over the process, ensure it’s done at the right time, and that the client lands in the right hands first (which is only possible if their need is understood).

2. Understand your target – if you pay close attention, you’ll notice a trend with your leads. Maybe they share interests, they appeal to the same market or audience, they have the same fears or desires, etc. Understanding your lead will help you connect—and that right there is what people buy. They can get the same product or service elsewhere, but they would rather get it from someone who understands their needs better.

 3. Effective Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) systems – according to Tech Target, “[effective] CRM systems compile customer data across different channels, or points of contact between the customer and the company, which could include the company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials, and social media. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns.”

4. Track the source of your leads – understanding what is working for your company and what is not will help you focus on your best campaigns and, or lead generation platforms, and inform your decisions on improving the others that are not as effective in filling the pipeline.

5. Effective communication – sometimes the difference between closing a deal and being passed over is communication. A client could urgently need your service or product. Moving in fast ensures you seal the deal and move on swiftly. All players in the ever fast-paced business world frown upon sluggish sales processes. Keep tabs on your communication channels to keep business opportunities from slipping through your fingers! It’s a good idea to know everything you can about effective communication—in spoken words, writing, and the unspoken (body language).

6. Touch base with the team – nothing beats a team that works together. Meet every once in a while, to ask the pertinent questions relating to your sales management position: Where are we? Where do we want to be? What are we doing right? Where do we need to improve? Who needs help? How are our systems and processes? How’s the quality of our leads? How fast are we converting? As you reward individual efforts, remember a team is as strong as its weakest link.

 

Wrap up.

Effective sales lead management is pegged on a great sales manager, effective sales management systems, and a team that understands the procedures, processes, the dos, and the don’ts. You stand a good chance of breaking even or breaking barriers if you check these.

Negotiating Using the Challenger Sales Model

Josh Jenkins

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Is the Relationship Sale Still Relevant? 

There is a developing trend that indicates that the relationship sale is dying a slow death. The old path of using golf outings, dinner meetings, and ballgames to cultivate loyal customers seems to be falling to the wayside in a time of budget cuts and a move toward mass commoditization of once valued relationships, products, and services. Buyers are required to procure goods and services at the best possible balance of value, quality, and price regardless of who is selling it to them. SNI has always attracted the client who wanted to enhance the customer relationship by finding a mutually satisfactory process and outcome while maintaining the relationship for future deals. This is where we align perfectly with the Challenger Sales Model – by adding tools and skills to maximize outcomes when adopting this modern approach to selling. 

The Challenger Sale (Dixon and Adamson, 2011) is a seminal book on changing customers’ buying decisions and habits. Dixon and Adamson flipped relationship selling on its head and sent a generation of salespeople on the road to drive results rather than activities. 

Having access to over 6,000 Corporate Executive Board (known as CEB at the time, now Gartner) sales representatives who sold big-ticket services to medium/large businesses in a very down economy (2009), Dixon and Adamson studied the data and recognized the need to reinvent the sales model to reflect this new reality of complex, value-driven selling in order to survive and thrive in the B2B landscape. 

The Challenger Sales Model was a natural fit for SNI’s systematic approach of Negotiation (Prepare, Probe, Propose) and Influencing, and we were fortunate to be partnered with Corporate Executive Board for nearly a decade, including the gestational period in 2008 – 2011. 

SNI worked closely with the CEB on their customized Commercial Sales program for middle-market sales representatives. CEB selected SNI to develop skills in support of their sales model, which we did by molding our systematic approach to sales, negotiation and influencing the emerging Challenger model.

The Challenger Sale identifies 5 types of salespeople, and the research found that the “Challenger” profile far and away outperformed the other types. SNI was asked to help teach skills that ANY of the 5 types could use to improve results while the Challenger Model was being developed. 

Here is a quick rundown on how SNI and the Challenger Sale and Challenger Model work together, which drive better outcomes while establishing and maintaining relationships for future deals. 

 

Teaching & Changing Buying Habits 

To change buying behavior, the Challenger Sales Representative must prepare a plan of inquiry that helps the buyer to understand WHY it is important to consider a purchase now. 

SNI’s Preparation Planner was customized at CEB to incorporate the practice of researching and finding insights and leverage points around Precedents, Alternatives, Interests, and Deadlines as well as defining the differentiated value propositions that each of CEB’s myriad of services provides. Reps learned how to approach the sale more thoughtfully while strategically gathering information in an organized and meaningful way to help the buyer conclude, for themselves early in the sales cycle, that an offer is worth serious consideration. All preparation was focused on the monetization of value – helping the rep to tie the solution being pitched to its direct business impact on the potential client.

Instead of asking questions about the competition, pricing, budgets and buying processes, Challenger reps focus on asking prepared questions about interests, options, alternatives, and possibilities while making suggestions and seeking feedback. SNI’s preparation and probing model provided an effective framework for new and seasoned reps alike to rely on with a prospect or renewal opportunity in a complex B2B sale. 

 

Probing to Prioritize and Tailor Offers

SNI’s probing and scripting model was used as a “safe harbor” option for the mid-market reps who sold over the telephone. Even the best Challenger reps can be thrown off by an unexpected objection or challenge that was real or used to avoid making a buying decision. 

We believe time spent gathering information about interests and specific customer ‘pain’ has higher ROI than the traditional approach of connecting, proposing, persevere and try to make the final cut to close the deal. 

SNI has worked with a variety of clients who use the Challenger Methodology (e.g. Software, Technology, and Pharma Firms) and they have all found that SNI negotiation and influencing skills and tools enhance the Challenger Sale by teaching an efficient and effective preparation process, a model for probing for needs and interests beyond the traditional wants guidelines for making maximizing proposals, and scripting to fine-tune messaging. 

“Although our organization has implemented and maintains the Challenger sales methodology, which directs our sales professionals on “what” to do and “why”, we still need to ensure our sellers know “how” to do it and keep those basic skills refreshed. This is where SNI and The Power of Nice have been a great fit. As influencing and negotiation lives within the sales process and SNIs training have been a great complement to our ongoing Challenger sustainment.”

Aisha Wallace-Wyche

Diligent VP, Global Training and Enablement

Our process also helps reps navigate the Challenger process without the inherent risks of being too aggressive or making undesirable choices such as lowering price or sacrificing value. We help sales organizations protect the margin.

The SNI process prioritizes interests, allowing buyers and sellers to move past positions (e.g. “I need a better price” vs. “if this doesn’t go well it would be a disaster for me personally and our company”; “we need to start this project by the end of the week” vs. “we need this project to finish on time because…” ) to find creative solutions that define shared expectations for a variety of issues – price, conditions, service level agreements, timelines, deadlines and even basic communication commitments such as next steps and decision processes. Trust is enhanced, and influence is amplified. 

 

Taking Control and Maximizing Results at the Close

SNI and the Challenger Sale fit nicely together through the entire sales cycle. Buyers want less hassle, more certainty, reduced risk, and improved profits. SNI and the Challenger Sale meet at this intersection with simple yet highly effective habits (Prepare, Probe, and Propose) in a proven and relevant framework (Teach, Tailor, and Take Control). 

The final Challenger stage of Taking Control is guided by SNI’s guidelines for proposing. SNI and the Challenger Sale focus on always exchanging value while moving in your desired direction. It is a skill mastered by knowing when and how to make the proposal. 

 

Is the Relationship Sale Dead? 

All of this preparation, probing, and proposing in an effort to teach, tailor, and take control leads to a bit of an unexpected, but a desirable outcome. In a twist of ‘unconventional wisdom’, this authentic (yet planned, tailored, and scripted) approach tends to enhance the loyal customer relationship by building a foundation of mutual trust and respect as a partner. At SNI, we have discovered that it is not ‘the final deal’ that satisfies the buyer, but rather how the ‘final deal’ is reached that provides a higher level of mutual satisfaction with the result. We deliver a variety of techniques and tools to help sales professionals find the right words and steps to take and maintain control of the close. 

 

If your organization uses the Challenger Sales model and you are looking to maximize your investment, or, if you are considering negotiation training, please reach out for more information. 

 




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.

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.

 

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.