Jeff Cochran Speaking at Training Conference and Expo 2012

Jeff Cochran


Make sure to check out our colleague, Jeff Cochran, as he speaks at the Training Conference and Expo 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  He will be speaking on Wednesday, February 15th from 12:15 PM – 3:15 PM at the Georgia World Congress Center. His presentation is based on the award-winning book, The Power of Nice: How to Negotiate So Everyone Wins– Especially You!, and will focus on a systematic process for negotiating deals will suppliers, vendors, and customers that helps to maintain an ongoing relationship long after “the deal is done”. You’ll learn how to negotiate in a way that is profitable, while also satisfying the needs of the other side so that negative ramifications down the line are minimized. You will:

  • Learn habits and tools that can be applied immediately to achieve greater negotiation success
  • Undergo Real Deal coaching
  • Participate in interactive exercises
  • Be able to train others in your organization in this process

We’re excited about the opportunity to speak and hope you are able to come see us.

For more information about the conference, check out their website at

Ron Shapiro Receives Highest Speaker Rating at the Association For Finance Professionals Annual Conference

Jeff Cochran



Ronald M. Shapiro ranked 1st out of over 400 speakers at the Association of Finance Professionals (AFP) Annual conference this year. Other speakers included CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, 11-time NBA Champion and Celtic legend Bill Russell, and former President Bill Clinton.

The AFP annual conference, held at Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, has been providing world-class education covering current issues to finance professionals for 30 years. This year was the second highest rated in the conference’s history. The AFP annual conference hosted over 6,000 treasury and finance professionals from over 1,500 companies.

Ron Shapiro, Chairman of Shapiro Negotiation Institute, led an educational session on “Negotiation and Influencing Techniques for Getting the Deal Done”, which taught a systematic process to negotiating with suppliers, vendors, customers and peers that helps to maintain an ongoing business relationship long after “the deal is done”.

“Of the over 400 speakers at the AFP Annual conference this year, Ron scored the highest, both for the session and for the individual speaker scores. Ron’s speaker score, on a 5 point scale, was 4.89 and his session scored a 4.83 on the same scale. Extraordinary”. Says Mary Ellen Saunders, the Managing Director of Education & Training Programs for the AFP. Sponsors of the AFP Annual conference include American Express, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris Bank, BNY MELLON, Capital One, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, Fifth Third Bank, Planview, PNC, Scotiabank, Skylight Financial, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo.

For more information about the AFP annual conference, please visit

About Ron Shapiro
Expert Negotiator, Sports Agent, Corporate Attorney, Educator, New York Times best-selling Author, Civic Leader, and Founder of Shapiro Negotiations Institute, Ron Shapiro has developed his Negotiations philosophy on four decades of deal-making experience. He is best known as having represented more Major League Baseball Hall of Famers than any other agent, including Cal Ripken, Jr. USA Today called Ron “an effective behind-the-scenes negotiator.” His negotiation and influencing techniques have resolved a national symphony orchestra strike, facilitated solutions to human relations problems, and reconciled disputes in government, corporate, and major biotechnology challenges.

About Shapiro Negotiations Institute
SNI is a premier global provider of training and consulting in the following areas: Negotiation, Influencing, Sales Optimization, and Conflict Resolution. The focus of SNI is on maximizing our clients’ ability to create mutually beneficial and profitable long-term relationships with peers, vendors, and customers – both internal and external to the organization. Our success is built on helping professionals at all levels use a systematic approach to get more accomplished, faster, and with a higher degree of effectiveness. By taking over 30 years of lessons learned in real-life situations, we dig into specific industry and client challenges, so our tools and techniques can be used immediately and repeated with precision.

About the Association for Finance Professionals Annual Conference
The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) serves a network of more than 16,000 treasury and finance professionals. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, AFP provides members with breaking news, economic research and data on the evolving world of treasury and finance, as well as world-class treasury certification programs, networking events, financial analytical tools, training, and public policy representation to legislators and regulators. AFP is the daily resource for treasury and finance professionals.

For 30 years, the AFP annual conference has provided relevant world-class education that covers a variety of challenges, best practices and issues important to finance professionals. Current topics span from payments to risk management, treasury operations to financial planning and analysis. With an unbiased agenda and an abundance of business networking opportunities, this is the most important event for treasury and finance.

Learning WIN-win Negotiations from a 2-Year-Old

Jeff Cochran


One of the key philosophies we believe in at SNI is that both sides can win in a negotiation.  This does not mean that both sides can get everything they want.  Rather, it means both sides can walk away from a negotiation satisfied.  One side will always “WIN”, but the other side can also “win”.  To be an effective WIN-win negotiator, you have to be able to identify what you really want and what the other side really wants.

The following is an excerpt from the book “The Power of NICE” by Ron Shapiro, Mark Jankowski, and Jim Dale. Mark likes to tell a story about his niece that shows how a clever 2-year-old was able to utilize Win-win negotiation to get what she wanted. 

Adrienne, my 2-year-old niece, displayed one of the more effective uses of the WIN-win maxim: “The best way to get what you want is to help them get what they want.”  Adrienne likes nothing better than being carried around, all day long, every day, but her parents, wanting her to realize that when you grow up, you don’t get carried around, wanted to break her of this habit.  When her pleading, “Pick me up!” began to go unanswered, she modified her approach.  In no time, she was looking up at her parents, offering her outstretched arms, saying, “Hug.  Hug!”  Who could ignore that affectionate request?  Then, when her father bent down to give his little princess a hug, Adrienne would latch onto his neck, he’d straighten up, and guess what?—she was being carried around.  She got what she wanted—being carried—by giving him what he wanted—a hug.

Negotiating for a Used Car – Step 3: Propose

Jeff Cochran


The third and final step in our three part series on negotiating the purchase of a used car is to propose. After you have done your preparation by determining the “standard” price for the car you want to purchase, and after you have asked the questions listed in our previous post on probing, it is now time to enter the proposal phase.

You should point out to the dealer the areas where the car or the dealership is lacking and ask what price reduction the dealer is willing to provide. For instance, if the vehicle history report demonstrates frequent repairs, then what discount from the offered price (or the Kelly Blue Book price) is the dealer willing to give you? Likewise, if the dealer is not willing to provide you with information of services, how much of a reduction in price are they willing to offer? For instance, if the vehicle is not certified, or if the dealer does not provide services like Free Oil or Free Towing like other dealers, how much of a discount are they willing to offer you? As we teach in all negotiations, remember, let the other side make the first offer, do not accept their first offer too quickly, and when you are making an offer “aim high” (or in this instance, “aim low”).

As with any negotiation, the more alternatives that you have, the more effective you will be in the negotiation. If the used car you are looking to purchase is a one of a kind Jaguar and there are no other dealers that sell this type of vehicle, then you may not be in a good position to negotiate. But if you are looking for a BMW that is less than 5 years old and you are willing to choose from different colors and models, then you will be in a stronger negotiation position. Likewise, if you limit yourself to shopping at one dealer, you alternatives will be limited.

We suggest that you look both at Franchised Dealers who sell new and used cars, as well as Independent Dealers who sell used cars only. You will likely find cheaper prices at the Independent Dealers, but they will not provide you with the same amount of information prior to the sale or the service after the sale that a Franchised Dealership would. One tactic would be to play the Franchised Dealership off of the Independent Dealer, asking the Franchised Dealer to provide all the services at the same price as the Independent Dealer, or asking the Independent Dealer to lower their pricing even lower to make up for the lack of information about the car prior to the sale, or their lack of service after the sale.

Ultimately the decision will come down to whether you want the absolute lowest price with very little service from the Independent Dealer, or if you would be willing to pay a little more from a Franchised Dealer based on the fact that you have more knowledge and after the sale service. Either way, you can use the Three Ps and the tips in this article to negotiate your most effective deal when purchasing a used car

Negotiating for a Used Car – Step 2: Probe

Jeff Cochran


In the second part of our three part series on negotiating the purchase of a used car, we will teach you how to effectively probe. After preparing for your car purchase, you need to dig for information behind the other side’s position– determine the real interests or needs of the private seller/dealer– this is what probing is all about.

The following ten questions should always be asked when purchasing a used car:

i. Why is this car priced above (or below) the Kelly/Edmunds Value?

ii. How long have you had this car on the lot?

iii. Do you have the factory report? (indicates recalls or warranty repairs)

iv. Do you have the vehicle history report? (indicates history based on VIN #)

v. Do you have the repair history report? (indicates major/minor repairs)

vi. Can I see the actual inspection ticket? (indicates who/what where/when of inspection)

vii. Is the vehicle certified? What is the extended warranty?

viii. What is the dealer warranty? 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?

ix. What additional services do you offer? Free towing? Free Oil?

x. Have you offered or are you planning to offer any specials? Holiday Sales?

Asking these questions will help you in three ways: 1) it will help you understand the condition of the car; 2) it will help you determine what support the dealer is willing to provide after the sale; 3) it will help you establish reasons for price reductions moving into the Propose phase of the negotiation.

Negotiating for a Used Car – Step 1: Prepare

Jeff Cochran


Purchasing a used car, like any negotiation, is a “process and not an event” and at the Shapiro Negotiations Institute, our process is based around the Three Ps: Prepare, Probe, and Propose. In a three part series we are going to walk you through how to effectively negotiate the purchase of a used car.

The first step in this process is to prepare. The best source of information in your preparation to purchase is used car is Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds, both of which are available on the internet. These services will tell you the “standard” value for the make and model of car you are purchasing. The key item to remember, however, is that these services will provide you only with the “standard” value. Depending on the condition of the particular used car you are purchasing, it could be worth substantially more, or substantially less, than the value stated by these services. Regardless, in preparing for negotiating the purchase of a used car, Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds is the first place to turn.

Attached is a copy of our Preparation Planner, a tool that you can use to get in a systematic preparation habit to make sure you’re ready when you sit down to negotiate. Click here for a copy of the Master Preperation Planner.

Trust By Verify with Jeff Cochran

Jeff Cochran


Trust by verify, it sounds good in theory, but how can it really be implemented? At SNI, we typically advise our clients not to make adjustments to their prices when a potential buyer claims that one of their competitors is cheaper until they see hard evidence.

I asked my colleague, Jeff Cochran, for his thoughts, and with a chuckle he said he could tell me a story about how he recently implemented it.

I had a project; I needed to get my driveway paved. Being a negotiator, I knew that I needed to do good preparation. The first step in preparing was to collect estimates so that I would have alternatives. Therefore, I contacted three contractors, provided them with the details of the project, and collected estimates. Of course, all three estimates were different. The most and least expensive estimates were significantly different. The first contractor I called was an acquaintance. He gave me an estimate of $8,500 to do the job. The second estimate came from a contractor who I found from an ad in my local paper. His estimate for the project was $7,500. Lastly, there was a sign on the driveway up the road. When I called the number on the sign to inquire about the cost of my project, I got an estimate of only $6,000.

Naturally, I was inclined to choose the least expensive contractor. However, his offer seemed too good to be true. I did some research, and sure enough, I found out that cheaper offers like the one I received for $6,000 raise a major concern that the contractor would skimp on materials. Not using the correct amount of asphalt on the driveway could lead to major problems.

I went back to all three contractors and asked for the specifications on the work they would be doing. All three indicated that they would use four and a half inches of blacktop. Since the first contractor at $8,500 was an acquaintance, I went to him to give him right of last refusal. I informed him that one of his competitors was willing to do the job for $6,000, $2,500 least than his estimate.  I was very surprised with his response because he told me that there was no way for him to drop his price without losing money on the job. In turn, I asked him how come his competitor could do the job for $6,000? His response was that the competitor would most likely skimp on materials and do a bad job.

It was the end of the summer and I wanted to get this project done while the weather was still nice. How could I choose the least expensive contractor but know for certain that he was going to do quality work? I had him put in writing a detailed description of the work he was going to be doing and the specs that needed to be met. I then confirmed with him that what he had written is what he planned to deliver. Still, I remained a bit skeptical. Just his word alone didn’t seem like enough. Thinking back on my negotiations skills, I thought trust but verify. I went back to the contractor who would have cost me $8,500 and asked him if for $200 he could have one of his guys supervise the work of the least expensive contractor, guaranteeing that he delivered what he said he was going to deliver.

It was a good thing I did! In the end, the contractor I opted to go with for $6,000 did not have enough asphalt to finish the job, so he suggested that he use three and a half inches of asphalt instead of the correct amount, four and a half inches, to save time and money. It was one of the hottest days of the summer. He told the inspector that he knew that they were both exhausted from a long day’s work and ready to go home. He even added that I probably would never notice the difference of an inch. He was right. How would I have ever found out until I started seeing cracks and needed to dish out an additional $2,000-3,000, if not more, to pay to repair his shortcomings?

Luckily, the inspector who I hired insisted that he do the job correctly, go back to the asphalt plant, and get another load. The $200 I paid for the inspector to be present was well worth it and it potentially saved me thousands. When I first thought about it, I wondered why he cared enough to prolong the project and make the least expensive contractor use the correct amount of asphalt. In the final analysis, it made perfect sense why the inspector would be adamant that the job gets done correctly. He was not going to let a competitor steal potential business by offering to do the “same job” for cheaper when in reality he was shorting clients.

Getting a Raise Using the Prep Planner

Jeff Cochran


Getting a Raise Using the Prep Planner:

In today’s economic environment, it is harder than ever to get a raise at work.  On the other hand, people who have not had raises in several years may be in a great position to get that raise.  When we talk about effective preparation, it is important to have precedents to establish the justification of the salary you will request.  There are several precedents you can use:

Find out what other similar jobs pay (you can find them at and

Use prior percentages of increases that you have received in the past to justify that percentage again.

Uncover possible examples of ‘bonus for performance’ opportunities that have been given by your company.

Look for ancillary economic benefits provided to others in the organization such as company cars, additional vacation days, or opportunities to work from home.

While precedents are important to establish, the other elements of the preparation planner, such as you alternatives (and theirs), interests (what can you do to help the business make/save money), and walk away (your willingness to leave if you do not get the raise you want). 

While asking for a raise in these challenging times is difficult, it is often said: “much is lost for the want of asking…”

Overcoming Higher Authority

Jeff Cochran


In a previous post we discussed a negotiation tactic that we refer to as “Higher Authority”. 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re in the process of solidifying a deal and the person you’re dealing with has got you handshake away from completion and then drops the infamous line, “This looks good, and now I’ll just have to ask my boss/client/spouse/committee if this is acceptable before it’s final.”?

Click on the image below to view a video that will help you overcome “Higher Authority” or use it to your advantage.