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Be The Closer

Josh Jenkins

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Even the best salespeople run in to prospective clients who seem impossible to please. You know you have the best product or service, and you know you can help this client improve his/her bottom line, but how to convince them to give you the sale?

Sometimes, a salesperson approaches a prospect on a bad day. It happens to everyone. Maybe the potential client is dealing with a crisis at the company and simply is not focused on your presentation. These circumstances are frustrating, but they can be overcome with some clear-cut strategies.

 

Distracted Client

It’s important to keep the client’s focus on your sales pitch. Try to discern what is distracting the client, and work to bring him/her back to the table. You can also help refocus the energy in the room with an interactive presentation. By involving the client with active rather than passive content, you can help get your message across.

 

Find the Decision Maker

Oftentimes, a company’s decision maker will send an assistant or other representative to a sales meeting to collect preliminary information. Though you are never guaranteed a face-to-face with the actual decision maker, be sure to contact him/her directly prior to the meeting and introduce yourself. This way, when the associate returns with your sales information, the decision maker will already know your name.

 

Project a Genuine Concern

The more you can empathize with your client, the easier it will be to find common ground and close a sale. Your pre-meeting research should give you plenty of information about the client’s business, its challenges, its successes and what your products or services can do to improve productivity. Putting yourself in the client’s shoes can help you feel confident in your ability to address their needs.

 

Learn About the Competition

This refers to both your competition and that of your potential client. Knowing about the other companies in your industry will help you differentiate your products and convey to the client why you offer a superior solution. You also need to be familiar with the client’s competition. You need to tell the client why your products will give them the edge.

 

Set a Deadline

Part of the sales process needs to involve a deadline. Do not give the client too much time to make a decision. This is especially true for challenging clients. There is a fine line between being pushy and creating a sense of urgency. Make it clear to the client that you plan to follow up with them in a few days. Also be sure to let them know your offer has a shelf life. If the client knows you will not wait around forever, you will have a better chance of closing the sale.

 

Have the Answers

In any sales presentation, there is bound to be pushback. Address your client’s objections head-on. Be prepared to defend the cost of your products, and explain why your company provides value-added service. Work with your sales team to come up with a list of all possible concerns your client might bring up. This will help you avoid being caught off guard and pausing to come up with an appropriate answer. If you can anticipate potential objections before your meeting, you will be better prepared to make your case.

Focus on the results you can provide for your client. For example, be prepared to show the client how you can help cut their overhead costs, increase productivity, and improve their company’s bottom line.

When it comes to dealing with challenging clients, preparation is key. All of the sales leads in the world do not matter if you aren’t creating actual sales. Be persistent: Follow up your meeting with a phone call (or phone calls), because emails are much easier to ignore. Remind the client why you can provide the best solution for their needs. Being able to anticipate a client’s concerns and questions will make you a more successful closer.

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.

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 Tell If You Are Experiencing Burnout

Andres Lares

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

 

What Is Burnout?

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

 

Symptoms of Burnout

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Consequences of Burnout

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

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

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

 

 

What Can You Do About Burnout?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Role of Indifference in Sales: How to Appear Neutral and Not Desperate

Josh Jenkins

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Indifference can be one of the most effective impulse factors to use in sales and negotiations. Because indifference is defined as having a lack of sympathy, interest, or concern, you might think it sounds wrong or contradictory that this should be an effective sales tool. But before you dismiss the idea of indifference in sales, let’s investigate it a little further and find out how to use it to our advantage.

 

Indifference in Sales

First, it is important to note the difference between using the concept of indifference in sales and negotiations over indifference in general. What it does not mean is indifference toward your job, the sale, or the other negotiating partner. Apathy toward your job or the sale is the kind of indifference that won’t get you very far, and can definitely hurt your sales. You absolutely should care about these things – and show it.

So, what do we mean? The kind of indifference we are talking about is the ability to appear even or stable in a meeting, and never look desperate for a sale. Desperation and erratic behaviors come off as begging and give power over to the other side. At the same time, acting indifferent toward the sale brings that power back to you.

This can be a powerful negotiating tactic. If you go into a negotiation unwilling to say, “No, thank you,” you will likely put yourself at a disadvantage. Being willing to walk away gives you a certain power in the negotiation process, and the other person will sense that. Your willingness to walk away may result in the other party willing to reopen the negotiations with you on more favorable terms. In addition, feeling and showing indifference toward a sale or business relationship means that if it doesn’t go your way, you can walk away with less disappointment and move on more easily.

 

How Indifference Works in Negotiation

Most people do not like to feel pushed around, especially when it comes to sales and negotiating. An overly pushy salesperson can cause others to shut down and walk away. A degree of indifference, when used in the right way, will make the other side feel more comfortable with you and less like they are being pushed into a sale or compromise that they don’t truly want. When you put the other person at ease in this way, they feel like they have choices, but at the same time, you have the ability to influence them more easily toward a decision.

 

Put Indifference Into Action

Here are some actionable steps you can take to put the concept of indifference to work for you in your negotiations and sales meetings:

1. Practice acting as though you are ok with any outcome. As a salesperson, this may feel counterintuitive at first, but keep practicing, and eventually it will feel more natural. Even if you don’t land the sale, or get the agreement that you wanted, practice being at peace with the outcome. Remember that what you practice eventually becomes your reality.

2. Keep a busy sales schedule. If you constantly have customers or business deals scheduled, and at various stages of the sales deal, you won’t be as desperate to close each one, knowing you have many more prospects available.

3. Honestly project your indifference to your prospects. Again, this does not mean you should be apathetic toward them. Project a genuine attitude and let them know that there are multiple outcomes, as well as what those outcomes are. Take the pressure off and let them know there is no consequence if it just doesn’t work out this time. There will always be future opportunities.

4. Exude confidence. Indifference also does not mean that you lack confidence. Be calm and self-assured, but don’t try to over-sell or over-convince. Show that you feel at peace with any outcome of the deal. Projecting a sense of calm indifference will not only make you more confident but will help the other party have more confidence in you.

With these tactics at your disposal, you’ll be using indifference the right way, and it should lead to greater success for you.

 

The Psychology of Indifference

While we’ve already mentioned that people don’t want to be pushed around, it’s also well known that people want what they can’t have. An overly pushy sales pitch is a turn-off because it is all too easy to just agree to the sale. People want something that’s harder to get. When indifference is used properly, you’ll make them want what you’re selling, even without the sales pitch.

If you are struggling or desperate for a sale, it shows, and this is a turn-off in customer and business relationships. Desperation will only push your customers away. When you remove the desperation from your face, your customers can see it. You’ll come off as more approachable and fun to be around, and eventually, you’ll be closing more sales with what feels like less effort.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is that you should make the customer feel like it is up to them to decide. Make them feel like they are in the driver’s seat, and they’ll be more likely to buy. This is a sales tactic that works, and you’ll be a more successful – and likable – salesperson when you can implement indifference correctly and effectively.

 

How Shapiro Negotiations Can Help

We have the knowledge and expertise to make you a better negotiator. Shapiro Negotiations has experienced speakers, as well as training programs for you or your staff. We can show you the concept of indifference in negotiations at work, as well as countless other tactics to bring you more successful sales.

 

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.

 

What Is Emotional Influence, and How Does It Affect Sales

Andres Lares

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Our emotions guide us in our decision-making every day, sometimes without us even realizing it. We all have primal instincts that influence our choices. When we feel hungry, we seek out something to eat. We sleep – or find another cup of coffee – when we’re tired. When we see a small animal or new baby, we want to pet, cuddle, or hold them. These are all examples of instincts in action, emotional responses that affect our choices without much extra thought.

Most influencers and advertisers know about these emotional responses and understand how to use them to effectively market to target audiences. They use images and videos that incite our emotions, making us feel happy, relaxed, excited, or wanted – and “sell” these emotions to us, not just a product. These emotional responses can influence our buying decisions.

 

What Is Emotional Influence?

Emotions are what give color to our daily lives: happy, sad, angry, and many more varieties; and each of these affect how we feel, what we do, and yes, what we buy. And the emotions we feel when we make a decision, or a purchase will affect if we make that choice again. A positive emotional experience can easily create a repeat customer, or a customer that will share those positive experiences with friends, drawing in new business for you.

Good marketers know exactly how to use these positive emotional responses to encourage customers to buy, and to keep coming back. Consider the following example of two coffee shops. Shop number one is a basic café to grab a cheap donut and quick cup of coffee. Shop number two has a wide selection of fancy, while more expensive, coffee flavors and choices, comfy couches, hip music playing, and a vibe that says, “all the cool kids hang out here.” Even with shop number one’s cheaper prices, more people are going to flock to shop number two for the cool-kid vibe and comfy atmosphere. This is a prime example of emotional influence in action.

 

Why Emotions Are so Important

Even though consumers may believe they use their logical mind to make decisions, the truth is that most of these decisions are highly influenced by emotions. And this idea is well documented and studied. Advertising research shows that our purchasing decisions are influenced more by our emotional responses than the ad content itself – sometimes two to three times as much. Other research has even used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show how we use our emotions more than information, including facts, to make buying choices.

 

How to Use Emotional Influence

So, we know that emotional influence is important in understanding how consumers make choices, but how do we tap into this? Smart marketers appeal to these emotions by giving brands a personality. Rather than just stating facts about a product or brand, infusing a personality gives the brand life and will attract consumers that align with those traits much more easily. These traits can be expressed in everything from visual advertising to packaging, atmosphere, and the language used to describe the brand.

 

Creating Personas

One of the best ways to understand how to use emotional influence is to create personas for your ultimate target customers. A persona is a made up profile of a target customer, that can also be quite detailed in the specific traits and attributes of each. Getting to know the personas you want to target in your marketing helps to understand your audience, humanize them, and better understand how to appeal to their emotions.

When you create the personas to target (and yes, you can – and should – have more than one), you gain a clearer understanding of who your customers are. Your personal profile should include things like age, gender, location, job/career, marital status, and other demographics. You should even give them a name and attach a stock photo. What are their life goals? Their frustrations and pain points? Their motivations? Write up bios for each of the personas you create and want to target. These bios can be used by your entire marketing staff, to unify the team and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

 

Marketing to Your Personas

Once you’ve established your ideal personas to market to, you can tailor your approach when marketing your product or service. Ask what your persona’s needs are. What are their pain points and how can your product offer solutions and appeal to them? Consider these personas as real people and find a way to use their emotions to draw them in.

Think beyond your product and consider the feelings that your product gives to consumers. For example, think of how the latest technological gadget makes a consumer feel – happy and excited, but also possibly part of an “in” crowd, smart, and hip. They may be relieved to have solved a problem or updated from an older version of the gadget. Now, you are selling a lifestyle, not just a product, and appealing to your customers’ emotions. Marketing in this way sells the emotions that your product evokes, and will lead to greater success in sales.

 

Making a First Impression

First impressions matter, whether in meeting new people or seeing a new ad for the first time. Study after study shows that we form these first impressions in mere seconds, using our instincts and gut reactions – emotional responses. This is why knowing how to market your product is so important. The first exposure a consumer has to a product, or its advertising, will have an immediate impact on their feelings toward it, and create a bias for the future.

Your first impression should have a strong emotional appeal. Consider utilizing the psychological power of colors, as well as storytelling. Inspire your customers, create a sense of community, and project an ideal image of your product and the lifestyle it supports. Shapiro Negotiations has experts knowledgeable in emotional influencing and can help guide you through the process. Contact us today for more information on influencer training, and so much more.

How to Choose the Right Sales Training Program

Josh Jenkins

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A sales training program is crucially important to the success of your sales team. Every individual needs the right introduction into the sales environment. No matter how naturally talented a person is, he or she requires the polishing that comes from good instruction.

When it comes time to choose a sales training program for your team, be very careful and thorough with the process. This program is going to mold your team as well as provide them with continuing refreshers over the course of their careers. A mistake at this stage could prove highly detrimental to the success of your enterprise.

It is best to take a systematic approach. With a plan in hand for how you are going to approach the process, you will be able to find and even tailor the sales training program that is right for your industry and for your team’s needs. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your program.

 

Preplanning

Before you start looking at sales training programs, you need to understand your own sales team. Some programs maybe great programs but they aren’t for every team in every environment. Look at yourself and evaluate where you are and where you want to be so you can be in the best position to evaluate the training programs you will choose from.

 

  • What are your team’s needs? Not every product is the same. Some approaches need to be different. Not every clientele is the same. What are the needs of your team? This is the core concept in determining which sales training program will work for you.

 

  • What areas do you want to focus on? Is there a specific weakness in your team? Do you feel you could spend a little less time going over things they already have mastered? A sales training program can cover a wide variety of topics. You need to decide the best way to apportion this time.

 

  • How long should the training be? More training can always help, but there comes a saturation point when it loses its benefit and the trainees start to get bored with it. What is the appropriate amount of time to spend on training?

 

  • What about continuing education? As time goes by, we forget more and more of the specifics of what we learned. It is always a good idea to give refresher courses, even to experienced veterans. What sort of continuing education goals do you have for your team?

 

Finding the Right Program

Once you know what your goal is for your sales team and know what you want out of a training program, you are ready to see what’s available. Some of the metrics, such as course length and follow up, are easy to gauge. There are, however, other considerations to make during the selection process. There are several considerations when determining how effective a sales training program will be for your specific sales team.

 

  • Consider location. Sales training can consist of in-person training as well as e-learning. Most will make use of both. Do you prefer more of one than the other?

 

  • What is their selling philosophy? No amount of tinkering with the program will solve the problem of differing philosophies when it comes to sales training. If your core philosophy is at odds with that of the training program, it’s not going to be a good fit.

 

  • Look at the sales management section. Your sales management needs to reinforce the principles taught in the training program for salesmen and women. The training program should have a component for sales management as well.

 

  • Do you need an assessment? If you already have an assessment process you trust, this probably won’t be necessary. However, you may want to investigate whether the training program provides assessments as well.

 

  • Does the program have all the desired formats? Some people learn better by reading; others by watching a video. Make sure the training comes in a variety of formats to reach every representative on your team.

 

  • What is the ratio of showing to doing? Some training programs are mostly show with only a little do. Most people learn better by doing, so be sure to check the ratio in any potential training program.

 

  • Can they tailor course content? No sales training program is worth it if they can’t modify their content according to your needs.

 

Other Considerations

When you find a program that you believe will serve your needs, you will need to ask a few more questions. There are some other aspects you should ask about to be sure you are getting the best version of the program that you can. You can further verify effectiveness or the appropriateness of the fit, or even improve the offer on the table. Here are some suggestions for what you should look at.

 

  • Get a sample of the curriculum. This is the best way to evaluate the quality of the program you are considering. Many programs can be discarded with this step.

 

  • Ask about return on investment. How does the sales training program measure results? Is this in accordance with your philosophy and goals?

 

  • Look at the client list. Different sales industries require different approaches. Look at the client list of a prospective program to see if they have experience working with sales teams in your specific field.

 

  • Ask for a money-back guarantee. If a sales training team makes claims about the quality of their product, they should back it up with a guarantee of some sort. If they don’t offer it, see if you can bargain for one. You will be investing a lot of time and money into a program and you need to make sure you see results.

 

When you know how to approach the process, you can confidently find the best program for your company. Though many sales programs seem to be made from the same cast, there are some that stand out. With these tools, you will be able to separate the imitators from the truly high-quality programs and make sure your team has all they need to be the most successful sales representatives possible.

 

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.