SNI’s Jeff Cochran Scores Highest Feedback at 2017 SAMA Conference

Jeff Cochran


Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, SNI’s own Jeff Cochran presented the “The Power of Nice: Maximizing Your Most Crucial Negotiations”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on how you can maximize your share while still maintaining a long-term relationship with the other side.

His ability to captivate and provide value to his audience was shown in his post evaluation scores and anonymous participants’ comments. Two examples are:

  • “Best session I attended during the conference.”
  • “Appreciated the handouts to use for note taking. Jeff did a super job of keeping everyone engaged, especially considering it was the last session of the day.”

Here is a summary of scores that made him the #1 ranked speaker at the conference:

SAMA Report Card

SAMA Report Card

How to Keep the Client After You Made the Sale

Jeff Cochran


Oftentimes, people labor under the impression that once a sale is made, the sales and negotiation process ends. This, however, could not be further from the truth. The initial acquisition is the first in an extended series of talks, negotiations, compromises, and pitches that will continue throughout the newly established working relationship.

Seek Feedback

Feedback is just as useful to you as it is to maintaining relationships with your clients. They want to be heard, and you can use the information to improve the product or service, or even your own sales tactics. Engaging your customers will show them you genuinely care and haven’t forgotten about them. When consumers don’t like a product or service, they are likely to not return rather than voicing their opinion. Well, they will voice their opinion; it just won’t be with you. However, if you take the time to ask them for feedback, they’ll be more inclined to seek your service in the future because they know you care about their needs.

Stay Organized

If you’re maintaining ongoing relationships with clients, you probably have a variety of client types with an assortment of needs. Keeping your clients organized by what their wants and needs enables you to make more meaningful connections with them. It also helps you make better sales in the future.

Knowing exactly what customers bought and how they feel about it makes them feel respected and “special,” and keeping their information systematically organized is the most efficient way to do this. Additionally, keeping things organized internally gives you insight into your product or service. Are you consistent in your delivery? Do you have a set schedule for following up with clients? Do all your employees abide by the same sales policies? Answering these questions can improve your business and your ongoing relationship with clients.

Look For More Opportunities

Don’t build relationships with just one person within a company. Get to know other people within the office and identify his or her needs. Make an effort to understand the company culture, goals, and mission. You never know; someone else in the company could come to you for a product, or someone could move on to another company and tell them about your exceptional service. Keeping your options open and eyes peeled allows you to identify opportunities in the future. Plus, it’s easier to maintain a relationship with your client if his or her coworkers like you, too.



How to Build Value in Your Customer Relationships

Jeff Cochran


The goal of every successful salesman is to turn leads into customers and customers into long-term relationships. This may come naturally to some, but to most, it is an ongoing effort. The key is in the baby steps. Give your customers multiple opportunities to “win” along the way. Throughout the customer lifecycle, make sure you appreciate and engage your customers every step of the way. If you can make your customers feel special and appreciated from the beginning, they will continue to reward you with their loyalty.

Make Them Feel Like They Are Winning From the Start

Everyone wants to feel like they are “winning” something, especially in sales. Whether it is a good deal, inside information, or a product that can solve their problems, customers want to feel like they have come out on top. You can provide them with winning situations right from the first pitch. Do this by leading with how your product or service benefits them, instead of leading with information about your company. Your customers are probably busy; they will be more interested in hearing how your product makes them the winner, right from the beginning.

Let Them Win During the Sell

One of the easiest ways to let your customers know they are appreciated is to offer them free perks. If they buy your product, can you offer free shipping? How about discounted upgrades? Send them a “care package” of product samples; this is good for marketing and building relationships. If you give your customers little free perks like this every time they do business with you, they are likely to continue to buy from you in the future.

Let Them Win Upon Fulfillment

Now that you have made the pitch and closed the sale, you can stop worrying about all this “winning” stuff, right? Well, not if you want to build a long-term relationship. Details are essential. Why not hand-deliver the product they ordered? Or make personalized thank you cards to send along with the package? Use your personality and creativity to come up with unique ways to say thank you for every order.

Get to Know Your Customers for a Winning Relationship 

Your customers want to feel special. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes. Know their family’s names. Send them a card or gift at Christmastime or a welcome package if they move to a new home. Invite your favorite customers to industry inside events, like a luncheon at your office or a company baseball game. Basically, treat your customers like you would a friend. These little efforts to get to know them will make them feel greatly appreciated. And when customers feel appreciated and close with you, they will be loyal to your company.



3 Ways to Influence How People See You

Jeff Cochran


Perception is how we navigate both the social and professional world. The way people perceive themselves and the world around them dictates the way they respond to their surroundings. When interacting with others, we often view ourselves a certain way; many times, though, the way we see ourselves does not always align with the way other people see us.

It’s a strange phenomenon that has been studied for years. It may sound disconcerting, but this disconnect in perception can actually be harnessed to positively influence the way others see us. Influence training teaches people how to identify their personality traits and how people perceive them. Once you identify these traits, you are more prepared to change them.

Be Positive and Confident 

If you are a pessimistic, people will see that in you, even if you don’t realize it yourself. One of the most effective ways to change the face you put on for the world is to work on becoming more positive. The more positive you are, the more confident you become. We all know confidence radiates outwardly from a person.

A simple way to work on boosting your positivity is to smile more. Smiling actually releases hormones in your brain that make you happier, which in turn makes you smile. Maintaining good posture, eye contact, and a sunny disposition will build your confidence and ability to stay positive. In time, the forced routine becomes a part of your character. Ultimately, it changes the way people perceive you. 

Show A Little Vulnerability 

Vulnerability from leaders boosts camaraderie and promotes empathetic responses. Empathy is one of the truest connections humans have and understand about each other. We may not perceive someone the way he or she sees him or herself, but we can certainly empathize with him or her. Essentially, this boils down to modesty. Once you build your confidence, you will start to feel like you can take on the world. This is a great thing, but only if it’s tempered with a touch of humility. Respect that other people have different opinions, and listen to what they have to say. If you make a mistake, address it and apologize.

Show Interest in Others

Everyone loves a good listener. When engaging in conversation with someone, always show interest in what he or she has to say. Not only will he or she respect you more, but you will learn about him or her in the process, too. Ask people about their opinions and interests on a topic, and try to make connections with them. Encourage people to open up and talk about what they love.

In short, the best way to change the way others see you is to change your own behavior. Influence training is a great way to kick start this process by helping you identify the traits you want to change and giving you the tools to do so.



The Importance of the Consistent Reevaluation of Sales Plans

Jeff Cochran


A sales plan is integral to any company’s success. The strategy most take is to devise an effective sales plan, which remains the same until it begins to become less successful. This can be an effective strategy for a company looking to maintain present success. However, the best companies in any industries are always growing and expanding. A business serious about success has to think big. One way to push towards greater success is to improve and reevaluate your current sales plan. Fortunately, there are plenty of small changes a company can make without overhauling its approach to sales:

  • Monitor analytics. The only way to know what changes will help your company is to look at the stats. Continuously checking up on your website’s analytics lets you know what’s working and what’s not.
  • Make a goal. Do you want to expand your customer base? Improve customer experience? Streamline production? Once you’ve analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of your business plan, come up with an attainable goal for your reevaluation.
  • Stay up to date online. In today’s world, every company has a social media presence. An under-utilized social media page means lost sales and poor reputation. There are changes every day in the technology world. Staying apprised of these updates allows makes your company relevant, appealing to new customer bases and keeping old customers loyal. Keep up with technology to maximize your company’s potential.
  • Focus on your audience. Your audience’s response is how you determine what parts of your sales plan are effective. Your reevaluation is primarily concerned with this response, so make it your top priority.
  • Don’t be afraid of change. A reevaluation of your sales plan should be a small update, not taking up too much money or resources. However, sometimes the reevaluation can lead to a bigger realization of a potential untapped market or branding opportunity. In these cases, don’t be afraid to go for gold. A big change can mean big success when it’s relevant and oriented towards your audience’s needs.
  • Be patient. Big changes don’t happen overnight. A successful reevaluation of a sales strategy takes time. Proper analysis of your company’s success can only be done by experts looking over a lot of data. Similarly, figuring out what changes should be made with the data in mind is not a quick process. Even small changes take time. By devoting necessary time to a sales plan reevaluation, you stand to bring your company growth and success.
  • Get some advice. Shapiro Negotiations offers extensive corporate sales training and negotiation training opportunities for maximizing any company’s sales potential. Professional help with reevaluating your company’s sales strategy can mean big growth.

Is Your Negotiation Strategy Up to Date?

Jeff Cochran


For those who succeed in the business world, having a solid negotiation strategy is critical. However, negotiating can be a difficult skill to perfect. There are many common mistakes that are made during the negotiation process, from poor planning to making incorrect assumptions about the other party. With the following five tips, you will be able to hone your negotiation strategyand ensure that you are able to make deals that benefit your business.

1. Don’t Assume It’s a Fixed Pie

One common mistake made during negotiations is assuming that the other party will only be willing to negotiate so much. Also referred to as assuming the pie is fixed, this mistake is frequently made when both parties actually want the same result. By assuming that the other party will only meet you halfway, you could be missing out on getting the whole pie. Margaret Neale, the director of two programs teaching negotiation at Stanford, has found that about 20-25% of the students in her class make this mistake during negotiations.

2. Understand Cultural Differences

Another common mistake that you can make in your negotiation strategy is failing to take cultural differences into account. When entering negotiations with individuals from other countries and other cultures, making a foolish mistake because you do not know the culture can cause you to lose the trust of your adversary. For example, in some cultures, making eye contact is a sign of trust, but in other cultures, it is a sign of aggression.

3. Focus On Cooperation

When it comes to your negotiating strategy, there are two main tactics you can take: zero-sum games vs. cooperation. While zero-sum games are combative and ultimately lead to worse results for both parties, cooperation helps businesses establish a positive relationship that leads to win-win negotiations. By keeping your negotiations positive and maintaining a tone of cooperation, you can ensure better results.

4. Don’t Ask Yes or No Questions

A good strategy to help you succeed when negotiating is to ask open-ended questions rather than yes or no questions. This is because open-ended questions allow the other party to reveal more information about their wants and needs. Understanding what the other party wants out of the negotiation and where they are coming from will put the situation in perspective and help you come to a better solution.

5. Take the Time to Prepare

Last but not least, never underestimate the importance of taking the time to prepare for your negotiations. Good negotiators not only do their homework on the other party, but they also make a detailed plan for how the negotiation will play out. You should always have a good idea of what your priorities are for any negotiation as well as how you can alter those priorities, if necessary, to come to an agreement that works for both parties.

Perfecting Your Pitch Press Release

Jeff Cochran


 Shapiro Negotiations Institute Announces Founder

Ron Shapiro’s New Book, Perfecting Your Pitch,
Written to Help Readers Prepare for Life’s Challenging Conversations
Expert Negotiator, Sports Agent and New York Times Best-Selling Author Shapiro Releases Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work


Baltimore, Md., Nov. 19, 2013 – Today, Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI), a premier global performance improvement firm, announced the release of founder Ron Shapiro’s new book, Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work. Shapiro, best known for his representation of more Major League Baseball Hall of Fame players than any other agent, focuses on how to tackle difficult conversations head on in his latest work.

Shapiro is the co-founder of SNI, which has trained over 350,000 people in sales, negotiation and influencing skills. His techniques have helped resolve a national symphony orchestra strike, facilitate solutions to human relations problems, and reconcile disputes in the government and corporate worlds.

“We’ve all found ourselves in delicate situations – perhaps an important conversation with a spouse, customer or boss … Days later, we might imagine the salient points we wish we had made if we’d planned ahead,” Shapiro writes in Perfecting Your Pitch.

Perfecting Your Pitch offers 40 model scripts to help readers make a budget request, interview for a job, end a relationship, or talk to children about divorce. Using real-life examples, Shapiro walks readers step-by-step through the crucial, but simple, process of creating effective messages. This systematic approach to difficult conversations reduces stress and helps overcome fears to dramatically increase the chances of effectively achieving desired results.

New York Times best-selling authors Daniel Pink and Adam Grant, NBC Anchor-at-Large Ann Curry, head coach of the SuperBowl XLVII Champion Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh, and T. Rowe Price Chairman Brian C. Rogers have, among others, provided endorsements for Shapiro’s latest title, which follows his three previous books, The Power of Nice: How to Negotiate So Everyone Wins – Especially You!; Dare to Prepare: How to Win Before You Begin;and Bullies, Tyrants, and Impossible People: How to Beat Them Without Joining Them.

Perfecting Your Pitch covers a staggering array of life situations, from salary negotiations to personal relationships, in which a wrong word or an inept phrase could mean the difference between success and failure,” says Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive. “Sometimes you only get one chance to ask for what you want or express how you feel – and this book is the perfect guide to help you make the most of those opportunities.”

To learn more or to purchase Perfecting Your Pitch, visit The book is available now in print and ebook formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


About Shapiro Negotiations Institute

Shapiro Negotiations Institute is a premier global performance improvement firm focused on sales, negotiation and influencing. The focus of SNI is on maximizing its clients’ ability to create mutually beneficial and profitable long-term relationships with peers, vendors and customers, both internal and external to the organization. SNI’s 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 years of lessons learned in real-life situations, SNI digs into specific industry and client challenges so that its tools and techniques can be used immediately and repeated with precision. Follow SNI on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook or learn more at

Prepare With Role-Playing

Jeff Cochran


“A winning effort begins with preparation.” – Joe Gibbs

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

“I’m a big believer in the fact that life is about preparation, preparation, preparation.” – Johnnie Cochran

“One important key to success is self-confidence.  An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe

Take any of the above quotes (or the countless others about preparation) and they boil down to one thing.  Preparation leads to success. In negotiation, preparation can be the difference between getting the deal you want and walking out of the room with regrets. It is the only aspect of a negotiation that is in your full control.

There are lots of ways to prepare, but one great way is to use role-play.  Find a friend or acquaintance that can take the other side.  Let them play devil’s advocate and see how the negotiation may play out.  Do it a couple times to build confidence in your position and delivery as well as thinking through what the other side may say.

Optimizing Your Corporate Training Program

Jeff Cochran


High turnover and worker attrition rates in the recent economy have left many businesses short of staff or working with a bunch of new hires who lack a grasp on the business. In addition to this, the last several years have produced some significant changes in the philosophy of worker training. Applying these new tips and techniques for training your workforce can get your business working more smoothly and make your employees more confident that they understand their roles.


Cross-Training Isn’t Just For Fitness

In order to deal with the high turnover rates of recent years, many businesses have on-boarded a group of less experienced employees to fill those roles. What may make more sense for many companies, however, is to cross-train existing employees. Many individuals already on your team can handle more responsibility, and more time on the job will have given them a clearer sense of how those responsibilities fit into the larger corporate scheme. A group of cross-trained senior employees will outperform a group of new employees tasked with a single role.


Training Is A Game

Gamification is one of the new tricks in employee training that has come about in the last few years. Turn training into a large-scale game, with tasks and quests that your employees must complete. This element of fun helps to keep employees engaged and motivated to participate in training activities. In this respect, training employees can be like working with children – learning needs to be fun for workers to engage enthusiastically, which is why turning training into a game is so effective.


Embrace Technology

More and more training can be done on an individual basis using technology, rather than in group settings. Employees today are increasingly comfortable using technology in all parts of their lives, and work training should be no exception. eLearning and other digital formats may hold the attention of workers who spend much of their time using technology.


Understand Their Goals

There is a large psychological element to training techniques today. If you better understand the goals of your employees, you will be able to motivate them more effectively. Helping your employees to pursue their own goals gives them an incentive to engage fully with the training process. Other psychological tools utilized in best training practices in recent years include providing positive reinforcement and embracing different learning styles. If you provide employees with training materials best suited to their learning style, they are more likely to retain the information.

Sports Business Journal Champion – Ron Shapiro

Jeff Cochran


Ron Shapiro, co-founder and Chairman of Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI), was featured in the Sports Business Journal’s 2013 class of Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business. Ron, along with the other 5 Champions, was recently honored for his achievements during a special ceremony on April 3 at the IMG World Congress of Sports in Naples, Florida. Ron was unable to accept the honor in person, so his son, David Shapiro, spoke on his behalf. Here is the brief video summarizing Ron’s accomplishments, experience, and expertise in the sports world as well as David’s speech: