3 Benefits of Customized Negotiations Training

Jeff Cochran


One of the things that sets Shapiro Negotiations Institute apart from the competition is its customized negotiations training. SNI’s programs are tailored to each client’s individual needs. This helps you engage more with the negotiations training process and take away actionable tips for ways to improve business. There’s no reason to settle for a one-size-fits-all approach when you can have truly customized results and help your company stand out against the crowd.

The Benefits of Personalization

ROI always matters, so you’re probably wondering what exactly makes customized training so much better. There are three big advantages that come with a personalized plan:

  • Gaining an edge against the competition. Companies that choose off-the-shelf training styles will all have pretty much the same result. When customers work with your team, they’ll be able to spot the difference. The extra attention to detail and comprehensive experience will elevate your business and put you one step ahead of the competition.
  • Anyone and everyone can learn. When you choose predesigned training methods, you’re forcing everyone to conform to the same learning tactics. You may think this will save you time and effort, but, in reality, it makes it more difficult for some people to fully grasp the concepts. Each employee has a unique learning style, and only personalized plans can give you the flexibility you need to cater to their preferences. After all, you can’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree – why should you expect all your employees to build skills the same way?
  • Performance power. Many off-the-shelf negotiation training sessions do little more than teach employees a basic, single-dimension approach. They learn how to tackle example problems, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be prepared for more difficult situations. A customized training regimen, on the other hand, goes beyond just telling them what to say. The best programs will actually help them understand the art of negotiation on a more complex level. This means they’re better equipped to handle the unexpected. Chances are, they’ll be able to reason out any situation – not just the ones covered in training.

Negotiation is an important part of any company. It could make the difference between building and keeping connections and watching them turn to dust. When your business is on the line, don’t settle for subpar programs. Take your team to the next level with personalized training programs from SNI. Questions about how to get started? Call or email us today and see what we can do for you.

How to Know When to Up-Sell a Client

Jeff Cochran


Whether you are shopping for shoes or updating your computer, it’s likely you’ve been asked if you’d like an upgrade. Although these requests can be irritating, up-selling is a beneficial move if done correctly. Knowing when and how to up-sell a client can improve your sales approach and make you a more successful negotiator.

When to Up-sell Clients

Up-selling clients, or getting them to agree to an upgrade or a more expensive version of your item, is a delicate process. It requires tact, negotiation, and good timing. The first step to successful up-selling is knowing exactly when to up-sell your client.

One of the easiest times to up-sell is when a customer has already bought a product similar to the one you’re trying to sell them now. Many clothing store owners do this when customers are coming in or checking out. They remind them of current sales or “buy one, get one free” specials. Bookstore owners often place bargain books or “buy one, get one free” books on the same shelves so that customers will be enticed to buy an extra product while shopping for the one they intended to buy.

Busy seasons are also great times to up-sell clients. The Christmas season won’t be here for another two months, but most retailers are already taking advantage of its approach. Many stores currently offer prime Christmas items at cheaper prices than normal when a customer makes a Halloween or Thanksgiving purchase. Similarly, a hotel might up-sell you a continental breakfast at $20 cheaper than normal if you book during November or December.

Reading Clients’ Needs

Up-selling is a type of negotiation. As with other negotiations, a successful up-sell depends on how well you can read the clients’ needs. Let’s say you are a website designer and a client purchases your basic package. This could be the design of a homepage plus three additional pages at a set charge. Perhaps you want this client to buy your logo design services as well. You will be more likely to make the sale if you already know what their logo needs. You could say something like, “I see your store targets elementary teachers, but your logo looks like a university. I can help you redesign a logo that better reaches your target audience.”

Finding New Clients

If you’ve noticed your sales numbers falling, it might be time to consider up-selling clients. Many business owners shy away from up-selling because they don’t want to be pushy. The truth is, the right up-sells can bring more customers to you. You might be an independent bookstore owner who is worried about what chain stores will do to your client base. However, perhaps you also have a loyal group of customers who come in for books and coffee every weekend.

Offer those existing customers up-sells, such as a free book with every tenth purchase or discount pastries and cupcakes on a designated Family Day. To make the most of such offers, use corporate sales training and determine what types of offers are best for you.

Learning the Art

When you up-sell, you must do so with confidence and warmth. If you’re feeling unsure about up-sells or want to refine your skills, ask us about our negotiation training. It can help you keep existing customers, find new ones, and make great sales.

The Impact of Body Language in Negotiations

Andres Lares


Whether you are negotiating for a raise, time off, or the sale of a new product, every word and movement in a negotiation is crucial. Most people know to choose their words carefully while negotiating, but body language is often forgotten. The way we toss our head, flail our hands and crisscross our legs all influence negotiations in distinctive ways, so using the right body language is vital to success.


Copycat for Success

Researchers often find that the longer two people are in the same room, the more they mimic each other’s body language and gestures. For example, you might come into your supervisor’s office to negotiate a raise and find that after twenty minutes, you’re both leaning back with your legs crossed. Most people feel silly when they realize this is happening or worry that mimicry will make them look like they are brownnosing, so they stop doing it.

Researchers, however, tend to agree that mimicry or mirroring is positive. Mimicking someone else’s body language or gestures, even unconsciously, shows a desire to build rapport. Additionally, most people find that clients who mimic them are more persuasive and honest than those who do not.


Stay Constructive

If you negotiate frequently, chances are you will eventually come across someone who you find challenging to converse with. This person may ask you the same type of questions over and over. He or she may pronounce a common word in a way that annoys you or unconsciously drum his or her fingers on the table. No matter the behavior, it can be difficult to hide your irritation.

Researchers have performed studies to determine whether people can hide their reactions to emotionally charged images. The studies found that although discomfort is difficult to hide, untrained observers do not often detect it. In other words, your client may not realize his finger-drumming distracts you, or your boss may not realize you’re nervous during a meeting. That being said, experts recommend that you stay as constructive as possible. Use neutral body language, and phrase criticisms constructively.


Have a Handshake

For decades, experts have advised employees to maintain a firm, warm handshake. While firm handshakes are still preferable, handshakes of any kind make people feel comfortable and respected. If you can’t grip someone’s hand as firmly as a colleague, or if your hands are naturally cold, don’t despair. The fact that you made the gesture will show the other person you are serious about negotiations and care what they have to say.


Keep Eye Contact

Eye contact is difficult for many people. In fact, some people from countries outside the US may find it offensive. However, good eye contact is key for US and Canadian negotiations. Maintain it to show your honesty and interest in the other person. Try not stare or focus too long on one point. This can be interpreted as aggression. Feel free to look away while thinking or deciding how to word something. If you naturally have trouble with eye contact – for example, you are from a culture that frowns on it – let the other person know. That way, he or she won’t assume you’re being evasive.


If you would like more tips, you can visit us online to find out about negotiation training.

Rules of Negotiation: Getting Your Outcome With Tact

Jeff Cochran


During a negotiation, each side has deep interest in seeing their desires come to pass. Sometimes compromises that leave all parties completely satisfied can be made, but there are cases where issues leave one side at a deficit. This can create resentment or increase conflict.

It is important for negotiators to reach their end goal while still maintaining amicable and fruitful relationships with those in opposition. Learn how to effectively communicate your point while utilizing tact and diplomacy to preserve your professional connections.

Demonstrate Emotional Control 

Emotional control is our ability to recognize our own emotional response to situations. People who have a higher level of emotional intelligence can identify and control their emotions. Additionally, emotional intelligence allows us to recognize the way other people respond to situations. An effective negotiator easily recognizes personal emotions before they come to the surface, and he or she knows how to elicit and manage a response from the other side. This allows them to negotiate with tact. Because they understand emotion, they know how to manipulate the situation without offending anyone.

Listen Attentively 

Everyone wants to be heard. Experienced negotiators know how to talk, but they also know how to listen. When you truly listen to someone, you establish a bond while learning about his or her needs. In turn, you can understand each side with clarity and how to bridge any remaining gaps. Attentive listening not only garners respect from the opposition; it prepares you to offer solutions.

Show Assertiveness 

Assertiveness and tact go hand in hand. When negotiating, you don’t want to be seen as passive, but you also don’t want to be perceived as overly aggressive. The essence of negotiating with tact is to make your point without making the other person angry or intimidated. Learning to be assertive entails finding the balance between passiveness and aggressiveness. A firm handshake, confident eye contact, and a demonstration of your intelligence should accomplish this nicely.

Keep the End Goal in Mind 

Before going into a negotiation, clearly define your goals. This may mean writing them down and thinking about how to achieve them. Negotiators step outside themselves and see the big picture. Because of this, they are also able to forecast possible objections to their arguments and come up with solutions. Prepare your responses to possible objections, so you can demonstrate to others that you respect their opinions and considered their needs, as well.


How to Be Nice & Negotiate With Confidence

Jeff Cochran


Many people think the negotiation process involves a heated debate and sly tactics. While this is the case occasionally, there are plenty of ways to negotiate with respect. Being cordial during a negotiation doesn’t mean being a pushover, either. Negotiation training can show people how to communicate with confidence while still being a nice person. The main goal of “nice” negotiation is to be fair and still get what you want.

Establish a Rapport 

Making small talk before negotiations begin builds a relationship with the person. It also gives you an advantage over the situation. Small talk affords you the opportunity to learn about the other person; what their motives are, how they perceive their surroundings, and how they respond to them. In this way, you can build a relationship while building your tactics.

Small talk doesn’t have to be strictly personal; you can chat about the company or the upcoming negotiation. People who engage in small talk before a negotiation are substantially more successful at reaching an agreement.

Be Firm in Your Argument 

You can be firm when arguing your side without coming across as rude. Demonstrate your knowledge on the subject, and show your opponent that you know what you’re talking about by providing thoughtful information. Back up your argument with factual evidence and logic.

For example, imagine you’re buying a car. When negotiating with the salesman, show them that you researched the car and the value of the particular model. Convey confidence in your negotiating skills with a firm handshake upon introduction and an expertise in your field, and you will come across as knowledgeable, not arrogant.

Show Emotion, But Not Too Much 

We can look to the car dealership example for this concept, as well. Many times, when people shop for a car, they fall in love with a particular model and outwardly express their opinion. Obviously, the salesman uses this to his advantage when trying to get the most money out of the sale.

When they see emotion, they see dollar signs. It’s helpful to show a little emotion, as it shows that you’re human, and it helps the other person open up. Being overly emotional about a subject, however, makes you vulnerable to hardball tactics. Know when to hold back, when to open up, and when to let go.

Negotiation training can teach you how to identify when “nice” negotiating will work best. Of course, this is not the best way to approach the situation, but knowing when to use it can reap some significant rewards.



How to Influence Management

Jeff Cochran


You don’t have to be a manager or CEO to influence others. Many people are born with the innate talent to influence. They seem to have a natural ability to compel others to listen; however, this is a talent that can be learned, as well. Influence training helps people learn to look within themselves and find the power to lead people. Leadership is an important skill to learn, whether or not you’re in a leadership role. It’s a skill that can be carried on throughout the rest of your career and life.

Be Logical 

When trying to get your point across, you must first address the logic within your cause. If you can convey to someone that your argument is a logical alternative, he or she will be more willing to listen to what you have to say. If you’re trying to come to problem solve with upper management, logical arguments usually create attentive listeners.

Be sure your side is clearly defined, and offer factual details to back it up. Be ready to address the downsides with effective solutions, as well. For example, if you’re trying to influence management to let you take on new responsibilities, explain how you will handle these duties. Address the common pitfalls that hinder those with new responsibilities and how you plan to handle them.

Speak to His or Her Emotional Side 

Another way to build on your ability to influence is to appeal to the person emotionally. Obviously, you need to understand your audience to do this. Speaking with great enthusiasm isn’t going to win over curt and fact-focused managers. Think about the person you’re trying to convince, speak to his or her emotion, and slip his or her name into conversation when you can. This age old trick is a proven way to get people to listen – just don’t use it too much or you risk sounding robotic!

Work Together 

One of the most time-tested approaches to influencing others is to convince them to get on board with you. “If you can’t beat em’, join em’,” as they say. With this tactic, you’re playing up the solution you will reach together. There are several ways to appeal to the cooperative side of the argument. For example, you could ask the person for help or new ideas with a topic, you could partner up and work directly with someone, or you can form alliances with those who already support your cause.

Many effective influencers use a combination of these three tactics. With practice, you will learn when and where each scenario works best. As you get better at reading people, you will get better at influencing them, and vice versa. This will also help you build essential leadership skills to advance your career.


Top 10 Most Influential Speeches

Jeff Cochran


Have you ever watched a political debate between U.S. congressmen or senators broadcast on C-Span, and heard one party in the debate accuse the other party of using ‘rhetoric?’

The accusation usually goes, “That’s just more rhetoric from Senator so-and-so,” and it’s stated as if to besmirch the good name of rhetoric. At least that seems to be how general audiences are meant to take it anyway, as if rhetoric is some kind of dirty political game. So, let’s get clear about what that word means, just for a second.

Simply stated, rhetoric is the logical structure that composes a selection of words into a persuasive, moving, entertaining, and/or instructive message. That means every coherent statement ever uttered followed a rhetorical structure. Yes, that also includes deception, and praise, and flattery.

The senator who accuses the other senator of using rhetoric, is himself employing rhetoric. What does that mean? While there may be some real dunces in politics, but most senator types are educated and polished professional communicators. They know what rhetoric is and what it isn’t. And their common condemnation of ‘rhetoric’ as such, is typically a rhetorical ploy to counter a hollow, ideological argument without appearing to categorically renounce the ideology itself, presumably because it’s popular. That’s some pretty clever rhetoric. Wouldn’t you agree?

In sales, public speaking, negotiation, argumentation and even personal communication understanding the basics of rhetoric gives us a framework for improvement. So let’s take a look at the rhetoric of some famous speeches.

  1. The Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln

The world famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ speech was given by President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, PA on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the National Cemetery.

The primary address at the ceremony was delivered by a famous orator at the time, Edward Everett, and was one of two hours. After such a compelling speech, it appeared that Lincoln’s brief but sincere speech hardly even mattered at the time. However, in spite of a bit of criticism from his opponents, the speech was commonly quoted and hugely praised and was soon recognized as a classic masterpiece of outstanding poetry.

  1. I Have a Dream – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous 17-minute long public speech delivered on August 28, 1963, was a direct call to end discrimination and support racial equality. The speech was a defining moment in the history of the American Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King’s speech ranked as one of the top U.S. American speeches of the 20th century conducted by a group of educational scholars regarding public address in 1999.

  1. Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

One early afternoon, President Franklin D. Roosevelt along with Harry Hopkins (Roosevelt’s chief foreign policy aide) were both interrupted by a call from Henry Stimson (Secretary of War) and were informed that Japan just attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At around 5pm that evening after numerous meetings with his key military advisers, President Roosevelt decisively and calmly dictated a speech off the top of his head to Grace Tully (Roosevelt’s secretary) to make a request to Congress for a formal declaration of war.

  1. Ich bin ein Berliner – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

In 1963, President Kennedy gave one of his most moving speeches ever to the world in West Berlin. Besides “ask not”, it was the most well-known speech he ever delivered. Those heartfelt words captured the attention of the world regarding what Kennedy considered the warmest spot in the Cold War. Scribbled into his hand at the very last moment, they were his very own words; unlike the majority of his other addresses created by uniquely gifted speechwriters. This was even more amazing since Kennedy had a reputation for being tongue-tied when trying to pronounce or speak foreign languages. Ironically, the most famous four words of the entire speech were in German – Ich bin ein Berliner (“I am one with the people of Berlin”).

  1. The Great Silent Majority – Richard Milhous Nixon

President Richard Nixon gave his address to the nation regarding the War in Vietnam on November 3, 1969 about his plans to end it. His address is commonly called the ‘Silent Majority’ speech because towards the end he asked for “the great silent majority of my fellow Americans” for support, meaning the ones who were onboard with his policies but never actually spoke up. The President was contrasting these average American citizens without reserve using vocal adversaries of his said policies who demonstrated and protested against the war, like they did in Washington, D.C. in October of that same year.

  1. The Military Industrial Complex – Dwight David Eisenhower

In President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address, he cautioned American citizens to keep a wary eye on a growing socioeconomic force he referred to as the ‘military industrial complex.’ Eisenhower proved downright prophetic given that the military industrial complex did indeed develop into a powerful entity in the years following World War II. President Eisenhower’s frank language shocked a few of his followers. However, for most listeners, it appeared obvious that Eisenhower was just stating the obvious. Both World War II and the subsequent Cold War lead to the development of a substantial and strong defense organization. Eisenhower warned that this military industrial complex may eventually weaken or devastate the very principles and institutions it was created to protect in the end.

  1. Kenyon College Commencement “This is Water” – David Foster Wallace

It was only one time that David Foster Wallace ever spoke publicly regarding his point of view on life. The parable “This is Water,” was delivered during a commencement speech addressed at Kenyon College in 2005. The speech itself encapsulates Wallace’s gifted mind as well as his trademark humility due to the way it gave meaning to the lonely, beautiful thoughts that roamed about in his head and the way he made people ‘think’ better in general. “This is Water,” is a meaningful parable about the process of constructing meaning from one’s own life, no matter the path it follows.

  1. A Left-Handed Commencement Address – Ursula Le Guin

Le Guin’s “A Left-Handed Commencement Address” perfectly summarizes the area of feminism that highlights the fundamental peaceful qualities of women compared to most men. Le Guin spoke the established binary hierarchies that, as she saw it, govern society. She pointed out how historically, men have always fought wars and were generally thought of as ‘opposites’: fail/succeed, lose/win, weak/strong, false/true, as Le Guin so eloquently put it — women have lived, and have therefore been loathed for living. She goes on to say that women are the entire side of life that involves and takes responsibility for everything that’s unclean, animal, uninhibited, passive, and obscure — the valley of the deep, depths of life.

  1. On the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous 1948 speech is considered by a number of experts as one of the most amazing and profound speeches ever addressed throughout modern history. Ms. Eleanor, the widow of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave the address in Paris, France on December 9, 1948. She spoke to the United Nations at a precarious time when the Soviet Union was throwing its weight around following the Second World War in Eastern Europe.

  1. Women’s Rights are Human Rights – Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

Sometimes the facts carry enough rhetorical weight to speak for themselves. When facts of that sort are delivered by a significantly authoritative presenter, you have the makings of a very potent speech.

When Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage at the UN Conference on Women in 1995, it was her detailed list of atrocities against women and young girls that captured the audience’s interest. It wasn’t that they were unaware of the crimes, since the majority of the audience were advocates for the rights of women in many countries across the world in their own right. But, the key difference was that such an important political female voice brought the issues to light and therefore took on a whole new meaning.

Negotiation Lifehacks: the three D’s

Jeff Cochran


Some people may feel like negotiation isn’t really a skill-set they need to develop because they don’t work in sales, or law, or sports management or whatever. But the truth is everybody — except maybe for certain categories of criminals and tyrants — negotiates to have their personal needs and interests met.

Negotiation isn’t the same thing as manipulation. The difference between those two things hinges on the difference between good faith and bad faith. Negotiation is a good faith effort to have our personal wants and needs met.

Here are a few examples of everyday situations in which negotiation becomes necessary:

  • Maybe you need to sell something of value and can’t afford to sacrifice on the price, but the value you imagine isn’t imagined the same way by others.
  • Maybe you need to marshal support of peers and colleagues for an idea you feel strongly about.
  • Perhaps you need to settle a debt.

Because situations like these come up all the time, negotiation really is an ordinary, everyday task. It’s just one that requires extraordinary preparation to master.

All of us have conversations everyday. And we’ve all heard conversation referred to as an artform. Well, by extension, negotiation is the art of difficult conversations. And prepared negotiation is the art of succeeding in difficult conversations, while retaining amicable relations. So let’s discuss some negotiation training and preparation techniques called the three D’s to help us work toward mastery.


Most of us understand how we feel on emotional levels, as opposed to intellectual levels, which means articulating our feeling without allowing emotion to dominate their expression in conversation can often feel a little strange and awkward. There’s a school of thought that characterizes honest communication as the simple act of describing how you feel, and then clearly stating what you want. It’s a simple two-step process. While that may seem overly simplistic at a glance, deeper inspection shows it’s not. Sitting down before hand to gather thoughts and sort out how we feel about the details of a situation, and then ruminate on a workable solution takes our personal, emotional experience and transmutes those vague thoughts into focused and defined concepts that can be expressed clearly. In some cases, like a tense situation or a dispute that requires resolution, the drafting stage can provide some catharsis that purges negative emotions from the situation.

Drafting gets to the substance of what you want to say, but it is not the end of the conversation. A couple of other aspects to consider in the drafting stage are:

  • Objectives: What do you hope to accomplish in this negotiation? Can it be broken down into a simple list?
  • Precedents: Can you think of any example where other people faced a similar situation? Where they successful, or did they fail? Is there a lesson for you to draw from in their experience?
  • Anecdotes: You may find that precedents lead to relatable stories. Telling stories is a great method for taking a particular circumstances and making them universally relatable. Consider applying this method without turning into Ben Matlock, if possible.

Devil’s Advocate

The devil’s advocate stage is where we put the draft we’ve compiled to the test. The goal is to verify whether or not the drafting stage sufficiently exorcised the emotions involved, or if our argument is still under the influence of those emotions in ways that are counterproductive to the goals. If the emotions and the logic don’t merge into a persuasive argument, the devil’s advocate will help reveal which of the pertinent thoughts, feelings, hopes, and expectations should remain on the negotiation table, and which ones should go.

Some questions to consider in the devil’s advocate stage are:

  • What happens if things don’t work out?
  • What are some alternate outcomes you’re willing to consider?
  • To what degree do alternative outcomes satisfy your interests?
  • What are the needs and wants of the other party that you may be able to address?
  • What are the other party’s options if they choose not to work it out with you?

Recruit a Trusted friend or colleague to play your devil’s advocate. Practice delivering the argument you develop from the drafting stage and have your devil’s advocate pose counterpoints. This will put you in the shoes of the other party. Devil’s advocacy may be an ongoing process. Perhaps more than one redraft will be necessary, so choose someone who can remain involved for as long as possible.


Remember the concept of honest communication from the beginning of this post? Describe how you feel. Then state what you want.

Remember how we considered whether or not the idea of saying how you feel and then asking for what you want, was overly-simplistic? It’s not. But it is easier said than done. For most people the hardest part about negotiation is the asking stage. Preparing yourself for the awkward request is the real crux of this process.

What makes the hard request easier is smooth and practiced delivery. The final conversation may happen in a different context, like a different time or a different location than expected. There may be unforeseen interruptions, or questions that arise and break up the flow you’ve rehearsed. This possibility also needs to be prepared for.

Here are a few tips for that process.

  • Keep your devil’s advocate on hand to act as your delivery coach.
  • Practice delivering your scripted argument, and have your devil’s advocate interrupt with challenges to your argument.

The need to negotiate does not arise from people harboring wants and needs they’re not entitled to. Negotiation arises when perfectly legitimate wants and needs are found to be at odds with the wants and needs of others, or vice versa. Those instances in which we must engage with others to find solutions for competing needs and interests are types of negotiations. Power disparities, social dynamics, and the nuances of each person’s individual perspective, and circumstances requires that each of us negotiate with others from time to time, or else resort to crime, tyranny, or the other side of that equation, victimhood and/or martyrdom.