Transform Your Upselling with These Persuasion Tips



Upselling is popular in many industries – like a waiter encouraging a patron to have one more drink or an extra appetizer – it can persuade a customer to spend more, driving up sales. Upgrades and add-ons form a positive upsell strategy that build on a customer’s desire to have something better. However, this strategy can backfire if used at the wrong time or in the wrong way. Help your salesforce transform its upsell strategy with these industry tips.

Deliver More Value

Upsells often make a customer’s life easier. Your job is to help them see it. Sometimes products complement each other, so frame offers with the idea that the combination of items is worth even more than their individual value. For example, a customer who buys a camera gets more use out of it if he or she also buys a tripod, additional lenses, and a bigger memory card. When purchasing or developing products, plan for upselling by making choices that enhance the value of your current product or service.

Highlight Convenience

Instacart delivers groceries from local retailers, and TaskRabbit does things like yard work and furniture assembly because people just don’t have time to do it themselves – they’re willing to pay for convenience. Subscription services flourish for everything from meal preparation to underwear. Upsell additional products that make life more convenient.

Offer Incentives

Entice customers to spend a little more for a lot more value. While some stores offer free shipping across the board, most only give it to customers who order above a set dollar amount. Customers keep adding to their cart to gain the incentive.

Bundle Items to Increase Perceived Value

When customers add an item to their cart, major online retailers often show them items that are frequently bought with it, along with the price for the bundle. Cell phone companies package a phone, a case, a charger, and add-on items like virtual reality goggles; customers who would not normally purchase each item separately are attracted to the bundle. People often feel several items sold together are more valuable than they would be sold separately.

Use Scarcity

If there’s a limited quantity of the add-on you’re promoting, let customers know the available quantity. Boost sales with time-sensitive offers, low stock notifications, and last chance emails. If you provide a service, you can still use scarcity by advertising the limited number of customers to whom you are offering your services.

Shapiro Negotiations Institute implements training around your sales processes to maximize your team’s effectiveness. Contact us to learn more about sales optimization.


Keep a Salesforce Fresh with These New Trends in Sales Training



To stay ahead in the industry, you need a strong salesforce. To ensure you have this, you need a sales training program that will enable your workforce to adapt to the ever-changing markets. In the last decade, we witnessed a revolution in training, with e-learning and virtual reality providing the kind of force multipliers that transform workforce development with an eye on the future. Read on to learn how to take advantage of what the latest workforce training offers your company.

Sales Manager Enablement

A ship’s captain doesn’t just need a handful of willing sailors. He or she needs a ship, an ocean, a destination, cargo and working knowledge that adapts to any challenge to keep the ship on course. A sales manager captains the sales team, interacting with them every day to motivate, counsel and train. In many companies, they receive minimal training when they reach their position, but after that they’re on their own.

Manager enablement provides them with tools, resources and knowledge to be more successful. They develop existing skills and add new ones, like how to use analytics, successful hiring and presentation techniques, and more. Manager enablement allows them to accomplish performance KPIs like revenue plan attainment and win rates for ever-improving results.

Training Utilizes Augmented and Virtual Reality

As new equipment develops, companies are using virtual reality (VR) to expose new employees to real-world situations. Wal-Mart partnered with startup STRIVR to offer virtual reality training at 31 of its training academies, and expects to use it in all training facilities by the end of the year.

Oil companies have been using VR to train for oil rig positions, and hospitals use it to let physicians practice complex procedures. Job seekers use VR to bridge experience gaps and develop more marketable skills, and employers provide cost-effective training that keeps employees engaged for improved retention.

Companies Prioritize Teamwork

Industries across the board recognize teamwork makes them more competitive. More than 90% of companies place organizational design at the top of their priority list, restructuring to create high-performing teams. Teamwork training programs like workshops, seminars, and mentoring can turn individuals into an efficient unit with high levels of productivity.

Modern Learners Expect Modern Learning Experiences

With millennials making up over a third of the workforce, employers are embracing training methods they’re most comfortable with. High-quality, customized e-learning attracts millennial workers and keeps them productive and fulfilled.

Shapiro Negotiations Institute offers training, consulting, speakers, and e-learning. Contact us to find out how we can provide customized training solutions for your business.

What Their Body Is Saying While Negotiating



A negotiation begins before greetings or opening remarks – if you know what to look for. How each person carries his or her self, sits, and interacts with others can say more than all the words spoken during that meeting. Learning to read these signals gives insight into that person, information you can use to close the deal. From opened or closed postures to mimicry of motion, this negotiation training will show you how to bring that deal home.

Understanding Body Language

Albert Mehrabian, a renowned psychology professor at UCLA, concluded these three elements make up verbal communication:

  • Words
  • Voice tone
  • Nonverbal language

Mehrabian says each element accounts for a different percentage of the communication. Only 7% of what people say is verbal. Tone accounts for 38% of the meaning conveyed, and body language carries the other 55% of the message. The listener might say they accept what you’re telling them, but if their arms are crossed, they avoid eye contact and one leg is bouncing with impatience, their body language disagrees. Here are some of the ways the body transmits meaning.


Smiling is a learned behavior. People smile because they’re being polite, because they’re nervous, or to mask uncertainty. A real smile goes all the way to the eyes, causing the corners to crinkle. If you suspect a smile is fake, ask for feedback. You shouldn’t fake smiling either, lest you appear untrustworthy.

Closed Body Language

During negotiations, if stakeholders cross their arms across their chest, it may indicate tension or resistance. It often means the person is not willing to be persuaded.

Fidgeting, Doodling or Slumping

At the beginning of your presentation, your audience was sitting up straight in their chairs with their eyes on you. If later you notice them moving restlessly in their chairs or shifting their focus to items on the table, they’re bored. Assess your delivery and find a way to reengage.


If you notice when you uncross your ankles, the person listening does the same, you know they feel a connection with what you’re saying. Nod to show agreement and you’ll notice they don’t just nod back, they actually feel agreement with what you’re saying. Mimicry is a natural behavior that improves negotiating success.

When reading body language, use common sense. Some people just have a hard time sitting still, others cross their arms when they’re cold. Look for groups of cues instead of just one at a time to read what your audience is feeling for more successful negotiations.

How to Use Psychological Theories to Increase Conversions



Though it’s not the first thing that might come to mind, psychology and sales techniques often go hand in hand. Effective salespeople know how to speak their customer’s language to build rapport and connect to what motivates them, and, for them to do that, they must understand the basics of what drives people to do what they do. Here are strategies to convince customers what you’re offering is in their best interests using the tenets of psychology.


In psychology, priming means offering a stimulus that influences someone’s future actions or thoughts – even when the stimulus seems unconnected from that action. When you prime a prospective client, you introduce something new or resurface older ideas from the subconscious. That way, what you’ve introduced is more accessible to that person’s mind. To use this technique, know that it comes with an expiration date. The thoughts you are priming them to keep at the front of their minds tend to recess into their subconscious, so primed ideas have about a 24-hour life cycle.

The pitfall to priming is when a salesperson is too obvious. For instance, if you’re selling grills, don’t ask how a client likes their meat cooked. Instead, ask questions about family get-togethers or holidays often celebrated outdoors, like the Fourth of July. The client’s mind will connect the dots between grills and family functions – without the salesperson having to do a hard sell.


The psychological response to scarcity is obvious any time there’s an impending natural disaster – grocery shelves stocked with water and bread suddenly become empty. In these situations, people often take much more than they need to survive the hurricane or tornado. But, since they are concerned about these items becoming scarce – even though it’s unlikely – they still over-purchase.

In sales, you can use this to your advantage. If prospects think a solution is in short supply, they’re motivated to act before they miss out. When something is rare, its perceived value goes up. Use these two types of scarcities to increase sales:

  • Time-related scarcity – Prospects must commit by a specific date or they will miss a rare-opportunity.
  • Quantity-related scarcity – There are only so many items currently available at a certain price, and, unless they purchase now, they won’t be able to purchase them again.

The human mind is created to consider details, and, the more precise a description is, the more likely it is to be perceived as trustworthy. According to this tenet of psychology, arguments become more believable by being precise. Numbers may seem easier to retain when they’re approximate, but giving precise amounts increases your credibility. For example, saying your solution more than doubled productivity is not as effective as saying it increased productivity by 57 percent.

Precise details reinforce your authority and show your attention to detail, which the mind perceives as more trustworthy.

Social Influence

People are strongly influenced both by what others are doing and by how they view their relationship with the influencer, which makes social media such a goldmine for some industries.

To leverage this kind of influence, use information you already have to inject elements of social proof into your persuasive technique. Let prospects know how many people have used your product or services. Link them to positive feedback and case studies that show your organization’s strength. Find the people who interact most with your brand and use common characteristics to drive sales.

Getting people through the sales funnel takes time, in part because of how the mind works. When you are considering how to drive conversions, dust off your Psy 101 textbook – you may be surprised how much it will help you win a sale.


How E-Learning Benefits Your Staff and Boosts Sales



E-learning provides flexible accessibility, boosts engagement, and promotes retention for all employees. Millennials especially prefer online training to other methods. Since millennials make up more than 36 percent of the current U.S. workforce, employers should consider their preferences when choosing training solutions.

By 2020, 46 percent of employees will have been born between 1976 and 2001. While e-learning is preferred by a large percentage of the workforce, personal preference isn’t the only reason employers benefit from choosing it. Offering training online allows collaboration between locations, saves businesses money, and develops future training goals.

E-Learning Cuts Costs

When organizations offer in-person training, their costs don’t relate only to the presenter. Often, they must also pay for facilities, transportation, print materials, and food for attendees. Online learning provides access to high-quality training wherever employees are located without requiring them to travel to a central location.

Employers save money on printing by providing training materials in an electronic format. Employees access training at work or at home, so there’s no need to rent additional facilities.

E-Learning Meets Professional Growth Objectives

A recent Gallup poll says 87 percent of millennials say development is important in a job. They report seeking employment with companies that help them learn and grow, and they are more likely to stay with employers who offer opportunities for improvement.

Online training lets employers offer ways to learn new processes and add new skills. Employers can use it to improve performance, productivity, and job satisfaction.

E-Learning Is Responsive

The best e-learning appeals to millennials because it meets their expectations for quality. Though some in-class learning is amazing, the spectrum for quality is very broad and involves lots of environmental waste. E-learning replaces paper and wasted electricity with a much more responsive environment.

Training through a good e-learning provider works seamlessly on all devices. Whether participants access materials through a laptop, desktop, or mobile device, they find interactive training.

Instead of listening to a presenter lecture, they have control over their training. They choose the order and speed in which they interact with training modules. They can explore additional information when they have questions or interact with other participants.

E-Learning Provides Analytics

When employees attend a training seminar, employers know who showed up and what material was presented, but it’s hard to gauge the training’s actual impact. E-learning lets employers see how many people accessed training and what modules they interacted with most.

When employees engaged with some areas more than others, it suggests a need for additional content or an area for further development. If employees struggled with certain quizzes, that shows where to provide additional training.

Shapiro Negotiations Institute understands how essential it is to provide differentiated learning environments in today’s global environment. We offer modular on-demand training and live webinars to provide customized e-learning for your business. Contact us today to find out more.


Avoid These 3 Follow-Up Email Mistakes



A thoughtful, targeted email message can make all the difference when you follow up with a prospect. However, some mistakes could mean your good intentions will go unread or get your email marked as spam. In some cases, you must contact prospects multiple times before you see results. It can be hard to find the balance between being persistent and being irritating. Here are the top mistakes to avoid when you want to deliver content that prospects open, evaluate, and ultimately respond to favorably.

Sending Too Many Emails

Instead of sending mass emails to everyone you can find an address for, research your specific audience and target the needs, wants, and interests of that specific group. Write personalized messages as much as possible.

Be careful when sending a series of emails to the same person. If your email arrives with a long trail of “RE:RE:RE:RE,” it might indicate to your prospect how many times you have annoyed them. Only use bump emails if you’re adding information relevant to a previous one.

Sending Too Few Emails

It’s hard to find the balance between too much follow-up and not enough. When emails receive replies, it is normally within the first 24 hours of their being opened. If you haven’t heard back in the first few days, you probably won’t.

One study found that 70 percent of the time, sales people quit emailing after one failed attempt. Because 80 percent of sales take at least five follow-ups to close, quitting too soon means missed sales.

Ignoring Existing Data

Use tools to evaluate responses to messages you sent in the past. If you’re not getting the response you want, data might offer insight into where you’re going wrong. Look for these things.

  • The prospects never opened your message. If they didn’t open it at all, your subject line didn’t grab their attention. Your subject line should offer something of value or appeal to their curiosity.
  • They opened your message but you never heard back. It may be that your subject line intrigued them, but the information in the body of the email didn’t keep their attention or motivate them to act. Make sure your email content is specific, engaging, and concise.
  • They read your email but haven’t responded. Sometimes they’re interested; they just haven’t finished evaluating the information or had time to respond. Make your next email even more compelling.

Writing effective follow-up email provides a huge challenge for both new salespeople and seasoned veterans. They can be the simple solution for closing a sale or the roadblock to ever being able to make it happen. Take time to make sure your message targets your specific audience, offers valuable insight, and compels prospects toward taking immediate action.


How to Handle Objections During Negotiations



When prospects have objections during negotiations, it can cause your stress level to rise and make you feel as if you’re on the defensive. When you consider an objection as a positive step forward, however, it can change the dynamics of the entire negotiation. Think about an objection as a critical step toward reaching your goal.

The purpose of negotiating is to come to the point where both parties agree on the value of products or services. A negative response can be discouraging, but it may simply signify progress. It’s important to remember than an objection doesn’t mean the prospect won’t eventually commit. Keep your stress levels downs and consider how you can overcome objections to close the deal.

Prepare for Objections

Before you meet with your next prospect, spend some time reviewing past negotiation situations. Where did you feel you lost opportunities because you were unable to work through objections? Are there themes that stand out?

Think about the times you almost lost a sale but didn’t. What did you do in those situations? Use your observations to make a list of the objections you encounter most often and create responses for each. Having a list before you go will reduce your stress level when objections come up and allow you to stay relaxed.

Express Curiosity

To understand another’s objections, take a minute and look at your offer from their perspective, then approach it in such a way that you can ask questions. People are powerfully motivated to talk about themselves, especially when it involves beliefs and opinions. This small tactic does a lot – it lets them know you’re genuinely interested and curious about their views, which will help you overcome their objections and allow them to see you as an ally.

After you ask questions, listen. Instead of formulating your response and jumping in at the first pause, step back and watch for body language that shows more about the motivation behind their objections. Their tone, expressions, and gestures may indicate areas for further questioning.

Validate Concerns

Once you understand the prospect’s real concerns and the reasons behind them, acknowledge that you take their concerns seriously, and then you can provide them with information that helps them view your products or services differently in one of the following ways:

  • Offer a new perspective. Reframe their point of view by showing them how your product is a unique replacement for problems they face or a perfect addition to their existing solutions.
  • Bridge the gap. If their objection relates to misinformation or questions they still have, offer what they need to know to feel good about choosing your product.
  • Stand apart from alternatives. If they’re tempted to go with a competitor or develop in-house solutions, highlight your product or service’s exclusive advantages.

Shapiro Negotiations Institute’s Negotiation Training provides a systematic process for maximizing deals and maintaining relationships. Learn how to overcome objections and develop specific answers that can boost negotiating success. Request information today.

Is Virtual Reality the Future of Sales Training?



Virtual reality is finally reaching its heyday, thanks to increased affordability and big names like Facebook and Google embracing the trend. VR headset makers promise the technology will revolutionize the way we work and play. But do the same applications relate to sales training? Here are some of the benefits virtual reality brings to sales training along with potential pitfalls to avoid.

VR Offers Cost-Effective Education Solutions

Imagine a classroom where education can be presented to learners one-on-one, and everyone is learning at the same time. Sounds like a solution across education spectrums: Learning for elementary students becomes more fun and engaging, military and law enforcement can train for dangerous situations without being put at risk, and college students get more clear direction from the get-go.

Virtual reality training benefits businesses as well. Managers often struggle to find time to train their sales teams. With VR, the manager can create one virtual training session distributed to each person on the team to be viewed when they’re ready. Training feels like it’s face-to-face, so it’s more effective and saves costs. Sales trainings can take place more often, providing greater regularity and more consistent results.

Virtual reality allows sales teams to be immersed in environments they might not otherwise experience, but that they will eventually need to understand. Train salespeople in the features of heavy machinery without having to leave the office. Practice demonstrating a product or conducting negotiations with virtual clients before it happens in the real world.

VR Promotes Retention

Any time you learn something new, the brain retains more as exposure increases. Provide your sales team with virtual reality training and encourage them to return to it more than once.

Virtual reality allows sales people to practice what they’ve learned. When trainees go through sales simulations, they find holes in their knowledge and work through their nerves to develop confidence. Team members can practice presentations in a low-stress environment before they face the real one.

Virtual Reality Helps Sell Products

VR is compelling, even when the subject matter you are trying to explain feels dry. Consider the medical industry: If you place the viewer in a virtual environment where they can experience a stent implant, suddenly, they can wrap their brains around the process in ways much more multidimensional than through language alone.

Virtual reality gives salespeople a tool to engage the prospect and offer the chance to try before asking for a purchase.

Limitations of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality can be great for training, but it does have some limitations. There’s no human interaction, which can lead to communication problems. In a real training, you can ask questions. The person in charge of training can see if someone looks confused.

VR can be a cost-effective tool for your trainings, just ensure there’s a backup plan for those who fall behind.

4 Lessons We Can Learn From Famous Business Flops



Big businesses have seen their fair share of flops in PR, sales, and marketing. Some businesses are even forced to fold because of their embarrassing mistakes. Here are some of the most famous business fails throughout history and the lessons we can learn from them.

The Hamburger Mistake – Not Knowing Your Buyer

In 1996, McDonalds introduced its Arch Deluxe. The burger cost more than standard McDonalds’ fare and was aimed at “urban sophisticates.” This was outside McDonald’s target demographic. No one bought it, so McDonalds had to take the item off the menu.

The takeaway – If you try to sell to someone who doesn’t want what you’re selling, you’re destined for failure.

The Chip Mistake – Making Claims Too Good to Be True

In 1998, Frito-Lay marketed WOW! Chips. The chips were made with Olestra, a compound that made them fat free. However, Olestra’s molecules were too large to be digested properly. Customers experienced stomach cramps and diarrhea. The chips had to be taken off the market.

The Takeaway – Don’t get so excited about the good aspects of your product that you fail to conduct due diligence. Take your time, do your research, and make sure the data backs your claims.

Nintendo’s Mistake – Offering a Product Before It Was Ready

In 1995, Nintendo released Virtual Boy, new technology that was supposed to transport buyers into virtual reality. The tabletop game console was supposed to create the illusion of depth with stereoscopic 3D graphics. It didn’t. Games had low-resolution graphics, grainy images, and an often-monochromatic display.

The Takeaway – Know your target audience, and give them what they want, but be sure your product is up to the challenge first.

Facebook Home – Making Things Too Complicated

In 2013, Facebook launched an app for Android that makes Facebook’s cover feed the user’s home screen. The app was only compatible with a handful of devices and got negative reviews. Users reported Facebook Home gave them too many notifications and made it hard to see other apps. Critics said it used too much data and battery. Most people uninstalled it.

The Takeaway – Don’t over-provide. Start slow, and build from what works.


Don’t make the same mistake these big businesses did when they lost sight of their audience, rushed in with a product that wasn’t ready, or overcomplicated their sales efforts. Focus on your target market and audience and stay within that demographic. Eliminate unnecessary information and counterintuitive steps so these mistakes won’t happen to your business.

SNI’s Jeff Cochran Scores High at 2017 SAMA Conference



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:

SAMA Report Card

SAMA Report Card