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How Sleep Deprivation Negatively Affects Your Work

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It’s widely known that sleep deprivation negatively impacts a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our ability to focus, handle stress, and think clearly are all at stake. No matter what your profession, not getting enough sleep has a negative impact on your performance. But when you are a sales professional or a training manager, it doesn’t just affect you – it affects your whole team.

Here are some of the results of sleep deprivation:

* High blood pressure

* Heart attack

* Stroke

* Obesity

* Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders

* Mental impairment

* Poor quality of life

For your health and your team’s, follow these critical steps to make sleep a priority.

Set a Bedtime Routine and Stick to It—Even on the Weekends

Prepping for bed starts early. Try to begin the process at the same time each evening. Follow these guidelines for a greater chance of success:

* Prohibit alcohol and caffeine consumption within several hours of your desired bedtime

* Exclude screen time one hour before bed

* Don’t do any exercise within three hours of when you want to sleep

* Wake up at the same time each day; don’t sleep in on weekends

Create a Restful Space

Cluttered bedrooms lead to cluttered (and restless) minds. Take some time to create a peaceful, tidy space in which to sleep. Invest in a good mattress and linens. After all, we spend about a third of our lives in bed – which justifies a more substantial investment into that part of our homes!

Consider Incorporating a Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness and meditation practices can lead to falling asleep more quickly and having better quality sleep. By managing stress and keeping you focused throughout the day, mindfulness can also improve performance in other areas.

It’s safe to say that sleep is one of the most influential factors in our daily performance. There’s no such thing as making up for lost sleep, so prioritizing it is crucial. For those in high-pressure sales jobs or people in charge of training programs, it’s even more important to take care of this easy to neglect need.

Ensure that you’re firing on all cylinders and aren’t running the risk of blowing a gasket when things get heated in the office – or when deadlines are looming. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your team. Follow the tips above, and work your way toward more restful nights and more productive days.

Six Tips to Nail Your Sales Position Interview

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Interviewing for your dream sales position is no different than making a sales call. Remember that you are your product, and you are making the pitch. Here are six tips to help you close the deal:

1. Dress for the Occasion

You get only one chance to make a first impression, or so the saying goes. It turns out this saying has scientific proof behind it. A study the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published may surprise you. It found that interviewers take 15 minutes to cut a candidate. What can a candidate do to make a good impression in those 15 minutes? Show up to your interview well groomed and well dressed. Your clothes don’t need to be expensive, but they need to be clean and pressed.

2. Do Your Research

To be a successful salesperson, you need to know your customers’ needs. Before your interview, research the market for your industry. Read industry blogs and study the key players. Do background research about the company with which you are interviewing. You should know the product or service it sells and its customers. Educate yourself about the company’s competition. How does this company measure up against the competition?

3. Show Your Work

You are a salesperson. Now is the time to sell yourself. How was your performance at your previous position? You should have your previous sales numbers ready to show your interviewer. Hiring managers want evidence that you are great at your job. Specific numbers are more impressive than general self-praise.

4. Any Questions?

When the interview is over, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions. It is a grave mistake to say no. This is the time to signal your interest in the position. Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer while researching the company. Your questions should demonstrate that you have done your homework. Make sure your questions include asking about the type of employee the company wants to hire. This creates yet another opportunity to sell yourself.

5. Ask for the Job

Interviewees may talk about their qualifications so much they forget to say they want the job. Remember, this is a sales position. Now is the time to close the deal. Make sure not to pressure your interviewer – you should never ask if you’re hired. Let the interviewer know you want the job by asking about your next steps.

6. Follow Up

Old advice tells us we should send a hand-written thank you note after the interview. That’s good advice, but we live in the digital age. Write the note if you must, but you should also write an email to your interviewer. This shows that you want the job and keeps you on your interviewer’s radar. Don’t just sit at your desk waiting for a response. You are a salesperson – go chase that sale.

How to Influence Without Being Pushy

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Sometimes leads are already interested before you start your pitch, but how you attempt to influence them will make or break the deal. There’s a big difference between influencing and selling – your audience is less likely to take your words to heart if you come off as pushy, rehearsed, or “salesy.”

When it comes to influencing people, a few key strategies will lead you to more effective interactions with more positive results. Keep the following in mind.

Build Trust

When you have rapport with other people, it’s easier to speak with them. You need to be able to reach people on a personal level while staying professional. Carefully listen to their concerns and address them fully. Try to take your resolution a step beyond what they may expect from you to show them you are acting with their best interests in mind. Find common ground and work from there. You cannot force people to do things. Instead, you should try to persuade them to want what you want.

Focus on Positives

Of course, you want to be able to relate to the other party if you want them to see things your way, but it’s important to stick to your guns while staying positive. Instead of sympathizing with their complaints, get them to focus on the positive aspects of your discussion. Demonstrate value and emphasize how they will benefit from the decision you want them to make.

Speak Naturally

You may work on your speaking technique in private, but it’s important to be prepared without sounding rehearsed. If you want to influence people, the number one way to fail is to to be unprepared and not know what you are trying to say or sound like you’re selling something or reading from a script. Speak as you would in any other conversation (again, remember to stick to your professional boundaries) and be relaxed. Pay close attention to body language – both the other party’s and your own. Don’t come off as rigid, closed-off, or unapproachable. People will be more willing to converse and be influenced if it feels natural.

Generate Enthusiasm

One of the best methods of influencing others to do what you want is to demonstrate what an amazing opportunity they have and make them excited to see it happen. Generating energy and enthusiasm is a great way to get others on board with your vision and get them to see things from your perspective.

Be Adaptable

Your conversation style needs to be flexible – you can’t speak with everyone in the same way, and every interaction has unique factors that you need to consider. This is the biggest reason that maintaining a natural demeanor is important – when you lock yourself into a routine, it becomes much harder to deal with the unexpected. To influence the other party, you need to be on your toes and ready to handle any question or concern they have. .

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your next major conversation. Remember that influencing is all about getting other people to want what you want – not hammering them until they see things your way.

The Pros and Cons of the Indirect Sale

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Many companies—particularly new or small firms—may wonder if there’s profit in indirect sales. The debate has been going on for many years, and any simple internet search will render countless opinions about the best business decision. Like most things, there are pros and cons that you need to examine fully before you make your choice.

Pros

  • Indirect sales channels have more visitors. Since these websites and businesses are already established, they have an existing customer base. People get exposure to your brand during their regular shopping, even if they’ve never heard about it before.
  • A sales channel can be more functional. Larger companies may have access to better programs and technology, making for a more sophisticated customer experience. You can eliminate the need to build your own website when you list products with an affiliate or on a marketplace.
  • They provide lower maintenance once established. Since you’re not in charge of the channel itself, you don’t have to worry about upkeep or updates. The initial setup may be a bit extensive, but after that, your ride may be significantly easier.
  • Expansion is at your fingertips. Working with an indirect sales channel can give you nationwide or global access Instead of having to build your own team, you can rely on their existing resources to get your brand into the far corners of the world.

Indirect sales are a clear answer for some businesses, but not others. Considering the downsides of third-party involvement is important when choosing the future of your business.

Cons

  • They’re not as passionate. Since you have your own time and money invested in your business, you want it to work. It may be a lifelong dream or even your lone source of income. But no matter how incredible your products are, an affiliate will never be as eager. They have their own companies to run, and if you want maximum drive, you’ll have to do it yourself.
  • There can be conflict. The world is full of competitors, and it may be hard to find a channel that can work for you—particularly in more heavily populated areas.
  • You have more competition. Most partners aren’t going to stock only your brand—after all, it’s less profitable for them. Customers enjoy having options, and it’s likely that the product of your hard work will be right next to its biggest contender.

With the proper relationship and platform, indirect sales can be incredible. They may reach far greater heights than you ever could alone, but it won’t come without cost. Consider all the facts and make the choice that’s best for your business.

Three Selling Techniques to Avoid and What to Do Instead

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Through Corporate Sales Training, you can learn that sometimes your potential clients may be interested in what you have to offer, but your demeanor turns them off. While the temptation to “go in for the kill” on an interested lead may arise, it’s important to be mindful of the image you project. Are they going to feel valued? Will they have a positive impression of your interaction that they’ll remember for future sales?

You may be surprised when you hear some of the more manipulative and underhanded sales tactics being used today. Negotiation is an art, and the compromise is the key to successful negotiation. Tricking customers won’t enhance your organization’s reputation or your own as a trustworthy salesperson. We’ve compiled a list of some sales tactics that may be tempting but which you should certainly avoid.

Bait and Switch

A customer enters a store planning to buy a promotional item, only to find it isn’t available or wasn’t depicted accurately in the advertisement. The salesperson then immediately encourages the more expensive option. While it may be tempting to try to get something into the hands of every customer who comes to your store, they’re going to leave disappointed if they can’t get what they intended to buy, and will only grow more frustrated if you attempt to upsell them on something they don’t want.

Instead, turn the interaction into a conversation. Ask them why they wanted that particular item and find out what they thought it would do for them. You can then offer something that fits their needs or correct any misunderstandings they may have had about the initial item. You may be able to turn a failed sale and frustration into a future sale. They’ll appreciate the time you took to answer their questions and address their needs, even if you didn’t have the right product at the time.

The “Flyfish” Close

This technique puts pressure on the buyer to make an immediate decision, possibly by offering a percentage discount if the item is purchased immediately. While you might assume that instant savings would appeal to buyers, customers know when you’re pressuring them into buying something they don’t need.
Rather than pushing for an immediate close, take the time to find out exactly what your customer is looking for and what you have that fits the bill. By taking the time to address their needs, they see you are more concerned with them being pleased with their purchase than you are with just making a sale.

Assuming the Sale

You want to ask for the sale, not assume you’ve made it. Using assumptive language with a customer is an excellent way to turn them off from buying anything from you again. Assuming the sale usually stems from the seller’s expectation that if the customer seems to be indicating that they’re buying something, they’re rude if they don’t. What actually happens is that the customer feels rushed.

Don’t assume that because the buyer displays interest that you’ve got the sale. Wait for them to make closing statements and ask them if they want to complete the sale. They may have lingering questions; address them fully so they can feel confident about their purchase.

 

How to Negotiate with Different Genders

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Successful negotiations often depend on how well you relate to the other person. For example, many people wonder how to negotiate with different genders. If you find yourself negotiating with people of different genders on a regular basis, there are tips you can follow to ensure everyone walks away friends.

Empathy vs. Aggression

In today’s culture, striking a balance between empathy and aggression is vital, but can be difficult. For example, women are often taught not to be assertive. They are told that assertion is the same thing as aggression and that it makes them seem uncaring. Therefore, women sometimes take an overly empathetic approach to negotiations and don’t push for what they want or need.

On the other hand, men are often taught that aggression shows strength, while too much empathy shows weakness. They are told that if they are too empathetic, they will lose negotiations, letting themselves and others down. Thus, some men “play hardball” more than they should.

The key to solving both these quandaries is to find your personal balance between empathy and aggression. To do so, analyze the type of negotiation you are in. If you want to sell a product or service to a client, for instance, you need to find points of agreement and empathize with his or her needs, rather than push for a decision.

Establishing Authority

Establishing authority is another tricky part of negotiating with different genders. Authority equals control, and exerting too much control could be seen as arrogant or demanding. Both genders tend to have a difficult time with this, although women are often more reluctant to take seats at the head of the table, make wide gestures, or use up space.

Experts agree that there are key ways men and women should establish authority without looking aggressive. For example, spread your materials out instead of keeping them in a small, neat stack. As much as possible, avoid reading from your material; this can make you look unprepared and not confident. Maintain friendly eye contact. Use silence to emphasize a point or give people time to think through what you have said.

Listen

When most people think of negotiations, they think of talking. Talking is a big part of any negotiation, but listening is even more vital. Both genders can be accused of not listening, or of using silence to plan what they want to say next. Learn how to actively listen, perhaps through professional negotiation training. When the other person is talking, maintain eye contact, nod, or say things like, “Tell me more about that” to show engagement. If you didn’t hear or understand something, be honest and ask for it to be repeated.

Don’t Bow to Stereotypes

Don’t let stereotypes influence your success in negotiations. If you are a woman who needs to be more assertive, ask for tips or assertiveness training from other women you trust. Seek opportunities to negotiate with men, and learn from key phrases they might use such as “I think” or “you know.” If you are a man, don’t be afraid to compete as much with women as you do other males. Learn from women as well – for example, women are less likely to “wing it” during negotiations, and this can help them succeed.

Tips for Communicating Value to Clients

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Every business needs clients to function. To keep clients, you must convince them they are investing in a valuable product or service. Communicating value can be difficult if you own a large company or business, but it isn’t impossible. With the right strategies, you can communicate the value of any product or service, maintain your current client base, and find new clients.

Ask First

It might seem like common sense to ask customers or clients what they value in a product. Surprisingly though, many business owners don’t ask. Thus, their clients don’t feel valued and don’t get the product they are looking for. Before selling one product or service, ask customers what they value most about what you offer. If you’re a baker, is it healthy, gluten-free ingredients? If you’re a mechanic, is it your response time or the specific tools you use? Ask customers what they like about your existing product, what they would change, and what they would like to see more in the future.

Think Beyond Price

Most customers or clients want an inexpensive product, but they also want to come away satisfied with their purchase. For example, no one wants a well-priced product that breaks down easily, or a service that is fast and inexpensive, but of poor quality. When deciding how to sell your product, think about other factors such as –

  • The specific response you want
  • What you are willing to guarantee (e.g. is your new electric blanket safer and warmer than competing products)?
  • The knowledge your customers already have. Customers who frequently restore old cars will come to your mechanic shop with a greater knowledge base than those who don’t.

Use a Rating System

Rating systems are one of the quickest, most efficient ways to get customer feedback. A rating scale can tell you in one number how your business or product is doing in several areas, and it saves you the time it would take to read through paragraphs of feedback. A rating scale will also draw your attention to additional comments; if someone takes the time to specifically say what they liked or did not like, you’ll notice it right away and be in a better position to change it if necessary.

Find a rating system that works for you – for example, 1-5 with 5 being the best – and stick with it. Check your ratings often. If one or two areas get consistently low ratings, focus most of your energy on improving them.

Build Rapport with Customers

You can’t communicate value to clients without talking to them. Good communication often starts with rapport. Remember your customers’ names when possible, as well as details about the products or service types they like. For example, if you own a ‘50s-style café, get to know your customers well enough that you can ask, “The usual?” If you own a bookstore and know one specific customer likes a certain author, call or email her when a new release from that person is in. If you need help building and maintaining rapport, you can also check out our negotiation training or influence training for assistance.

How to Know When to Up-Sell a Client

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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.

5 Little Tips to Perfecting Your Sales Approach

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The sales profession is one of the oldest and most prolific out there. Selling products can be fulfilling and enjoyable, but finding the right sales approach is often a challenge. The wrong sales approach can ruin negotiations and keep you from getting what you need from a deal. If you need to improve your sales approach, several easy, proven tips exist.

Determine Your Audience 

What do you do best? Who needs what you do or sell? How will they use it and benefit from it? Experts agree that asking questions like these can be extremely helpful even before you’ve found one client or customer. Perhaps you are a fiction writer but you don’t know who your audience is yet. Think about the genres you like best or the characters you most often create and the story arcs they experience. Then ask yourself who is likely to read that type of story. Who can relate to these characters and why? Are there books on the market similar to yours? Answering such questions will make it easier to sell your product and create a marketing vision when a publisher asks for one.

Set Measurable Goals 

Almost everyone knows about goal-setting, but most people don’t do it correctly. They set goals like “I’m going to sell more products this year” or “I’m going to increase my productivity by 10%.” These are good starting points but they aren’t real goals. Goals should be broken down into manageable steps. Instead of saying, “I will sell more products by March,” write down how much you want to sell per month. Outline the steps that will get you there, such as the ads you will write and the social media accounts you will use. Plan how you will obtain and use customer feedback.

Use Time Wisely 

Time management is a huge obstacle for many people in sales and negotiation. We often think we have more time than we do, so we procrastinate on important matters. Examine your activities each day. Which ones need to be done immediately? Which ones can wait and for how long? What tasks are easiest and most difficult? Break your activities down using a system that works for you, and stick to it.

Listen to Customers 

Even the best listeners need help maintaining their skills. Most of us get so excited about sales or negotiations that we don’t actively listen to customers’ reactions. Ask for feedback often and utilize it. Perhaps you own a sporting goods store, and your sales are down because customers find your merchandise boring or outdated. Then listen to what the customers tell you. You’ll often find they are looking for an experience alongside the product.

Learn Strengths and Weaknesses 

Every salesperson has a special set of strengths and weaknesses. These can come from his or her personality, past experiences, and many other factors. If you don’t know what yours are, you might be inadvertently turning customers off. You can learn your strengths and weaknesses, and how to capitalize on them, through corporate sales training, conferences, and other venues.

How to Use Compromise to Achieve Your Goals

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Compromise is an essential element in any interaction. In business specifically, compromise is critical to ensuring the needs of all parties are met and that healthy and prosperous relationships are fostered and maintained.

Leave the Emotions Out of It

In some business situations, emotions can be helpful. Compromising is not one of these situations. When either side shows emotion, it can convey weakness, which the other party will use to their advantage. A compromise is when both parties come to a mutual agreement that is beneficial to everyone. To leave emotions out of the process, you must remain solution oriented. Address facts and problems, and work together to solve them. If you start to show anger towards the other party, it becomes personal. The desire to make a compromise will be squelched. Keep it rational, and ignore your personal differences.

Be Honest

Being honest with yourself and others is one of the most effective ways to reach a compromise. If you establish your goals up front, there’s no need to beat around the bush and waste time. Communicate with the other parties why these goals are important, and they will be more likely to understand and work with you. Likewise, be honest with yourself and your own responses. Identify the traits within yourself that may negatively affect your ability to compromise, and manage them before they become a problem.

Explore All Your Options

Prior to negotiating, come up with all possible outcomes and their alternatives. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each for both sides. Addressing multiple solutions to a problem demonstrates your willingness to meet in the middle. If you communicate effectively and intelligently, it shows the other side that compromise works for everyone. You will end the negotiation on a positive note and leave them with a feeling that they’ve “won” something, too. 

Above All, Stay Positive

In all situations, a positive attitude greatly affects the outcome. Staying positive reflects confidence and a genuine regard for others. Others will be much more willing to compromise their needs and meet yours if you maintain a persistently positive attitude throughout the meeting. Think about it: why are successful salespeople good at their jobs? They’re warm and welcoming, and they make customers feel like their needs matter. It’s much easier to reach a compromise with a pleasant and genuine person, and it allows both sides to feel like they’ve come out on top.

 

Sources:

https://hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Sites/Ombuds/files/NegotiationConflictStyles.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/jul/31/startups-negotiation-compromise-credibility

http://blog.dalecarnegie.com/leadership/12-tips-for-negotiating-and-compromising-with-difficult-people/