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A Year in Review: 2016 Training Industry Report

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On average, negotiations training and other training expenditures increased for both small and large companies in 2016, while remaining consistent for midsize companies. Seems like good news, right? Underneath this seemingly bright information for companies that specialize in training and consulting, is the raw truth that businesses are spending more on training because they have more employees.  They are spending about 10% of their budgets on training, which is down significantly from last year…

What does this mean? As training becomes less focused on in-person facilitation, and more focused on online learning tools, training and influencing companies have begun to offer products that reflect the market. Companies are looking to train the largest number of employees for the least amount of money. There is little evidence that online training is as successful or impactful as in-person facilitation but, none-the-less, the shift towards mass, online training is underway.

Personal facilitation is still a relatively big part of training budgets, but the use of blended learning techniques is rising significantly, as the combination of instructor-led classroom training, virtual classroom/webcast training, online and computer based training, mobile device training, and social learning becomes more readily available. These blended learning techniques are often delivered in one of two ways: learning management systems (e-learning) or virtual classroom/webcasting. Why? Overall, technology use among companies is rising, meaning their sales or negotiations training programs are beginning to mirror this.

Looking ahead at 2017, training and influencing companies need to understand the current and adjust accordingly. Outsourced training programs are likely to be more successful in small (100-999 employees) and midsize (1,000-9999 employees) companies, which will be looking to invest in the programs with the best blend of innovative learning techniques.

Cheers to a new way of training and to a profitable year!

Telecommuting: How to Train a Mobile Sales Force

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Technology is steering our personal lives, but it’s also bringing big changes to the business industry. Telecommuting is more popular than ever, and experts expect it to increase. Although firms will never phase out traditional employees completely, making a living from remote locations is the future of work.

Mobile sales teams can be much more cost effective for a business, but they present their own challenges. Training, in particular, is harder to perfect. There are ways to ensure that your instruction is the most effective, however—even from thousands of miles away.

  1. Double up on training and testing. Use the orientation period to gauge potential employees’ compatibility with your company. They should be able to pick up on rules and procedures quickly. Provide ample time, of course, but note applicants who excel. Chances are that they’ll do better in production if the material is more natural to them.
  1. Monitor activity during initiation. Videos and other presentations should include prompts to continue, ensuring that employees are spending time in front of the screen. Tech giant Apple reportedly uses software that tracks mouse movement during training and may even call the applicant if monitoring detects no change within a time frame.
  1. Keep potential employees engaged. Starting the day asking personal questions can make each candidate feel valued. This is especially useful in video conferences at the beginning of group training, allowing prospective hires to build bonds with each other and their instructors.
  1. Create a company Wiki. Keep all the resources your new hires will need in one place. They can quickly reference training material, which should include sections explaining performance reviews, working style, role-specific information, tools, and FAQs.
  1. Go mobile. Most training for those in telecommuting positions is via a computer. NASA is taking a different approach. Using slideshows and tablets, the company is providing maintenance walk-throughs on undersea projects. This is a rather extreme version, of course, but sales teams can benefit from the flexibility as well.

A potential employee may be able to take your instruction to a baseball game or while traveling. Potential employees will be able to learn wherever they go and can have information right at hand when dealing with clients. Instant information in the field—doesn’t get much more efficient than that.

Telecommuting produces happier, more productive, more dedicated employees. It’s also smarter for the environment and the safety of others, since it reduces fuel consumption and vehicle accidents. With the right training program and tools, your mobile sales team can efficiently and effectively cover more ground than ever.

How to Turn Your Sales Force Into Expert Negotiators

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Your company perfected your training process over years of trial and error. You’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s, hitting all the fine points to create your industry’s next top negotiators. You’re probably proud of your training model and plan on using it for the foreseeable future. But you may be missing a major component: the art of teaching habits instead of just methods.

Habits: The Missing Link in Negotiations Training

When you’re under pressure, what’s the first thing you resort to? The answer is most likely habits, an instinctual reaction in stressful situations. During high-pressure negotiations, your meticulously trained sales force may forget the methods you taught them—but they won’t forget their own habits. You have the ability to mold their habits into ones that are beneficial to your company and geared toward closing a sale during negotiation.

Turning your sales force into expert negotiators takes more than giving them a list of best practices. You need to focus on the how to negotiate on top of the what to do during negotiations. Your sales team must be able to take client objections in stride without resorting to bad habits such as becoming embarrassed, backing down, or apologizing. Your sales team should enter negotiations with confidence, and habits that will help them succeed.

What Are the Best Negotiation Tools and Habits?

According to a recent article by Neil Patel on Forbes.com, the best negotiation habits to teach employees are those based around human interactions. In other words, habits stemming from body language, personal relationships, and good-natured discussion. At its core, negotiation is the art of convincing another person to agree with what you’re saying. When you establish a few simple habits for your employees to resort back to under pressure, you can enter a negotiation with relative certainty as to how personnel will react.

So what are the best negotiation habits to instill in your staff? Here are a few pointers to lead you in the right direction:

  • Engaging body language. For example, leaning into the conversation instead of leaning back in your chair can express openness and attention.
  • Keeping quiet. A common bad habit for many salespeople is to chatter when they feel stressed. Train your sales force to take the time to absorb information given to them, slow down, and keep responses calm instead of jumpy.

See if you can shape your staff’s habits to model the habits of confident, calm negotiators—and reap the benefits of cultivating a training process that focuses on the how and not just the what.

Skills All Teleworkers Need

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Teleworking has become more popular as businesses shift increasingly to online assignments. Teleworkers have several advantages over traditional company employees. Many jobs allow them to set their own schedules. They can spend more time with family and friends, take off when needed, and enjoy built-in relaxation opportunities like reading, watching TV, or playing with pets on break. However, teleworkers often need practice with time management and other essential skills.

Time Management

Many teleworkers struggle with managing their time. Often they either underestimate how long it will take to complete an assignment or overload themselves with assignments. The results include burnout, missed deadlines, decreased morale, loss of credibility, and in some cases, termination. Teleworkers who split their time between home and the office can benefit by saving larger projects for telework days, which keeps them from feeling overwhelmed in the office. Working in small chunks and rewarding oneself also helps. For example, say, “I’m going to work on this for 30 more minutes and then take a break.” Audible and visual reminders from calendars and electronic devices help, too.

Socialization and Networking

Teleworking can be extremely isolating, especially if an employee is in a rural area or is the only one working on a specific position or project. Experts recommend reaching out to telework buddies to compare notes, get help with projects, and stay updated on office culture. Additionally, such isolation may cause people skills to suffer. Teleworkers should take as many in-person networking opportunities as possible. They should write “elevator pitches” and practice explaining their products, services, or ideas before networking opportunities arise. Finally, teleworkers should make plenty of time to go out with family or friends to exercise, eat, see movies, or do other fun activities.

Technological Skills

Teleworkers might be hired to work over the phone or online, but that doesn’t mean they should stick to one technological resource. Actually, teleworkers are more beneficial if they know how to use several programs and applications. Since teleworking allows freedom of scheduling, use free time to refresh skills in Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, and other programs. Learn a new program and share how it might benefit the company. Read field-related blogs, or start a new one (be careful not to blog personal information about the company).

Tact

Even the most sociable, friendly teleworker can make mistakes when he or she can’t see the human on the other side of a phone or screen. Be careful to abide by email etiquette. For instance, never use all caps or excessive exclamation marks. Online, that’s the equivalent of yelling.

Similarly, teleworkers should never say anything over the phone or via the internet that would sound rude or mean in real life. Finally, teleworkers should never come out and say, “I’m on the patio” or “I’m at lunch.” It may be true, but may also dent credibility and make coworkers jealous, which will hurt office relations. Finally, teleworkers should not expect their companies to schedule breaks or pay them for break time.

4 Types of Negotiators: Which Are You?

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In the sales world, there are several types of negotiators, each with their own approach, habits, and tools. Negotiations with different companies usually call for different types of negotiators. The “people pleaser” tactic might not work on someone who wants to play hardball. Therefore, the key to understanding how to customize your negotiation skills is to first determine the type of negotiator you naturally are. Find out which negotiator type you are, and hone your skills.

The Competitor

Competitors are assertive and in it to win. In fact, winning is the main goal and motivator for this negotiator type. They have no qualms letting you know when you are wrong and they are right, and they know their decisions are the best ones. These types of negotiators work best in “quick, on your feet” scenarios where a fast decision is paramount. They are also helpful to have in a tough situation, where they may need to defend themselves or protect against others who might try to take advantage. If you are negotiating with a competitive type, use specific language and “tricks” to make them feel like they are winning, even if they are not.

The Pleaser

Pleasers love to feel liked and want to make others happy, too. They are unassertive and very cooperative. They thrive off of solving other people’s problems, often at the expense of their own needs. They know how to admit when they are wrong and will do so if it is important to the other person. The pleaser is a great asset to have when negotiations start to go sour; they are experts at mitigating disruption. However, it is important to not get too emotional, as this can lead to an assertive negotiator taking advantage of the situation.

The Teammate 

The teammate loves to work in conjunction with others to find a creative solution that benefits everyone. These negotiators are confident in their assertiveness and the epitome of cooperation. Teammates look at a disagreement as a challenge to learn something new and find a resolution. They are great for negotiations involving opposing viewpoints or when merging two perspectives together is critical.

The Analyst

Analysts like to sit back and drink in all the details before coming to a decision. At times, their unassertiveness and uncooperativeness can come across as aloof. They tend to avoid negotiations or will withdraw if a situation starts to heat up. If you are entering into a negotiation where you want to get more details, the analyst is a handy person to have. His or her perceived aloofness will get the other side to divulge information, so you can make an informed decision.

 

Sources:

http://abovemag.remax.com/buffini-understand-the-7-types-of-negotiators/

http://www.ambulatoryadvisor.com/breakdown-five-types-negotiators-outlined/

http://www.managersdoor.com/topic/top-5-have-you-got-a-style-negotiating-style/

How to Be Nice & Negotiate With Confidence

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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.

 

Sources: http://www.fastcompany.com/3001209/negotiate-car-salesman-5-tactics-help-you-win-every-time