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3 Keys to Effective Negotiation Skills Training

Negotiation is a critical business skill for all sectors of an organization, from sales representatives to high-level leadership. However, for an optimal learning experience, a negotiation course or program requires more than PowerPoint lectures and worksheets.

For a negotiations skills training course to be as effective as possible, students must obtain hands-on experience, learn tools that they can take with them and use later, and learn how to apply these tools to multiple scenarios. Using innovative learning strategies to administer a negotiation course can turn a class of untrained negotiators into masters of the art.

 

Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Be Interactive

Using hands-on activities and roleplay scenarios are effective learning tools for multiple subjects, and they are especially effective for negotiation skills training.

When designing the training program, make sure to insert interactive activities to break up the monotonous instruction. Allowing participants to get their hands dirty will allow them to develop their own influencing styles and negotiation skills in a safe environment. This will also help participants practice the tools they are learning in the course, making them more likely to retain those tools for future use.

To administer a simple but effective scenario exercise, follow these three steps:

1. Make sure to make the scenario realistic. Participants want it to be in “their world” and will take it more seriously if that is the case.

2. Don’t overcomplicate the scenario with too many details. While participants want it to be real, too much information can be overwhelming and can have unintended consequences. Keep in mind that the more information the scenario has the more “outs” and “justifications” the participant’s have if it doesn’t go their way.

3. Have clear objectives in mind when creating scenarios. What specific negotiation aspects do you want it to test? Participants ability to ask questions? Conviction with which they deliver a first offer? Preparation process? Figure out what you want to address with the scenario and then build it.

 

Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Supply Useful Tools

If students can use what they learn during the course in future situations, that is the sign of a successful training program. For this to occur, negotiation skills training programs can supply participants with tangible tools, such as training manuals or worksheets for future referral. Design the training program so that participants can easily answer the following question: “What will you do differently in your job as a result of this training?”

The goal of a negotiation skills training course is to ensure participants’ success in conflict. The program should be practical, and solutions should not be hard to find. Designing training materials that explicitly state the best practices for negotiations will be simple guides for participants to refer to in future situations.

 

Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Be Customizable to Multiple Situations

Negotiation skills training programs must be relevant to the participants’ organizations or companies. Without this relevance, the facilitator will lose credibility. In addition, the participants will have to make their own connections to the material while learning new skills, which decreases their ability to retain information.

Implementing scenario exercises that are relevant to the participants’ industry is a correct approach to negotiation course design. If multiple industries are involved, design multiple scenarios. Using multiple examples throughout instruction will also allow connections to develop between practice and theory.

Negotiation skills training programs are tricky to administer effectively but following these easy steps will turn a program from mediocre to excellent. To learn more about negotiation skills training and to schedule an expert session for your organization, visit Shapiro Negotiations today.

Why Sales Analysis Is Important

Sales Analysis When creating a brand, understanding your consumers’ needs is imperative for a successful campaign. Prior to distributing goods to the public, however, businesses need to spend some time researching how their product or service can answer their consumers’ needs. A sales analysis positions a business to become a prominent force within the market because it helps them know if their marketing tactics are effective.

 

What Is a Sales Analysis?

Sales and marketing analytics are essential to unlocking commercially relevant insights, increasing revenue and profitability, and improving brand perception. A sales analysis report identifies the actual sales of a company over time. The report shows if sales are increasing or declining. With an analysis, actual sales may be compared to projected sales.

There are several benefits to conducting a sales analysis:

 

Opportunity to Expand Your Reach

A sales analysis is an opportunity to offer something unique, a niche, to the consumer who is not currently being met by other companies. Consumer surveys can also be conducted to learn about new goods or services that could have high demand in the marketplace. Understanding the demand is essential to remaining competitive. Also, unmet needs of the consumer are evaluated to see how products and services can be improved to increase customer satisfaction and profit.

An industry analysis allows business to estimate how much profit can be generated. Some questions to consider are:

  • Size of the market
  • How much the consumer spends
  • How frequently the consumer spends

 

Repeat Sales

New versus repeat sales of customer groups can be determined with a sales analysis. Managers can use this information to discover if they’re retaining business. Demand forecasting, a predictive analytic, can be used to estimate the quantity of products or services a consumer will purchase.

 

New Consumers and Branding

Gathering information about non-customers is an opportunity to gain their loyalty as well. A sales analysis will be able to identify what non-customers think of your product. The report can define the effectiveness of an advertisement, new products, and targeting. Your brand is important – it’s how your client base identifies you. Social media, sales conventions, and review sites are sources that are used to gather data regarding your brand, and you want consumers across these platforms to easily spot you. By identifying who is not buying from you, and why, your market can potentially be expanded to include new consumers.

 

Business Beware

While there’s no such thing as too much information, not understanding how to sue that information can be an issue. To avoid this:

  • Assess the financial cost: simply, how much money will your decision cost (or earn) the company
  • Assess the culture cost: a solution to a tough decision should have minimal impacts on your overall culture
  • Access the productivity cost: consider the impact of future productivity within the company

Sales analysis is one tool in your marketing kit; use it wisely and watch your client base grow.

 

When to Use Principled Negotiation

We understand that conducting contract negotiations can be overwhelming at times. Emotions can run high, and one party may feel as though their ideas are not being heard. Learning to approach talks in a more positive way, using principled negotiation, will help to avoid conflict. When you are at the negotiating table and you see there are options for you both to get what you want, it’s an idea time to use principled negotiation.

 

The Definition of Principled Negotiation

Principled negotiation is an approach that resolves disagreements between parties. It is also referred to as a “win-win” outcome. It focuses on bettering the interests of everyone and finding solutions that are mutually beneficial. Principled negotiation can help people achieve objectives and satisfy expectations by removing the “all-or-nothing” attitude. Consider these guidelines to ensure your negotiations go as smoothly as possible.

 

Separate Emotions from the Problem

Sometimes, emotions can cloud negotiations. If you feel as though you are at a disadvantage, you may react defensively. During any mediation, it’s important to maintain composure and not be influenced by fear or anger. Principled negotiation draws on principles instead of opinions. Seeing each other as partners will help keep the lines of communication open between parties.

 

What Is Most Important?

Instead of focusing on winning your position, start by discussing common interests you share and specific details of agreement during negotiations. From there, identify the interests of each party. You may discover that the underlying motivations of both parties are similar and will allow you to stay focused on the solutions instead of the problems.

 

Use Objective Criteria

If there is a strong conflict between the parties, using objective criteria may be useful. Objective criteria can include scientific evidence, legal rulings, industry standards, and cost estimates. For example, if purchasing property is under negotiation, presenting the market value of comparable properties in the area will validate the price. The goal is to establish a fair outcome.

 

Make Options Available

Think beyond having only one avenue for settling conflicts. Instead, generate diverse options to reach solutions. During brainstorming sessions, propose ideas that will offer mutual gain and refrain from judging. Consider ideas that are more important and more widely used. Begin with the most promising ideas and don’t get hung up on small discrepancies. Keeping an open mind to all ideas presented is key and prevents hindering the negotiations.

 

Avoid Pressure

Again, a win-win situation is the ideal for principled negotiations. Deny the temptation to pressure the other party to accept your terms. Pressure from either side is considered a power tactic. The great thing about principled negotiation is that it works even if you’re the only one practicing it. If the other party does not use principled negotiating, its tools still have power at the negotiating table. Instead of responding to attacks, redirect to solve the problem. Do not take it as a defeat if you need to walk away from a mediation.

However, no one should walk about from the negotiations feeling as though they had to make a sacrifice. Principled negotiations won’t work for every situation. Scenarios that may not be a good fit for principled negotiation are:

  • When one party is set on winning at the other party’s expense.
  • When negotiating for inexpensive, widely available products that do not have a significant role in business.

Keep in mind: with proper principled negotiation tactics in place, both parties can get what they want – a win-win and a desirable outcome for all.

Overcoming Objections to Increase Your Sales

In a perfect world, prospects will accept your sales pitch without reservation and come to an agreement about price and other factors, becoming a revenue-generating customer. However, we know that negotiations rarely work out that way – otherwise there would be little need for sales training and the art of negotiation.

We know that one of the toughest parts of the sales negotiation process is overcoming objections to making a purchase or moving into the next step of the funnel. By effectively knowing how to address sales objections, you will be better equipped to engage your average prospect and turn them into a buyer. Here’s what you need to know about overcoming objections in sales.

 

The Most Common Sales Objections

The type of objection that you encounter may vary widely depending on the customer, product, or business model. However, some of the most widely accepted sales rebuttals include versions of the following:

 

1.“We don’t have the money for it.”

Budget is one of the biggest detractors from a successful sale. Many sales reps have the reflexive reaction to simply lower the price, but this isn’t necessarily the best scenario. Immediately lowering the price can bring about questions regarding your product or service’s value, diminishing your authority.

 

2. “I don’t have the authority to make that decision.”

In some cases, a sales objection might arise because the person you’re speaking to has to consult with a boss, a partner, or even a spouse before making a final decision. This can seem like an outright dismissal, but you can see it as an opportunity to follow up with other decision makers involved.

 

3. “I don’t really need it.”

In some cases, a client will say that he or she is happy with the status quo, but what this really means is that fear of making a change may be dictating their decision-making process. Sometimes, this objection arises simply from being ill-informed about the value of a product or service.

 

4. “Now is not a good time.”

Another version of this might include, “Get in touch with me again when I have the budget.” Overcoming this objection is about more than demonstrating value, it’s about creating urgency, and making a proposition so compelling that they might feel regret if they pass up the opportunity right now.

 

5. “I need more time to think about it.”

This can be a particularly tricky scenario to navigate because it combines several of the previous objections at once: It may concern budget, authority to decide, need, and the timeliness of the proposition. Chances are, the customer simply doesn’t see the value of the product or service you’re trying to sell.

 

Best Practices for Overcoming Objections

Now that we know what the most common sales objections are, how can we overcome them? We recommend a four-point process to get the sales negotiation process back on track:

 

1. Acknowledge the Objection

First, it’s important to understand where the objection is coming from. As we highlighted in the sections above, the most common sales rebuttals might mean something else. For some customers, it’s failing to understand the value of the product. For others, it’s complacency or fear of making the change. Still for others, it’s a simple lack of information. By acknowledging the objection, you’re better suited to counter and overcome it.

 

2. Probe to Clarify

Asking simple questions about the customer’s reasoning is the next step in overcoming objections. Open-ended questions tend to work best, as they help you better understand what’s keeping a customer from a purchase. For example, if a customer says they simply need to think about it, ask yourself: what might be holding them back from making this purchase? From this brainstorm, you can help create a trustworthy relationship and establish value by introducing specific benefits of a product or service, such as a guarantee or return policy.

 

3. Respond to the Objection

Next, take steps to respond to any sales objection by clarifying your value proposition or showing how your product or service can deliver value to a customer. For example, if a sales objection arises  due to decision-making authority, don’t wait for a customer to “get back to you.” Instead, use this as an opportunity to identify the concern and keep the process moving along by setting up a joint meeting with the authority that’s holding the prospect back from a sale.

 

4. Refocus the Objection

The last step in overcoming objection is reframing it to arrive at the best solution. The approach to this will depend on the nature of the objection involved. For example, an objection rooted in complacency or perceived lack of need might simply require a targeted pitch of the benefits of your product or service. In many cases, demonstrating unique value, backed by specific examples of how a product or service will solve customer pain points, will effectively quell an objection.

 

Overcoming objections is a matter of asking the right questions, understanding the real reason for the sales rebuttal, and refocusing to drive value. It’s a process that requires plenty of practice, but these tips should help. Additional training can also be helpful in overcoming objections for further increased sales and revenue.