BLOG

How Setting the Right Tone Will Affect Sales at Your Next Event

Jeff Cochran

0

When planning any big event, many factors can affect the overall tone – and success – of the event. Choosing the proper venue, music, printed materials, food options, and even dress codes are all part of the planning process. However, the most important factor in achieving the desired tone for your event may be the keynote speaker. The right keynote speaker will help to develop the theme for the event, get your audience excited, and let them know what to expect during the event. The keynote speaker can make or break the whole event, so it is important to choose wisely.

 

What to Look for in a Keynote Speaker

Long before your event even begins, you must research so you can choose the right keynote speaker. Look for leaders and influencers in your industry, but also make sure that they are relevant and knowledgeable to the particular topic or theme of your event. Also, they must be experienced and skilled in public speaking, not just an industry leader. A keynote speaker needs the ability to successfully draw people to your event, capture their interest, and inspire them to engage in the rest of the event.

Plan well in advance of your event and contact potential speakers months ahead of time. The norm is now to book speakers six to twelve months before your event date, but can sometimes be shorter than that, depending on the particular event and industry. Consider your needs in a keynote speaker – would it be more inspiring to have a corporate leader, or a motivational speaker? Think about your audience and the theme and tone of your event when coming up with ideas for guest speakers. Make sure to also budget properly for the caliber of speaker you hope to book, as some can command expensive fees.

If possible, attend events with keynote speakers you are seeking out, to see them in action. Take note of their speaking style and how the audience is responding. This isn’t always possible, but if you can check them out beforehand, it can help you make decisions about which speakers to go after. If you can’t attend in person, check out videos online of past events and speeches to give you a good idea of the speaker’s style.

 

Marketing Your Event With the Keynote Speaker

When booking your key speakers, find out if they would be willing to participate in some pre- and post-event marketing. These efforts can go a long way toward attracting your audience, and getting them excited for the event. Advertise your keynote speaker long before the event. Use a good photo of your speaker, and get an attention-grabbing quote, exciting speaking points, and/or a list of past accomplishments from him or her. Encourage your speaker to post on their social media about the event beforehand, attracting more followers.

A published interview or article pre-event is also helpful to build excitement. Find out if your speaker would also be willing to make an appearance at a pre-event luncheon or social hour as well. These pre-event appearances give part of your audience a small taste of what is to come at the main event.

 

Qualities of Successful Keynote Speakers

At your event, the impact of your chosen keynote speaker, as well as other event speakers, should be easy to see. A good keynote address will wow your audience, and garner enthusiasm for the other sessions and speakers to follow. A world-class speaker has a magnetic quality that enthralls audiences with their energy and enthusiasm for the topics at hand. Watching a skilled speaker is much more powerful than just reading a blog or article with the same information.

Your conference will likely have lots of other speakers, breakout sessions, luncheons, panel discussions, and dinners or cocktail hours, that each provides more detailed, relevant information to your event-goers. But the keynote speaker sets the tone for the whole conference. It’s not the main speaker’s job to provide detailed information or give an overview of everything to come, but a good speaker will motivate the audience about the main topic, and give examples of how the audience can incorporate the topics and ideas of the event into their daily lives – whether it’s more personal or career based.

 

How a Keynote Inspires

The right keynote address will be inspiring, and show audience members how to use the information they gather at the conference, as well as why it is important. A good keynote speaker will also be entertaining, and enjoyable for your audience to listen to. This speech is the first impression of your event for most of your attendees, so it is important to have a charismatic speaker who will reflect the overall tone of your event and inspire further participation.

Although a keynote speaker does not need to provide an overall outline or overview of other speakers and events to come, the energy and information from their presentation should inspire audience members to participate in other events, and interact with each other. If your event features small-group classes, discussion groups, or vendors, attendees will be more likely to be more involved in these following events. They will be excited to approach vendors and fellow attendees to practice what they’ve learned.

 

Closing Speakers

Almost as important as the keynote address, a closing speaker for an event is another important anchor to choose wisely. The closing speaker should bookend the event with the keynote, providing concluding thoughts, and tying in the main topics presented. The closing speaker should also be exciting and inspiring, encouraging audience members to go back to their lives or careers with the knowledge and experiences they’ve gained at your conference.

Shapiro Negotiations offers services that can help your business or conference be successful. SNI can provide resources and keynote speakers for your next event, conference, or retreat. Our in-house presenters are informative and entertaining, and we have the connections and resources to reach out and find the right keynote speaker for your event. Contact us today for more information.

 

6 Things You Should Know About Medical Device Sales Training

Jeff Cochran

0

Medical device sales are a complex concept by their very nature. Medical devices utilize the latest cutting-edge technology and contain highly technical aspects that a sales representative may have to condense into digestible sound bites. A medical device sales rep must also have some industry expertise and be able to provide intelligent answers to questions. While it would be ideal for each representative to be fully immersed in the multiple aspects of the business, this is rarely feasible. As a result, most trainers have to rely on a set of best practices when it comes to medical device sales training.

 

  1. Create Short, Easy-to-Digest Modules

Today’s sales reps are highly mobile, which means they can access modules and additional training when they’re in the field. This presents a huge opportunity to maximize productivity, but you can’t squander it. It’s unrealistic, for example, to expect reps to watch hour-long modules while they’re in the field. Instead, medical sales training should be broken into chunks that are easy to digest between sales calls. Scale content in accordance with the devices you use and the amount of downtime your rep has in a given day.

 

  1. Don’t Skimp on Product Documentation

Medical devices have some of the most demanding standards in the industry. Your sales reps must have exact and in-depth knowledge not only of the products they sell, but the regulations that apply to them. An encyclopedic knowledge of the product is not only invaluable to the sales process, but also in the event a product is subject to recall and you must provide documentation that you followed all the applicable regulations.

 

  1. Dodge the “Hard Sell”

Medical device sales are unique in that they don’t require a hard sell; in fact, this could come off as condescending. Sales professionals don’t need to harp on the benefits of a given medical device, especially when speaking with members of a health care system. Most of these individuals know what an oxygen monitor does, for example, so medical device sales trainers should teach reps to be aware of this risk.

 

  1. Be as Honest and Transparent as Possible

Honesty and transparency are essential tenets of any corporate sales training program, but this especially applies to medical sales training. When reps sell high-tech tools such as biotechnology, they can rest assured that their customers are smart, knowledgeable, and capable of seeing through any gimmicks. Medical device sales reps must learn that transparency and honesty play integral roles in getting customers the information they need to make a decision.

 

  1. Long-Term Training Initiatives

Medical device sales is an industry in which technology can have a short half-life. This means that sales skills and technical expertise can go stale faster than other businesses. While all sales disciplines benefit from ongoing training, this holds especially true for medical device sales training. Medical best practices evolve, technology changes, and the laws and regulations evolve right with them. This makes medical sales training a long-term commitment.

 

  1. Respect For the Client’s Time

Health care is a busy industry and professionals are often running short on time. Sales reps must make the most of every phone call and presentation, more so than for other fields. While teaching preparation is always important, medical device sales reps must take extra steps to avoid time wasters such as failing to avoid institutional policy.

Medical device sales is a highly specialized discipline, so the training be tailored. Sales reps in this industry must undergo more extensive and technical training than others. This training should be mobile and broken into easy to digest “bites.” It should also address unique product regulations and the importance of documentation. Unlike some other sales disciplines, it should avoid the hard sell and requires frequent refreshers and tune-ups. Medical device sales training is a continuous and long-term effort that requires the help of a professional.

Facing Employee Retention Challenges in 2018

Jeff Cochran

0

The U.S. unemployment rate is low, and companies are cranking up recruiting efforts. Organizations will face a challenge in the year ahead to keep current employees from being lured away by companies offering attractive benefits and innovative perks. Businesses can attract and keep employees by improving digital efficiency, providing relevant feedback and matching people with their passions for improved job satisfaction.

Intentionally Endorse Culture

When employees believe in what their organization stands for, they are more loyal and engaged. Make creating a positive culture top priority when it comes to employee retention. Define the values most important to your brand and seek ways to communicate and practice those ideals throughout your organization.

Analyze and tweak every step of onboarding to highlight those values in company policies and practices. Make sure training gives specific steps for how to incorporate them in workplace interactions, not just with outside clients.

Develop Leadership

Supervisors often obtain their position because they were effective as lower-level employees. While they might have been the strongest member of their team, they don’t necessarily have the skills to be effective management.

One of the biggest reasons employees leave their job is because of conflict with a supervisor. Offer leadership training to provide the communication skills necessary to effective relationships with employees.

Prioritize Growth

Some employees change jobs because they see another company as an opportunity to get ahead. If your staff feels stuck in their current positions, they are likely to experience frustration and defeat. Instead of losing your talent to the competition, keep them when you do the following:

  • Offer performance-based bonuses or other perks to top performers.
  • Provide training and staff development that gives employees skills they need to be promoted.
  • Let staff members know the career opportunities available and the ways your company can help them reach their goals.
  • Allow employees to cross-train so they learn a wide range of skills.
Make Your Offer Better

Money isn’t everything, but employees are lured away when they can make more with your competitor. Make your compensation package as attractive as possible. Salaries and bonuses are a major part of what attracts talent, but other factors can be just as important. Health insurance, flexible scheduling, vacation time and retirement packages also play into an employee’s decision to stay with your organization or go somewhere else.

Know what the competition offers so your staff isn’t lured away by a few dollars. When Glassdoor analyzed job transitions, they found base pay that is 10 percent higher makes it 1.5 percent less likely employees will leave.

Invest in retaining your current workforce by creating a positive place in which they thrive. The productive work environment that results will improve your bottom line and attract top talent to add to your team.

How Aristotle Invented Influence Training

Jeff Cochran

0

While we may think the basics of public speaking starting recently, it was actually 2,300 years ago that Aristotle recorded his theory on effective public speaking. He espoused the importance of ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic) to influence behavior. His principles are still the key foundation for negotiations training. Here’s how Aristotle’s tenets have shaped the art of argument and influence in business today.

Ethos – The Speaker’s Character

To persuade anyone of anything, you must appear credible. Regardless of what you wear, how solid your company is, or even how your reputation may precede you, if your listener has reason to question your credibility, your negotiations will suffer. Aristotle says a credible speaker conveys three qualities:

  • Competence – The knowledge and ability to do what you say you can do.
  • Good Intention – You intend to do good for your listener.
  • Empathy – The listener feels as if you have been in their shoes.

Ethos is both articulated and nonverbal. Your demeanor, body language, and tone all play a role in your perceived credibility. It’s about your audience’s perception of you and your ability to control that perception. To improve ethos, develop expertise in the subject you’re going to be speaking about. Learning more and growing more comfortable in the subject matter will allow you to speak confidently and convey knowledgeable insight.

Pathos – The Speaker’s Emotional Influence

If your goal is to persuade, you must make an emotional connection. Aristotle said if people feel anger, the speaker should discover with whom they are angry and why. The first step in doing this is to have a basic knowledge of your audience. What are their values and beliefs? Use techniques that appeal to their emotions and offer something they desire.

Choose presentation techniques with which your audience can identify. Use humor to get them laughing with you. Tell a story to draw them in and help them make personal connections. Use words that are charged with the emotion you seek to convey. Offer carefully chosen visuals so your audience sees what you have seen.

Logos – The Speaker’s Appeal to Reason

Only after you have established credibility and made an emotional connection, should you proceed with your logical statement. This step is as important as the other two, but, without ethos and pathos, logos will fail.

Evaluate your message to be sure it makes sense. Use plain language that everyone in your audience can understand. Repeat key ideas so they stand out. Present facts, statistics, and evidence to back up what you’re saying. Give your audience a clear call to action so they know what to do with what they’ve experienced.

Keep ethos, pathos, and logos in your mind the next time you come to the negotiation table.

 

3 Uncommon Negotiation Preparation Tactics to Try

Jeff Cochran

0

Preparing is the first important hurdle in any negotiation. The person who spends more time preparing is naturally better equipped for a positive outcome. If you’re looking to gain the upper hand in a negotiation, research and evidence gathering are your first and most important line of defense. For example, if you’re negotiating for a raise, you’ll want to have examples ready of how your flexibility, talent, and work ethic have helped the company in the past.

Research and evidence are necessary tools to apply in negotiation and thus a good starting point. If you’re looking for even more ways to ramp up your negotiation preparation game, try one of these tactics:

 

Role Play

People sometimes hesitate to role play because they feel a little silly doing it. However, role playing can be a powerful technique to use during negotiating planning. Role playing helps you see the flaws in your argument and anticipate defensive scenarios. In other words, you’ll be able to formulate your responses to criticism before negotiations begin – not in the heat of the moment. It may feel awkward at first, but it’s a huge confidence booster for when it matters.

Roleplaying also helps you see the negotiations from your opponent’s point of view. This allows you to play out any arguments, and it will help you understand the other party’s priorities and how they may affect your case.

 

Be Creative

People sometimes are mistaken by the notion that negotiations are formulaic and require x amount of tactics. Truly talented negotiators understand that negotiation is an art form not a science. As such, it requires no small amount of creativity. The goal of any negotiation is to come up with the best solution of the ones available.

In your preparations, try this: Write down plenty of ideas related to a negotiation. Imagine what the other side is thinking or dream up the best possible scenario. These ideas can be out-of-the-box and may even seem hard to apply. Often, a flawed idea becomes a more viable option throughout the process. Each solution you create in your mind’s eye might not fit the situation perfectly, but these ideas may pave a path to the best possible outcome over time.

 

Find Your Leverage

Finally, every good negotiation involves taking advantage of your own strengths. A little introspection before the negotiation will help identify the direction in which you’ll want to steer your negotiation.

A negotiation is only as powerful as your preparation. Apply these tips to your next negotiation, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated During Summer Months

Jeff Cochran

0

As summer settles in for the season, you may have noticed a dip in employee engagement and motivation. Longer days and warmer weather may tempt your employees to take more days off and spend less time thinking about the company’s sales goals. Unfortunately, when several employees ramp up their sick leave, your productivity may suffer. Maintaining employee engagement can be difficult in the summer months, but there are several strategies businesses can leverage to beat the heat on their bottom line.

 

Encourage Vacation Time

Planned vacation time is always better to work around that absenteeism. That aside, even your most productive workers face burnout, especially if they haven’t taken a vacation in a long time. Summer is the best time for your employees to rest, recharge, and have fun with their families. If you encourage vacation time, they’ll come back well-rested and ready to take on new sales challenges.

 

Schedule Some Company Summertime Fun Activities

It’s natural to want to relax over the summer. There are a couple of ways that you, as a company, can also relax a little over the season without hurting your sales quotas. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Organize a summer company outing. This may be a picnic, potluck, or barbeque, or a competitive activity such as whirlyball or mini-golf. No matter the activity, summer outings can encourage team-building skills and make your employees more engaged in your company. Photo-based documentation of these activities also works well on your website to emphasize your employee-centric culture.
  • Consider an abbreviated schedule. Many companies use a shorter schedule during the summer – most notably a shorter day on Fridays. However, you’ll want to stress that a shorter deadline is contingent on meeting deadlines or other sales goals.
  • Incorporate casual Fridays. Allowing workers to wear informal attire on Fridays has been linked to higher productivity.

 

Be More Flexible

As long as your employees are being productive, allow them some more flexibility during the summer. This may mean letting them work from home a day or two each week or holding meetings outside with a catered picnic lunch. This will help your employees feel more engaged with the summer season – after all, no one likes sitting in the office on a beautiful day.

Follow these tips and you’ll see a boost in productivity from your summer employees. A little flexibility and fun in the sun do a lot to help even your most unmotivated workers.

3 Ways to Warm Up Cold Leads in 2017

Jeff Cochran

0

Cold calling and cold lead marketing still have their place, even in today’s technology driven world, but, with the digital revolution, there are some new tricks to the trade. We live in a consumer-driven economy, so they’re more ahead of the curve than they used to be. Cold lead marketing is now a combination of digital and traditional techniques, but it has the same end goal: leading a prospect one step further down the funnel. Here’s how to do it in 2017:

1.  Foresee and Derail Common Objections

Rejection is simply a part of the business, and most cold callers know how quickly rejection can derail a call, but doing some customer research can help you identify sources of common objections so you can tackle them before they arise.

Each company will handle an objection differently, but, no matter your response, practice it over and over. For example, a common objection is that a product or service is cost-prohibitive. Be prepared to offer alternate solutions, such as an exclusive promotion, instead of hanging up the phone.

2.   Leverage Multiple Channels

If you’re still exclusively cold-calling, it’s time to come to the 21st century. The digital revolution has opened up several channels for cold lead marketing: email campaigns, social media outlets, and even things like Adwords.

One of the best ways you can nurture a cold lead is by posting relevant evergreen content on your company blog. Evergreen content, like its name, is long-lasting and sustainable. It’s not breaking news or information about the latest trends, so it remains relevant for long past its publication date. This allows traffic to build over time.

To build evergreen content for your website, consider your customers best pain points and design your work around it. These are ideas that will stand the test of time and that you can share through different channels over time (email marketing, social media, etc).

3.  Prepare With Email

Cold calling can be a valuable tool in your sales arsenal, but you can warm up a cold call by sending a quick email. Create a compelling, personalized subject line, then offer a paragraph of content that addresses a customer’s pain point or business concern. Tell them you plan to call to discuss the issue further. Avoid being too “salesy” since you’re not really selling them anything at this point. Focus on providing them with VALUE at this point.

Cold lead marketing has become more sophisticated than ever thanks to today’s technology. Follow these tips to turn cold leads into loyal customers.

How to Prepare for Sales Training

Jeff Cochran

0

Sales training is a crucial step toward increasing your sales performance, becoming an effective negotiator, improving your skills of persuasion, and fostering strong interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, if you’re not adequately prepared for your sales training seminar, you may not get the most out of the valuable information you learn. Here’s how to get ready for your sales training event:

Take Ownership of the Process

Some employees look at sales training as the cost of doing business, but this isn’t the right approach. To make the most of your training, start with the right mindset. This means:

  • Acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers. Everyone, even those who are posting the highest numbers every month, can learn something new. A growth mindset is essential for becoming the best salesperson you can be.
  • Talking it up. Take on a leadership role and get everyone else excited about the seminar, too. A collaborative approach will ensure you’re all getting as much out of your time and investment. When you get home from your training, work together to implement what you’ve learned.
  • Giving it your all. Don’t show up just to fill a seat. Minimize distractions by telling everyone when you’ll be gone and you won’t be responding as quickly to messages in that time frame.
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone. Most salespeople naturally enjoy talking to others, but everyone has a comfort zone. Make an effort to step out of yours by collaborating with others outside of your immediate circle and actively participating in your learning experience.
Prepare Beforehand, Not During

If possible, get an outline of the session so you can better prepare. Take a few moments to plan a learning goal for yourself. What do you hope to get out of the session? What are you expecting to learn? Once you have a plan in mind, it will be easier to ask questions and take notes to ensure you’re meeting your goals.

During the seminar, pay close attention and enjoy yourself! Training sessions are usually informative, fun, and offer plenty of opportunities for collaboration. Once you return from your sales training, don’t forget to apply it: sales skills are like muscles – if you don’t flex them often, they’ll lose their strength.

Getting the most out of your sales training is a matter of having the right mindset, showing up prepared, and using what you’ve learned. If you follow those steps, your professional life will benefit.

How to Measure the Returns of Influence Training

Jeff Cochran

0

Many employers consider influence training for their staff but are unsure of how to measure their return on investment. Often, managers must provide metrics to the C-Suite to justify the expense of such programs. There are several ways to assess the benefits of influence training:

Take A Look At Their Actions

People may say a lot about their training experience. They may say they were engaged with the materials and they learned information, but actions speak louder than words. That’s why quantitative measures, rather than qualitative ones, are more effective in discussing further training with the C-Suite.

For example, use a simple response system like Poll Everywhere to conduct a short quiz to assess knowledge before and after a training session. This will help measure the returns on your training efforts and justify more training for your employees.

Here’s another idea: create a series of benchmarks before sending employees off for influence training. Once your employees return, list a series of scenarios to work through, and see if those benchmarks were met. This not only helps you determine who was engaged with the sessions, but it gauges the value of the sessions themselves.

Here are some other examples of assessments you can sell to management:

  • Best answer questions. A multiple-choice assessment will provide good quantitative data to give to your higher ups.
  • Peer review. Have trainees put together a product (either alone or in teams) that the rest of the workforce can review. Have them make suggestions for improvement or comment on the quality of the work.
Look at Metrics Over Time

One of the best ways to measure the return on your influence training investment is to look at quantitative trends in your business outcomes over time. Here are some examples of metrics to measure:

  • Productivity and output
  • Sales volume
  • Customer satisfaction, including retention and the number of customer complaints
  • Employee metrics, including  average length of employment and revenue per employee

Just be sure your metrics are relevant, measureable, and provide value to your stakeholders.

If you are looking to convince your employer to pay for your influence training because you feel it will have business and personal benefits, don’t forget that proving the former to management is the key. Prepare a plan to measure the returns on your training investment and follow through accordingly. You’ll find that influence training is well worth the cost.

Why You Need a Sales Training Course

Jeff Cochran

0

The art of the sale is about more than making a pitch. A compelling salesperson has both strong communication skills and powers of interpretation. These are abilities that are suited not just to people in sales, but those in virtually every profession. Consider these reasons why sales training can benefit any industry:

It Improves Customer Communication

Every business has customers, and you’re usually trying to sell them something, whether it’s a product, service, or experience. Sales training fosters important skills like listening to understand what the customer needs and wants. You’ll learn how to ask the right questions during an interaction, guiding a prospect through the funnel and turning them into a loyal customer. An added benefit of sales training is that is enhances communication with all personality types.

Customers also have unhappy moments, despite our best intentions. A sales training course will enhance customer service skills so a worker can navigate objections and offer solutions that enhance the consumer experience.

It Develops Leadership Skills

At its core, sales is service. No matter your industry, you want to make people feel good about working with you and cultivate long-term relationships. Good leaders display strong communication skills and develop valuable interpersonal relationships with shareholders and employees alike.

A sales training course teaches leadership skills by promoting an understanding of people and delivering value to both customers and workers. Reaching the right people at the right time to solve a problem is the heart of sales.

It Helps People Overcome Hurdles

We all suffer rejection from time to time. Customers want to find a reason not to buy, or a manager might have a hard time buying into a new idea. No matter the cause, objections happen. In some cases, it’s tempting to give up after a rejection, but sales training teaches people how to get to the root of an objection and overcome it.

One of the most common ways to teach this concept is with role playing. For example, in a training course, we may have a “prospect” give objections to a salesperson during a presentation. This allows the trainee to think through and discover possible reasons for objections in a mock scenario.

Sales training benefits people in all different industries. A sales mindset is essential for delivering superior customer service, cultivating quality relationships, and resolving objections before they become a problem. Consider adding a sales training course to your job teaching repertoire.