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How to Tell If You Are Experiencing Burnout

We all know the stereotype of a salesperson: bubbly, energetic, a go-getter, and a people person. Some might guess that this type of person with a seemingly endless supply of energy and things to talk about never wears out. However, in a career full of high-pressure goals and demands, burnout is very common. Let’s find out more about what burnout means, and how to handle it when it happens.

 

What Is Burnout?

We all feel stressed at work from time to time, but when that stress is extreme and all-encompassing, it becomes job burnout. It can happen to the best of us, even those in high-powered jobs, with great attitudes and outlooks. This is when the job-related stress is so extreme that it leads to a lessened sense of accomplishment or personal identity. While not a medically recognized condition on its own, burnout can lead to a number of dangerous health conditions, and is often tied to depression.

 

Symptoms of Burnout

The feeling of job burnout can creep up slowly on you, but suddenly feel quite despairing. There are many warning signs that burnout is on the horizon. Here are a few to watch for:

1.Good sleep may be hard to come by, especially in high-pressure jobs with long hours, like sales. But even with decent sleep habits, stress can make you feel tired all the time.

2. Lack of appetite. When you are constantly busy and over-stressed, you may not pay attention to your body’s hunger cues, or may not even feel them at all. You run on adrenaline and may lack healthy eating habits and schedules.

3. Everything feels harder. Sales calls that used to be easy seem to take all day. Tasks that should be a breeze feel monumental. Extreme stress can make simple tasks seem more difficult. It’s also harder to focus, so distractions take hold and it’s more difficult to complete necessary work tasks.

4. You’re frustrated with clients and co-workers. Burnout comes with a shorter fuse, and you may find yourself easily annoyed or angered by simple irritations. Every little thing can seem so overwhelmingly annoying when you are stressed to the max.

5. You feel pessimistic. All of the previous factors can create a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that lead to an overall lack of optimism in your job. Your numbers might be slipping, and it feels utterly hopeless. You no longer enjoy your job.

 

Consequences of Burnout

If you have any of the above symptoms, it is likely that you are experiencing burnout, or will soon be. It is definitely possible to recover on your own, but do not take these symptoms lightly. Dealing with burnout for too long can have serious repercussions on your career – and your health.

This heightened level of stress can lead to many side effects on the body. Those experiencing burnout can also feel extreme levels of fatigue and insomnia. The high stress can also lead to self-medicating and overuse of alcohol and drugs. A suppressed immune system and lessened ability to fight off common illnesses are also common with higher periods of stress. Over an extended time period, extreme stress and burnout can be a factor in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Depression is often tied to burnout, and should be taken seriously.

Beyond the serious health consequences, burnout can also affect your career. If you are experiencing extreme fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms of burnout, it’s easy to see that your job performance can start to slip. If you cannot gain control of a burnout situation, sales numbers can easily go down, and your job may be in jeopardy.

 

 

What Can You Do About Burnout?

If you are feeling burnout creeping in, it is best to take action quickly to get back on track. First of all, if you feel any of the intense physical symptoms of stress, check in with a doctor. And if you feel any signs of overwhelming depression, seek out a mental health practitioner for help.

There are also several actionable steps you can take to gain control of this intensely stressful situation:

1.Seek help and support. Healthcare and mental health practitioners are trained to help. Sometimes confiding or venting to friends, family, or trusted co-workers can also help gain perspective.

2. Try relaxation. Whether you prefer yoga, exercise, meditation, or massage, find ways to practice self-care.

3. Increase your sleep. It’s difficult with busy lives and high-pressure jobs, but try to find ways to go to bed earlier, or sneak in naps or rest periods. Relax and recharge on weekends and days off.

4. Talk to supervisors. Discuss your concerns and try to find solutions that may reduce stress. Is it possible to take a day off or to have some of your responsibilities (at least temporarily) reduced? Your mentors should want to help you succeed and may have suggestions to help your situation.

5. Find structure and routine. Organize your day and have specific goals and lists so that you feel accomplished each day. Stick to your action plan and avoid interruptions if possible.

6. Improve efficiency. Perhaps some of the burnout comes from strategies that just aren’t working. Talk to mentors or do research on other strategies you can try to be more effective and efficient.

Any of these tips can help to improve the situation when burnout has crept in. They can also be used as a roadmap for prevention of burnout. If you are not yet at the point of burnout, but feeling some stress build up, practice these tips and seek out measures for self-care to keep yourself healthy and ready to keep tackling those sales goals.

Sales jobs can be a marathon, and like a marathon runner, you need effective strategies to keep running at top speed, while taking care of your body, mental health, and your job. Shapiro Negotiations has the experience you need to train your team. We offer speakers and training to keep your sales team running, with tips for habits and tools for sales success. Contact us for more information.

 

 

The Role of Indifference in Sales: How to Appear Neutral and Not Desperate

Indifference can be one of the most effective impulse factors to use in sales and negotiations. Because indifference is defined as having a lack of sympathy, interest, or concern, you might think it sounds wrong or contradictory that this should be an effective sales tool. But before you dismiss the idea of indifference in sales, let’s investigate it a little further and find out how to use it to our advantage.

 

Indifference in Sales

First, it is important to note the difference between using the concept of indifference in sales and negotiations over indifference in general. What it does not mean is indifference toward your job, the sale, or the other negotiating partner. Apathy toward your job or the sale is the kind of indifference that won’t get you very far, and can definitely hurt your sales. You absolutely should care about these things – and show it.

So, what do we mean? The kind of indifference we are talking about is the ability to appear even or stable in a meeting, and never look desperate for a sale. Desperation and erratic behaviors come off as begging and give power over to the other side. At the same time, acting indifferent toward the sale brings that power back to you.

This can be a powerful negotiating tactic. If you go into a negotiation unwilling to say, “No, thank you,” you will likely put yourself at a disadvantage. Being willing to walk away gives you a certain power in the negotiation process, and the other person will sense that. Your willingness to walk away may result in the other party willing to reopen the negotiations with you on more favorable terms. In addition, feeling and showing indifference toward a sale or business relationship means that if it doesn’t go your way, you can walk away with less disappointment and move on more easily.

 

How Indifference Works in Negotiation

Most people do not like to feel pushed around, especially when it comes to sales and negotiating. An overly pushy salesperson can cause others to shut down and walk away. A degree of indifference, when used in the right way, will make the other side feel more comfortable with you and less like they are being pushed into a sale or compromise that they don’t truly want. When you put the other person at ease in this way, they feel like they have choices, but at the same time, you have the ability to influence them more easily toward a decision.

 

Put Indifference Into Action

Here are some actionable steps you can take to put the concept of indifference to work for you in your negotiations and sales meetings:

1. Practice acting as though you are ok with any outcome. As a salesperson, this may feel counterintuitive at first, but keep practicing, and eventually it will feel more natural. Even if you don’t land the sale, or get the agreement that you wanted, practice being at peace with the outcome. Remember that what you practice eventually becomes your reality.

2. Keep a busy sales schedule. If you constantly have customers or business deals scheduled, and at various stages of the sales deal, you won’t be as desperate to close each one, knowing you have many more prospects available.

3. Honestly project your indifference to your prospects. Again, this does not mean you should be apathetic toward them. Project a genuine attitude and let them know that there are multiple outcomes, as well as what those outcomes are. Take the pressure off and let them know there is no consequence if it just doesn’t work out this time. There will always be future opportunities.

4. Exude confidence. Indifference also does not mean that you lack confidence. Be calm and self-assured, but don’t try to over-sell or over-convince. Show that you feel at peace with any outcome of the deal. Projecting a sense of calm indifference will not only make you more confident but will help the other party have more confidence in you.

With these tactics at your disposal, you’ll be using indifference the right way, and it should lead to greater success for you.

 

The Psychology of Indifference

While we’ve already mentioned that people don’t want to be pushed around, it’s also well known that people want what they can’t have. An overly pushy sales pitch is a turn-off because it is all too easy to just agree to the sale. People want something that’s harder to get. When indifference is used properly, you’ll make them want what you’re selling, even without the sales pitch.

If you are struggling or desperate for a sale, it shows, and this is a turn-off in customer and business relationships. Desperation will only push your customers away. When you remove the desperation from your face, your customers can see it. You’ll come off as more approachable and fun to be around, and eventually, you’ll be closing more sales with what feels like less effort.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is that you should make the customer feel like it is up to them to decide. Make them feel like they are in the driver’s seat, and they’ll be more likely to buy. This is a sales tactic that works, and you’ll be a more successful – and likable – salesperson when you can implement indifference correctly and effectively.

 

How Shapiro Negotiations Can Help

We have the knowledge and expertise to make you a better negotiator. Shapiro Negotiations has experienced speakers, as well as training programs for you or your staff. We can show you the concept of indifference in negotiations at work, as well as countless other tactics to bring you more successful sales.

 

Why TED Talks Are the Modern Gold Standard for Presentations

Just about everyone has watched a TED talk at some point in their lives. These seemingly ubiquitous presentations are free and easily shared online through social media, and shown in schools, offices, and other meetings. TED Talks have grown so popular over the years that they are seen as the gold standard of modern presentations, in both the business and consumer realms.

Talks stand out from other form of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate, easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The key to their success lies in good preparation, top-quality visuals, professional editing, and speakers who are passionate about the topic.

 

What Is a TED Talk?

The original TED acronym stood for technology, entertainment, and design, and was a small conference on the converging of these topics, started in 1984. The next conference was held in 1990, and then annually after that. As TED grew in popularity, the topics expanded to include everything from politics to feminism, science, music, and business, and many others. Notable celebrities, Nobel Prize winners, artists, politicians, and leaders in all sorts of industries have given TED talks. However, the conferences remained small, and exclusive to those invited and willing to pay for expensive tickets.

The TED organization wanted to bring these exciting conferences to the masses, and so, in 2006, six talks were posted online. Today thousands of talks are available on their website, in more than 100 different languages, and the short videos have gathered more than one billion views collectively. The goals of this nonprofit organization remain to provide nonpartisan educational content, seeking out interesting people to speak and share their knowledge and passions. If you haven’t yet caught a TED talk, a quick browse through the many titles on the TED website, shows the wealth of topics to choose from.

 

What Makes TED Talks So Effective?

TED talks stand out from other forms of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The organizers of these events and talks aren’t in it for the money – they work passionately to spread ideas. Here are some of the key factors responsible for their explosive success.

1. While some of the speeches may seem simple or spontaneous, lots of preparation goes into them. The speeches are written well in advance of filming, memorized, and practiced to perfection. However, great speakers also know the power of occasional ad-libbing and how to use charisma so their speech doesn’t sound like rote memorization.

2. Props and visual aids. The best presenters know how to use quality visuals – including photos, videos, charts and graphs, as well as 3-dimensional props to help to tell their story in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way that captures the audience. Body language and hand gestures are also important. A recent study noted that the most popular speeches on the site had more hand gestures than some of the least popular videos. And when many people watch videos on mute, body language and visual aids can be very important.

3. Professional lighting and editing. TED talks use top-quality lighting and filming equipment, and use professional editing post-production to give the viewer multiple angles for visual interest and dramatic effect. The talks are shot more like movies than conference presentations and are entertaining to watch.

4. Emotion and Passion. TED speakers go beyond just reciting facts and know how to captivate with emotional influence and speaking passionately about the topic. These presenters touch the hearts of their audience, use enthusiasm, and inspire the audience to positive action.

5. Keeping it short. All TED talks are less than 18 minutes, preventing anyone from droning on too long. These shorter snippets of time allow information to be more easily absorbed and remembered. They also ensure the speaker stays focused on the main topic.

6. One of the most important factors in TED talk’s vast popularity is that they are available online, anytime, to anyone, and for no cost. While the original TED conferences were more elite and expensive to attend, now anyone can benefit from the information and inspiration, even if on a limited budget.

 

TED’s Global Impact

Aside from analyzing the details like speech preparation and fancy, professional filming equipment, perhaps the single most important reason why TED is so important is the impact its speeches have had on the lives of millions. Because of all of the factors we already mentioned, these little videos are making their way across the globe. People share them with friends on social media. The speeches discuss such important topics as social justice, equal rights, and the environment, and because of the charismatic, passionate speakers, more people are inspired to make positive change.

Sometimes, these videos challenge the audience’s viewpoints, using empathy and emotional influence to shed light on an important issue, and even change minds. The organizers at TED report that over the years, thousands of people have written them messages praising the impact of one speech or another, and how it has changed their lives.

 

The Future for TED

The next step for TED is the newer TEDx events. These events focus on local issues in a specific community and have already been hosted in 1200 cities across 130 countries. The TED organization notes that they would like to have all of their TED and TEDx talks not just available online, but translated to multiple languages (both spoken and subtitles) to make all of the inspiring presentations even more accessible. Thankfully, they plan to continue to be a source of educational content for years to come.

We can all learn from the style of TED talks for presentations and conferences. Following the key factors of TED’s success can infuse your presentations and speakers with energy and inspiration. If you’d like to capture some of the explosive energy of TED talks in your own professional presentations, but need a little direction, Shapiro Negotiations can help. We have experienced keynote speakers, as well as training programs to help you and your organization. Contact us for more information.

Why Empathy Is Necessary in Negotiation

Empathy is often both the most misunderstood, and least utilized tactic when it comes to business negotiations. However, successful negotiators who understand empathy and how it relates to negotiation, and can put it into practice, can experience a significant difference in their sales. Read on to find out more about empathy and how you can use it to your benefit in your negotiation tactics.

 

What Is Empathy?

Often confused or lumped in together with sympathy, empathy is all about relating to how others feel. Most of us have at one time sent a sympathy card to express feeling sorry for another’s misfortune or loss. Sympathy is what we say we feel for another person’s situation, and while empathy is similar, it goes a little deeper than that.

When you feel and express empathy, it means you truly consider what the other person is going through and understand the range of emotions that they feel as a result. Being empathetic involves being more compassionate, listening more, and imagining yourself “walking around in someone else’s shoes.” It’s often easy to tell the difference between sympathy and empathy because true empathy feels more genuine. It is felt on a deeper emotional level and helps to build trust in relationships.

 

Empathy in Negotiation

In any negotiation, the goal is a compromise or agreement between two parties. It can be very intimidating, especially if dealing with contentious topics. Arguments, discussion, and bargaining can all be part of the process of negotiating. You may feel inclined to rush through a negotiation quickly just to get it over with. But those who are most successful in negotiations know how to listen to the other party so as to understand their side of the negotiation and what their wants and needs are. Taking the time to listen and understand can defuse the tension, and lead to more satisfying results for both sides.

Negotiation usually involves some type of relationship building, and the process of listening and learning about the other party’s views. Empathy is a natural fit for this process, and when utilized can lead to much greater success in getting the other party to agree to your terms and compromises. Try to understand the other point of view by listening more. Vocalize your understanding of their feelings to let them know that you relate to their ideas or needs.

 

How to Be More Empathetic

Using and expressing empathy isn’t always easy, and it’s more than just “being nice” to others. In fact, to be empathetic, you don’t even have to like the other person or their viewpoints, or agree with them. You just need to genuinely understand their side of the negotiation. Some people are naturally better at using empathy, but it is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and honed over time. Here are some steps you can take to practice more empathy in any relationship:

1. Identify your own emotions. Make a mental note of your own feelings whenever you feel happy, sad, angry, or excited. Notice your facial expressions and body language and how they correlate to your inner feelings. When you understand and recognize your own emotions, you’ll be able to identify them in others more easily.

2.Watch for body language. Nonverbal cues include tone of voice, body language, and other hints. These hints can often give more information about emotions than what the other person is saying, and sometimes even contradict the spoken words to reveal true feelings.

3. Listen intently. Ask lots of insightful, open-ended questions of your opponent, but sit back and let them speak. Be open and show genuine interest in their answers.

4.Find common ground. Often called “building a bridge,” this involves discovering shared interests and ideas. Find out especially if there are any shared goals in your negotiation resolution. This can lead to compromise quickly and efficiently.

5. Do not express disagreement, judgment, or get defensive. Even if you disagree on the inside, try to remain as neutral as possible and continue to listen. Judging or attacking ideas can lead to the other person shutting down and delaying resolution.

6. Show you are listening. Encourage the other person to share, smile at them, and use your own body language to express interest, instead of appearing closed off. Relax, don’t cross your arms, and watch your tone of voice to show that you are open.

Practicing these steps in conversations, and in negotiations will demonstrate to the other party that you have empathy. You will find that others will then be able to trust you more easily and open up to you more.

 

Why Empathy Is Necessary

Without empathy in the negotiation process, it can be easy to come to an impasse. Those on either side of the table can just dig in their heels and be less willing to budge. However, when empathy is utilized, the opposing side feels understood, and that their feelings are heard. They may be more willing to understand your side as well, and it may be easier to reach an agreement.

Some people may fear that they can be too empathetic, taking it too far and getting so overwhelmed by the other person’s feelings that they forget their own needs. This can be tricky, but take a step back and remind yourself of your goals in negotiating. Use the insights you’ve gained from listening to the other person and come back to the table ready to reach an agreement. When you understand the other person’s needs and motivations, you can use this information to suggest bargains that will appeal to what they want, ultimately leading you to negotiating success.

Negotiation is an important business skill to master, and practicing empathy can make you a better negotiator. If you want to learn more about negotiation in general and find resources for negotiation training, contact Shapiro Negotiations. We have the necessary experience and tools to help you improve your negotiation skills or train your team through classroom training, consulting, keynote speeches, and virtual options.

 

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

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.

 

What Is Emotional Influence, and How Does It Affect Sales

Our emotions guide us in our decision-making every day, sometimes without us even realizing it. We all have primal instincts that influence our choices. When we feel hungry, we seek out something to eat. We sleep – or find another cup of coffee – when we’re tired. When we see a small animal or new baby, we want to pet, cuddle, or hold them. These are all examples of instincts in action, emotional responses that affect our choices without much extra thought.

Most influencers and advertisers know about these emotional responses and understand how to use them to effectively market to target audiences. They use images and videos that incite our emotions, making us feel happy, relaxed, excited, or wanted – and “sell” these emotions to us, not just a product. These emotional responses can influence our buying decisions.

 

What Is Emotional Influence?

Emotions are what give color to our daily lives: happy, sad, angry, and many more varieties; and each of these affect how we feel, what we do, and yes, what we buy. And the emotions we feel when we make a decision, or a purchase will affect if we make that choice again. A positive emotional experience can easily create a repeat customer, or a customer that will share those positive experiences with friends, drawing in new business for you.

Good marketers know exactly how to use these positive emotional responses to encourage customers to buy, and to keep coming back. Consider the following example of two coffee shops. Shop number one is a basic café to grab a cheap donut and quick cup of coffee. Shop number two has a wide selection of fancy, while more expensive, coffee flavors and choices, comfy couches, hip music playing, and a vibe that says, “all the cool kids hang out here.” Even with shop number one’s cheaper prices, more people are going to flock to shop number two for the cool-kid vibe and comfy atmosphere. This is a prime example of emotional influence in action.

 

Why Emotions Are so Important

Even though consumers may believe they use their logical mind to make decisions, the truth is that most of these decisions are highly influenced by emotions. And this idea is well documented and studied. Advertising research shows that our purchasing decisions are influenced more by our emotional responses than the ad content itself – sometimes two to three times as much. Other research has even used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show how we use our emotions more than information, including facts, to make buying choices.

 

How to Use Emotional Influence

So, we know that emotional influence is important in understanding how consumers make choices, but how do we tap into this? Smart marketers appeal to these emotions by giving brands a personality. Rather than just stating facts about a product or brand, infusing a personality gives the brand life and will attract consumers that align with those traits much more easily. These traits can be expressed in everything from visual advertising to packaging, atmosphere, and the language used to describe the brand.

 

Creating Personas

One of the best ways to understand how to use emotional influence is to create personas for your ultimate target customers. A persona is a made up profile of a target customer, that can also be quite detailed in the specific traits and attributes of each. Getting to know the personas you want to target in your marketing helps to understand your audience, humanize them, and better understand how to appeal to their emotions.

When you create the personas to target (and yes, you can – and should – have more than one), you gain a clearer understanding of who your customers are. Your personal profile should include things like age, gender, location, job/career, marital status, and other demographics. You should even give them a name and attach a stock photo. What are their life goals? Their frustrations and pain points? Their motivations? Write up bios for each of the personas you create and want to target. These bios can be used by your entire marketing staff, to unify the team and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

 

Marketing to Your Personas

Once you’ve established your ideal personas to market to, you can tailor your approach when marketing your product or service. Ask what your persona’s needs are. What are their pain points and how can your product offer solutions and appeal to them? Consider these personas as real people and find a way to use their emotions to draw them in.

Think beyond your product and consider the feelings that your product gives to consumers. For example, think of how the latest technological gadget makes a consumer feel – happy and excited, but also possibly part of an “in” crowd, smart, and hip. They may be relieved to have solved a problem or updated from an older version of the gadget. Now, you are selling a lifestyle, not just a product, and appealing to your customers’ emotions. Marketing in this way sells the emotions that your product evokes, and will lead to greater success in sales.

 

Making a First Impression

First impressions matter, whether in meeting new people or seeing a new ad for the first time. Study after study shows that we form these first impressions in mere seconds, using our instincts and gut reactions – emotional responses. This is why knowing how to market your product is so important. The first exposure a consumer has to a product, or its advertising, will have an immediate impact on their feelings toward it, and create a bias for the future.

Your first impression should have a strong emotional appeal. Consider utilizing the psychological power of colors, as well as storytelling. Inspire your customers, create a sense of community, and project an ideal image of your product and the lifestyle it supports. Shapiro Negotiations has experts knowledgeable in emotional influencing and can help guide you through the process. Contact us today for more information on influencer training, and so much more.

How to Choose the Right Sales Training Program

A sales training program is crucially important to the success of your sales team. Every individual needs the right introduction into the sales environment. No matter how naturally talented a person is, he or she requires the polishing that comes from good instruction.

When it comes time to choose a sales training program for your team, be very careful and thorough with the process. This program is going to mold your team as well as provide them with continuing refreshers over the course of their careers. A mistake at this stage could prove highly detrimental to the success of your enterprise.

It is best to take a systematic approach. With a plan in hand for how you are going to approach the process, you will be able to find and even tailor the sales training program that is right for your industry and for your team’s needs. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your program.

 

Preplanning

Before you start looking at sales training programs, you need to understand your own sales team. Some programs maybe great programs but they aren’t for every team in every environment. Look at yourself and evaluate where you are and where you want to be so you can be in the best position to evaluate the training programs you will choose from.

 

  • What are your team’s needs? Not every product is the same. Some approaches need to be different. Not every clientele is the same. What are the needs of your team? This is the core concept in determining which sales training program will work for you.

 

  • What areas do you want to focus on? Is there a specific weakness in your team? Do you feel you could spend a little less time going over things they already have mastered? A sales training program can cover a wide variety of topics. You need to decide the best way to apportion this time.

 

  • How long should the training be? More training can always help, but there comes a saturation point when it loses its benefit and the trainees start to get bored with it. What is the appropriate amount of time to spend on training?

 

  • What about continuing education? As time goes by, we forget more and more of the specifics of what we learned. It is always a good idea to give refresher courses, even to experienced veterans. What sort of continuing education goals do you have for your team?

 

Finding the Right Program

Once you know what your goal is for your sales team and know what you want out of a training program, you are ready to see what’s available. Some of the metrics, such as course length and follow up, are easy to gauge. There are, however, other considerations to make during the selection process. There are several considerations when determining how effective a sales training program will be for your specific sales team.

 

  • Consider location. Sales training can consist of in-person training as well as e-learning. Most will make use of both. Do you prefer more of one than the other?

 

  • What is their selling philosophy? No amount of tinkering with the program will solve the problem of differing philosophies when it comes to sales training. If your core philosophy is at odds with that of the training program, it’s not going to be a good fit.

 

  • Look at the sales management section. Your sales management needs to reinforce the principles taught in the training program for salesmen and women. The training program should have a component for sales management as well.

 

  • Do you need an assessment? If you already have an assessment process you trust, this probably won’t be necessary. However, you may want to investigate whether the training program provides assessments as well.

 

  • Does the program have all the desired formats? Some people learn better by reading; others by watching a video. Make sure the training comes in a variety of formats to reach every representative on your team.

 

  • What is the ratio of showing to doing? Some training programs are mostly show with only a little do. Most people learn better by doing, so be sure to check the ratio in any potential training program.

 

  • Can they tailor course content? No sales training program is worth it if they can’t modify their content according to your needs.

 

Other Considerations

When you find a program that you believe will serve your needs, you will need to ask a few more questions. There are some other aspects you should ask about to be sure you are getting the best version of the program that you can. You can further verify effectiveness or the appropriateness of the fit, or even improve the offer on the table. Here are some suggestions for what you should look at.

 

  • Get a sample of the curriculum. This is the best way to evaluate the quality of the program you are considering. Many programs can be discarded with this step.

 

  • Ask about return on investment. How does the sales training program measure results? Is this in accordance with your philosophy and goals?

 

  • Look at the client list. Different sales industries require different approaches. Look at the client list of a prospective program to see if they have experience working with sales teams in your specific field.

 

  • Ask for a money-back guarantee. If a sales training team makes claims about the quality of their product, they should back it up with a guarantee of some sort. If they don’t offer it, see if you can bargain for one. You will be investing a lot of time and money into a program and you need to make sure you see results.

 

When you know how to approach the process, you can confidently find the best program for your company. Though many sales programs seem to be made from the same cast, there are some that stand out. With these tools, you will be able to separate the imitators from the truly high-quality programs and make sure your team has all they need to be the most successful sales representatives possible.

 

How to Use Any Negotiation Location to Your Advantage

When it comes to negotiating, everyone wants a leg up on the competition. How can we get the best deal for ourselves? There is an abundance of books on achieving an advantage through every conceivable angle in bargaining. One that gets a fair amount of scrutiny is location.

While most experts agree that location can affect the proceedings, not everyone agrees on just how location affects things and what sort of location is best. It seems that different sites offer different advantages and disadvantages. The one you choose may depend on your own skill set.

 

Negotiating at Their Place

While your first instinct might be to avoid playing an away game, there are several reasons why it can be to your advantage. If you feel comfortable with the idea, taking a trip to the other party’s home base can provide you with a few subjective as well as objective advantages.

• Confidence. A willingness to visit the other side’s turf can be a keen demonstration of confidence. Confidence is always a good thing to demonstrate during negotiations and can elicit concessions that otherwise would not have been forthcoming.

• Opportunity. Going to the other side’s place is a chance to demonstrate respect for them. A good negotiation is usually more of a partnership than a battle, and visiting them can set the right tone to achieve that partnership. It also tells the other side that you don’t fear them either.

• Comfort Zone. By allowing the other party to remain in his or her comfort zone, you might make them more amenable to a partnership-based negotiation rather than a more hostile encounter. You may increase the chance of cooperation rather than competition.

• Intelligence gathering. By visiting their site, you afford yourself the opportunity to learn more about them. You might discover what drives them, or where they are weak. Knowledge like that can be an advantage in a critical moment.

• Information. When you go to their place, you deprive them of the excuse that they don’t have certain information on hand. Their files are right there, ready for perusal. It also gives you that same excuse you have just taken away from them.

 

Negotiating on Home Turf

If negotiating on the road can be advantageous, then for the same reasons negotiating at home can give the other party those same advantages. Nevertheless, there are ways to make a home field negotiation work for you.

• Impress. When they come to your home turf, you can put on a display of your strengths. You can show your prowess and influence the way they see you. If they come to the bargaining table properly impressed, you may have an easier time getting concessions from them.

• The Ego Wall. In your office, you can build your own personal Hall of Fame. You can fill it with awards and newspaper clippings and anything else that portrays you in the light you want to convey.

 

Neutral Location Negotiations

A neutral site is often seen as a fair way for both parties to meet in the middle. No one will have the benefit or detriment of a meeting in their own territory. However, even in neutral space, the playing field may not be entirely level.

The site chosen is still likely to be in the orbit of one of the two parties. It can still be a way for one party to be ostentatious about how they do things, or miserly if that is the tactic they have chosen. They can choose a noisy site where communication is difficult, or a place where business negotiations are prohibited. Every choice sends a message of some sort.

 

A Few More Tips for That Extra Advantage

If you can choose the site of the negotiation, you may be able to manipulate things to your advantage. There are a few psychological tricks which studies indicate can be helpful for you at the bargaining table.

• A hot drink. Studies indicate that the temperature of an object we hold in our hand affects the way we perceive the world and other people in it. According to research, when we hold a warm object in our hands, we tend to have “warmer” thoughts about other people. Likewise, a cold object makes us more negative about those around us. If your negotiating partner views you more warmly, you may be able to get better concessions from him or her. The next time you negotiate, you may want to offer the other party a warm beverage.

• A soft surface. Psychologists believe that in our childhood we develop associations with the hardness and softness of objects, and with their smoothness and roughness. Smooth and soft objects are associated with comfort and security, while rough and hard objects the opposite. If you want the other party to drop his or her guard and relax during the negotiations, you might consider providing them with a chair with a soft cushion. Make sure the negotiating table is smooth to the touch. You can combine this with a warm drink for extra effect.

• Seating arrangements. The seating arrangements can have a subtle yet significant effect on how the negotiations turn out. According to some experts, you should arrange the seats based on your strategy. If you plan on establishing a warm rapport with the other party and have a friendly negotiation, it might be better to put the seats closer together. On the other hand, if you want to establish a logical, formal negotiation, it might be better to separate the chairs more. More distance allows for more dispassion and can avoid emotional reactions to objective information.

• The environment. Contrary to what some suppose, an active background with ambient noise and the activity of other people can promote good negotiations. Background activity keeps us alert and aware of the surroundings, which aids in the negotiation process. If your negotiations seem to have reached a stalemate, changing the location might be an emotional cue that gets things going again. If you choose a vibrant background, this can aid your cause even more.

 

Sometimes, even a small advantage can make a big difference. Negotiators are always on the lookout for that small aspect that makes them more competitive as negotiators. Choosing the right location can give you that edge, but be sure you know yourself and your opposing party. Each location comes with drawbacks along with advantages.

Can “Dealing With Difficult Conversations” Be Trained?

Difficult is defined as needing much effort or skill to deal with.
Conversation is defined as a verbal exchange between two or more people.

Why are difficult conversations such a hot topic in articles, academic literature, social media, and training? Because they are so important and unavoidable.

Whether it is bringing up a potentially sensitive subject with a coworker or talking through contrasting opinions with a difficult client, there are many instances in people’s careers when the need for difficult conversations will not only arise, but be necessary. Avoiding these conversations is an option, but rarely the most effective.

Knowing how to have a difficult conversation is an invaluable skill as a professional in any industry or place of work. SNI can help you prepare, script, and role play for situations in which these kinds of difficult conversations may arise. We do this by pulling content from our sales, negotiation, and influence training and focusing on improving the interpersonal business skills that will improve you or your team’s ability to manage these challenging interactions.. The result? More successful navigation of tough conversations without hurt feelings or potential damaging conflict .

Here are some of the topics you can expect to learn about and master with difficult conversations training from SNI:

 

Focus On What You Can Control

Going into a tough conversation, the first thing that you need to do is focus on the things that you can actually control. This is a critical mindset. For example, on some occasions that may be when and where you talk to the other person, such as a location that is both professional and comfortable for both of you. Or, you may wish to strategically select a very public or public place, based on the nature of the topic.

While generally people focus most of their time thinking about how the other person will make a difficult interaction even more challenging, we should instead be focusing more on ourselves. Only you control your preparation (see next topic), state of mind going into the interaction, emotion during the meeting, etc. Control yourself and your emotions, and you will be more successful in these difficult interactions – it’s that simple.

 

Prepare

Preparation is the only aspect of a difficult conversation over which you have control. As such, it should be where you focus most of your time. You cannot control the other person’s responses, emotions, or feelings, so, outside of preparing various outcomes there is little value in spending time worrying about the other side. Rather, work on thinking through (even writing down when possible) the most likely directions the conversation will go – e.g. objections they make, questions they may ask, etc. – and how you will respond to each. Think of it as a sports team practicing a play before they run it in a game. Won’t you feel more confident responding to a tough objection you have already methodically thought through rather than hearing it for the first time during a heated exchange?

In our years of research and experience we have found that most people do not prepare adequately for these kinds of situations because they feel they neither have the time nor do they know how to. This is where SNI comes in. We provide your team with a preparation checklist that provides a process and systematic approach for them to use.

 

Write a Script

An excellent use of your prep time is to write a script for the conversation. This process starts with drafting out everything you want to say. After you write down your script, take a step back and read it again with a fresh but critical eye. Perhaps you should consider having someone you trust read it and play devil’s advocate. . Finally, read it out loud to see how it all sounds and feels.

The first step -writing everything you want to say – can be cathartic, in addition to a great brainstorming process. The second step, reviewing it or having someone else do so – is where strategy comes in. It’s what allows you to refine and fine-tune your messaging. Finally, the third step – practicing the delivery – is what gives you confidence going into the real interaction.

Scripting your conversation and potential responses will make you feel more prepared, increase your confidence, improve your strategy, and ultimately make you more successful during difficult conversations. And, as counter intuitive as it may seem, it’s the process of scripting which provides the most value not the final product. Even if the interaction does not go as planned, having systematically thought through it helps in the “heat of the moment.”

 

Keep your Emotions in Check

As mentioned above, your emotions are one of the few areas that you can and should control during these challenging situations. Thus, one of the most important factors of learning how to have difficult conversations is understanding how to keep your emotions in check. Keep in mind that you can prepare for their emotional outbursts, but you can’t control them.

 

Role Play

The scripting process introduced above plays a crucial part of preparing for a difficult conversation. However, we suggest taking this one step further, when needed, byactually role playing the situation. This might just come in the form of running through the conversation in your head or asking your trusted devil’s advocate to play the other party. Either way it’s a worthwhile experience.

Pro Tip: Consider recording yourself, audio only or with video, using your phone as you roleplay and then looking back at the tape.

 

Keep Perspective

When all is said and done, perhaps the most practical and actionable piece of advice when entering difficult conversations is simply to remember to keep perspective. Take a step back for a minute and think about how this conversation is not that daunting after all. When you look back after years of professional and personal growth, you likely will have had tougher conversations, and possibly even forget that this conversation took place at all. Keeping this kind of perspective may be a huge help in making this conversation seem much less intimidating.

Taking part in SNI’s difficult conversations training can provide you with valuable lessons and experience in navigating challenging conversations in all kinds of business environments and situations. Our proven methodology will not only give you greater peace of mind, but actual deliverable results. So whether it is a difficult client or sensitive coworker, contact us today to turn those “difficult” conversations into easy and successful ones.

15 Reasons Successful Influencers Admit Their Mistakes

To err is human. As we go through life, in any endeavor we are going to make mistakes from time to time. Even experienced professionals make mistakes in their field.

A mistake does not have to be a disaster, though. In fact, a mistake can strengthen your position as a leader and make the group you are a part of more cohesive. There are several reasons why a mistake can ultimately lead to better things in the future.

  • Learn from your mistake. A mistake can be a great teacher. It is best to learn from others’ mistakes, of course, but when you make your own mistake, don’t miss the opportunity to grow from it.

 

  • Earn respect. When admit you were wrong, you will earn the admiration of your colleagues. Admitting a mistake is hard and everyone knows it. When you show you can admit your own, people will notice and think better of you.

 

  • Establish trust. If a person is honest about his or her mistakes, people will trust that they will be honest in other areas as well. This builds team cohesion.

 

  • Lead by example. The best way to lead is with your own actions. If you want those who follow you to admit their mistakes and thereby improve the cohesiveness of your team, you can start by showing them how it is done.

 

  • Face your fears. You can gain a great deal of personal growth by facing your fears. Everyone fears admitting a mistake. This is a chance to display your emotional maturity. There is no courage unless there is fear to overcome.

 

  • Prevent larger problems. Don’t wait for mistakes to pile up and turn into a disaster. When you admit your mistake quickly, it allows for an earlier course correction, which avoids larger mistakes in the future.

 

  • Get rid of your pride. Humility is important in a leader. People will follow a person they love and admire. Humility in the face of error earns the admiration of those you work with, and will help to cleanse you of your own pride. It makes admitting future mistakes that much easier.

 

  • Improve relationships. Relationships sour when one party believes another party owes them an apology that never comes. Admitting a mistake smooths over hurt feelings and resentment.

 

  • Gain defenders. Many people will flock to your defense when you admit your mistake. They will be moved by your humility and good judgment.

 

Sometimes, a mistake is minor and hardly needs more than a simple acknowledgement. Other times, a mistake is more damaging, or even involves a lack of good judgment. In many cases, you may owe someone or a group of people an apology for what you did or failed to do. No matter how much you may have learned from making a mistake, without a proper apology many people may not be ready to move on.

There is an appropriate way to apologize when the time comes. A poorly fashioned apology can sometimes be worse than the mistake, and worse than not apologizing at all. There are a number of factors that go into a true apology, one that mends the damage that has been done and allows for team and personal growth.

 

  • Express remorse. Use the words, “I’m sorry.” It is important to use the first person. Don’t say an action was regrettable, and don’t use the passive voice. Mistakes were not made, YOU made a mistake. Be careful not to word it in a way that makes it seem like you are shifting blame.

 

  • Explain what you are sorry for. You don’t want people to think you are not fully sorry for the entirety of the act, or that you are only sorry that your error was discovered. An apology comes with a reason. Make sure the people to whom you apologize are on the same page about what exactly you are sorry for.

 

  • Take full responsibility. Apologize for what you said or did, or failed to say or do, and leave it there. When you try to explain what you did, it starts to sound like you are making excuses. It is best to simply admit you were wrong and fully own up to it.

 

  • Don’t give a false apology. If you aren’t sorry, you aren’t ready to apologize yet. A false apology is never a convincing one. Instead, think back on the mistake and try to understand why and how this has affected others. When you are ready to make the apology, make it sincere.

 

  • Don’t spread the blame around. Even if you were not the only one to blame for the mistake, don’t try to highlight anyone else’s role. Apologize for your part and leave it at that. If you start talking about the fault in others, it sounds like you are trying to duck the blame you have earned.

 

  • Explain your new understanding. If you ever explain why you did something, be sure to follow it with how you realize that it was wrong now. Never let your apology get covered up with excuses. When you explain how you see things differently, you can follow with how you plan to do better in the future.

 

If you are a team leader, you may have to apologize for someone who works for you, even if you had nothing to do with the mistake and were not there. As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for your employees. If you apologize for an employee, apply the same rules as if you were apologizing for your own mistake. The apology needs to be sincere and you need to take responsibility.

A mistake, even a major one, can lead to growth and improvement.  It can lead to your improvement as a person, a team member and a leader, it can improve relations and even performance in your group, and it can act as an important demonstration of what not to do and how not to do it.

When you make a mistake, own it. If an apology is warranted, make an honest one and do it the right way. It says a lot about you as a person, and that will only make you a better, more respected leader in the future.