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Negotiating Using the Challenger Sales Model

Is the Relationship Sale Still Relevant? 

There is a developing trend that indicates that the relationship sale is dying a slow death. The old path of using golf outings, dinner meetings, and ballgames to cultivate loyal customers seems to be falling to the wayside in a time of budget cuts and a move toward mass commoditization of once valued relationships, products, and services. Buyers are required to procure goods and services at the best possible balance of value, quality, and price regardless of who is selling it to them. SNI has always attracted the client who wanted to enhance the customer relationship by finding a mutually satisfactory process and outcome while maintaining the relationship to have another deal. This is where we align perfectly with the Challenger Sales Model – by adding tools and skills to maximize outcomes when using this modern approach to selling. 

 

The Challenger Sale (Dixon and Adamson, 2011) is a seminal book on a new(ish) and an interesting approach to changing customers’ buying decisions and habits. By teaching customers how to differentiate your product or service (helping them to conclude for themselves the value of your offer), tailor the message to resonate with buyer interests (commanding insightful attention to the offer) and then take control of the sale (close) by using assertive, probing questions, and recommendations and developing shared expectations, Dixon and Adamson flipped relationship selling on its head and sent a generation of salespeople on the road to drive results rather than activities. 

With access to over 6,000 Corporate Executive Board (known as CEB at the time, now Gartner) sales representatives who sold big-ticket services to medium/large businesses in a very down economy (2009), Dixon and Adamson studied the data and recognized the need to reinvent the sales model to reflect this new reality of complex, value-driven selling in order to survive and thrive in the B2B landscape. 

The Challenger Sales Model was a natural fit for SNI’s systematic approach of Negotiation (Prepare, Probe, Propose) and Influencing, and we were fortunate to be partnered with Corporate Executive Board for nearly a decade, including the gestational period in 2008 – 2011. 

SNI worked closely with the CEB on their customized Commercial Sales program for middle-market sales representatives. CEB selected SNI to develop skills in support of their sales model, which we did by molding our systematic approach to sales, negotiation and influencing the emerging Challenger model.

“Although our organization has implemented and maintains the Challenger sales methodology, which directs our sales professionals on “what” to do and “why”, we still need to ensure our sellers know “how” to do it and keep those basic skills refreshed. This is where SNI and The Power of Nice have been a great fit. As influencing and negotiation lives within the sales process and SNIs training have been a great complement to our ongoing Challenger sustainment.”

Aisha Wallace-Wyche

Diligent VP, Global Training and Enablement

The Challenger Sale identifies 5 types of salespeople, and the research found that the “Challenger” profile far and away outperformed the other types. SNI was asked to help teach skills that ANY of the 5 types could use to improve results while the Challenger Model was being developed. 

Here is a quick rundown on how the Challenger Sale and Challenger Model work together- that drive better outcomes while establishing and maintaining relationships for future deals. 

 

Teaching & Changing Buying Habits 

To change buying behavior, the Challenger Sales rep must prepare a plan of inquiry that helps the buyer to understand WHY it is important to consider a purchase now. 

SNI’s Preparation Planner was customized at CEB to incorporate the practice of researching and finding insights and leverage points around Precedents, Alternatives, Interests, and Deadlines as well as defining the differentiated value propositions that each of CEB’s myriad of services provides. Reps learned how to approach the sale more thoughtfully while strategically gathering information in an organized and meaningful way to help the buyer conclude, for themselves early in the sales cycle, that an offer is worth serious consideration. All preparation was focused on the monetization of value – helping the rep to tie the solution being pitched to its direct business impact on the potential client.

Instead of asking questions about the competition, pricing, budgets and buying processes, Challenger reps focus on asking prepared questions about interests, options, alternatives, and possibilities while making suggestions and seeking feedback. SNI’s preparation and probing model provided an effective framework for new and seasoned reps alike to rely on with a prospect or renewal opportunity in a complex B2B sale. 

 

Probing to Prioritize and Tailor Offers

SNI’s probing and scripting model was used as a “safe harbor” option for the mid-market reps who sold over the telephone. Even the best Challenger reps can be thrown off by an unexpected objection or challenge that was real or used to avoid making a faster buying decision. This is especially tricky over the phone where body language cannot be seen, and full attention is difficult to grasp and maintain. Ultimately, our techniques helped reps increase their success rate even in the face of toughest objections and distractions, both on the phone and in-person.

Prior to learning the Challenger Sale, SNI’s experience in financial services and banking focused on decreasing average handle time and minimizing losses, along with cross-selling.  In a Challenger Sale, SNI’s probing techniques and scripting process are put to a truer test. We believe time spent gathering information about interests and specific customer ‘pain’ has higher ROI than the traditional approach of connecting, proposing, persevere and try to make the final cut (with minimal discounting) to close the deal. 

Since then SNI has worked with a variety of clients who use the Challenger Methodology (e.g. Software, Technology, and Pharma Firms) and they have all found that SNI negotiation and influencing skills and tools enhance the Challenger Sale by teaching an efficient and effective preparation process, a model for probing for needs and interests beyond the traditional wants – benefit match, guidelines for making maximizing proposals, and scripting to fine-tune messaging. Aisha Wallace-Wyche, Vice President of Diligent added, “Although our organization has implemented and maintains the Challenger sales methodology, which directs our sales professionals on “what” to do and “why”, we still need to ensure our sellers know “how” to do it and keep those basic skills refreshed. This is where SNI and The Power of Nice have been a great fit. As influencing and negotiation lives within the sales process and SNIs training have been a great complement to our ongoing Challenger sustainment.” Our process also helps reps navigate the Challenger process without the inherent risks of being too aggressive or making undesirable choices such as lowering price or sacrificing value when things go sideways or stall. We help sales organizations protect the margin.

The SNI process prioritizes interests, allowing buyers and sellers to move past positions (e.g. “I need a better price” vs. “if this doesn’t go well it would be a disaster for me personally and our company”; “we need to start this project by the end of the week” vs. “we need this project to finish on time because…” ) to find creative solutions that define shared expectations for a variety of issues – price, conditions, service level agreements, timelines, deadlines and even basic communication commitments such as next steps and decision processes. Trust is enhanced, and influence is amplified. 

 

Taking Control and Maximizing Results at the Close

SNI and the Challenger Sale fit nicely together through the entire sales cycle. Buyers want less hassle, more certainty, reduced risk, and improved profits. SNI and the Challenger Sale meet at this intersection with simple yet highly effective habits (Prepare, Probe, and Propose) in a proven and relevant framework (Teach, Tailor, and Take Control). 

The final Challenger stage of Taking Control is guided by SNI’s guidelines for proposing. SNI and the Challenger Sale focus on always exchanging value while moving in your desired direction. It is a skill mastered by knowing when and how to make the proposal. 

At SNI, we have discovered that it is not ‘the final deal’ that satisfies the buyer, but rather how the ‘final deal’ is reached that provides a higher level of mutual satisfaction with the result. We deliver a variety of techniques and tools to help sales professionals find the right words and steps to take and maintain control of the close. 

 

Is the Relationship Sale Dead? 

All of this preparation, probing, and proposing in an effort to teach, tailor, and take control leads to a bit of an unexpected, but a desirable outcome. In a twist of ‘unconventional wisdom’, this authentic (yet planned, tailored, and scripted) approach tends to enhance the loyal customer relationship by building a foundation of mutual trust and respect as a partner. 

Loyal customers call on you when they need YOU. It develops into a true Trusted Advisor relationship. Maybe it’s an unexpected emergency purchase (“I need this right away! No time for procurement!”), some advice on an RFP (“Can you help me craft this?”) or simply a chance for you to meet and share some ideas. After producing results, which after all is a professional seller’s #1 job – these relationships are what make selling fun. 

If your organization uses the Challenger Sales model and you are looking to maximize your investment, or, if you are considering negotiation training, please reach out for more information. 

 




How to Increase Your Productivity at Work

ProductivityHow productive are you being right now? Are you choosing to avoid work and read this? Or maybe reading this is part of your work?

Productivity at work is an important quality for all employees. Those who are less productive tend to be closer to the chopping block than others.

 

Productivity

Employers don’t want someone who plays on their phones all day or looks at their social media accounts instead of working. They expect their employees to be productive.

Productivity is the essential quality of a good employee and provides top ratings for the company. Being productive means you’re striving to focus on your work and finish it in a timely manner. Productivity is knowing that being on social media or reading an article or a book that doesn’t pertain to your work is the opposite of productive.

 

How to Be Productive

There are ten important ways to be productive in your work and make your boss see you aren’t slacking off:

  • Complete tasks in batches
  • Prioritize the important tasks
  • Organize your environment
  • Wake up early
  • Wear headphones
  • Set deadlines
  • Quit multitasking
  • Avoid perfection
  • Work in 90-minute intervals
  • Minimize interruptions

It’s important to follow these steps to ensure you’re being as productive as possible while at work.

 

Complete Tasks in Batches

Focus on working in sections. A good way to go about this is by setting up a single time to fit multiple meetings into. If you have more than a single meeting in a day, try to squeeze them into one time block. This way you aren’t taking up most of your day with meetings and you can be more productive elsewhere.

You can also achieve this by working with the 2-minute rule and working on small tasks in two minutes to move forward with the larger ones later. Or set aside a specific block of time to answer voicemails or work on specific projects that require a longer span of time.

 

Prioritize the Important Tasks

Look at what you’re meant to do for the day. Find the most important tasks on your plate and do those first. You should finish your most important tasks before you start worrying about the others. It’s important to remember that what’s most important should have priority over less urgent tasks.

 

Organize Your Environment

Is your desk or office cluttered or unorganized? This can lower your productivity. You’ll be so focused on the clutter and the lack of knowing where things are that you won’t be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand for the day.

Spend a little time organizing your office and cleaning off your desk. It’s important to have a workspace that doesn’t detract from your attention to your work. You shouldn’t lose productivity because of a messy office or cluttered desk.

 

Wake Up Early

Getting up early is better for your productivity than you might think. Someone had it right when they coined the phrase, the early bird catches the worm. By getting up earlier, you’re able to eat a better breakfast and exercise before going to the office. It’s also possible to give you the motivation you need to start the day off right and be productive.

 

Wear Headphones

How can headphones help you work? Simple. They should be noise cancelling or have some version of music that isn’t distracting to keep you focused. If you can’t hear anyone or anything, you can focus on your work and be more productive. This aids in moving your productivity forward.

 

Set Deadlines

It’s important to set your own deadlines. If a project is due by 5pm, set a deadline to have it done by 3pm or 4pm. Try to work ahead of schedule so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. It’s also possible to set deadlines for future projects to keep your productivity up. If you have a task due tomorrow, try setting a deadline to finish it today. Work toward a better schedule and watch your productivity soar.

 

Quit Multitasking

This is one of the easiest ways to ruin your productivity. Attempting to work on multiple tasks at once destroys the ability to finish a single task in a timely manner. It’s more important to focus on one task at a time and work toward finishing it before starting another than it is to attempt to finish multiple tasks at once. This way of thinking makes being productive a joke.

 

Avoid Perfection

Being perfect, or attempting it, can ruin your productivity as well. Focus on finishing the task the best you can, not making it perfect. Perfection isn’t real and trying to achieve it will hurt you in the long run. Focus on the important tasks at hand. Finish your projects, move on to other tasks, and keep working throughout the day. Focusing on trying to make one project perfect, or the illusion of it, will ruin any chance you have of finishing other projects the same day.

 

Work in 90-Minute Intervals

A proven productivity technique is setting 90-minute intervals of work, then taking a break. This  can help make you more productive while you’re at your desk. Being productive when you’re taking so many breaks seems counterproductive, but it’s actually better to give your brain that break and allow your body the opportunity to relax after working hard for 90 minutes.

 

Minimize Interruptions

Put your phone on silent, let your work phone go to voicemail, place a do not disturb sign on your office door; all of these and more can help minimize interruptions. While some interruptions are unavoidable, it’s important to try as best you can. By trying to minimize interruptions, you are pushing yourself into a productive mode and adding to your productivity, rather than taking away from it.

 

Conclusion

Each of these options, and more, can provide great ways to make yourself more productive at work. Now that you’ve read through them and had the chance to find ones you’d like to try or think might work, go try them. Implement them into your workday and find the ones that work for you. Make yourself more productive at work.

User’s Guide to Being the Best Negotiator

User Guide NegotiationNegotiations are important for any aspect of life. Sometimes you have to negotiate business deals, what’s for dinner at home, or a sale for a product. Being such a large part of life, it’s important to understand what negotiations are and how to do them well.

 

Negotiations

A negotiation is an agreement among more than one party in regards to a specific topic. People use negotiation in business transactions to find a price or terms to settle on, with family to decide what’s for dinner or how to resolve an issue, or even in sales to find an agreeable price for a product or a home.

Almost everyone uses negotiations on a daily basis, whether at work or at home, and should be able to negotiate well. How do you know if you’re negotiating well? Based on how many time you negotiate and get what you want from it determines whether you negotiate well.

 

Negotiating With Family

Negotiations with family are more difficult than any business negotiations you could face. It’s much easier to stand firm in a business negotiation than it is with a loved one. How do you negotiate with family? Understanding these difficulties can help:

  • Expectations are exponentially higher
  • Logic is more difficult to tolerate
  • Quicker to react
  • More focused on yourself
  • Get ahead of yourself

Having these concerns in mind can make negotiations easier. You can address these issues in advance and understand what your loved one is thinking or feeling while you’re trying to negotiate.

Focusing on expectations can be difficult. It’s important to focus on the things you already know about them and work from there to discuss the problem and reach an understanding and agreement. From there, you can move forward with negotiations to find a solution to the problem.

Working with logic from a loved one is harder than working with logic from a coworker. It’s best to try avoiding logic in any negotiations with a loved one. Hearing logic from someone you care for is usually harder to handle than having them yell at you. It’s important to try focusing on empathy and labels instead of logic when trying to provide answers and explanations.

Negotiating with loved ones raises our reaction time. It’s easier to be sensitive to tone and words from a loved one than a coworker. Focus on understanding that can help avoid an argument during a negotiation. It’s important not to assume certain meanings based on words or tones when your loved one is speaking. Remembering to keep your calm can help you stay focused on the negotiation at hand.

Focusing on yourself during a negotiation with a loved one is similar to playing cards: focusing on your hand causes you to miss what someone else might play. It’s important to pay attention to what your loved one is telling you. Don’t let your own thoughts and feelings keep you from understanding their needs.

Getting ahead of yourself can cause issues for negotiating later. If you’re already set that an outcome will occur or you’ve stopped trying to resolve the outcome, you’re breaking the connection you gained from communication and understanding. You’ll need to mend this connection before you can move forward in negotiating to resolve the issue.

 

Buyer Negotiations

As a buyer, you strive to purchase products at the best prices available. Sometimes this can mean having special negotiation skills to get a top price for the product or service. These skills can help you negotiate top prices:

  • Anchoring
  • Whack back
  • Sticker shock
  • Cherry picking
  • Pencil sharpening
  • Going, going, gone

Anchoring provides a price range for negotiation. For example, telling the seller you want to spend no more than $100,000 for a product or service caps the negotiations at that price. The seller now understands he or she can’t go higher than this price or they’ll lose the sale. It’s an important tactic to keep negotiations in a price range you’re comfortable with.

The whack back is a tactic used by many buyers to push the seller down. It’s a simple “your price is too high” comment to try forcing the seller to lower the price. Most sellers will ask why and try to refute your reasons.

Faking, or seriously having, sticker shock is another buyer tactic. This shock over the price is a hard hit to the seller to make them question their pricing. They might ask why it seems high and try to refute your reasons to keep the price at their level.

Cherry picking is a buyer tactic that can offend the seller. It’s the buyer’s way of getting less product at the same bulk cost. For example, if they ordered 50 shirts and the price came to $2.00 per shirt because of the bulk order, they might try to take 20 shirts at the same bulk price, still paying $2.00 per shirt.

Sometimes negotiators use a tactic called pencil sharpening to try forcing the seller to drop the price by using phrases such as “You need to do better” or “We need this for less.” It’s a way to make the seller feel as though they have no choice but to lower the cost or ask the buyer where the price should be in an attempt to keep them happy and sell.

A final, and harsh, negotiating tactic is the going, going, gone test. It’s the buyer’s way of pushing the seller into a corner with a time crunch. In this tactic, the buyer informs the seller they will be going with a competitor for the product or service if the seller doesn’t agree with the buyer’s price by a specific time and/or day.

People use these tactics in price negotiations on a regular basis and they can sometimes make them tougher to agree on.

 

Business Negotiations

Negotiating in business can mean a lot of things. Maybe you’re negotiating a deal or a job offer. The tougher of the two is generally a job offer and can mean the difference between having the job you deserve and having the job you took. There are ten main rules to follow when negotiating for a job:

  • Get it in writing
  • Keep the door open
  • Information is power
  • Be positive
  • Don’t make decisions
  • Have options
  • Have reasons for everything
  • Be motivated by more than money
  • Understand their values
  • Be winnable

Rule number one says everything should be in writing. In today’s society, people are continuously changing their minds or forgetting what they said. When negotiating for a job, that’s a bad thing. It’s imperative to write everything down as you go. This is a promise to remember every detail in case you need to reference it later.

The second rule is to keep the door open. This one isn’t quite as self-explanatory. It means to hold on to your negotiation power. Don’t give up your power to negotiate the best terms until you’re 100% ready to make a final decision.

Information is the key to the third rule. Don’t give up too much information until you’re ready to agree. If you’ve negotiated every aspect of the job and decided this is what you want and you’re ready to say yes, then go ahead and provide all the information they want.

Positivity makes rule four an important one. Being positive is your most valuable asset. Never seem like you’re getting angry or losing your temper. It’s important to keep a level head and stay positive in order to have the best negotiations. If the person you’re working with feels you’re losing your positive attitude, he or she may feel they’re winning and you’ll settle for whatever they want to give you.

Being the decision maker is what brings rule five into play. It’s important not to be the decision maker in a job negotiation. Be sure to confirm all the details and make it seem like they have the final say in your decision to accept the job. It’s also an option to confirm details and compare this with other offers before making a choice.

Options are important for job negotiations. If you have more than one job offer, you can play this to your advantage to negotiate a better offer for the job you truly want.

Options are also a good way to have reasons for everything, as rule seven tells you. It’s important to have a reason to back up every answer you provide. Without reasons, they believe they can force you into the job terms they want instead of the ones you want.

Money isn’t everything. While it helps to have money, that shouldn’t be your primary focus in choosing a job. Focus on the important benefits or the work environment and worry about the lowest amount of money you’ll settle for if everything else fits.

The values of the company can help you negotiate a better deal. Understanding what they strive for can give you a few selling points to negotiate yourself better terms if you can prove you have those values as well.

Make them want to win you over. Being winnable is about more than just winning the negotiation. It’s always a great feeling when the company feels they have to win you from the competition and they try to do just that.

 

Conclusion

Still unsure about your negotiation skills? Shapiro Negotiations has a team of experts waiting to help. Their knowledge and training allows them to help you become the best negotiator you can be. Contact them now for more information.

 

Are You a Hard Worker? Characteristics of a Hard-Working Employee

Hard WorkerCompanies seek to hire top employees for their companies. Top employees can come in a number of packages that make them the best.

One of these packages is hard-working. Having a hard-working employee, or multiple, can move the company into the future on great terms and bring the workforce to a higher level.

 

What Does it Mean to be Hard-Working?

A hard-working employee can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not always about finding the most knowledgeable person for the job or someone who has an idea about your company. Sometimes it’s more about the effort they put in.

A hard-working employee is someone who’s willing to learn and always looking for new ways to grow within the company. They won’t settle for this position or that answer, they want to be the best and move ahead among their coworkers. During an interview, a hard-working candidate will tell the interviewer that he or she enjoys learning new things and wants to be with a company he or she can grow with.

A hard-working person focuses on growth, knowledge, and experience within a company. They want to learn more and advance themselves within the field.

 

Hard-Working Characteristics

There are a lot of reasons to consider an employee to be hard-working. It comes down to the top ten characteristics that make the employee truly deserve that title:

  • Punctuality and dependability
  • Initiative and flexibility
  • Motivation and priorities
  • Learning and self-reliance
  • Stamina and perseverance
  • Culturally fit
  • Team spirit
  • Marketable
  • Detail-oriented
  • Leadership qualities

What makes these characteristics so special? Each of these characteristics provides one more quality to an employee who gives them a top notch rating and allows them to stand out among their coworkers. Each quality is special in its own way.

 

Punctuality and Dependability

It’s important to have a reliable worker for your company – someone who is on time and you can call into work at the drop of a hat. It’s important from an employer’s standpoint to know that an employee will be on time and do the work you hired them to do. Someone who comes in and leaves randomly or works when they feel like it is not punctual and dependable.

It’s important that, as an employee, you arrive on time and stay at work. Once you’re clocked in, stay there. Work your shift, finish all your work on time, and maybe ask for more if you finish early. You could even use the time to get ahead for the next day or the next week. These are all important aspects of being punctual and dependable. Being punctual and dependable is part of what makes a hard-working employee.

 

Initiative and Flexibility

These two seem fairly straight forward, but there’s more to these qualities than meets the eye. Taking the initiative is more than just doing your work without your boss telling you to. It’s about being positive while working and having the ambition to do the work. Simply clocking in and working on something left over from yesterday isn’t enough to bring you to hard-working employee status.

You need to be positive about your work and ambitious enough to finish it. Show up at work thinking you’re going to finish yesterday’s work, today’s work, and get a jump start on tomorrow’s work. This will provide you with the positive attitude you need to show you’re taking the initiative. It also shows your ambition to work and move forward in your endeavors.

Being flexible is more than just working extra hours or taking on another project. It’s important to assist others as best you can, even while trying to finish your own work. Jump in if you see someone struggling to keep up and offer to help. Become the team player who pushes you into hard-working employee status.

 

Motivation and Priorities

Self-motivation is a key component to being a hard worker. It’s more than just showing up and working. You need to prove you’ve got the motivation to work hard and do what the job without prompting from the boss. Having self-motivation provides the freedom for higher-ups to notice you’re working and worry more about someone else who might need them. They won’t feel as obligated to focus their attention on you if they can see you’ve been self-motivated to work on this project or help that coworker.

Priorities are another important characteristic. It’s important to set goals for yourself at work and have priorities to help you achieve them. If you’re plan is to finish five assignments in one day, focus on those five assignments and decide which ones will take you longer to finish. Prioritize the longer ones in the best place for your abilities. If you feel you can speed through the others first and focus more on the longer ones after, then follow that priority set.

 

Learning and Self-Reliance

Learning all you can at your job is one way to make yourself known as a hard worker. By focusing on the things you don’t know and learning more each day, you’re showing your employer you have what it takes to work hard and provide the quality work they’re seeking. It’s important to continue learning, no matter how much you think you already know.

Being self-reliant is another top quality in a hard-working employee. It shows that managers and others above you don’t need to worry about your performance. If you truly need help, you’ll ask, and they can be free to focus on someone else who needs them more.

 

Stamina and Perseverance

Working hard requires the stamina to perform. In order to be a hard worker, you have to have the stamina to stand strong and put in the required work. It’s not as simple as saying you’re working and you’re trying. You need the stamina to push yourself and finish all your assignments and work to help others when needed.

Persevere to the end. Finishing what you start and working hard to get there is a bigger deal to your employer than you might think. It’s important to not give up and be sure to remain committed and ambitious. Work hard to get where you want to be and have the confidence to succeed.

 

Culturally Fit

Every company has a specific culture about it. They have ways of doing things, a dynamic among the employees, and even specifics about how employees should act toward each other and in general. In order for your coworkers to consider you a hard worker, you need to prove you fit into the culture. If you’re on the border, work harder to fit in once you’ve got the job. If the higher-ups can see you’re trying, they’ll be willing to help you fit in.

 

Team Spirit

Having team spirit is as important in the workplace as it is during the big game. Although, it’s a different type of spirit in the workplace. Team spirit means you’ve got what it takes to work well with your coworkers. You get along with almost everyone and you’re on good terms with people above you. Any effort to make these statements true will deem you a hard worker and provide a more positive environment for you.

 

Marketable

This isn’t as easy to achieve as it seems. Being marketable doesn’t mean you can work anywhere. It means you can work with anyone, namely clients or customers. An employee who’s marketable is someone the company trusts and can present to clients. They are able to interact and relate with clients and keep them happy with the company. Your ability to please clients on this level is a quality that makes you a hard worker.

 

Detail Oriented

This is an imperative quality for a hard worker. Having the ability to focus on details and make specifics your top priority is something many people don’t have. It’s important to pay close attention to specific details and to understand every detail, large or small, matters more than you might think.

 

Leadership Qualities

Do you have what it takes? Leadership is a top quality for hard-working employees. It means you understand what the company’s needs, you’re willing to go the distance to meet them, and help other coworkers do the same. Proving you can be a leader is one quality a hard-working employee can never be without.

 

Conclusion

With so many qualities required or helpful for being a hard-working employee, it’s easy to fit that category. Finding a way to work harder and prove your worth is important to having a job at any reputable company.

 

A Case Study on eLearning: What It Is and Why Your Employees Need It

eLearningA growing business in employee training is eLearning. It provides 40-60% less time learning than in a classroom and increased retention rates to 25-60%, compared to the 8-10% of classroom learning.

eLearning also has a material rate of five times more than a classroom setting. 42% of businesses say eLearning for their employees has increased their revenue.

 

What Is eLearning?

Reading those statistics makes a person wonder what eLearning is and how it can become so great for companies to have such high statistics. A web-based approach to learning, eLearning provides courses online for training, classroom, and book learning opportunities. As the world moves into the digital age, eLearning has become more popular with every passing year.

From a business standpoint, eLearning requires less time – the employees have to be out of the office for training. By providing emails, video conferences, books, and classroom information, eLearning allows employees to train in comfort from their desktops. Should a company require a training program, eLearning would allow the employees to work on this training while being on site at their desks.

Employees can use eLearning to work on training activities on their own. If they have deadlines to meet or projects to finish, they are able to do those things and train after. By providing eLearning, employees don’t have to miss deadlines or be away from their work to attend an offsite training course.

 

Advantages of eLearning

Having your training at your fingertips provides a lot of advantages for employees. It’s easy to link to resources you may need during training because you’re already on the computer. Flexibility and efficiency provide resources and courses any time the employee is able to login and work.

There are so many options for eLearning to provide advantages over other training. Having eLearning available means the employee can work at his or her own pace and still meet deadlines or finish projects they might have been in the middle of but would need to stop if required to attend offsite training.

With eLearning, employees have discussion boards and chats to work with other employees on training as if they were in a classroom together. There are even options for videos and video instructors. Having these options allows the employee to feel like they’re in training but still able to get their work done and meet deadlines.

 

Disadvantages to eLearning

Despite having many advantages, eLearning does have some disadvantages. While they are very few, it’s important to note them for reference so you can see eLearning as a whole. The disadvantages, while small, include limited questions and security and authenticity of work.

Because eLearning is computer based, it’s easy for someone to cheat on the work or have security concerns with their eLearning classroom. This isn’t generally a major problem, but it would be a disadvantage should it occur.

Another concern is the limited number of questions available. Being computer-based, questions tend to be more generic and knowledge-based rather than practical or subjective. Should a company require their employees to use eLearning, it might be pertinent to check the eLearning information and ensure the questions fit the needs of the training.

 

Benefits of eLearning

The disadvantages above provide an insight into eLearning as a whole. However, it’s an overall benefit for employee training.

Providing your employees freedom and abilities to work from their desk will give them a sense of empowerment. They’ll have the ability to continue working on partially finished projects while watching training videos. Or maybe they have to meet a deadline and they will chat with others in the training about certain talking points while working toward that deadline.

Allowing employees the opportunity to get the training you feel they should have without taking them away from their work provides a less stressful environment. Since they don’t have to leave their desks to receive training, they won’t be stressing over missing a deadline or finishing a project. They won’t feel the need to rush back to the office after training to finish that project or pray they can make their deadline.

Employees stress more if they have to leave their desks for training. Especially if they’re dedicated to their work and meeting deadlines.

 

Conclusion

Providing eLearning for employees can provide the training a company requires without the stress on the employees of walking away from their work. By preventing the stress on employees, the company is boosting morale and providing a better way to achieve the training they feel necessary.

How can you get an eLearning training set up for your employees? With a little help from Shapiro Negotiations. Shapiro provides effective eLearning for all situations. Your employees can use LMS, smartphones and virtual reality options for training opportunities. This will provide a number of options to keep them at their desks and stress-free.

Worried about the disadvantages mentioned earlier? Don’t be. Shapiro finds innovative ways to provide exercise-driven webinars and on-demand modular training that eliminates the worry of cheating, knowledge-based questions, and objective learning. Shapiro will provide your employees with the best training available for their needs and give the company peace of mind in the training they’re providing.

Ensure your employees are working hard and training harder for your company. Does your training have top of the line opportunities and innovative methods to keep up with the times? If you can’t answer yes, you’re using the wrong training. Let Shapiro Negotiations help you fix this problem.

It’s time to provide your employees with a less stressful training program. Provide your employees with top training to receive top results. Give them a stress free opportunity to receive the training you require while still meeting the deadlines and finishing the projects they’re so concerned with.

Contact Shapiro Negotiations today for all your training needs and keep your company morale at its peak with stress-free employees. Don’t wait until morale has dropped past the point of no return. Contact Shapiro today.

 

Training vs. Consulting: Why Your Employees Need Both

Training Employees need support from their employers and management on multiple levels. The best, and easiest, way to provide this support is by utilizing both training and consulting. So, how can these two supportive ideas help? What’s the difference between the two? Knowing the difference and how they can help is the first step to helping employees become better at their jobs.

 

Training

Although training and consulting are very similar, they are not quite close enough to be considered the same thing. Training provides the knowledge and examples required to perform the task at hand. From a customer standpoint, it’s the idea of providing them with tools to make the decisions at hand. Providing training for your employees allows them to have the skills and knowledge base to effectively communicate and work with customers.

Employees require training to ensure they’re updated on any new policies or approaches in working with customers. Ensuring your employees know their job and are able to provide the best customer service should be your number one priority.

 

Consulting

Consulting with your employees is a way to ensure their training has done its job. By having one-on-one consultations, each employee can prove their able to provide customers with accurate information. This information should include pros and cons of each offered service. Consulting is important for your employees to showcase their skills with you. By doing this, they are providing you with insight into the training you offer.

A consultation with your employees shows whether the training you’re offering them is working based on the knowledge and skills they have about their job and the company’s products and services. It’s important to know your employees are knowledgeable about the company and their jobs.

 

Training vs. Consulting

Many people think training and consulting are the same, or at least similar enough to go hand-in-hand. They’d be partially correct. Consulting and training are similar enough for both to be acceptable in a company; however, one without the other could be trouble.

Training has its basis in knowledge and skill. It’s knowing exactly what and how to teach employees. Training is ensuring they’ve got the knowledge and skill to go back to the customer and explain what products and services are available and what each includes. It’s a broad spectrum of knowledge to understand products and services and the full information about each one.

Consulting is more in-depth. It’s based on team building and the ability to provide specifics about the products and services. This is the ability of the employee to tell the customer this product or service has these pros and cons as compared with the pros and cons of another product or service. Employee knowledge at the consulting level should be more in-depth and specific to the customer’s needs and the inner workings of the products and services offered by the company.

 

When to Use Each

Both training and consulting are important resources, but you don’t always need both at the same time. It’s important to understand the differences and know when to use one over the other.

Training is important when your employees need the knowledge and skills to explain products and services to a customer on a general level. They require the ability to provide examples and give the customer an overview of each product or service to assist them in choosing the correct one for their needs.

Consulting is necessary to provide more specific details to the customer. It’s important for a customer to have an employee versed in consulting when they want the pros and cons of the product and what that might mean versus the other product they’re considering.

While training and consulting are a great skill set to have, it’s important for your employees to have the best knowledge of both and know when to interchange the two. Perhaps they need to use both skills on a customer at once. There are circumstances where an overview of the product or service helps the customer narrow down what they’re looking for, but then it’s required for the consulting side of the employee to provide pros and cons to aid in choosing between what’s left.

 

Conclusion

Having the skills to perform your job is important in any company. The best options in a company that requires one or the other of these skills is to have both. Why both? It’s important for employees to have both skills to ensure they are able to properly perform customer service.

Individual customers have different needs and require specific information about products. By having the skills and knowledge of training and consulting, employees are able to understand the customer’s needs and perform the tasks required to assist the customer in their endeavor to find the perfect product or service.

If an employee only had the training and not the consulting, they could potentially lose a sale. When customers ask for information about a product or service and have an employee who only has information about the pros and cons, they have a tendency to walk away if that’s not the information they were looking for. The same is true of the opposite. A customer seeking pros and cons won’t be happy with an overview of information on a product or service.

Many customers also won’t be satisfied with hearing phrases like, “I don’t know” or “Let me find someone to answer that” when they want answers now. The employee doesn’t look knowledgeable and the customer won’t be happy with that. No customer wants to purchase a product or service from a company where the employees don’t seem to know what they’re doing. It’s important for employees to have and retain both skills to ensure optimum customer service.

Though having both skills may require more training through the company or attending a seminar or workshop, it will be worth their time in the long run. By providing your employees with these skills and the opportunity to improve in each of them, you’re giving them a chance at knowing and working their job better.

SNI’s Jeff Cochran Receives Top Speaking Scores at 2019 SAMA Conference

Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, Jeff Cochran presented “Influencing Without Authority”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on influencing.

His ability to captivate and provide value to his audience was shown in his post evaluation scores and anonymous participants’ comments. Two examples are:

  • “Jeff’s way to deliver the content is simply amazing!”
  • “Jeff is an outstanding facilitator and I highly recommend for his content as well as presentation.”

Here is a summary of scores that made him the #1 ranked speaker at the conference:

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.