BLOG

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.

15 Factors to Consider Before You Start Negotiating

Negotiating is a part of life. It doesn’t always have to involve money, but sometimes another party has what we want and we want to make a deal. Naturally, we want to make the best deal for ourselves that we can.

There are important factors to consider before you enter into negotiations with another party. Preparation is essential and can make the difference between coming out of a deal with excellent terms or leaving the negotiating table with no deal at all. This preparation involves knowing yourself and your own goals, knowing the other party and understanding the field in which you are negotiating.

Before you sit at the negotiator’s table, consider these factors and what they mean for you when it comes time to trying to convince the other party:

 

1. Have a goal. The goal of a negotiation is not merely to negotiate. Negotiation is a means to an end. What is that end for you? What is it you want? If you go into a negotiation without a firm sense of what it is you are after, you are unlikely to come out satisfied. Always clearly define your ideal outcome before you start to negotiate.

 

2. Form a plan. A plan is not just imagining how you want the process to go. A plan is about contingencies. You must picture the hypothetical scenarios, to expect the unexpected and figure out how best to react to each scenario. If you are prepared for all the likely responses to your entreaties, you can transition smoothly and confidently into a new tactic because you already prepared for it beforehand.

 

3. Know your disadvantages. You need to be honest with yourself. In what aspects of the talks is your position weak? If you are asking for a pay raise, for example, you may be hampered by the fact that you use a lot of sick days. Anticipating possible objections beforehand allows you to counter with your strengths at the right time.

 

4. Know what you are willing to part with. In a negotiation, each party sacrifices something in exchange for getting something else that they want. You have a goal, you know what you want to achieve with the bargaining. But do you know what you are willing to give up? Some things are off limits; have a firm idea of what this means for you before negotiating.

 

5. Know what the other party wants. You have a goal, but so does the other party. They want something if they are going to give up something else. This ties in with the previous point. What is the other party going to ask for, and are you willing to give that up? If so, under what conditions?

 

6. Know when to say when. Sometimes you must walk away. If you go to the negotiator’s table unwilling to just say, “No thank you,” you put yourself at a disadvantage. Being willing to walk away gives you a certain power in the proceedings, and the other person will sense that. After you walk away, you may find that they reopen the negotiations with you on terms that are more favorable to you.

 

7. Know your limits. How experienced are you as a negotiator? How experienced is the other party? Is it reasonable to think you will be able to walk in and smooth-talk the other side until they give you what you ask for? The more practice you get as a negotiator, the better idea you will have of what you can achieve and how far the other side is willing to bend to your ideas.

 

8. Gather background information. Don’t just study the other party. Learn about the field you are negotiating in. What are the typical salaries? What are the trends? What is hot and what is on its way out? No matter what it is that you want, external factors can play a decisive role in the outcome of any bargaining talks. Know which way the wind is blowing before you even set your goals for the process.

Preparing yourself along these lines will set you up for a strong negotiation. However, you still have to do the actual bargaining before you can achieve your goal. Even the best preparation is no cure for weak technique. After you have prepared, make sure you put your best foot forward when the time comes to go after what you seek.

 

9. Confidence. Confidence at the negotiating table gives you more bargaining power. If the other side senses hesitancy or uncertainty, they will become emboldened and demand more.

 

10. Self-Interest. There is nothing wrong with looking out for yourself. The other party is going to take care of their own interests. You need to take care of yours.

 

11. Objectivity. Don’t be carried along by undue optimism nor held back by pessimism. Make a realistic assessment of the situation before you start, and revisit your assessment at key points during the process.

 

12. Creativity. Price is not the only aspect of a negotiation. Is there something else you would be satisfied with if the other party cannot agree to a price? Are there other concessions you are willing to make if the other side asks for too much?

Finally, after you prepare yourself beforehand and enter the process with good technique, there are three maxims to keep in mind. These ideas can help put everything into perspective.

 

13. Everything is negotiable. It all depends on the price.

 

14. No one is going to give you their last dollar. If they are at the negotiating table, it’s because they are willing to bargain. Don’t let them tell you that they are down to their last dollar.

 

15. Ask for more to get more. The first step to getting more for yourself is to ask for it.

Negotiation is a delicate process. It is part willpower and part social agility. There are many factors to consider and if you come ill-prepared you are likely to be disappointed with the result. The more important the result of a negotiation is to you, the more time you should spend preparing for the process. It’s about getting the best deal for yourself that you can, and that means adequate preparation.

Ten Traits of an Ideal Annual Sales Event Speaker

The annual sales event is important for your sales team – maybe even the most important part of the year. It’s an opportunity to accomplish several different things, from boosting morale to developing your team as professionals and even making an operational forecast for the coming year. It’s a social event, as well as an educational opportunity.

The keynote speaker at your annual sales event will be the foundation for a successful event for your organization. The ideal speaker can accomplish everything you set out to do and leave you feeling fulfilled and your sales team eager for success in the coming year. Given this, it is important to put time and consideration into choosing the right speaker. First, consider what is important to accomplish at the event, given your professional goals as well as your sales team’s expectations.

 

  • Focus on the team. There are specific points you will want to cover with your team. For instance, you may want to talk about quotas for the coming year, or forecasts for the industry in general and your team specifically. You may want to give them information on sales growth. It is also a good idea to solicit input from your team. What topics do they want to cover? What information do they feel they need to know or learn better?

 

  • This is an excellent chance to provide ongoing education to your sales team. Are there areas where they might need improvement? Perhaps you just want to give them a good review of policies and practices. Everyone needs refreshers from time to time, and the annual sales event is the perfect time to do it while adding an element of fun and camaraderie to the event.

 

  • Sales is about motivation and drive. Your sales team needs to look forward to their work and be excited about their prospects. A good charge of inspiration at the annual sales event can mean a lot for the coming year. This is a good opportunity to think big, to talk about broad topics like leadership or perseverance. Often, a person outside your organization is the ideal candidate to do this.

 

  • Recognize excellence. Nothing generates excitement like the pride a salesperson takes from getting their due recognition. Your team has worked hard over the course of the year, and now is the time to make sure they know you value their contributions. You can hand out awards, for instance, for achievements. Try to include everyone in some way, and don’t leave the planning for this until the last moment.

 

With these goals in mind, you can begin your search for the ideal keynote speaker for your annual sales event. There are certain traits that indicate the right person, the one who can develop your professionals and motivate them. The one who can uplift them with deserved recognition and prepare them for the coming year. These are ten key traits to look for when choosing the keynote speaker for an annual sales conference.

 

1. They have a strong social media presence. Modern conference speakers engage with a following on social media. The number of followers can be faked, but true audience engagement cannot. Look for a speaker who knows the importance of social media engagement.

 

2. They don’t work for free. They say you get what you pay for, and this usually proves to be true. A gifted speaker is in demand and unless it is for a cause, does not usually choose to donate his or her time for free. A lot of work goes into making a good keynote speech for any type of conference, and a good speaker is going to charge a fee for that.

 

3. They are active on Slideshare. Professional quality slides are a given with an ideal speaker. When a speaker has put in the effort to make slides of quality, they will cultivate a following on Slideshare. Look for engagement there as a sign of a worthwhile speaker.

 

4. They know audio and video. A good speaker will ask you questions about your setup. They will want to know the projector display ratio and whether there is WI-FI available. They will ask about mobile apps for the event. A good speaker is knowledgeable and their questions will demonstrate this to you.

 

5. Their slides are professional quality. The slides are a key component of the speech, and will aid in maintaining audience engagement. If a speaker has poor slides, the audience will lose trust.

 

6. They solicit the audience’s opinion. Every event should poll the audience while it is going on. A good speaker will be familiar with the practice and use it him or herself.

 

7. They know your audience. A good speaker will get to know your audience before the event. This way, he or she can address specific points important to your team and even participate in the recognition portion of the event. The more the speaker tailors the speech to the audience, the more engaged the audience will be.

 

8. They get audience members to interact with each other. When a speaker has electrified the audience, they will engage with each other, not just sit there and passively listen to the speaker.

 

9. They engage with the mobile app of the event. Every event should have a mobile app, and a sign of a good speaker is that he or she engages with that app to make the most of the event.

 

10. Their content is meaningful. A modern speaker knows how to use social media like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube videos to make their content relevant and accessible before, during and after the show.

 

The right keynote speaker at your annual sales conference can give your sales team a sense of satisfaction in what they have accomplished, give them some professional development and leave them eager for the coming year’s challenges. The event should be a reward and an inspiration. Knowing what to look for in potential keynote speaker candidates is vitally important to choosing the right speaker for your event. Keep these qualities in mind when the time comes to find the right speaker for your annual sales event.

How a Keynote Speech Transforms an Event

The keynote speaker sets the tone of a meeting or event. He or she will usually kick things off with a speech that is longer than most or all other speeches or addresses delivered during the event, such as a weekend conference. The keynote speech will be a broad speech, covering many topics. The other speakers will then dig deeper into one aspect of the keynote speech. Whatever the theme of the conference, the keynote summarizes the ideas that follow and generates excitement for the event.

For people who do not attend the event but still have some interest in the topic, the keynote speech is what they will most likely listen to later. For this reason, the keynote speech can serve as an advertisement for the entire conference. It is quite common, therefore, to get a popular personality or a person of prominence or notoriety to deliver the keynote address.

A keynote speaker is often confused with other kinds of speakers, such as a motivational speaker. However, while a keynote speaker can motivate people, the terms are not synonymous. A keynote speaker is the one who delivers the big picture speech to the audience, who develops the overall theme of an event and creates expectations for what is to come. In whatever manner he or she chooses to do that, whether by motivation, humor, edification or other method, the speech that kicks off the event with the broadest coverage of what is to come is the identifiable keynote speech.

 

What Kind of Keynote Speaker Is the Right Choice?

Some occasions call for a specific kind of keynote speaker due to the type of event, while other occasions lend themselves to a less-specific style of speaker. It all comes down to subject matter, audience and what the goals of the organization are. An event organizer needs to consider what the specific goal of the event is for the organization. There are several possibilities.

  • It could be a scientific symposium or a political event about an important issue. If the main goal of the event is to educate the audience, the speaker will have to have a familiarity with the topic. If the audience is going to consist of experts in the field, the keynote speaker must have impeccable credentials. If it will be a general audience, the keynote speaker will need to be adept at communicating material to a lay audience.

 

  • Motivation is often the goal for sales conferences, or other industry-specific events open to people working in the field. In this case, the keynote speaker will need a flare for oratory. However, it will also be important to set an example. At a sales conference, a motivational keynote speaker should have achieved something notable in the field, or in some way done remarkable things through dedication and effort.

 

  • An inspirational speaker is like a motivational one, and often the same person can deliver both kinds of keynote address. An inspirational speaker often focuses on overcoming the odds. This type of keynote speaker, for instance, might have excelled as an editor despite being dyslexic, or lost his or her legs in combat and has learned to live a fulfilling live despite their setback. An inspirational speaker focuses on a feeling and a lesson, while a motivational speaker focuses on action.

 

  • Promote change. If the goal of an event is to achieve change in behavior or attitude, a keynote speaker who can motivate as well as educate might be the best solution. The purely motivational speaker is often speaking to people who already share a common goal and are just looking for some emotional energy to get them going. An educational speaker is usually addressing an audience that came eager to learn. An organization that seeks change may have to overcome biases and predispositions in the audience, and so a more complex approach is warranted.

 

  • Increase Awareness. If there is an important issue that an organization deals with, the first step on the path to promoting change could be raising the awareness of the general public. An educational speaker may tell an audience of professionals about a new cancer therapy, but a keynote speaker who seeks to increase awareness will speak more about the prevalence and consequences of cancer to a more general audience. If the goal is to increase awareness, expertise in a subject matter may be less important than the high profile of the keynote speaker.

 

  • Promote development. This sort of keynote speech is usually for professionals of a common industry. There should be an element of education as well as motivation. The keynote speaker must have experience in the industry, a recognized leader with many stories to tell and a wealth of wisdom gained from experience. In dynamic, evolving industries the keynote speech may highlight the latest advances and developments in the industry.

 

  • Sometimes the goal is simply to entertain. Rather than giving an overview of a theme or delivering the essence of a conference, the keynote speech is more about setting the right mood. The event may not have a single topic and thus there is no core theme to sketch during the speech. The event organizers simply want to make sure the audience enjoys themselves. The keynote speaker should have a gift for connecting with an audience. A proficiency in humor is also important for such a speaker.

 

There are many ways to deliver a keynote speech. One should consider the audience and the subject matter when determining the tone and approach of the speech. Smaller conferences might have more specialists in a field and therefore the keynote speech can reflect this with more in-depth coverage. For a large audience or a lay audience, humor may work better.

The keynote address could be the most important part of a rally, meeting or conference. It is important to choose the right person who knows the subject matter but can also bring a higher profile to the proceedings.

The keynote speaker needs to understand the size and composition of the audience to fashion the appropriate speech for the occasion, and he or she must also understand the tone the organizers of the conference wish to imbue to the occasion. The success of a conference often hinges on the effectiveness of the keynote speaker; getting the keynote address right is a large part of the battle.

What Sales Metrics Should I Measure?

To make the correct decisions that will increase sales and maximize profits, a sales leader must prioritize measuring sales metrics. The results of sales metrics can decide what move to take next and whether it will benefit your company. Continue reading to learn more about sales metrics, key performance indicators, and which metrics you should keep an eye on to maintain company progress.

 

What Are Sales Metrics?

Sales metrics are data representing the performance of individuals, teams, or entire companies. Sales leaders use sales metrics to keep track of numerous information pieces about the company, some of which include:

  • Tracking progress towards goals
  • Adjusting sales compensation
  • Awarding bonuses and incentives
  • Spot areas of concern before they grow worse
  • Preparing for the future

This list barely covers all the purposes that sales metrics have for the company.

 

What Are KPIs?

KPIs (key performance indicators) are often associated with sales metrics. However, not all metrics qualify as KPIs. A KPI usually reflects a major priority or goal, such as the sales percentage of a major product a company is trying to push out. KPIs measure performance, and tie into the core strategy of a company.

In terms of sales, KPIs vary between companies and between departments. No single set of KPIs exists that a leader must supervise. Factors such as structures, targets, products, and obstacles vary between teams.

 

Sales KPIs

KPIs are the sales metrics that are important for measuring the performance of the entire company. Some of these metrics include:

  • Customer Lifetime Value. The customer lifetime value (CLV), also known as the average lifetime value (LTV), shows you how much value a specific customer brings to the company over their lifetime. LTV is usually measured at regular intervals to track changes over time. This metric the multiplication of the annual revenue provided by the customer and the years of relationship, divided by CAC.
  • Sales Growth. The most potent of the sales metrics, sales growth determines the ability of the sales team to increase revenue over a fixed amount of time. Due to its direct tie to time and revenue, it is very important, and the fate of the company depends on its growth. A large enough drop can result in the company becoming absorbed by another one.

There are several other types of KPIs, such as:

  • Total revenue
  • Market penetration
  • New business revenue
  • Existing customers’ revenue
  • Business lost to competition
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Territory revenue
  • Market revenue
  • Sales reps reaching 100% quota
  • Year-over-year growth

 

Sales Productivity Metrics

Sales productivity accounts for the rate at which a sales team hits revenue targets. The less time it takes to meet a quote, the higher the productivity is.

  • Time Spent Selling. This metric allows you to determine some of the largest time consumptions during your sale process. Lead generation is one of the biggest factors that results in lost rep time, since many reps struggle with finding leads that are interested in buying anything. Tracking the time spent will make it easier for you to determine the specific issues that are slowing down the process and resolve them.

Measuring productivity for sales reps also includes other factors (numbers), such as:

  • Calls made
  • Conversations
  • Emails sent
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Social media interactions
  • Demos and sales presentations
  • Sent proposals

 

Lead Generation Sales Metrics

These metrics measure how your sales team is prospecting.

  • Monthly New Leads. The number of leads each month measures the number of possible customers that are available in the pipeline. The leads depend on the chosen business model or the industry. Leads can either claim a free trial of your product, contact your sales team, or download a specific piece of content.
  • Average Lead Response Time. The longer it takes for your sales reps to respond to leads that show interest, the greater the chance of that sales opportunity slipping away. If a prospect is seeking a solution, and one of your reps takes 24 hours to respond, that prospect will reach out to another business. According to the Harvard Business Review, lead response time is important, as this study proves that a response time within one hour increases the rep’s chance to make a sale by seven, while it decreases by 60 if it takes 24 hours.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost. By tracking customer acquisition cost (CAC), you can understand the costs associated with business growth and expanding the customer base. This metric is particularly useful for startups attempting to demonstrate their values to their investors and to understand where to allocate your budget. To calculate CAC, you must add the money and time spent, then divide it by the customers acquired.

Other metrics (percentages) for lead generation include:

  • Dropped leads
  • Qualified leads
  • Followed-up leads
  • Followed-up leads in a time range

 

Sales Per Rep

Sometimes, to foster friendly competition, a leader will look at the sales per sales rep to see how each individual representative is performing. This metric also serves other purposes, such as making sure a rep did not chase unqualified leads to fill their pipelines, or how veteran reps may outperform newer team members.

 

Pipeline Sales Metrics

These metrics allow you to gauge the health of your sales pipeline. This information can help you understand what is working and what is not regarding the holistic sales process.

  • Sales Pipeline Coverage (SPC). This metric allows you to analyze the opportunities for your sales team on making a quota for a specific amount of time. The SPC ratio compares the capacity of the pipeline to the quota for an amount of time. Not every opportunity ends up as a sale, so it shows how many opportunities need to occur at any point.
  • Opportunity Win Rate. This metric measures the percentage of total sales opportunities that end up becoming customers. For example, 100 sale opportunities have 25 sales, which creates the rate of 25%. Calculating this metric allows you to set more attainable quotas for your team and create a more effective budget. This rate applies to both teams and individuals.

 

Other pipeline sales metrics include:
  • Average sales cycle
  • Average contract value (ACV)
  • Conversion rate by sales funnel stage (team and individual)
  • Total open opportunities by month and quarter (team and individual)
  • Total closed opportunities by month and quarter (team and individual)

 

Cannibalization Rate

Cannibalization rate refers to the impact the release of your new product has on the sales of the older products. While a company usually has a goal of releasing new, more advanced products into the market, competition between the company’s own offerings is not always beneficial. Cannibalization can make your older products obsolete and alienate part of your customer base.

 

Learn More About Sales

Learning how to measure sales metrics and how they affect your company is overwhelming for a novice, but with the right training, you can ease yourself into learning more about sales. SNI’s sales training program does not just teach “what to do” when it comes to sales, but also the “how-to.” The program takes a systematic approach to increase the effectiveness of salespeople. We even measure your progress through several metrics systems, such as key performance indicators. Sign up today.

What Is Change Leadership?

Companies sometimes need a drastic change in order to fix a long standing problem or merely to adapt with the rest of the world. That shift only occurs when a single vision motivates the employees as a team and becomes strong enough to enact that change. Change leadership is important in renovating overarching aspects of a company by using an empowered vision of the potential of such radical change. To become a change leader, you must understand what it means before taking the first steps.

 

Definition of Change Leadership

Change leadership is a type of leadership that focuses on large-scale changes within an organization. Real change leaders (RCLs) are more concerned about a large, transformative vision for the business and how the employees become empowered enough to contribute to the creation of that vision. One risk of change leadership, however, is it has the potential to get out of control and not account for the smaller details in that line of work. In addition, a company may not act upon every proposed change to the established structure.

 

Distinction From Change Management

Change management is often associated with change leadership. Many consider the two synonyms. However, these two concepts approach the upcoming change at a company with different methods. Change management refers to “a basic set of tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control.” Change management essentially introduces a company shift to a work environment that is usually resistant to the concept of change. Management keeps the distractions and effects of change under control at a small, gradual pace, rather than the disruptive approach change leadership takes.

 

The Role of People Management in Change Leadership

For RCLs to continue their ambitious vision for their business, first they need to embrace people management. People management focuses on having each employee reach their full potential by managing them. People managers lead their employees into training and developing their skills, meeting new goals, defending them by understanding employee law, and encouraging them to improve. Some of the practices in people management include:

  • Training and development. Managers ensure that employees receive enough orientation to start their job and that they receive evaluation and feedback to encourage them to grow and take on more responsibility.
  • Decision making. A manager must make the final decision when it comes to employee recognition or discipline with fair, objective decisions.
  • Managers must work as mediators for employee grievances, help the employees feel confident about their job, and carry out evaluations.
  • Overseeing teamwork. Despite delegating teamwork to employees, managers must make sure the team is performing its duties within budget and deadlines.
  • Role modeling. A manager sets a good example for the other employees by behaving like a professional and treating other employees with respect and dignity.
  • Managers oversee the progress of employees, and if necessary, set up programs and identify opportunities for improvement to ensure employee growth within the company.

By embracing something as structured as people management, RCLs can motivate employees to align to the greater vision for the organization.

 

Actions of RCLs

Advocates for change leadership are very different from regular management roles. While managers strive to keep everything controlled and running, RCLs are all about shaking the business up. RCLs have skills that make them stand out from other types of leadership.

  • Linchpin linkages. Forging connections in the marketplace, RCLs engage with the customers and find out what the competition is doing. Then, the leaders use the information to energize their work teams into improving their performance.
  • 360-degree impact. Often in middle management positions, RCLs inspire their vision first among the employees they are directly responsible for. Later, the leaders also try to influence the executives and people above them to bring changes, with varying degrees of success.
  • An expandable toolkit. RCLs have specific problem-solving skills or tools. However, they are always looking for new approaches and techniques, and do not get complacent in the techniques they already have. These leaders adapt to new situations.
  • Switch-hitting leadership capacity. In change leadership, there is no single type of leadership approach. RCLs have different approaches to leading depending on each of the employees. In the case their methods cannot adapt to the situation, RCLs delegate others to help lead the current vision for the team to completion.

 

Characteristics of RCLs

While individual change leaders may have their own unique approaches at leadership and driving the company to meet a unified vision, they all share a few characteristics:

  • Excited and committed to a vision that will improve the future of the organization
  • Courage to face and combat norms, power bases, and failures to fulfill their goal
  • Motivated and make sure to spread that motivation to others
  • Take the initiative in challenging the status quo and thinking outside the box to solve problems
  • Care for the way the company treats other employees, particularly the ones on their team and under their watch.
  • Sense of humor, even in the worst of times, to motivate everyone around them to keep focused on the larger vision for the company

 

Shortage of Change Leaders

Change leadership rarely comes from the top because the people involved have the least incentive to drive a large, overwhelming change that extends all the way to the smallest employees. Most RCLs originate from middle management positions. However, there is a shortage of RCLs since most management positions are traditional and more akin to change managers. Experts argue that the shortage can end by both bringing in outside talent specialized in real change and instructing managers on change leadership methods.

 

Boost Your Change Leadership Skills

Becoming a strong, efficient change leader requires patience and practice. Inspiring employees to follow your vision is a skill that develops over time. If you want to learn more about how to influence others, then consider investing in some lessons. SNI’s influence training course is based on Aristotle’s philosophy on the three elements of influence (ethos, pathos, and logos) to build credibility, engage emotion, demonstrate logic, and engage action. Call us today to join our program and maximize your leadership success.

What Is BATNA?

Sometimes, the worst scenario occurs: a negotiation breaks down and an agreement may fall apart between the parties involved. When all else fails, having a prepared BATNA is essential in keeping the negotiation from shutting down and a last resort at resolving conflict. If a salesperson is careful enough, they can still have control of the deal.

Definition of BATNA

You might be wondering, what is BATNA? BATNA is the acronym for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. According to the Business Dictionary, BATNA is defined as “a term used by negotiators to describe options available to their side if negotiations fail.” The entry continues and points out that, “negotiators who have a strong, well-defined BATNA have an advantage because they have a clear benchmark to which they can compare any negotiated settlement.”

 

Importance of BATNA in Negotiation

Before you even schedule a business meeting or agree to see your negotiating partner, you should have a BATNA in mind. Preparing a BATNA ahead of the meeting yields numerous rewards for you, such as:

  • Giving you an alternative when the negotiations fall through
  • Giving you negotiation power over your negotiation partner
  • Considering the lowest point that you are willing to offer

In contrast, by having a weak BATNA or no BATNA at all, your partner can take advantage of your flaws, it will reduce your bargaining options, and will leave you in agreement for something lower in value than what you expected.

 

Know Your Partner’s BATNA

As you develop your BATNA, it is just as important to learn as much of your partner’s BATNA as possible. For one, it will leave you less vulnerable in case your partner is just as savvy as you. Also, you need to figure out your partner’s business needs and position in order to meet them. If you can understand what your partner wants, you will come up with a deal that will benefit both parties involved.

In general, to create the ideal BATNA, assess your business needs and make of a list of everything you would do to meet a solution with the negotiating partner. Then, pick the lowest option that is only better than not working with the partner at all. The most balanced approach is to meet the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA), which is the compromise range that lies between the highest amount a buyer will pay and the lowest a seller will go for before both parties walk away.

 

Approaching BATNA

Once you have your BATNA set, proceed with the negotiations. If you and your partner come to an agreement immediately, then the bargaining went well and there is no need to reach that next stage. If the conflict escalates to the point of ending the negotiation, then offer your BATNA. However, when you set up the BATNA, make the impression that you are ready to get up and leave if the other party doesn’t consider it. This action communicates to your partner that they are acting like an opponent, and that you are better off not doing any business with them. In addition, you can avoid the other party taking advantage of you and forcing you to settle for less, or no deal.

At the same time, ensure that both of you ultimately reach a mutually beneficial result. Every time you agree to a concession, ask one for yourself as well. Ultimately, negotiations are about maintaining a power balance between the involved parties when reaching an agreement. If you remain both insistent in your bargaining and fair when reaching out to the other negotiator, it will boost your reputation as a negotiator and potentially bring further business to you.

 

Examples of BATNA

Though BATNA is a last resort when it comes to negotiation, it manifests in plenty of scenarios where any amount of negotiation is present. The following are examples of how BATNA operates in different negotiation scenarios:

  • Customer needs. A customer needs a product that has no alternative, and his BATNA is to live with it, while the salesperson can offer the product for a discount, but nothing lower than that.
  • Customer preference. A salesperson can tell a customer prefers their products to the competition. The customer’s BATNA is choosing the competition, while the salesperson will hope to complete the deal with a discount.
  • Sales target. A customer notices that a salesperson has not hit a sales target. The salesperson’s BATNA is missing their sales quota. The customer is willing to persuade the salesperson for some discounts, so the salesperson can close the deal and meet the target.
  • The employer knows that the economy is in danger and jobs are hard to find. The employer has the negotiating power, since the candidates have no other options besides unemployment.
  • In the reverse of the employment scenario, an employee is talented and in high demand, while the employer needs the employee’s talent for their business and has much to lose if the negotiation fails. Therefore, the candidate can demand more, and the employer’s best interest is to accommodate.
  • A customer in the process of buying a product declares a specific brand superior to the others. His or her BATNA is to end up buying an inferior brand instead, which motivates them to buy. However, the customer may use bluffing to hide their interest and deal with the salesperson.
  • A product is in short supply because the industry cannot keep up with the high demand. The customers have the BATNA of not buying a product at all or to cut back, while the manufacturer is able to offer the highest price available.

 

Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Despite the importance of having a best alternative to your negotiating agreement ready for every negotiation, it is always best to avoid that situation in the first place. Shapiro Negotiations’ training course can prepare you to become a better negotiator. The course is available in different methods, from classroom and virtual training, to keynotes and consulting, and will bring you benefits such as developing better business partnerships and increasing confidence and results in negotiations. Contact us for more information and improve your negotiation skills today.

Building Rapport With Sales Clients

One of the most essential skills salespeople must have is the ability to build a rapport with their clients. You can have an excellent product and a persuasive and researched pitch, but none of those elements will matter if you or your client do not have a connection with each other. If you want to excel at building rapport, you must have a clear rapport definition in mind. You must also develop your communication skills to bond with different clients. Learn more about rapport and bonding with clients by following the techniques below.

 

Rapport Definition

Before you even start thinking about approaching clients, you should understand what rapport means in a broader sense, and specifically within the field of business. For instance, the Oxford English dictionary defines rapport as “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.” Meanwhile, the Business Dictionary gives rapport the definition of “a positive or close relationship between people that often involves mutual trust, understanding and attention.”

Both definitions emphasize rapport as a close relationship. A salesperson must establish a connection with the client strong enough for the client to consider it “close”. The relationship should also be positive, harmonious, and facilitate the transfer of ideas. The second definition is slightly different in that it lists the components of rapport: the establishment of trust, understanding, and attention between the two parties.

The fact that the business-oriented definition does not differ much from the general definition also means that building rapport is not just a specific business technique, but a broader one that people use to meet their goals and improve their lives daily. Approaching the construction of rapport with a client the same way you would to have a pleasant, constructive conversation with any person can help put you at ease. If you are relaxed, you can share that feeling with the client, and that goes a long way when building rapport.

 

Mirroring Your Client

A subtle technique that creates a bond with your client fast is analyzing their body language and imitating it occasionally. Mirroring builds a subconscious connection with the person you are talking to, and when done correctly, is proven to achieve sales increases and positive evaluations. Anyone can accomplish mirroring through three steps:

  • Face your client and show attentiveness to their conversation via eye contact and nodding.
  • Match the client’s speaking volume and pace.
  • Identify the client’s punctuating action when making a point and imitate it the next time they perform it.

Remember to practice mirroring in moderation. Repeating these steps frequently can become obvious, make the customer uncomfortable, and break the connection instead of building it.

 

Asking Interesting Questions

One of the simplest methods a salesperson can use to build a rapport with clients is to learn more information about them by asking questions. When a salesperson shows interest in a client by asking questions, it shows the client they can trust the salesperson. This allows the salesperson to gather more information about the client to customize their sales platform, and keeps the client engaged throughout the process. Not every question is effective, however, so you should craft a rapport-building question carefully.

An effective question must consider the following aspects in order to build a genuine connection with the other person:

  • The question should apply specifically to the client you are seeing and the situation around both of you. Observe the person’s actions, clothing, mannerisms, and other specific details to build questions from.
  • Catching a person off-guard by asking them a nontraditional question raises their interest and keeps them engaged in the conversation.
  • At the same time, make sure that the question is not invasive or does not make the client uncomfortable.

Keep these elements in mind when coming up with the questions, and you can build rapport with a client and establish trust and understanding while also keeping their attention. A small sample of some of the best questions to ask the other person include:

  • What’s something most people don’t realize about [client’s city/state]?
  • Have you always wanted to work in [client’s field]?
  • What was your favorite class you ever took at college?
  • Are you subscribed to any newsletters or blogs about [topic, client’s industry]?
  • I noticed that your office is in [city neighborhood]. Do you like to go out to [local restaurant] to eat?
  • You seem like a busy person? Do you use any apps to keep organized? I am considering using them, so I’d appreciate some recommendations.

Asking questions that you can specialize to the client and are somewhat specific keeps conversation interesting.

 

Empathetic Statements

A salesperson must understand the client’s personality, needs, and wants in order to give their sales approach a direction. Understanding the client also helps establish a connection, as the client will feel less isolated and better about themselves. Using empathetic statements is an effective way of mirroring the person’s verbal messages, physical status, and emotions without parroting and putting off the customer.

You can build a simple empathetic statement by starting with “So, you…” followed by a small assumption about their words or their actions. Even if those assumptions are not entirely accurate, these statements demonstrate you are paying attention to the client’s actions and you are seeking to understand their feelings.

Some specific empathetic statements further develop a connection while also suggesting an action to a client.

  • Empathetic presumptive. This empathetic statement presents a presumption around a fact about the client but allows the client to interpret the fact. Whether the assumption is correct or not, the client can provide additional information that the salesperson can use to guide the conversation and dig deeper into what the client wants. For instance, if a client is looking around, the salesperson can ask, “So, you’re looking for [product].” The customer can confirm or deny it, and clarify the assumption.
  • Empathetic conditional. This statement keeps the focus on the client but adds specific circumstances where the client would decide. To follow on the previous example, after making an empathetic presumptive, if the client says they are looking for a product, but does not know if they can afford it, the salesperson can state, “So, you’d buy [product] if it was more affordable.” This allows the seller to identify with the customer’s specific issue and guide them towards a specific solution.

Using empathetic statements, you can get an understanding of the client’s goals and issues in reaching those goals without having to say much, and then you can help your client in a personal manner.

 

Listening to the Client

Gauging your client’s needs is important when understanding them, but sometimes, it is just as important to sit back and listen. If you establish a mutual interest or if the conversation takes a turn where the other person talks constantly about a hobby, a story, a problem, or any other topic, then simply listen. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the other person and how you can sell to them. In addition, the client will appreciate your consideration and interest, and when you discuss sales, they are more willing to return the favor and listen to you.

 

Establishing Trust

Another technique in presenting yourself as an ideal person to build a rapport with is establishing trust. Maintaining connections and making sales is easier if the customer believes you are reliable and dependable. There are a few steps you can take to establish trust in your client:

  • Respect the client’s time. Always arrive early when meeting with the client and never try to stop them from doing something else.
  • Sell only a realistic solution. Be honest about what you can offer to the client, and let the client make the decision.
  • Show respect towards the competition. In case the competition ever comes up in conversation, show respect and avoid trash talk. The customer will see you as mature and professional.
  • Practice authenticity. Rather than relying on programmed pitches or slogans, lead with stories or humor. This step makes you appear sincere, honest, and approachable.
  • When in doubt, offer referrals. In the rare case you cannot help your client in any way, do not hesitate to refer the customer to other qualified people who can do the task. This shows the client that you care about their wellbeing, not just their business.
  • Deliver on your promises. If you offer a realistic promise and the client takes you on it, make sure to deliver.

 

Keeping the Client’s Attention

Another important element required when building a rapport is keeping the customer’s attention. No matter how much you work to keep the conversation interesting and engaging, distractions will always manifest and hinder your communication efforts. These tips should help you keep your conversation with the customer lively, while also keeping your sale on focus.

  • Keep them involved with questions, listening to them, or filling in forms
  • Make your main point as soon as possible
  • Change the topic, pace, or emotion every 10 minutes to keep the conversation interesting
  • Use humor to ease them between points
  • Summarize your points occasionally to keep your focus

 

Take the Next Step in Building Rapport

The development of communication skills to bond with others is essential in everyday life and relationships. Now that you have a stronger sense of how to build a rapport with clients, you should take your knowledge to the next level and consider corporate sales training. The corporate sales training program at Shapiro Negotiations focuses on maximizing the effectiveness of salespeople. While the program works as a standalone sales process, it can also integrate into your existing sales skillset, giving it a boost. Sign up today to optimize your sales.