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Keynote Speech Examples: Learn from the Best

One of the most effective ways of improving your public speaking and presenting is doing research and analyzing other great speakers. There are numerous types of keynote speeches and various aspects that determine whether the speech impacts every person or falls flat and becomes irrelevant. The experts at Shapiro Negotiations have delivered many speeches – most of which have had a lasting impact on the audience – and understand what components make a great speech.

 

Shapiro’s General Outline of Great Speeches

All speeches are different, and there are many ways to craft and deliver an effective speech. However, as one of Shapiro Negotiations’ leaders, Jeff Cochran, describes at SAMA in 2017, there is a formula that often leads to a great speech.

The first step is building credibility, so your audience likes and trusts you. If you come off as impersonal or apathetic, they are less likely to feel connected to your message.

The second objective is to engage emotions. The bottom line of all human interactions, including business exchanges, is emotion. People often make decisions and judgments based on emotion. If you can use emotion in your speech, your audience is likely to feel connected to and empathetic about your message.

Third, you need to demonstrate logic. In business, logic is the second aspect people use most when making decisions. Follow up your emotional argument with logic to convince the room.

Finally, you must facilitate action. Make people feel motivated to act on your message. You want to end your speech having given them the desire to act.

 

Steve Jobs: Stanford Commencement Address 2005

Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford in 2005 is renowned as one of the best speeches in recent years. He begins his speech with a joke, which gets the audience laughing and feeling comfortable with him. Jobs continued to tell three anecdotes from his life; these served as the emotional aspect. The first was about his experience as a young boy and teenager; the second addressed his young adult life and struggles with Apple; and the third talked about his experience with pancreatic cancer and the role of death.

Amongst all these stories, Jobs layered moments of humor and seriousness together. He came off as vulnerable, making an extremely accomplished, successful man seem human and relatable to the audience.

Jobs finished his speech by summarizing the lessons he learned from his experiences and, thus, what the audience should take away. He encouraged the listeners to act, finishing the speech with the mantra, “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

 

Mel Robbins: TEDx San Francisco 2011

Mel Robbins is a criminal lawyer, career and relationship expert, and speaker. She gave a speech in 2011 called “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over.” She began with some jokes, even engaging the audience by asking them how they were doing.

One of her clear strengths is her passion. She speaks with endless enthusiasm and confidence, immediately establishing herself as a trustworthy source. Her speaking style is assertive but casual, making her more personable. She talks candidly to her audience about relatable issues and situations. By bringing up circumstances many relate to, she engages listeners and increases the relevance of her point.

During the first half of her speech, she left the stage, physically putting herself on the same level as her audience. She even picked out a member of the audience and personally addressed him. Throughout her speech she showed pictures of her children in casual situations – which many parents in the audience can relate to.

Throughout her speech, she continuously reinforced the idea that you must force yourself to do things. She suggested something for the audience to try as a first step into forcing themselves to be productive and succeed.

Mel Robbins is an effective speaker for many reasons, but the two main ones are her enthusiasm and relatability. She does not focus on using academic, professional language; she instead appeals personally to the audience members. As a result, she comes off as a strong, confident, credible, and trustworthy person.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we understand the traits that make speakers like Steve Jobs and Mel Robbins effective. We help people learn how to appeal to many different audiences and drive home ideas in their speeches.

3 Ways to Hone Your Presenting Skills

The ability to give a great presentation does not come without hard work. Though some people may have innate skills and traits that make presenting easier, honing those skills takes effort. The experts at Shapiro Negotiations understand the potential impact of a fantastic presentation and have a proven strategy for teaching professionals how to perfect their presenting abilities.

 

1. Do Research and Find Examples of Great Presenters

One of the things you should do when trying to improve your presenting skills is to do research about other great presenters. Watch speeches online and take notes about how they present. If you have the ability, go see a great presenter in action, paying attention to how the audience reacts to certain things and what makes their presentation successful or unsuccessful.

One of the best online resources for watching presentations is TED Talks. You can also look for presidential or political speeches, as politicians often deliver impactful speeches. Watch as many as you need to understand what it takes to give an interesting, engaging presentation. By having an idea of what worked in their presentations and speeches, you will have new things to try in your own presentations.

 

2. Find a Way to Be Enthusiastic

All great presenters show enthusiasm. An uninterested, bored presenter will quickly lose the attention and interest of their audience. Unfortunately, it is common for people to have to do business presentations about things that don’t interest them. Few people in the business world can always present about something they find fascinating. You need to find a way to be enthusiastic about a topic you are not passionate about, as your enthusiasm level could be the factor that determines how effective your presentation is.

One way to incite enthusiasm is to think about the audience. Expand your focus to include the impact your presentation is having on the people listening. Consider how your presentation will improve their business or lives. It will be easier to be excited about your topic if you feel like you are making an impact on those listening.

 

3. Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to improve any skill is by asking for feedback. You may finish a presentation with an idea about how it went, but another person can offer a different viewpoint that may provide valuable information about how you can improve your technique. When analyzing yourself, you are more likely to have a skewed opinion, either overly positive or overly negative. You also have no way of knowing how your presentation impacted the audience. Someone in the audience can tell you how effective you were and what impression you gave to your listeners.

There are many ways you can get feedback from audiences. In certain situations, you will receive feedback from leaders without needing to ask for it. For situations where feedback is not automatic, choose someone who will have an objective opinion and can deliver blunt information, and ask them what they thought after the presentation. Listen intently to any feedback you receive so you can adjust your style and become as effective as possible.

Shapiro Negotiations has numerous professionals who have experience giving and critiquing presentations. We can spot people’s strengths and weaknesses with presenting and know how to best remedy the latter. Our presenting skills workshops have helped many people in business hone their presentation skills and become effective presenters.

5 Essential Presentation Skills to Develop

Presentations are a part of most jobs in the business world; you must be able to give a solid, informative presentation. Though they may seem simple, there are many aspects of a presentation and skills that you need to deliver a successful one. The experts at Shapiro Negotiations understand the importance and impact of a great presentation, and know how best to teach professionals the skills they need to give one.

 

1. Enthusiasm and Honesty

One of the most painful things in a presentation is listening to a presenter who is clearly bored and uninterested in the topic. For a presentation to be effective, you need to get the audience excited. It is almost impossible to excite your audience if you are dull or monotonous. Show enthusiasm about the topic and people are more likely to be engaged.

Along with being enthusiastic, you need to be honest. Even a distracted audience can tell when a presenter is lying or exaggerating. If they sense you are not being honest with them, both you and your presentation will lose credibility. A great presenter is honest and transparent with the audience, while simultaneously showing enthusiasm about everything.

 

2. Focused on the Audience

Effective presenters build and deliver presentations centered around the audience, not themselves. Focus on what the audience can get out of your presentation.

The key to any great presentation is engaging and appealing to your audience. Each audience is different, so it is important to keep in mind the people you are talking to and what interests them. You are more likely to gain their attention if the topic is relevant and helpful for them.

 

3. Ability to Keep Things Simple

Great presenters know how to make complex topics simple. Often, you will give a presentation to a group of people who do not have any previous knowledge about the topic. If you use complex language or concepts, you will confuse your audience and they will not listen as attentively.

A presentation is essentially a teaching tool. You are teaching your audience about the topic. Any great teacher knows that you need to simplify things to ensure everyone can learn and understand what you are trying to say. Effective presenters can do this for their audience.

 

4.Being Personable

Being personable is a great quality for every aspect of business, including presentations. People will listen more intently if they like you and see you as relatable. Some good ways to be personable are by making eye contact with your audience and smiling. These simple actions build rapport and increase the chances of the audience feeling like they can connect with you.

 

5. Great Body Language

Your body language says more than you think. More than three-quarters of communication is non-verbal. Though your speaking holds the meaning, body language could determine whether an audience listens to you and how they interpret your speech.

Great presenters stand up straight and confidently. They do not cross their arms in front of their chest, as this comes off as cold and distant. They also avoid pacing or holding their hands behind their backs because it makes them seem nervous. Keep your body language open and welcoming, and your audience will see you as more credible and trustworthy.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we know what skills are most important for people trying to become excellent presenters. Our presentation skills training works to help many businesspeople become persuasive and effective presenters in the workplace.

 

 

Why You Should Invest in Communication Training

Arguably one of the most important skills to have in any setting is communication. The business world is no exception. If you have a team with fantastic communication, your chances of success are significantly higher. Communication is beneficial not only in interpersonal matters within the company, but also with customer and client interactions. Communication training is becoming widely accepted as a great way to teach people how to be effective communicators in the workplace for many reasons.

 

Better Relationships With Customers and Clients

The quality of customer service can be the factor that makes or breaks a company. If customers and clients trust and like you, they are more likely to become loyal to your business and continue coming back. Communication coaching will ensure you can establish a great rapport with customers.

Customers want to feel understood and appreciated by a company. If they think you only care about them because of their wallets, they will be more hesitant to give you their business. Most businesses involve a certain amount of customer interactions, and many depend on these interactions for success. Poor communication skills will inevitably lead to poor customer interactions. Investing in communication classes for yourself or for your team could make a significant difference in your company’s success.

 

Improved Presentations and Speeches

Many jobs in the business world involve giving presentations and speeches. Whether you are trying to convince a customer to invest, trying to inspire others in the industry, or selling company leadership on an idea, being able to speak to a group precisely and effectively is an invaluable skill.

People are much more likely to listen and trust someone who is speaking confidently. Nervous speakers can come off as hesitant or unsure – a quality that will make most people pass on a deal. You want to be clear and assertive in your presentations and speeches. Communication training can help teach you how to be a great speaker and presenter.

 

Improved Clarity

No matter what your role is in a company, you need to be clear about what you want. Companies with employees who don’t understand what the company wants of them are confused and they are bound to face issues. Every member of your company needs to be on the same page about company goals and projects. Like improved presentations and speeches, communication coaching and classes will help you be clearer when explaining things to peers or leadership.

 

Easier to Resolve Interpersonal Problems

Interpersonal problems can tear a company apart. Employees who are upset with leadership or a co-worker are significantly less likely to produce high-quality work. They will feel less motivated to give everything their best effort.

Poor communication is often the cause of problems within a company. People either do not feel comfortable confronting and discussing their issues or do not feel welcome addressing them. Employee feuds do not resolve without both parties feeling capable of clearly and calmly expressing their frustrations. Often, the solution to disagreements lies in understanding the other person’s position. Communication training can give you a greater sense of empathy and improve your ability to talk about why you are unhappy and understand the other point of view at the same time.

 

Improved Comfort and Confidence During Tough Times

It is inevitable that your company is going to face difficult times, if it has not already. In hard times, employees become stressed and nervous and may even leave. Retaining workers during tough times is vital if you want your company to survive. If people in leadership roles do not address the fears or try to cover the issue, employees may experience even more anxiety.

Being empathetic and transparent is a vital management skill, especially during tough times. Not only will it show that you respect your employees, but they will trust you more and have more confidence in the future of the company. You need to know how to communicate with your employees during difficult times.

 

Improved Written Communication

In the business world, people are constantly communicating through the written word. Whether it is an email, a text message, or a social media post, it is important to know some basic rules about how to communicate through business writing. If you are too aggressive, impersonal, or short with your message, people are less likely to respond positively, losing you important potential customers.

Business writing also needs to be clear. If you send an email outlining a project that is unclear or vague, it may confuse people and the project may become a mess. Communication training can help people understand how to effectively portray a point over email, social media, or through other written messages.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we have experts who can offer you and your employees communication training and coaching that can improve all aspects of your company and ensure you can continue thriving in the business world.

 

 

How to Prepare for a Keynote Speech

Washington, DC, September 29, 2008 — Close up of microphones at the podium at the FEMA press breifing room before a press event. FEMA/Bill Koplitz

The primary objective of making a keynote speech is to captivate and influence your listeners. To do so, the speech must be highly persuasive and successfully inspire the audience to take swift action. No matter where you are speaking or what you are speaking about, there are a few fundamental components that are instrumental in preparing to give a keynote speech. Refer to the following guidelines in hopes of delivering a compelling and eloquent keynote speech.

 

Remain in Sync With Your Goal

Maintaining the attention of an audience depends on you pacing and your ability to align with the purpose of your speech. Make your purpose clear and the chances are you won’t need a teleprompter or notecards.

 

Be Passionate

Speaking isn’t only about providing people with information. People attend a keynote speech because they want someone to move them. Tap into this desire and never hesitate to display your passion when delivering a keynote speech.

 

Make a Connection with Listeners

Without establishing a connection to your audience, your words will be essentially meaningless. Start by respecting your audience and recognizing you are on stage to please. Establish an authentic connection using stories from the real-life experiences of your audience and relate them to your own experiences.

 

Tell Stories

Teachers have used stories as a means of communication since the beginning of human history. To this day, storytelling remains the most efficient method of presenting meaning in a truly unforgettable way, and a compelling story is a key element of a successful keynote. Use stories relevant to your own experiences or look for current topics in books or the newspapers. If you want to make your speech memorable, pick an original story rather than an overused one. Avoid repetition to keep your credibility in front of your audience.

 

Be Confident

Maintaining your composure and confidence is vital to ensuring an audience’s attention. Individuals who demonstrate confident vibes draw people to them, so be sure you walk out on the stage feeling great about yourself. If you are prone to stage fright, take time to address what is hindering you before it’s time to make your speech.

 

Use Visuals

Visual aids can be excellent when you use them optimally. Incorporate relevant pictures or videos into your keynote speech when appropriate. These visuals can serve as a means of grasping audience attention and of inciting their imagination.

 

Utilize Humor

Display humor in keynote speeches through powerful stories, particularly within the dialogue. Insert humorous lines within your stories to add some comedy to your speech. A major advantage of placing humor inside dialogue is it that even if listeners don’t get the joke or miss the humor, they will still grasp the nature of your story. This reduces the risks associated with making a direct joke and failing.

 

Express Your Own Inner Dialogue

Sharing your inner dialogue with the audience is a great way to establish a firm connection and insert humor into your speech. Since your inner dialogue is usually personal, sharing its contents in front of a big audience allows listeners to realize your honesty and authenticity, which can help secure a connection and increase audience engagement. Adding excerpts from your internal dialogue is also an excellent opportunity to add some comedy to the speech. Hearing someone’s internal thoughts can be a funny experience, so try making your thoughts both funny and truthful to make give listeners inset into your personality and make your speech truly memorable.

5 Tips for A Great Business Presentation

Some individuals jump at the chance to make presentations, whereas others detest the task. But no matter whether you love them, or you hate them, work presentations are something most people must do at some point in their professional lives, so iit can be very valuable to learn how to be a good presenter. Before you start preparing to deliver your next business presentation, review the following five tips to help ensure your demonstration is not only effective, but goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

 

1. Develop Content Wisely
  • Create a story. Presentations can linger on and appear pointless when they display scattered information without context or underlying significance. Rather than bore your audience with facts and figures, use a story to express them.
  • Shorten your introduction. A lengthy introduction can be counterproductive to your goal of capturing the audience’s attention, so do your best to limit your opener to a brief sentence or two.
  • Make your presentation short and to the point. The longer your presentation continues, the more you risk losing your audience’s concentration. Make your display as compact and precise as possible without sacrificing important information. To sustain audience engagement, make sure to shorten it to at least half the length you first expected it to be.
  • Use simple graphics. Too many complicated tables and charts do not help cultivate your listeners’ attention. Instead of attempting to dazzle with the use of graphics, animations, or fonts, put the spotlight on only the most important data points.
  • Refrain from using fancy backgrounds. Presentations with fancy backgrounds can easily distract viewers from the main points of your display. Keep their focus in check and use a simple background style with neutral colors.
  • Be simple. Rather than focusing on adding special effects, make your content simple in hopes of ensuring your audience remembers the message you want to communicate better than any other elements of your display.

 

2. Plan Your Presentation
  • Check equipment carefully. If you must use equipment like a projector or laptop in your presentation to show videos or broadcast your presentation, double check beforehand to make sure everything is working as it should be.
  • Concentrate on your audience. Ideal public speakers maintain their focus on the viewers rather than their notes. Keeping your eyes on your audience will compel them to concentrate on you and the point of your presentation.
  • Eliminate all unnecessary or redundant slides or information before you make your presentation to avoid having to skip over them while you are on front of your audience, which will make you look unorganized.
  • Be timely. Listeners can become distracted at certain times, so try to schedule your presentations around these points in the day. Always avoid making presentations at the end of a work day, before lunch hours, or a few days before a holiday.
  • Have questions prepped. If you are planning on having a Q&A when your presentation is over, prepare a few questions ahead of times to get a head start at encouraging discussion. You can introduce prepped questions with phrases such as “I am frequently asked …” or “You may still be contemplating …”
  • Make a handout. If there is information you want the audience to have during or after your presentation, make a handout to distribute before or after you talk.

 

3. Clarify Goals at the Beginning
  • Present your viewers with the purpose or objective of your presentation at the beginning to help them connect the purpose with the material you talk about during your display. This will increase the chances of the energizing the audience to act.

 

4. Introduce Ideas With Memorable Quotes or Visuals
  • To increase viewer engagement and make a lasting impact, introduce all separate topics and concepts with a related quote or image. Consider adding a sentence or two about the topic or say it out loud while allowing the image to speak for itself. These techniques not only help to break up the content of your presentation, but it will grant your topic more influence, as a relevant quote or visual will remain in the audience’s mind throughout your display as you introduce related material.

 

5. Make Your Closing Short and Sweet
  • End your presentation effectively and incorporate a short closing after you complete your Q&A. Use this time to briefly touch on the vital points of your presentation and heighten the emphasis of your call to action.

 

An exceptional training program concentrating on how to inspire by influence can help individuals gain presentation skills to deliver a winning presentation. Shapiro Negotiations can help teach people to become more influential in presentations and other forms of professional interaction. Learn more about their influence training program to become a remarkable influencer today.

 

The Importance of Successful Presentation Skills

We have all taken part in conferences or meetings that have terrible speakers who leave us wondering why we are there. Presentation skills are incredibly important for business professionals, but it’s not a skill that comes naturally to all people. In fact, some of the world’s most extroverted and confident people become nervous when confronted with the possibility of public speaking. Effective presentation skills require practice and dedication. Successful presenters will establish themselves as experts, promote audience engagement, and sway audience opinion. Here’s how to do it:

 

  1. Know Your Stuff

Do you want to present yourself as an expert? Then be an expert. Practice your material so often that you know it inside and out. Talking about your presentation material should be second nature. When you’re so uncertain about your material, you lose your audience. Not having to worry about remembering material gives you the opportunity to truly connect with the group to whom you’re speaking. This elevates your presentation from a simple presentation of facts to an actual conversation. Preparation is key. For more information about the importance of preparation, check out our book, Dare to Prepare.

  1. Focus on What’s Important.

Remember why you’re giving a presentation in the first place: to educate your audience members. They’re naturally interested in what you have to say; otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Don’t focus on how your voice sounds or the way you look; focus on the reason you’re there. By diverting your focus from your own performance to your audience, your presentation will become more natural and engaging.

  1. Don’t Neglect Your Body Language

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they lose connection with their bodies. This can make your presentation seem robotic, instead of engaging and natural. The best public speakers use natural body language and appear grounded, not robotic. There are a few surprising ways you can achieve this: some public speaking experts recommend exercises like yoga, tai chi, or dance, which connect you with your mind and body and encourage awareness of your movements.

Public speaking skills are essential for a few reasons. Effective presentations can make all the difference in actually engaging an audience, as opposed to just spewing facts at them. An engaging presenter also sets the stage for an effective negotiation by making your audience connect with the information you’re presenting. Though becoming an effective public speaker may require lots of practice, it’s well worth the effort.

6 Things You Should Know About Medical Device Sales Training

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

  1. Create Short, Easy-to-Digest Modules

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

  1. Don’t Skimp on Product Documentation

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

  1. Dodge the “Hard Sell”

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

  1. Be as Honest and Transparent as Possible

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

  1. Long-Term Training Initiatives

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

  1. Respect For the Client’s Time

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

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

18 Proven Sales Tactics That Work in Any Industry

Developing a strong sales program is the most critical aspect of any business. Without effective sales strategies, companies will not be able to compete and grow. Sales professionals must learn how to implement proven sales tactics that work. These sorts of sales tactics do more than just help them to close individual sales; they help to generate additional prospects for future sales.

As a sales team manager, one of your responsibilities is to provide your team with effective sales training and sales strategies that will increase your company’s profits. Effective sales processes are not just about working hard and putting in long hours. In fact, many sales teams work long and hard without experiencing results.

sales professional at work

Effective sales strategies involve employing the best strategies in the right situations. Here are 18 sales tactics that can work for sales teams in every industry.

  1. Be persistent with leads and develop the habit of following up with each customer.

    According to the latest sales research, 80 percent of sales transactions require 5 interactions after the first contact with a customer. Many salespeople are primarily concerned with immediate sales. If they do not get the sale at the first meeting, they silently give up and continue their hunt for the next immediate sale. However, savvy sales professionals understand that they must nurture viable leads until an action is taken. These ‘rock star’ sales professionals send emails, direct mail, make phone calls or send brochures to customers at designated intervals. By taking this action, your customers will think of you when it is time to make their next purchases.

  2. Solve your customers’ problems.

    Successful businesses thrive in competitive industries because they provide solutions to meet their customers’ needs. There are many sales professionals who do not fully understand their roles in the transaction. Consider this fact. As many as 70 percent of your leads are reaching out to you to solve their problems. When customers contact your sales team, your sales professionals must be able to demonstrate to them how they can quickly and easily solve their problems.

  3. Develop the ability to actively listen to customers.

    Customers have access to pages of information on the internet. In many instances, they may be as knowledgeable as your sales team. When sales professionals interact with knowledgeable customers, they might be tempted to talk constantly to show them that they are qualified. It is important to remind your salespeople that they should never get into a knowledge power struggle with customers. Sales professionals should always listen more than they talk. Simply listening to customers’ answers can be one of the most effective sales tactics in your team’s arsenal. They should ask questions that probe into their clients’ thought processes and carefully consider the responses. The goal is to make customers feel as if they are respected throughout the sales process.

  4. Use polite terms when you discuss the competition.

    Your sales team should always strive to present themselves in a positive light and use professional language. There is nothing that screams unprofessional like using derogatory terms to discuss other people or companies. Although customers may participate in the negative conversation, bad mouthing any person or company is never a good sales tactic. If a competitor does not have a good reputation, the members of your sales team should remain neutral.

  5. Earn your referrals before you ask for them.

    Sales professionals know that referrals are the proverbial ‘holy grail’ of marketing. In fact, 91 percent of customers will provide a referral contact to a salesperson that they like. Before you think about asking your customers for referrals, you should focus on providing them with a quality customer service experience. During the transaction, your goal is to develop positive relationships with your customers. After you have determined that they are happy with your services, it is a good idea to pursue the referrals. When it comes to soliciting referrals, timing is important.

  6. Ask for referrals from your customers.

    You might not believe it, but only 11 percent of sales professionals ask clients for referrals. According to this data, the majority of salespeople are leaving money on the table. Most customers are generous, and they would happily share your good customer service with friends, family members and colleagues, but you have to ask. If your sales team waits for their customers to initiate a conversation about referrals, it might never happen. Teach your sales team how to integrate referral conversations into the sales process at the appropriate time.

  7. Adhere to strict deadlines with your customers.

    Sales professionals must create a sense of urgency with customers, or the deals will take much longer than necessary. Changing deadlines according to the whims of each customer makes sales professionals lose credibility. The old adage, where there is a will there is a way, applies here. If customers want to meet the obligations of a transaction by the deadline, they will definitely find a way to make it happen.

  8. Develop relationships with your customers.

    Without customer relationships, it can seem as if you are always in the vicious cycle of trying to ‘drum up’ new business. Your past customers can be an excellent source of new transactions for years to come. When your initial transaction is completed, you do not have to end the relationship at that point. Find creative ways to keep in contact with your customers even after you close the deal.

  9. Identify your customers’ needs and meet them.

    Sales professionals should never lose sight that the only purpose of the sales transaction is to help customers. Since transactions are closely associated with money, it is easy to lose sight of this fact. Create a list of questions that you can use to pinpoint exactly what the customer needs from the transaction. These questions will enable you to save time with customers and get to the heart of the matter. Once customers believe that you understand their predicament, they will work with you to meet their needs.

  10. Be able to distinguish a lead from a customer and act accordingly.

    Brace yourself for this disheartening fact. According to a report by Gleanster Research, only 25 percent of all leads are legitimate and ready to complete a transaction. Leads are potential transactions, and you cannot bank your future on potential. You should categorize your leads and create campaigns to interact with each type. For example, warm leads should have a different marketing strategy than cold calls. Time is a limited resource. It is best to use it wisely.

  11. Solicit targeted leads.

    A difficult lesson for many sales professionals to learn is that every person with a pulse will not be a customer. Since this is the case, sales professionals must create a strategic plan to attract customers that fit their target markets. One way to do this is to make good use of technology to find leads that could use your services. For example, credit professionals who are targeting people who are recovering from bankruptcy can use the public record to find people who fit this profile. Once you have found your potential customers, create a customized sales pitch that will appeal to each demographic.

  12. Learn to uncover each customer’s pain points.

    Television advertisements are known for pushing the viewer’s hot buttons in order to get them to take action. Fear of loss is the most common pain points that advertisers address. The primary mission of every sale professional, as emphasized in our negotiation training courses, is to find a customer’s pain points and use them to their advantage. Ron Shapiro said it best when he stated, “In order to get what you want, help them get what they want.” Sales professionals can start the search for pain points by asking closed-ended questions that only require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. As the customer begins to feel comfortable, the salesperson should ask open-ended questions that will prompt customers to reveal additional information. Once the vital information is discovered, salespeople can use it to help their customers take action.

  13. Master the art of storytelling.

    When sales professionals meet with customers, they are usually armed with all sorts of facts and data. Although data may seem important, studies suggest that only 5 percent of people remember statistics after a presentation. However, an impressive 63 percent of people remember stories after a presentation. Sales professionals need to arm themselves with stories about relevant experiences of people who have received favorable results after using their products and services.

  14. Stand by your product or service and offer some type of guarantee.

    If your customers are willing to part with their cash, your company should at least be willing to offer a guarantee on the product or service. The guarantee can be a refund or replacement. If you are afraid of most of your customers taking you up on a money back guarantee policy, you should not be. Less than 10 percent of customers return items each year. A product or service guarantee provides your customers with peace of mind that lets them know that they are protected in the event that something goes awry.

  15. Find prospects who want the things you have to sell.

    The best way to navigate through water is to go with the current instead of swimming against it. In sales, going with the current means that if you are selling chicken, your leads are people who like chicken. If your prospects are vegan, then it will be nearly impossible to sell your chicken products to them. If you want to be certain that your clients need the items you are selling, you should pre-qualify them before you actively market to them.

  16. Develop compelling goals and an actionable plan.

    Successful people know where they want to go, and they develop an action plan to help them propel toward their destination. Goal-setting and planning are critical to any sales team’s success. According to a study conducted by Inc. Magazine, sales teams that set goals realized a 28 percent increase in sales. Teaching goal-setting strategies should be a mandatory part of every organization’s corporate sales training manual.

  17. Show customers proof that your product or service actually works.

    When you look at infomercials for weight loss products, they often show ‘before and after’ pictures of previous users of the products. They understand that new customers are motivated by social proof. Sales professionals should keep customer testimonials in a binder or in their laptops to share with customers. When customers are able to view the visible proof, they will be more likely to invest in your product or service.

  18. Maintain a positive mindset.

    This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the number of sales professionals who develop a jaded outlook because of sales slumps. Sales professionals must make every effort to remain positive in good and tough times. Developing a positive attitude has many benefits. Customers can tell when you are not in a good mood, and it will affect the transaction. A positive outlook helps sales professionals look for solutions to pending problems. When your sales professionals are positive, they will be able to handle stressful situations.

The above list isn’t just a collection of interesting tips—these are proven sales strategies that work. In this competitive business environment, sales professionals need to learn all the tricks of the trade in order to close a deal. By using these sales tactics that work, your sales team can learn to thrive in any economic climate.

4 Negotiation Strategies that Destroy Deals

People, whether they’re in marketing or manufacturing, generally enter a meeting with preconceived ideas and outside concerns that affect the way they listen. Salespeople can build relationships, or they can forever kill deals when they make some of the following mistakes.

Focus on Your Needs

It’s good to have goals, but, if all you’re thinking about is what you want out of the negotiation, your efforts are doomed to failure. Research your client so you know their needs and how your product or service can meet them. Realize they have lives outside of the meeting just like you do.

You must set aside what’s going on in your personal life, work pressure, and scheduling concerns to be mentally present. They have the same things warring in the back of their mind. Analyze how your presentation brings your customer value, makes them more effective, or enhances their current offerings.

Talk Too Much

You’re there to communicate about what you offer, but, if you do all the talking, it’s not a negotiation. Let your client know you’re listening by encouraging questions, then giving their concerns your full attention. Listen for clues to their interests or concerns.

Instead of using their statements to launch into the next part of your presentation, simply resay what they said back to them. Leave room for the customer to give you more information or share more about what they need.

Focus on Winning Instead of Collaborating

During negotiations, seek to partner with your client and not squeeze everything you can out of the deal. The first step is to present the value you bring to the table. The second step is to assign a dollar amount to that value.

Instead of just presenting the price of products and services, explain other benefits like warranty, maintenance, customization, or improved productivity. Know not just how the deal will make you money but how it will make the client money as well.

Rush to Close

There’s more to sales than delivering information and getting clients to sign on the dotted line. Timing is a critical element, where rushing clients to make a decision and waiting to follow up can both have disastrous results.

If a client isn’t ready to make a commitment, being pushy will alienate them. Protect the relationship by respecting their need for time and possibly more information. Regular follow-up that continually seeks to be helpful allows you to stay in contact and move them toward making a decision in line with your goals.