BLOG

Salary Negotiation Tips to Get What You Want

Successful salary negotiation can increase an employee’s annual salary by thousands of dollars. Since many people don’t change jobs on a regular basis, when the time comes to negotiate, they may not know how to handle these opportunities for pay increases. Professional negotiators hone their craft by assessing body language and non-verbal cues and by using careful word choice. It’s a good idea for everyone to know a few negotiating tips before any discussion about pay increases.

Do Your Homework

An employer or supervisor will be much more receptive to your suggestions if they believe you’ve done your research. When negotiating salary, use exact amounts instead of estimates or ballpark figures. You should also do some research on the median salary for your position in your area. Having hard data to back up your salary requirements can be tremendously helpful.

Watch for Non-Verbal Cues

Body language is extremely important in negotiations. Make eye contact to show your seriousness and encourage honesty in your negotiations. Eye contact is a great way to encourage people to tell the truth, so this can open up a salary negotiation in your favor. Your posture and facial expressions are also important during negotiations and can help you convey confidence and power.

Don’t Shy Away From Making It Personal

Whether you’re negotiating a salary for a new job or a pay increase at your current position, making the conversation a little personal can work out in your favor. Studies indicate that men are more successful with salary negotiations when they open the discussion with small talk. Most people perceive men as more aggressive than women, so a man beginning a salary negotiation with small talk can be disarming for the other party. It’s also wise for anyone negotiating salary to make his or her priorities and concerns very clear during the negotiation.

Encourage Conversation

An employee negotiating pay with an employer can make the conversation less stressful by opening up personal conversation. Encouraging employers to talk about themselves is a good way to build rapport and understand each other better. Opening up with personal thoughts or stories is a good way to get them to respond in kind and open the way for a more productive conversation.

These are a few of the ways you can improve your results in salary negotiations. Remember to build rapport, set the pace of the conversation, and maintain confidence for the best results.

 

5 Things All Great Training Consultants Have in Common

It’s difficult to ignore the benefits of professional development. Companies with training programs experience over 200 percent more income per employee compared with those that don’t offer any training, according to the Association for Talent Development. What’s more, these companies also enjoy a 24 percent higher profit margin. You know the saying: Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of you. The first step is finding a training consultant who is trained in negotiation to help.

When you’re searching for a training consultant, you might find that candidates have a few things in common: they may have relevant education, impressive experience in the field, have impressive professional accolades, and work with a wide variety of clients. Training consulting is a highly competitive field, but it is still possible to determine who stands out from the rest. Our experience has shown that great training consultants possess the following five qualities:

Flexibility

The best corporate training consultants will work well in a variety of environments. Their soft skills include adaptability, excellent social skills, and ease in communication. They can seamlessly blend in with various company cultures, but the best consultants go even further. A trainer will be the best fit when he or she comes in the first day familiar with your company’s mission and ready to help achieve your business goals. Ownership in a company’s success is just as important as being able to adapt to new work environments. A superior consultant will be able to show you that from the get-go.

Planning

Consultants are highly organized by nature, but the best go above and beyond. Career training consultants can adjust their work style to accommodate a company’s requirements, whether it’s budget or schedule. Best of all, these individuals can consistently deliver high-quality outcomes, even within strict constraints.

Did you know that neglecting the planning processes in corporate training can impact your project’s budget or timeline by as much as 30 percent? Find a partner who can use a proven process to ensure your training aligns with your business objectives.

Expertise

There are two main reasons companies hire training consultants: 1) either they do not have the time or resources to conduct the training internally, or 2) they expect an outsider to have more expertise that their internal resources. The best corporate trainers rise to the challenge by remaining on top of current best practices and implementing a wide variety of learning strategies to accommodate each client.

Each business has different training needs and will react to different learning styles based on their company culture and ultimate objectives. Training consultants seamlessly adapt to different styles by remaining current, networking, and applying theory to practice.

Great Listening Skills

People have a general tendency to let themselves dominate a conversation. Though it’s an aspect of human nature, you don’t necessarily want this trait in a training consultant. When conducting an interview with a prospective consultant, you may want to hear about his or her accolades and business experience – but also be mindful of what he or she asks you. A great corporate training consultant will already be thinking about helping you achieve your business goals and will be asking you open-ended questions to assess your needs.

Excellent listening skills are essential because they encourage free exchange of information. This, in turn, streamlines the consulting process and helps you achieve your goals.

Experience

It’s difficult to deny that a portfolio full of varied work experience helps set a consultant above the rest. The more training experience a consultant has, the more likely he or she is to swiftly address problems, pivot to accommodate new requests, and deliver training that’s in line with your goals and objectives. Experienced candidates handle curveballs with ease and exude a natural confidence that only comes with years on the job.

The benefits of a training consultant cannot be understated because they improve your bottom line and company culture while helping you go above and beyond your business objectives. Our training consultants are trained in negotiation and are ready to help you achieve your goals.

4 Lessons We Can Learn From Famous Business Flops

Big businesses have seen their fair share of flops in PR, sales, and marketing. Some businesses are even forced to fold because of their embarrassing mistakes. Here are some of the most famous business fails throughout history and the lessons we can learn from them.

The Hamburger Mistake – Not Knowing Your Buyer

In 1996, McDonalds introduced its Arch Deluxe. The burger cost more than standard McDonalds’ fare and was aimed at “urban sophisticates.” This was outside McDonald’s target demographic. No one bought it, so McDonalds had to take the item off the menu.

The takeaway – If you try to sell to someone who doesn’t want what you’re selling, you’re destined for failure.

The Chip Mistake – Making Claims Too Good to Be True

In 1998, Frito-Lay marketed WOW! Chips. The chips were made with Olestra, a compound that made them fat free. However, Olestra’s molecules were too large to be digested properly. Customers experienced stomach cramps and diarrhea. The chips had to be taken off the market.

The Takeaway – Don’t get so excited about the good aspects of your product that you fail to conduct due diligence. Take your time, do your research, and make sure the data backs your claims.

Nintendo’s Mistake – Offering a Product Before It Was Ready

In 1995, Nintendo released Virtual Boy, new technology that was supposed to transport buyers into virtual reality. The tabletop game console was supposed to create the illusion of depth with stereoscopic 3D graphics. It didn’t. Games had low-resolution graphics, grainy images, and an often-monochromatic display.

The Takeaway – Know your target audience, and give them what they want, but be sure your product is up to the challenge first.

Facebook Home – Making Things Too Complicated

In 2013, Facebook launched an app for Android that makes Facebook’s cover feed the user’s home screen. The app was only compatible with a handful of devices and got negative reviews. Users reported Facebook Home gave them too many notifications and made it hard to see other apps. Critics said it used too much data and battery. Most people uninstalled it.

The Takeaway – Don’t over-provide. Start slow, and build from what works.

Don’t make the same mistake these big businesses did when they lost sight of their audience, rushed in with a product that wasn’t ready, or overcomplicated their sales efforts. Focus on your target market and audience and stay within that demographic. Eliminate unnecessary information and counterintuitive steps so these mistakes won’t happen to your business.

SNI’s Jeff Cochran Scores Highest Feedback at 2017 SAMA Conference

Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, SNI’s own Jeff Cochran presented the “The Power of Nice: Maximizing Your Most Crucial Negotiations”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on how you can maximize your share while still maintaining a long-term relationship with the other side.

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

  • “Best session I attended during the conference.”
  • “Appreciated the handouts to use for note taking. Jeff did a super job of keeping everyone engaged, especially considering it was the last session of the day.”

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

SAMA Report Card

SAMA Report Card

What are the Sales Pipeline Stages

0

When you work in business and sales, one of the most effective tools you can develop is your sales pipeline. This is the sequence of stages that a sales team follows and takes customers through in order to convert them from prospective customer to actual customer and finally—in the most successful cases—to returning customer.

If you want to be successful, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to you. An effective sales pipeline is proactive, regularly going out and seeking qualified leads. To do that, you need to know how to talk to people, understand what exactly it is that they are looking for, and then find a way to meet those needs.

Like most successful negotiations,  a solid sales pipeline starts with PLEASE. And while manners are indeed important in every negotiation, in this case, PLEASE is an acronym that stands for the six sales pipeline stages:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Lead Qualification
  3. Engage
  4. Action
  5. Support
  6. Evaluate

Each of these stages is a key part of an efficient sales process, so we’re here to walk you through each one.

1. Prospecting

Before you can start sending leads through your sales funnel, you actually have to find and/or generate those leads. So where do these leads come from? How do they actually become a lead, rather than just a random stranger or company with whom you’ve never had any interaction?

The best way to acquire leads is different in each industry, but there are certain steps that are useful no matter what industry you’re in. Train your team to recognize what makes a good lead in your industry and keep an open mind about coming up with a lead wherever you/they go. Identify your target demographic, then do market research to find out what companies and individuals within that demographic are looking for. Develop your marketing campaigns to target those demographics to bring them in.

2. Lead Qualification

In the context of your sales funnel, not all leads are created equal. There are some leads who are golden—eager to work with you, and almost ready to buy right out the gate. And, there are others who seem like, no matter what you do, they’re really just not interested in what you’re offering. One of the most important sales pipeline stages is determining which category each lead falls into so that you know how best to work with them and how to best manage your time.

In order to determine how to work with a lead, you should reach out to them. But, before making any contact, make sure you doo some outside research on that business to learn who they are and what they want. Then, put yourself in their shoes and think through what their challenges and interests might be. Remember, even the first communication is a “negotiation” so be strategic and treat it like one. Make a good impression, show genuine interest, and don’t just write anyone off immediately. Sometimes, leads that don’t seem promising at first can become some of your most loyal clients.

3. Engage

After you have qualified your lead and progressed them a bit farther down your sales pipeline, you need to actively engage with them. Ask thoughful open ended questions  and really listen to the answers. Find out what goal(s) they are trying to achieve. What problems are they trying to fix? What aspect of their business are they trying to improve? It is based on this information that you can position your product to meet those needs. They will almost inevitably have objections. You should be able to  anticipate many of those objections and have a solution already prepared. Ultimately it all comes down to, did you create a relationship, and how can you tie your product or service to the solution they are looking for?

4. Action

At some point in the negotiation, it will be time for your prospect to make a decision. While it seems like a “no” is your worst-case scenario, it’s actually worse if a prospect is stuck in a state of indecision and unwilling to make the call (or take your call). Your job is to get them to say yes, but, at some point, the objective becomes to force a decision, even if the answer is no. Do everything you can to get to a yes, but if a yes doesn’t seem likely, then the next best option isn’t “maybe”—it’s no.

5. Support

Every year, there are dozens of studies researching which companies provide the best—and worst—customer service. The best organizations realize that customer service starts with the salesperson. Not only does this lead customers to keep coming back, it often spurs them to to spread the word about your business. It’s much easier and more cost effective to sell to and develop already existing clients than it is to find new ones.So, the best salespeople do enough to get the sale but leave themselves with room to over-delive..

6. Evaluate

Evaluation is possibly one of the most often overlooked sales pipeline stages. In order to become the best sales person or team you can, you should be constantly evaluating your performance. Look for ways you can learn from every sales opportunity negotiation. What did you do right in your successful interactions? How were you able to provide what the customer wanted? And what did you do wrong in the unsuccessful interactions? Sometimes, failures provide the best learning experiences and reveal opportunities for improvement.

Take the information that you gather from each sales/negotiation your team enters and find a way to organize it so that you can correct weaknesses and develop strengths in the future. Use it to improve your entire sales team rather than just a single individual. You can use each success and failure as a way to make everyone on your team better.

Once you’ve set up your sales pipeline, keep an eye on it. You should constantly be looking for ways to improve each stage in the process. Recognize strengths and faults and work to hone it to a fine edge. Ultimately, it all comes down to generating more leads, managing your time, developing strong relationships, and over-delivering – that’s the secret sauce that keeps them coming back and providing referrals.

Increasing Sales For Your Product

Creating a new and innovative product is exciting, but it’s not without its challenges. One of the most difficult aspects of marketing an original product is convincing your target audience why they need it. Many businesses throughout history have prevailed in this effort, but even more have failed. Here’s what you need to know about selling new and unique products to your customers successfully.

 

Know the Product Inside and Out

Have you ever been in a sales interaction where you felt that you knew more than the salesperson? This might happen at an auto dealership, appliance wholesaler, or virtually anywhere you make a purchase. It’s also a red flag to a consumer.

If you’re marketing and selling a new or novel product, there’s no room for error. You must be prepared to answer any question and speak intelligently about every aspect of the product you’re selling. As a sales professional, it’s your job to be the expert and to tell people exactly how the product can help serve the customer.

 

Know Your Customer

You’ll also need to know to whom you’re selling your product. Define your market as accurately as possible. For example, your target market might not be Millennials, but Millennial moms with children under the age of 5. The more accurate your market, the better you’ll be able to target your efforts and learn about what makes your target market tick.

Once you really know your customer, you can develop a sales plan. These are comprised of several parts, including:

  • Sales goals. Specific, measureable sales goals will help you stay on track. A good example of a sales goal might be selling 50 units within the first 30 days, not simply “selling a million units.”
  • Channels. Are you going to sell directly to the consumer, or do you plan on partnering with local retail stores?
  • Timelines. Take these pieces and put them together in a timeline that’s realistic and manageable. In an ideal situation, these timelines are flexible – for example, if you’re struggling to meet one sales goal, you can take corrective action and move the timeline back.

 

Selling a new product may be exciting, but it’s also not easy. You face an uphill battle in helping customers understand the value in your product and how it will improve their lives and in meeting several quotas. With clearly defined goals and a strong knowledge foundation, however, you can win customers over and help them see what they’ve been missing all along.

3 Uncommon Negotiation Preparation Tactics to Try

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

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

 

Role Play

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

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

 

Be Creative

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

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

 

Find Your Leverage

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

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

How to Prevent Objections in a Negotiation

0

Whether you are pitching a sale or negotiating a deal with one of your suppliers, the other party will almost inevitably have an objection that can stop the discussion in its tracks. In transactional sales, potential customers become fixated on a specific issue, whether that is a missing feature or a price point that is higher than they would like. Often, these objections have no real bearing on the customer, but the customer is either looking for an excuse to put the conversation off until later or possibly even avoid the conversation entirely.

Potential negotiation partners get hung up for several reasons, from a genuine lack of interest in what the other party has to offer to other alternatives that may seem like a better fit. While Shapiro Negotiations can teach you and your team a variety of ways to effectively overcome these objections, sometimes it’s more effective to stop them before they become an issue.

 

Ask a lot of questions early on.

During a negotiation, knowing as much as possible about the other party’s interests and motivation can be a great advantage. If a negotiation feels adversarial or competitive from the start, the other person or group will often shut down communication in an attempt to “win.” Rather than a competition, a negotiation should feel like a collaborative effort, where both parties are working together to create the most beneficial outcome for everyone involved. For that to work, though, you need to know exactly what it is the people on the other side of the table want.

From the beginning, ask questions about goals, what is being done to achieve them, and then figure out where you fit in achieving those goals. Questions like “What is most important about [a particular aspect of the negotiation],” lead the other party to start talking about what they’re looking for and opening up more to possible solutions. Clarifying follow-up questions, like “Why is that important?” help you to narrow down exactly what they are looking for and tell you how to show you can help them to accomplish those goals.

 

Negotiate with people.

Once you know what the other side is looking for, it’s easy to over-focus on pushing that aspect. But remember that, in the end, you’re not only dealing with an organization, you’re negotiating specifically with the person or people sitting across from you. Try to figure out how this negotiation will benefit the individual or group you’re working with and cite specific examples.

 

Demonstrate genuine expertise in the field.

If you are offering a specialized service or product and a potential customer feels that you’re just a salesperson with no real knowledge of your product, you’re going to get very little benefit of doubt when you  attempt to persuade them of anything.. For example, if selling in the medical device industry, even someone who has extensive sales experience  will have little success if they’re not able to match that sales experience with medical knowledge.

It’s not enough to try and fake it, either. The people you are working with know their fields, and they will be able to spot a phony the instant you open your mouth. Study the subject so that you know it backwards and forwards. Then, rather than seeming ignorant and ruining your credibility with the customer, you will build that credibility by showing that you are an expert.

 

Make sure the person you are working with has the authority to make decisions.

One of the most popular objections customers like to throw out is that they’ll have to ask their supervisor, since they’re not the one who makes the decisions about your product. We call this “higher authority” and it can be real, a tactic, or both.  Right from the outset, make sure that the person with whom you’re negotiating is the person who can actually make the decision. Even if you’re able to come to an agreement with the other party, if they’re not able to back that agreement up with the proper authority, you’re going to need to start the whole process from the beginning once you get to the person who is actually authorized to make decisions. That doesn’t mean that you should be rude or ignore a gatekeeper, however. This person can turn into either an ally or an adversary as you negotiate with the next person in line, so always be sure to treat everyone you encounter along the way with respect. We recommend, early on, asking questions like “What is your decision-making process?” in order to gain that valuable information without offending anyone.

 

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If handled properly, you can overcome most objections put before you, but often, it’s even more effective to never encounter those objections at all. By asking the right questions, knowing your audience, and putting in the proper research, you can avoid potential pitfalls before they even occur and find a clear path to a successful negotiation.

Could Accepting Cash Payments Positively Influence Your Buyers?

A study published in December 2016 by the International Journal of Central Banking reports that despite electronic payment systems’ integration around the world, customers still prefer to pay with cash. The study found that despite the switch from paper money to “bitcoins,” cash holding and use have not disappeared. Some companies rely on electronic systems exclusively, but this decision could be costing them.

The Study

According to the study, cash is the primary payment for customers across seven major countries. Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States are all proven to prefer physical money. In the United States alone, 46 percent of transactions rely on cash – and America uses it less than the other six on the list.

Interestingly, France and the U.S. are the only two out of the seven where paper checks are still relevant. Meanwhile, Germans and Austrians carry and use the highest amount of cash. Across the other five countries, the average consumer kept only $30 on them at any time.

Many experts attribute these cash-carrying habits to the fact that paper money is primarily used for multiple small transactions throughout the day. This also explains why it comprises such a small amount of total transaction value in other countries

Benefits of Using Cash

Some people see using cash as an inconvenience, but it affords a lot of benefits for both the individual and society as a whole. Bloomberg reported excerpts from the same study, finding that the value of dollars and euros has more than doubled since 2005. This is largely due to people continuing to carry and spend cash, although some of it may also be due to a demand for currencies in foreign countries.

Another benefit of using cash is that people value their money more. Consumers get a better sense of the “value” of their dollars when they physically have to hand them over during a transaction. This can actually be a key way of learning how to control spending.

Accepting Cash

The numbers don’t lie. With 46 percent of transactions in America relying on cash, can you really afford not to accept it? The more checkout choices you offer, the more likely it is you’ll draw in more customers and close those deals. Bitcoins and debit cards are interesting, and they may play a bigger part in the future of retail, but for now cash is still king.

How to Keep Up With the Competition

In a business atmosphere that’s adapting to new technologies and consumer demands at a faster pace than ever before, it’s no surprise sales tactics are also changing. Salespeople in modern business must periodically analyze their performance, identify weak points, and learn new sales techniques based on changing customer needs. If you want your employees to be their best, they need to be ready to adapt.

The Five Forces of Change

There are five main forces that drive change for sales people: the threat of new people and competition, suppliers’ bargaining power, competition among existing firms, negotiating power of the buyers, and the threat of substitute services and products.

  1. Competition among salespeople. Marketing and inside sales roles have been consistently expanding and eroding the position of the B2B outside salespeople. In turn, this has sparked a golden age for inside the salespeople, but makes positions much more competitive for the outside salesperson.
  1. The threat of new entrants. There are always advancements changing the entire industry. Job automation is the biggest challenge right now as artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual/augmented reality are switching up the game. It takes polished skill to compete with technical advancements for both inside and outside salespeople.
  1. Threat of salespeople substitutes. Self-service and e-commerce advancements are putting more pressure on B2B sales.
  1. Bargaining power of the buyers. In this area of customer power, salespeople have very little influence and control. Success is dependent on adaptability.
  1. Bargaining power of the suppliers. It’s easy for even the smallest businesses to get supplies from across the world. Although it offers more opportunities, it also means salespeople have to work with more and more business partners. Being able to bargain with other companies may determine whether or not you keep a comfortable arrangement.

 

Preparing for Change

Even though the world is always changing, there are ways salespeople can prepare for whatever the future holds. One of the best ways to keep up with the crazy pace is by taking sales training courses from SNI. We always build the programs based around the current market trends so you’ll have exactly what you need.

Sales training courses from SNI are engineered to teach you how to adjust to these five factors of change, plus give you an edge over your competition. When your livelihood is on the line, you need to be able to roll with the punches, stay current, and prove to your customers that you’re the best around. Period.