Hone Your Negotiation Skills With These 20 Tips

Say you’ve gone into a negotiation, confident you’d clinch the deal, only to find that you’ve been flat out rejected or worse – the potential prospect suddenly decides they don’t want to work with you at all. What went wrong?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the best negotiation skills are through dominating or bullying someone into submission. If not, they make the mistake of being too submissive instead.

The result? A recipe for disaster. Hard-bargaining not only ruins deals but future business relationships as well. Being too submissive, on the other hand, incur more losses.

But whether we like it or not, everyone is a negotiator and has something to negotiate every day whether it be haggling over the price of a new car, persuading a toddler to eat his peas or convincing a client why they should choose your pitch. This skill is part of our lives and is inevitable – especially in business transactions and disputes.

There are many effective and different kinds of negotiation strategies and tactics but what makes one a great negotiator is the ability to combine these strategies to provide a win-win solution in the right place and at the right time. All in all, great negotiators are those who are hardworking, have good timing and have a little bit of luck on their side.

Hence, here are 20 tips that will help hone your negotiating skills so you stick out from the average Joes:

1. Plan ahead

According to experts, effective negotiation is 80% preparation. So if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Before every negotiation, it’s extremely important to come prepared with a plan and backup. A good plan consists of thorough research and homework of your opponent and their situation before hand.

This is because when you come in knowing your stuff, you’ll instantly sound much more confident – and that much more convincing. Doing otherwise will only make others take you less seriously and you may also not strike the best deal.

 Here are some questions to ask yourself before a negotiation:

  • What is my end goal?
  • Are these the right questions to ask?
  • What questions will my opponent ask?
  • How do I answer my opponents?

2. Don’t be a pushover

How you sound, act or behave can determine what others will think of you – especially during first impressions. If you let others control your actions or easily give in to them, there is no way you can ever clinch a successful deal. To do so, you must come in confident and assertive yet not too aggressive at the same time. Not only will you convince the other party, you will also get the deal done on your terms.

Although not everyone is naturally confident, the first step is to look the part. A study found that 93% feel non-verbal communication affects their opinion of others. So be conscious of your gestures, your posture and how you hold your head.

 3. Asking (the right) questions

 Here’s an example: you want to buy the cheapest fish in the market. You ask all kinds of questions like how many shops sell this particular fish and which is the most expensive to the least. You even find out the name of the shop that sells the freshest fish. But, you did not ask the right question which was where you can buy the cheapest fish.

Although it’s good to ask as many questions as you can to gain insight, it’s much more important to ask the right ones. Asking the right questions not only saves you a lot of time, it provides you with the information you need first and foremost so you can negotiate much more effectively. Therefore, always prioritise and think of the questions that will benefit you the most. The other questions will provide bonus information.

 4. Lay everything out

As Harvard Business School professor, Deepak Malhotra would say, “negotiate multiple interests simultaneously.”

In his book “Negotiating the Impossible”, it explains that by having several offers or issues laid out by you and your opponent, it makes it easier for negotiators to make wise tradeoffs. This means they can fight for what matters to them most while giving up what the other side values more.

Many of us make the mistake of negotiating one issue at a time which will often lead to everyone fighting hard for whatever that happens to be offered. This will less likely provide what everyone truly wants out of the deal.

 5. Smile!

Sometimes, negotiating deals can get a little too intense between you and the other party. So what can be done to help deescalate the situation? Showing positive facial expressions.

This is because your facial expression have the ability to influence your emotions and others around you as well.

One of the ways to show positive facial expressions is to smile. It naturally creates a higher frequency of sound in your mouth, changing the overall tone of your voice. And due to the human instinct of mirroring, it will also likely make others smile along with you which then improves the mood of everyone in general. However, it is important to smile genuinely. A forced smile will only end up making you look confused and frustrated.

6. Build bridges instead of walls

The most effective negotiators are professionals who know their business and don’t let personalities and irrational behavior interfere with their mission. While they know it is good to have power in a negotiation, they are also thinking long-term for their company. This means building a good relationship with their opponent and not straining it.

Building good relationships with other parties is essential especially if you are negotiating with them on a regular basis. This is because if the other party was threatened into submission, they probably will make it harder for you in the next negotiation or worse, stop negotiating with you again, possibly cutting off any future business.

 7. Focus less on your limitations and more on your opponent’s

Focusing on your weaknesses or limitations too much will naturally make you believe your offer is less desirable than your opponent’s. This then makes you believe you are in a less powerful position which can affect your negotiating. Do not dwell on your limitations as your opponent will be able to sense your concerns and grab onto that weakness to their advantage.

Instead, focus on their’s instead. Asking the right questions and finding out what they’re trying to solve and why they need to solve them, will help you gain leverage in a negotiation. This is because gaining the upper hand when it comes to negotiating is about focusing on the pressures that your opponent face.

  8. Know your opponents

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

By further understanding your opponents better, the easier it is for you to know what their wants and needs are which puts you in a favourable position. To understand them better, always ask as many open-ended questions as possible to gather all the details you can about them.

So if you’re going to ask for something, take the time to find out what motivates that person. Then, make an offer that fuels their motivation. It is important to make them feel as if they are the ones being satisfied as it makes them much more open to giving you what you need.

But, if they still do not want to agree to your terms, don’t lash out and attack them. Instead, think what could possibly motivate the other party while you try to achieve your desired goal as well.

With that said, this does not mean that you give them everything they want – it’s about fulfilling what their basic requirements are while fulfilling yours. Make it a win-win situation.

9. Adapt to the situation

Many of us seem to have the misconception that being assertive, dominant and fearless will be sure fire way to help us clinch the deal. But in some cases, the key to a successful negotiation isn’t exactly about being dominant but rather about finding common ground.

Experts like Researcher Scott Wiltermuth explains this concept over at the Harvard Business Review where successful negotiations are more about finding a complementary relationship than it is about being assertive. This sometimes mean being submissive.

This is achieved when two parties reach dominance complementarity whereby one person in an interaction behaves differently from the other. This means if one negotiator acts submissive the other will act more dominant. Research shows that these individuals who achieve dominance complementarity reached better deals than pairs who are not. In short, this means learning when it is the right time to be aggressive and when not to to be.

10. Listen More than You Talk 

“If I listen, I have the advantage, If I speak, others have it.”

Listening sounds simple but it takes effort, energy and patience to do so effectively. Many would be surprise of how impatient others can get while a person is speaking, cutting into their conversation before the speaker can finish.

One of the biggest misconceptions about negotiating is that people feel the need to ramble on and on. They tend to have this perception that more things get done if they talk more.

Instead, of talking more time, listen more instead – Studies prove that great negotiators are those who are able to uncover more needs of others than their less successful counterparts. This finding is important especially for sales people since they make their living by negotiating.

So listen. You can find out what the other party is looking to get out of the negotiations by letting them speak more. This in turn helps you gain insights of what the other party is willing to compromise and where their position stands – The more you know about their position, the clearer it is to for you to offer a deal they can’t resist.

Here’s a video about the power of listening by William Ury, one of the world’s best-known and most influential experts on negotiation:

 

11. Remain Calm in Dire Situations

It is vital to remain calm under stressful or pressurising situations during a negotiation. A good negotiator is one who does not combust and let their emotions get the better of them. They do not panic and are able to think clearly throughout the process, coming out of the negotiation successfully and unscarred. Bad negotiators on the other hand, end up missing opportunities and creating bad relationships with other prospects which makes it more disadvantageous for themselves.

One way to ensure you do not panic when the other party is pressing you is to always think positively, focus on your strengths and always remember what your end goal is.

Furthermore research shows we stand a greater chance of success if we focus more on our strengths. When under pressure, try to think of a positive situation, thought or outcome. This will help distract your brain from focusing on the negativity when things don’t seem to be going so well.

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.      – Han Selye”

This is because thinking positively helps your brain to keep stress in the back of your mind. Just think about it, when you are happy or optimistic, do you ever feel stressed and anxious? Exactly, you don’t. This is because positive thinking shifts your attention to a “stress-free” zone in your brain.

Here’s a video explaining how we can turn our negative energy into something positive:

12. Learn to deal with negative behaviour

Humans are naturally emotionally-driven. But sometimes, letting your emotions get the better of you can end up destroying relationships and businesses. It is evident throughout history that ego and emotions have destroyed many corporations and businesses.The moment you lose your temper, you are in danger of creating bad ties with the prospect when dealing with them in the future or worse, losing them as prospect forever.

Instead, try to detach yourself from your emotions during the situation and focus on closing a deal – something much more rewarding and beneficial in the long run. It’s important to remember that negotiations aren’t personal attacks on a particular person, but rather they are just a form of business.

13. Do not rush a negotiation

One thing is for sure; no one likes to be rushed.

Here’s an example: Imagine being a customer, contemplating on whether you should buy a product and a salesperson is incessantly trying to rush you to the cashier to buy it. The same goes for negotiating.

Nothing will make you look more desperate than being in a constant rush to try and seal the deal. It’s great when a deal is closed quickly so you can reap the profits sown but it’s better to be patient.

Not only do you risk annoying the future prospect, you may also skip over the important points, which can incur losses on your end.

Furthermore, your managers or bosses will not be happy to hear you rushed to close a deal without covering all the necessary bases. Even if you are tight for time, make sure you cover every possible point and not miss out anything important.

 14. Have a win-win mindset

The best outcome is when a solution satisfies both you and the other party. To see to it that there are no losers at the end of the deal. This is, undoubtedly, the most preferred negotiation anyone would love to be in.

And this is possible. But it means being willing to put differences aside so you can listen carefully to what both of you want. And then working together to find a win-win solution.

This win-win mindset will not only make you leave the room getting what you want, but it also helps deepen the bond between you and the other person.

This is because you’ve come to appreciate the courtesy and respect the other person has shown you – and likewise with them. If you’re lucky, they may want to work with you again as a future prospect in the long run.

15. Always make sure price is the last negotiation

Never negotiate the price until everything else has been negotiated. This is because money is mostly the only thing your company will ever receive from a buyer.

Furthermore, agreeing on the price first can put you in a disadvantageous position and at risk of a loss. This is especially so if the prospect starts negotiating other terms of the deal after the price has been established.

Ensure that you’re only negotiating the price when it’s the last thing standing between you and a deal.

16. Don’t give in too early

Resist the temptation to give in too quickly when someone asks for a concession. That person is not entitled to anything. And, you shouldn’t feel pressured to meet their needs either.

Giving in too early often results in the decrease of value of your product, solution or services. It may even be the permanent set expectation for future negotiations which can be disadvantageous for you in the long run. This brings us to our next point.

 17. Always get something in return

It’s perfectly normal to give concessions in a negotiation from time to time. However, do it in moderation.

The biggest mistake people make is to constantly give something away without getting something in return. This will make your opponent feel entitled to these extra concessions. In the long run, it can make them feel dissatisfied during future negotiations since they’ll start to expect more.

Instead of giving in all the time, try getting something in return as well. Make them earn these concessions so they’ll appreciate everything you’ve given up to them. This is to ensure they do not take you for granted.

For example, if a prospect wants a discount on the price, make it conditional on a longer contract. Or, if a prospect wants something else thrown in with their purchase, make it conditional on signing a deal immediately.

The arrangement can be made in any way so long as you’re also getting something in return.

18. Be realistic

A study conducted by Forbes found that negotiators who do better than the average have high but realistic goals.

Great negotiators observe, calculate and rely on their gut feeling to get a good read on what might happen and what might not.

They also have a profound understanding of what’s in the field of play and what’s beyond, making them good decision makers. As a result, their trades, ideas and solutions are often a success.

19. Learn to walk away

Sometimes, we know a deal can’t be made and that’s okay. There’s no point wasting you and the other party’s time if both of you cannot settle.

However, many seem to have this misconception that they must clinch the deal which may backfire on them. For instance, if you constantly give large concessions just to get deals, you’ll only be incurring losses at your end.

In short, know when a deal is no longer attainable so you know when to stop. If a deal cannot be salvaged or does not benefit you, it’s okay to walk away. This can be challenging  when sales are slow but remember that there will always be someone to sell to if you keep your pipeline full.

20. Practice, practice, practice!

This is the most important and most the underrated strategy. Without enough research on the topic, we can all agree that not many are able to sound convincing when negotiating. Well, the same goes for practicing.

Negotiating like any other skill, requires practice in order for an individual to be good at it. To improve, try to condition yourself to negotiate at every opportunity.

Not only will it help you become more attuned with negotiating, it also increases your success rate over time. In addition, you become much more confident and well-respected amongst your peers, customers and even opponents.

Summing it Up

 Overall, negotiation is a mix of art and science. It takes a combination of street smarts, unwavering discipline and dedicated time spent on research, the thought process and execution.

Once you’ve mastered negotiating, the hard work will be worth it. It’ll help unlock your ability to get the best deal possible under any circumstances.

With that being said, negotiating does not have one format or structure that’s always the right answer. Instead, it’s about understanding how to convince your prospects with the tips provided in the right situation. So what method you use will determine whether you successfully clinch the deal.

And there you have it! Make full use of these 20 tips to help hone your negotiation skills. Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

6 Great Ways to Follow Up With Sales Prospects

So you’ve just put on a killer presentation that completely wows your audience or prospect. Time to go home and bask in the glow of a job well done, right? Well, no—not if you want your audience members to take action. You’ve connected with a group of prospective clients, colleagues, donors or volunteers; now it’s time to reconnect with them and seal the deal.

Following up with your prospect is actually something you should consider well before your presentation begins. Form a plan for how you plan to reach out and reconnect with them; this will give you a much better chance to persuade them towards an action.

Afterall, not everyone will be ready to buy from the get-go, most people need to be nurtured before they’ll be willing to buy what you sell. There are numerous sales techniques you could use to boost your closing rate, but ones specific to following up will help you secure those meetings for them to take the next step.

Here are some simple techniques you should keep in mind:

1.Exchange business cards

Before you end your presentation and walk out of the room, it’s important to give the prospect your business card. This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but with the advent of social media and other digital communications, many people take print media for granted.

You never want to be short of these handy references when you’re out and about at networking events and after speaking at conferences. Most of the time, conference attendees will be on the lookout for the speaker they just saw on stage sharing industry insights and will want to personally connect for further discussion after the conference is over.

Any business card is better than none at all, but if you’re going to invest resources into creating cards for your brand, make sure they have a design that stands out. Recipients are much more likely to hold on to a card with an unusual shape or design.

2.Create a video

An email is a fast and convenient way to reconnect with audience members after a sales presentation. But if you want to make a solid impression, you should do more than send a standard “just following up” message.

One creative technique you can use is creating a YouTube video (or a series of videos) related to the topic of your presentation and the action that you want recipients to take. Well executed corporate videos offer you an opportunity to demonstrate your product or service in a more visual way. You can even include taped testimonials from some of your other clients to provide social proof.

A video doesn’t need to be expertly produced in a professional studio with a green screen or elaborate set pieces. With the right editing and talent, just speaking into a camera and providing a few visual aids is often enough to leave a positive impression and motivate your audiences to take the next step. Just be sure to communicate clearly and concisely; few people will want to sit through a video that’s hours long rambling on the same thing.

3.Mail a handwritten letter

If you do nothing else to follow up after a sales presentation, you can also try to send a handwritten letter to your audience members. It’s one of the best things you can do to establish a personal connection. We’ve had success with this by sending outreach letters on special occasions like Chinese New Year or Christmas. These help to open doors to further communication with the clients.

If you can, avoid creating a single generic form letter that you send to everyone. Try to personalise it as much as possible; include a specific detail about your addressee (such as the type of work they do). We’ve found that printing envelopes or custom designed cards and including handwritten messages tend to get the best responses.

Some manufacturers like Company Folders let you customise envelopes and cards so that you can deliver cards that are on-brand and well-received by prospects.

4.Write an e-book

Even if you’re not strictly in the literature business, writing an e-book related to your industry is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and reinforce your value to potential clients. Provide your presentation audience members with a free copy of that book via an opt-in sequence so that they can refer to valuable reference of the knowledge shared in their own time and you’ll get access to information to reach out to them again.

Writing an e-book doesn’t need to be a daunting task; you don’t even necessarily need to perform a bunch of new research. Consider creating an e-book version of your sales presentation design. This shouldn’t just be a direct transcript; written mediums are different from spoken ones, so this will likely require a bit of editing to adapt. Make sure your information flows in a way that is logical and easy to read.

5.Give a gift

Sending audience members of your sales presentations a promotional gift isn’t always an option. In fact, certain companies have very strict rules about what they can and can’t accept as gifts. If your recipient does allow for it, though, sending a printed keychain or magnet that features your logo and/or contact information isn’t a bad idea. These are less likely to get thrown out than business cards because they have a practical, tangible utility.

Gifts shouldn’t be treated like a bribe; don’t try to butter people up with something extravagant. Instead, think of it as a means of connecting emotionally and helping them to more easily remember your brand agency.

exchange business cards - ways to reconnect with sales prospects

6.Respond to questions

If anyone asks questions during your sales presentation (particularly ones you’re not fully prepared to answer), make note of them and the people who asked them. Later, you can email them with a detailed response. This helps establish trust and demonstrates to people that you care enough to pay personal attention, ensuring that they’re fully informed.

If you still aren’t certain how to answer a question (even after performing some research), refer the audience member to someone who’s more equipped to help. Even though you couldn’t assist them directly, prospects will remember that you put in the time to try and help them.

When you want to attract clients to a business or community members to a brand, “love ‘em and leave ‘em” isn’t a strategy that will work. Following up with your audience members is all about building a relationship—letting people know that you have more to offer them well beyond what you’ve already shared.

To summarise, here are 5 great ways to reconnect with your audiences via follow-ups after your presentation is over:

  1. Exchange business Cards
  2. Create a video
  3. Mail a hand-written letter
  4. Write an e-book
  5. Give a gift
  6. Respond to queries

Do you have other ideas for sales follow ups with audience members after a presentation? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

6 Top Sales Techniques and Why They Work

No matter whether it’s the classic Pac-Man or a mind-boggling Sudoku puzzle, there is a technique to win in every game. The same goes for sales. There are certain techniques that can help one achieve unreachable targets. With this list of top sales techniques, you’re all set to turn those impossible targets into reality.

1. Internal Evaluation

The top mistake that most sales teams make is jumping straight to selling services and products. Making profit. Little do these teams know, understanding your teammates and company from the inside out goes a long way. Without the fundamentals of a proper sales structure, and how your team works, you may encounter many difficulties in the sales process. In order to avoid such mistakes, here are three questions to assess your team’s dynamics and progress – What are the methods to monitor sales results? Has your team been hitting the sales target? How is your sales compensation system like?

a) What are the methods used to monitor sales results?

The very first step is to understand your own sales results. The crux of this understanding lies not in values and numbers but a consistent variable to measure results. This variable will be used throughout a long period of time in cohesion with the company’s goals. Besides the usual KPI, a constant variable can be calculated using distinct formulas such as the percentage of revenue, close ratio or productivity level.

These statistics are important as it will provide valuable insight for the following your team’s performance as well as identifying key areas where some extra help could come in handy for your company/product.

Having a consistent measurement also ensures to aid your sales team to compare and contrast sales results currently and results from months or years ago. It also helps the team to focus on a clear goal.

For example, your company is trying to drive up sales from new customers. One way to go about doing this is by using the number of sales closed. With the help of a supportive compensation plan, your sales team will be driven towards closing sales from new customers. With the fundamentals of identification covered, a sales dashboard can be very helpful in managing them. It aids your team in measuring and tracking sales results, as well as giving them a specific direction to aim for.

b) Has your team been hitting the sales target?

If the answer is no, the reason is because your team has not identified their ultimate goal. Here’s an example: Say you want an A for that test. In order to do that, you need to achieve a goal like 80 marks an above to get the grade. However, to reach that goal, you need to make a plan to study consistently every day before the exam – likewise with sales.

A goal is the primary result you and your team wants to achieve.
The plan or objectives are the measurable strategies used to achieve this ultimate goal.

Fitzhugh Dodson once said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

Without a specific goal and plan, your team will be heading aimlessly into the abyss of the corporate world. Discuss and ensure the team’s goal is aligned and then once this is established, make a plan to achieve that goal.

Having a target set, be it for individuals or a team, helps to give a gauge of the progress made. Using details such as the difference between target and actual sales will provide a better differentiation between salesmen.

With your newly found information, you are now able to strategize your other sales techniques better.

Forming sub-teams is an alternative to this problem. Pairing the lowest performing members with the best performers can motivate them to do better while giving your top salesmen a chance to mentor and lead others.

c) How is your sales compensation system like? Does it promote the right attitude at work?

Different cultures in companies may affect what kind of benefit staff are motivated by. To do so, company must know their staff and how they work. For example, Company X motivates their employees through compliments and acknowledgement vs Company Y that motivates their staff by providing bonuses/promotions.

The truth is, people are motivated by benefits presented to them. However, knowing what type of benefit motivates them is another story. For some, a compensation plan can help. Be it team dinners or commissions, it has to be attractive enough to propel your team towards self-driven sales.

Besides keeping them hungry for sales, it is also a good way to keep aligned with the company’s goals as mentioned before. For other companies, they maybe be motivated differently.

2. Value Parity V.S. Value Wedge


https://corporatevisions.com/value-proposition/

Value parity is that overlapping space where you realize that your business holds similarities with others in the same industry. Putting yourself in that tier makes your product a dime in a dozen. Why should customers buy your product when it’s the same like every other product out in the market?

On the other hand, value wedge is something that differentiates you from your competitors. Something that makes your product/company stand out from the crowd.

Thus, it’s natural to focus on your value wedge. This difference between you and your competitors acts as an advantage. But how do you know what your value wedge is?

First of all, your value wedge has to be unique. It has to be something which only you will have or be able to provide. Aside from that, it has to be important to the customer. It doesn’t make sense to have a value wedge without a unique selling point or something your prospects could care less about.

Second of all, your value wedge has to be defensible. When customers start questioning the different options available, those who fail to justify their uniqueness will always be at the losing end. For instance, most companies in the interior design industry are able to provide similar services. If you are the owner of an interior design company which can provide services at a lower cost, try tapping into this selling point as your value wedge and prospects will be keener to choose you over your competitors.

Being able to differentiate yourself through a value wedge will help you in narrowing down the unique strengths that you can use in encouraging prospects to choose your product amongst the many in the market.

sales technique number three be an effective listener-

3. Be An Effective Listener

Being an effective listener is always harder than it seems to be. When we jump straight into getting the prospect to understand our value wedge, we tend to get ahead of ourselves and miss out important details about the prospect.

The moment someone thinks you’re not listening, you’ve lost them. Besides the importance of being heard by you, an effective listener has to sieve out information from your prospect. Through the different cues given, you will be able to craft your pitch better. These hidden clues such as how they’re feeling or thinking can only be spotted by listening.

Being an effective listener will generally help you in bringing about a positive impression to your prospects while gathering hints from them regarding their business. When they know you’re listening, they usually go one step further telling you more about them.

Source: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/active-listening.html

So what is active listening? Active Listening is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. It involves listening with all senses.

Another way to demonstrate active listening is through questions. It is the easiest and fastest way to get quality answers from your prospect. The most important part of this interaction process is to learn more about their pain points and help them solve it. It provides better insights on the issues and how you are able to play a part in it.

Observing Body Language is also another form of active listening. By observing their body language, one can understand how they feel and think as well. One example is mirroring. If you catch your prospects mirroring your actions, it can be deduced that they are comfortable with you and keen to know more. However, if their feet are facing in an outward fashion, they might be indicating that they are feeling uncomfortable.

Provide a summary

After gathering information from your prospect through listening and questioning, you may want to do a summary in your own words of the things covered. During this process, you will be able to clarify any doubts or misconceptions while aligning both visions. Doing so will bring you across as someone who is attentive to details and willing to take time to understand the pains of their business.

sales technique be empathetic

4. Build sustainable long-term business relationships with clients

No one likes to be sold to – buyers prefer to be guided to make their own decision. As a salesperson, you’re meant to facilitate the sales process, not dominate it. With the constant need to meet targets within tight time frames, many sales professionals struggle to empathise with their clients.

To overcome this, sales professionals need to understand that the only way to build sustainable long-term business relationships with their clients is for them to first buy you as a person. Only then, will they be willing to buy what you sell. One of the best ways for your prospects to buy into you is empathy. This is the sales professional’s’ ability to understand a given pain, situation or challenge from the prospect‘s point of view and provide on point solutions and responses that build trust.

There are many ways to exercise empathy in the sales process with your prospects, which can range from body language to verbal expressions. One other way a sales professional can exercise empathy is to understand the D.I.S.C personality model which provides a very simple but effective understanding of the 4 main personality traits and how people with different traits like to deal with people, challenges, and tasks. Understanding this allows the sales professional to prepare their appointments and information in a way that their prospects’ will be receptive to.

sales technique have a script for calls

5. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections

Rejection should not be a foreign word to salespeople. You may be wondering how you should deal with it or maybe how can you turn those objections into yes-es.

This is when you will identify the common reasons for rejections. Gather your team, list them down and start brainstorming for solutions. Some things which should be covered during this process include:

a) The cause of rejection (eg. too pricey, do not need the service now)
b) What are some problems they face?
c) How can we turn that around?

Here is an example of using this sales technique:

The cause of rejection?
Limited budget set aside for the service.

How can we turn that around?
One way to counter this is to offer an installment plan or to provide reasons for the high price. You can justify the price by showing how it includes premium services or service customization, and mention that the customer is paying more for something that is of better quality and tailored towards their needs.

This may be a very tedious process which could take up to a few days to complete. However, through this, you have formulated the ultimate cheat sheet for your sales team. With the script in your hands, you and your team will be much more prepared for any common objection and be better equipped to tackle these difficulties.

For a more comprehensive guide on how to tackle rejections, you might want to cover the different approaches towards different personality types as well.

sales technique number five follow up

6. Follow-Ups

According to a research done, 80% of sales requires at least 5 follow-ups. This shows the importance of building a continuous relationship when it comes to sales. You may receive empty replies or rejections, but it is always good to continue working on building rapport with your prospects.

The beauty of follow-ups is the personalized customer service each prospect receives, which makes them feel important and valuable to the company. Even if you receive an initial ‘no’, doing follow-ups provides you with leverage over your competitors as the prospect is likely to think of you first when future opportunities arise.

Follow-up methodologies in the sales process vary from one industry to another. Suffice to say, it’s important for sales professionals as it allows them to keep in constant contact with the prospect in hopes that somewhere along the way, the prospect will convert into a client. Many times, longer sales cycles are due to industry-specific trends and not particularly affected by the quality of the salesperson. In these cases, following up religiously is a salesperson’s best bet for securing a sale.

One challenge many sales professionals face is asking for a follow-up. Studies show that the chances of closing significantly increases during the 5-8th appointment. The only way you can have that many appointments is if the prospect wants to meet you and for him to meet you, you need to have something new to offer or give every single time. Hence be sure not to “reveal” everything that you have or know in the first meeting, this will give you an opportunity to schedule another appointment with the prospect.

Having this in mind, here are some age-old principles that you can use to evaluate the quality of your follow-up so that you eventually get the opportunity to convert your prospects to clients.

a) Be consistent – Ask for permission to follow-up, determine the frequency and do that consistently unless the client requests an earlier response.

b) Value – Each follow-up should be different and progressive from the one before. It should respond to a NEED or WANT

c) Consolidate – After every follow-up meeting, consolidate what was discussed and indicate next steps

So here you have it, the top sales techniques right at your fingertips. Remember to keep on practicing and perfect those persuasive techniques of yours.

  1. Internal Evaluation
  2. Value Parity VS Value Wedge
  3. Be an Active Listener
  4. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections
  5. Follow-Ups

Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

4 Ways to Establish Trust In Your Presentation or Sales Pitch

There’s no doubt that a riveting story structure and a visually arresting deck are both requisites of a great presentation or pitch. However, apart from the other presentation mistakes you might make, all your work developing your presentation might be for naught if your audiences don’t trust you. If you can’t establish credibility early on in your presentation, it’s as good as not delivering the presentation in the first place as your messages will likely fall on deaf ears and you can’t influence your audience.

The adage: “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned.” usually rings true here. Problem is, trust is typically hard to earn and sometimes, you simply don’t have the luxury of time to build trust quickly from scratch on the first contact with your audience.

Unlike personal selling, you don’t always get to build rapport with your audience on a one-to-one basis. Instead, it’s likely you’ll only be able to speak to a group of people at a time when you’re delivering a presentation.

From our experience, your credibility during a presentation depends on a few factors

i) If the audiences feel you are authentic and honest as a speaker

Nobody likes a sleazy salesperson. If you appear to be untrustworthy or evasive when delivering your presentation, you can expect to face obstacles getting them to take action or believe what you say.

ii) Whether you are perceived as an expert on your topic of choice

There are way too many people calling themselves gurus in the market and audience members are quick to make snap judgments based on whether you have the requisite knowledge or expertise.

iii) How well you can appeal to your audiences

Even if you hit all the right notes in the other two areas, you might not always be able to appeal to certain audience members that might have deep-seated prejudices which go against your cause.

Here are 5 ways to implicitly build and establish trust as you’re delivering your presentation:

1. Back up what you say with evidence

It’s easy to make sweeping claims like: “We’re the best company in this industry”, but supporting these audacious statements with hard facts and data is where it gets challenging.

Naturally, you won’t always have research papers to back up every assertion or opinion you might have. Here are some ways to reference other people or hard evidence in varying degrees of credibility:

Referencing actual research papers and aggregated statistics

You’d be surprised at the extent of research that has been published. Scientists have conducted experiments and research on anything from cognitive biases on how to be more persuasive to stats on mobile penetration in specific countries.

For example, in a formal business presentation setting, there’ll be occasions where you’ll need to reference quantitative evidence on why certain business decisions need to be made. These obviously can’t be based on your own personal opinion but hard, indisputable factual evidence. Using data in your presentations is essential to building trust.

Quote respected authorities or experts

In some cases where you’re trying to make a case to take action on something that you can’t find quantitative data on, citing a strong ‘endorsement’ or quote from an authority figure is the next best thing.

Similarly to how we trust authority figures purely via conditioned behaviour in our lives (doctors, police, teachers) as theorized by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence, we tend to lend trust to people whoare considered authorities in their respective fields (aka the Principle of Authority).Principles from Influence also apply in presentations.

For example, Jack Ma of Alibaba has risen to fame as an entrepreneur and business magnate to the extent that his foresight on market climates and the ‘future’ of industries is widely cited. Can we say that his statements are 100% accurate? No. Yet, we still afford his words credibility because of his stature, background, and inherent expertise.

2. Develop your expert identity

A Nielsen research study found that consumers in a marketing setting unanimously seek out information and take action on content provided by companies or journalists they perceive to be experts.

It is integral that when you’re speaking on a topic, you have to be perceived as someone that has the relevant expertise and that you ‘know what you’re talking about’.

A way to do this implicitly is weaving a mix of client testimonials, credentials and relevant awards to signify your deep domain knowledge and expertise.

Show past client testimonials and credentials

A great way to immediately build credibility is having someone else talk about you in a positive light. Testimonials are a quick way to do this without seeming like you’re selling yourself – instead, it’s someone else doing the selling.

In Robert Cialdini’s epic, Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, this effect is known as ‘Social Proof’ where we augment our behaviors to match what is perceived to be socially acceptable or correct behaviour as dictated by the masses. It’s almost like a herd mentality of sorts. He goes even further to talk about the more pronounced effects of it when the source of social proof is similar to the subject that needs to be persuaded.

What this means is that if you quote clients that are similar to your audience during your presentation, you’ll have a much easier time establishing trust from the get-go. At the same time, showing a list of past clientele can also help to assure listeners that others have put their trust in you prior and this can improve your image of trustworthiness.

Look the part

We tend to make snap-judgments on different unconscious signals by salespeople or presenters. It could be a hint of contempt in their microexpressions or the way they shake hands, but half the battle is sometimes won by simply looking the part. The visual aspect and first impression lends to build part of your expert identity.

If you try to make someone pay for an expensive meal that’s wrapped in cling wrap in a dingy little store versus a posh, clean and well-designed restaurant, you’ll definitely get push back. In most cases, presentations aren’t too different.

First impressions can be affected by anything from sloppy dressing to cluttered slides. Venngage put together an excellent resource on expert presentation design styles you can adapt for your next presentation.

 

Have an unconventional opinion

True experts are expected to have original ideas that sometimes go against the grain of commonly touted advice or industry norms. It’s not to say that you should actively seek to be contrarian for the sake of it, but being able to hold your ground and have a clear stance is indicative of an expert that knows what he/she is talking about. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk can be considered a prolific and polarizing figure because of his irreverent way of speaking as well as his contrarian opinions.

An easy way to do this is to identify a common, but misguided belief that the industry has and logically debunk it with your own theory. Having an original stance and supporting it with evidence can quickly help you become perceived as an expert. 

We buy into the brand of industry moguls like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk precisely because they seem to offer ideas that are novel and unique. At the same time, because their ideas are at odds with the current status quo, we’re drawn to their narratives because of either the Underdog Effect(e.g. when Apple is up against conglomerates like IBM) or the protagonist-antagonist dynamic of their vision(e.g. Elon Musk fighting against pollution and innovating beyond the public’s current perception of what’s possible).

Share relevant credentials that matter to your audience

featured on establishing trust

Different audiences have various ways that they use to evaluate speakers on trustworthiness. Being aware of these early on will give you an edge in establishing trust with your audience.

For example, if you’re aware that your audience values globalized insights, having a slide that validates your experience in a global setting can help you develop a strong position of authority.

In certain industries, even factors like age can play a part in whether your audiences listen to your or discount your views on first-impression. For example, in tech companies, older workers are perceived to take longer to ‘get to grips with new skills’.

Hence if you’re speaking at a tech-related event, it might not be the best strategy to try to boost your credibility by boasting about your age via public speaking. Being prepared for the right context can make or break your presentation.

Only after establishing the needs in #1 should you “formally” introduce yourself or your company to make yourself relevant

3. Have genuine intent to add value to your audience

Remember that the presentation is never about you, it’s about your audience. It’s about what they want to achieve and how you can help them get there.

As such, it’s imperative that you find out as much about them as possible prior to developing your presentation and work towards adding value to them, instead of force-feeding them a solution that they don’t need.

The best way to do this is to put in a couple of extra hours to deliver timely, relevant content coupled with effective presentation design that’s obviously tailored to your audience.

Use examples that your audiences resonate with

Think back to when you were back in school, listening to your lecturer offer examples that didn’t interest you in the least bit. Similarly, if you were speaking to a group of millennials today, they would have specific areas of interest that you can take advantage of.

Referencing recent trending news and drawing relationships between what you’re speaking about and what they might find relevant is an easy way to build rapport quickly. If you’re talking about a business-related topic, try referencing popular companies like SnapChat or Instagram that they interact with on a daily basis. You can be sure they’ll sit up and listen if it hits close to home. That way, you’ll have their attention and appreciation for taking the time to put together relevant examples.

4. Have a process for execution

According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. This makes it difficult for you to try and breeze through the sales conversation without any real substance.

In another study by Bain, 375 companies were asked if they believe they delivered a superior value proposition to clients. Eighty percent said yes. Bain then asked the clients of these actual companies if they agreed that the specific company that they bought from actually delivered this superior value proposition. You know what’s funny? Only eight percent agreed.

Buyers that need to make purchases quickly now rely on how believable you are rather than make logical comparisons on the actual value proposition.

For those that are selling a product or service, a great way to quickly establish trust to get you closer to buy-in is to detail a process of execution especially for sales presentations or investor presentations. Generally, when we’re buying anything in today’s age, we have unlimited access to information online to make comparisons that lead to an informed choice.

Showing that you or your company follows a repeatable process helps to put your buyer’s mind at ease. Instead of putting their trust in a single individual doing guesswork, they can now rely on a proven methodology or framework rather than just the words of the person they’re speaking to. In some cases, this is communicated at the end to conclude your presentation and to suggest next steps.

Whenever you’re in doubt as to whether your presentations will establish trust during your sales pitch or presentation, ask yourself if it fulfills these four criteria:

  1. Back Up What You Say With Evidence
  2. Develop Your Expert Identity
  3. Have Genuine Intent To Add Value To Your Audience
  4. Have A Process Of Execution

There you have it, four ways to almost immediately establish trust during your presentations on-stage, in the boardroom or digitally.
——
Originally published on Business.com: https://www.business.com/articles/how-to-establish-trust/

How to Use Mystery Storytelling to Enchant Your Audience

Let’s face it – we all love stories.

From the fairy tales, we read growing up to action-packed comic books of a hero’s journey and even that touching ad on tv that made you tear a little – stories are everywhere we look.

But for me, there will always be one particular genre that I’ll hold close to heart above the rest, and it’s the quintessential whodunit.

Mystery storytelling is more common than you might realise.

As a child growing up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie, there were few things more relaxing than curling up with a good mystery novel. I’d follow the detective’s footsteps closely and pin my bets on one particular suspect, only for him to end up as the murderer’s second victim! Classic, edgy and suspenseful, it’s no wonder the mystery genre has made it on to everyone’s top 10 lists at some point or another.

And here’s the thing that good mysteries and good presentations have in common. Suspense! That’s what keeps the reader turning the page at 4 in the morning, and your audience glued to the edge of the seats instead of slipping out for an extended coffee break. It keeps your audience wanting more.

So how do you weave suspense masterfully into your presentation narrative like a mystery?

1. Kill Off Mr.Perfect 

What’s better than a hero? A flawed hero. Your audience won’t care for a protagonist that seems to have everything under control. The lead detective always has something else on his mind – his crumbling marriage, a damning secret from his past, etc. They want to see him struggle and grow because people relate more to your failures than your successes. That’s a good tip to keep in mind no matter the subject or context of your presentation. If you’re telling a personal anecdote, stop trying to sound like Mr. Perfect, because Mr. Perfect isn’t likable.

2. Tell A Story, Not Your Entire Life’s Backstory

Mysteries exist very much in the present (what’s happening in the current progress of the case) and the future (the detective’s plans for weeding out the culprit). Flashbacks are used minimally and expertly to add flavor to the story. Too much of it becomes draggy, and your story goes nowhere. Similarly, it’s great to recount an experience that put you on the path to making this speech, but the main gist of your presentation lies in your current efforts and future plans.

3. Plan Way Ahead of Time

A mystery author is always 300 pages in front his reader. Before he typed the first word of the first chapter, he already knew how the story was going to end. Even before the murder event is introduced on paper, the author had already scourged for clues, laid out the usual suspects, and sorted out the killer’s motive, opportunity, and method. Any mystery that begins without these in place is bound to fall flat. And if you don’t have your beginning, middle and end planned out, your audience better be prepared for a confused, meandering narrative that says everything and yet nothing at all.

4. Raise the Stakes

The suspense is all about making the reader worry about the impending doom that will befall your protagonist.

It’s about making these 3 points clear to your reader:
1) What the character desires,
2) What’s preventing him from achieving it, and
3) What’s going to happen if he doesn’t get what he wants?

What if the murderer isn’t caught? Will more lives will be in danger? Or if the millionaire’s fortune falls into hands bent on world domination? And you build suspense by drawing the doom ever closer and framing the situation in time. By when must something be done to avert the disaster? When’s the final deadline? If you story is missing these, create one. You need to build urgency to make your audience sit up and listen.

5. Make Promises

For the suspense to work, your audience needs to know something about the future to engage them. Don’t just keep your audience in the dark! An audience being led around by the nose won’t be engaged – they’ll be confused and disinterested. You need to continuously drop clues about where the story is heading. One foolproof way of doing this is to outline the contents of your speech, in brief, so your audience has an idea of what’s to come. You can also make promises with lines like “By the end of this speech, all of you will be equipped with the knowledge on how to delay global warming by just 10 minutes each day”. This promise creates anticipation from the audience.

6. But don’t forget to keep them!

The only thing worse than failing to make any promise with your audience is to fail to deliver on them. No one likes being taken for a ride, and as a speaker, you should do more to respect your audience’s time. Remember that your presentation is an advocacy for yourself, and your next collaborator or funder could be in the audience! If you’ve promised an “extensive approach to unleashing your inner writer”, a one-liner isn’t going to cut it. Or don’t promise a “revolutionary approach to marketing” if all you have to offer are predictable, clichéd tips culled from the top 5 hits of a Google search.

Just don’t make promises that you can’t deliver.

To Wrap It All Up…

At the end of the day, it all boils down to suspense – which has everything to do with generating audience empathy. Introducing a likeable protagonist, and pitting him against seemingly impossible obstacles that will have the audience rooting for him, coupled with a continuous promise-and-deliver rapport between speaker and audience, are what will get your audience hooked on your presentation and message.