Negotiation – Getting the Best Deal

The ability to negotiate strongly will determine your success when dealing with others. Today, every price, every condition, every offer is negotiable. Neil Rackham, who wrote Spin Selling 30 years ago says that back then sales involved around 40% negotiation. Today, he estimates it is 90%. When considering a new job, your ability to negotiate will determine the remuneration you receive much more than your qualifications. It is estimated that in the average recruitment interview only five minutes is spent discussing (let alone negotiating) remuneration; yet that discussion could add $5,000 to your salary. Where else could you earn $5,000 for five minutes work? And, of course, you are not just negotiating salary, but also conditions. In these days of more flexible working arrangements and time-poor lifestyles, the conditions you negotiate can impact massively on your quality of life.

Win-Win Improves your Network

Negotiating great deals not only gives you a better outcome, but creates the maximum value for the other party as well. So, as well as rewarding you financially, it also improves your relationships and strengthens your network. Ron Shapiro, lawyer and agent for some of America’s highest-paid sports stars says, “The best way to improve your situation is to improve your network; and the best way to improve your network is to create win-win deals.”

Bargaining

Your ability to bargain strongly will be determined by your research. Use whatever independent authorities you can to give your offer more credibility in the eyes of the other party. Put your offer on the table and sell it – articulating all the benefits for the other side. But, don’t jump in too early. Latest research has shown the later an offer is put forward, the better the final deal is. While it is essential that the other side believes that you have come ready to put an attractive offer on the table; it is important not to do it too soon. The later a first offer is made in the negotiation, the more likely it is that the negotiation will result in a more creative, higher value deal. This is because the second you start bargaining in a negotiation, you stop sharing information, and it is in this sharing of information that each side can identify where they can offer value to the other side.

Perception

In negotiation, perception is reality. Clever negotiators work hard to see the negotiation from the other side’s perspective. They recognise that they need to aim for the highest perceived value to the other side. For example, you may take the reliability of your supply as a given as you have never failed to deliver. But for a customer who has been disadvantaged by lack of supply in the past, reliability of supply has very high perceived value. The other side’s priorities are often driven by their past experience. If their past supplier was unreliable, your ability to provide a reliable service will have very high value to them. Smart negotiators ask, “What did you dislike most about your previous arrangement?” then show how it will never happen with them  

Never Give without Getting

A basic principle of negotiating is never give anything without getting something in return. Even if what they are asking for costs you nothing – get something back. Remember, it’s all about perceived value. If you give freely, they won’t value it – and are likely to ask for more.

Deal-Making

Good negotiators work hard to create the best deal for the situation – taking the relationship into account. They recognise that in some one-off negotiations where there is no on-going relationship, it is enough to just get the contract signed. But, most importantly, they know that most negotiations are not the end of the relationship – but the start of it. Latest research has shown that up to 70% of negotiated deals fail in their implementation. Smart negotiators never lose sight of this question – what is the point of the negotiation? Surely, it is not just to do a deal, but to implement an agreement that is mutually beneficial for all concerned. Negotiation is a life skill. If you are observant, every day you will see examples of clever win-win outcomes. Learn from these and it will improve every aspect of your life.

Presentation Skills – Beat the Fear and Enjoy Presenting!

Presentation skills aren’t something that you’re born with. They are something that you can learn. After all, Barak Obama wasn’t born making speeches and Churchill started life with a voice impediment. Presenting can be something you enjoy! And, as we all know, if you enjoy something it usually makes you better at it. So rather than a vicious circle of nerves, fear and failure; by following a few simple techniques you can create a brilliant, friendly circle of fun,excellence and success. Presentation skills are simply the tools you need to enjoy yourself. you can learn a great deal by working with a trainer, but here are a few presentation skills tips to deal with some common concerns and get you feeling confident.

1. Own the space – when a superstar enters, they own the room.If you arrive early get into the presentation room before your audience. Walk from front to back,walk round the edges. Have a look at the stage from the audience point of view. Make it yours. If you’re late and the crowd are waiting, do the same thing but with your eyes. Scan the presentation room; take in the details before you begin. Even if you feel nervous,you’ll start to make the space your own.

2. Don’t hold your breath – simple as that really. When you are anxious,your breathing becomes shallower; this affects your voice and drains the confidence from your presenting. Place your hand on your tummy button and breathe down deep. If it’s mid presentation, take a drink, give the audience a question to discuss, and send your breath down low. Steady your ship.

3. Relax your feet – another rapid fire remedy. The panic is rising, your voice is shaking and your hands are trembling. Stand still and relax your feet. Let go a little. Your feet are your foundation, let them take the weight. Trust us; it’ll make you feel better in a moment of panic.

4. Softly, softly – no one likes being glared at. So win you audience by making soft, gentle eye contact with them all. Think scan the room, not stare them down. You’ll make new friends that way.

5. You’re never alone- presenting is a two way communication. You don’t need to feel alone up there. Ask the audience a question to kick off, make it conversational, allow them to contribute and be happy not to know every answer.

By using a few of these tips your presentations will be on a surer footing, and you will be on the path to developing excellent presentation skills.

Presentation Design – Defending Your Slides

How many times have you found yourself the victim of a sales call?

If ‘victim’ is too strong a word, then how about ‘hostage’? Or maybe merely ‘prisoner’? If you’ve ever been forced to sit through a sales presentation that has you asking yourself, above all, “when will this end?”, then you know what I’m talking about. And one sure way you know you’re likely going to be in trouble is when the salesperson walks into your office carrying a laptop. You see the computer bag, and your first thought is of your brother-in-law walking up your drive with suitcase in hand.

Why do we feel like prisoners during the ‘dynamic’ discourse that accompanies the flying words and paragraphs describing how life just can’t go on without our buying this super new product or service? Because for the most part, the slides that make up the sales presentation are not designed to enhance your experience – they’re designed to walk the salesperson through his spiel. In fact, the slides are often designed by the salesperson’s manager as a way to ensure she will cover all the features that management deem essential to the sale.

PowerPoint does a great job of providing the memory-challenged salesperson with a structured way to remember everything he’s supposed to convey to the prospect, but usually at the cost of the prospect’s attention – or worse, his consciousness. And although its probably true that in many cases the prospect has been know to say ‘yes’ just to avoid having to sit through one more slide, the track record for most laptop sales presentations is not good. The negative experience of feeling prisoner to the 100+ slide deck more often counteracts any of the benefits that the sales-centric set of slides tries to show.

These days, PowerPoint is consistently called upon to perform tasks for which it was never designed. PowerPoint 1.0 was launched in April 1987, a Macintosh-only product that allowed non-programmers to put together simple black-and-white overheads without the need for a corporate graphics department. Dennis Austin, a software developer who was one of the originators of “Presenter”, the program that would soon become PowerPoint, recalls finding an old business plan from that time describing the concept behind the new software. One phrase read, “Allows the content-originator to control the presentation.”

Later that same year the originators sold the program to Microsoft for cash and stock.

Modern business would never be the same. Immediately, business presenters who had little or no background in design fundamentals were now able to do what thousands of recently empowered “desktop” publishers could do: produce very technically competent garbage.

The software improved over time, and new products made by competing companies offered increasingly sophisticated and sometimes useful enhancements. Eventually, it became apparent to some that instead of simply designing ever more impressive overheads, what this new genre was really all about was its ability to be a means to itself – that the computer was no longer the design machine, the computer was the presentation!

With each new version of computer-based presentation software we would find new ways to dazzle and impress ourselves with words and pictures in the dynamic environment of an LCD screen or projected image. By the time the first Windows95 version came out, Microsoft was touting on the box cover that the software was “For everyone who can’t wait to get a good idea across”. Were they suggesting that instead of taking the time to create good content, we should just use screeching brakes?

And somewhere along the way, the notion that the visuals were supposed to be about the audience, rather than the presenter, was swept away by the breeze of the flying text. By far the majority of the slides that our customers send us for review are crafted to be useful for keeping the presenter on track, period. When we asked a food-processing client of ours if they believed it was really necessary to list all 18 ingredients that went into their new vegetable soup concentrate on this one slide, they replied, “Well, probably not – but it’s the only way our salespeople can remember them”!

To know whether or not any given slide in your presentation deserves to be there, you have to be able to defend each of them like a junk-yard dog lawyer. And to do that, you must be able to make the case that without the slide, the customer’s experience would be lessened.

For example: If you were designing a presentation to sell people on a 7-day Caribbean cruise, you probably would include a slide that listed all the features of the trip. The slide would likely have a set of bullet points like this:

o Spacious, luxury accommodations on-board
o Dine each night to dramatic ocean sunsets
o Visit over 7 exciting ports-of-call
o Day-stops at sunny pristine island beaches
o Free rum drinks and on-board dancing nightly

Your list would serve you well to remember to tell your prospects about all these great reasons to reserve their stateroom now, but what do they do to enhance the audience experience? Actually, a slide like this is totally indefensible.

What your prospects need more is a way to visualize what the trip is all about, and for that you need just that – visuals. So instead of one slide for you, you need at least five slides for them: One with a full-screen picture of their room, one of a happy couple enjoying dinner on the evening deck, and others with great shots of the ports, the beaches, and the nighttime parties. All these images should be good enough to need very little explanatory verbiage from you.

Next presentation, make sure you can defend every slide, every graph, and yes, every bullet point like your life depended on it. Because your sale does.