Thu, 11/19/2015

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You learn more from your successes than failures.” Now, let’s apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing.  Companies and sales organizations don’t really believe that statement. How do I know? 

Walk into an office and you will find a success wall filled with plaques such as vendor of the year, CEO of the year or best places to work. Look around. Do you see any failure walls? If failure is our greatest teacher, why aren’t organizations boasting about their failures?  (Okay, a failure wall in the front lobby might be a little much.)     

Sales managers unknowingly create ‘play-it-safe’ sales cultures by not addressing the issue of failure. Here’s the real irony. If a salesperson is trying something new, such as opening a new market segment or going after a large opportunity, there is a good chance she doesn’t know everything needed to succeed.    

The fear of failure looms over the salesperson’s head and she defaults to doing what’s comfortable, what she knows. Status quo and comfort zone become the norm and sales revenues decline.

So what can sales managers do to create risk taking, failure loving sales cultures?

#1.  Reward failure.  At your next sales meeting, ask your team to share selling scenarios where they took a risk. Encourage a high five celebration for moving out of their comfort zones and into the profit making zone.

#2.  Ask the powerful questions.   “What lesson did you learn from the failure? How will this lesson serve you in the future in winning business?” 

These questions help salespeople see the tangible results of failing. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  

Go out and fail.  Get the lessons learned and apply them towards your next sales adventure and sales success.   

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management training
Fri, 11/13/2015

It’s the sales managers weekly one-on-one coaching session with the salesperson. They are examining the salesperson’s once full sales pipeline---that is now empty. The salesperson’s explanation:  “Everyone is happy with their existing vendor.”    

News alert!  Of course, your prospect is happy with their existing supplier. He or she is a human being and human beings cling to comfort and avoid change.  (How many of you are putting up with mediocrity with one of your personal or professional vendors?) And of course, the prospect is happy with the existing vendor---because the salesperson didn’t give him a compelling reason to change or invest more dollars.   

This objection is a fairly predictable one. So why are salespeople still getting stumped by it?   

#1.  Lack of pre-call planning.   There is a direct correlation between pre-call planning and the emotional intelligence skill of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the ability to put in the work to earn the reward of a well-run sales meeting.  i.e.,Research, practice.    

Instant gratification salespeople conduct appointments, without even knowing who the incumbent is and what they are offering!  As a result, the salesperson can’t create appropriate questions or value propositions to point out gaps in the competitors offering. 

Instant gratification salespeople hope the prospect will do their job and just figure out reasons to switch vendors.     

#2.  No customized value propositions.  A well designed value proposition points out gaps in a competitors offering---without ever mentioning the competition. 

For example, we worked with a client to help them unseat a well-liked, local firm. Because of their research, my client knew the incumbent wasn’t offering service or support beyond their state.   

We designed a value proposition to point out this gap---without mentioning the competition.  “Mr. Prospect, a lot of our clients come to us because they are really satisfied with their existing partner, however, are concerned about the business they are losing because they can’t support national or international clients.”   

Stop losing to existing vendor excuse.  Apply the EI skill of delayed gratification.  Put in the work to earn the reward of a new client.  Take time to research the competition and expose the gaps in their offerings through great value propositions and questions. 

Good Selling!   

tags: denver sales training, sales training, sales management, sales, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Fri, 10/30/2015

Verne Harnish has a great new book, Scaling Up, where many examples of best practices are discussed on how to scale your business rapidly and profitably.    

Of course Chapter Five, which focuses on training and on-boarding, really grabbed my attention. Harnish shares stories of several companies using training and development as their competitive weapon to create fast growth companies.    

One such company is City Bin Co. located in Galway, Ireland. The CEO, Gene Browne, created an internal training program titled, “Garbage University.” Every two weeks, from September to May, three hours of training is delivered to his team. 

Did the training investment pay off? Well, the company’s revenues grew by 100% and the company earned Deloittes Best Managed Company award in 2009, 2010, and 2011. That math works for me. 

So let’s call the elephant in the room. There is plenty of evidence that training and development of people yields a high return on investment. So what prevents sales organizations from implementing this proven strategy for growth?

Sales managers are stuck in the tyranny of the urgent. To use emotional intelligence terms, the sales manager has low impulse control and gives  into the pull of instant gratification.   

In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses the challenge and consequences of instant gratification through his Quadrant I and II model. Most sales managers get stuck in Quadrant I, doing activities which Covey describes as Urgent and Important (Instant Gratification). These activities range from fire-fighting, proposal writing or attending endless internal meetings. Quadrant II activities are defined as Not Urgent and Important (Delayed Gratification). These activities include training and development, relationship building, planning and preparation.   

 Sales managers look at training and development and “see” the amount of time and dollars required to improve a salesperson’s emotional intelligence and influence skills. What they don’t “see” as clearly is the hours of wasted time and missed revenue because their sales team isn’t properly trained. The team might be busy but not very productive.   

Apply the EI skill of reality testing to adjust your thinking and actions. Add up the number of hours your salespeople are wasting because of poor business development skills. Add up the dollars wasted writing proposals for prospects that are never going to buy. 

Do the math. Is it time to start training like a garbage company?      

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales, sales management, sales management training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, Sales Elephant
Thu, 10/22/2015

“Disruptive technology” is the new buzz phrase in business. It’s described as innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually displaces earlier technology. Companies invest dollars in R&D (research and development) to remain relevant, be disruptive and not turn into the next dinosaur. 

An equal number of dollars should be invested in another type of R&D: recruiting and  development of people. Innovation is really great when it’s accompanied by equally great people.   

Last week, I traveled to Poland to speak at the Harvard Business Review. The Boeing Dreamliner lived up to expectations. But what really made the trip across the ocean great were the excellent flight staffers of LOT Polish Airlines. They smiled, didn’t act like work is work and attended to each passenger’s every need.

What made a long trip great? The innovation behind the Dreamliner or the excellent flight attendants? It was a combination of both. 

In Warsaw, I stayed at the Intercontinental hotel. To my dismay, I quickly realized that I had purchased the wrong adaptors. A really bad hair day loomed ahead. I journeyed to the front desk to ask where I could purchase this “thingy majiggy.” The bellman overheard the conversation. Five minutes later, he showed up at my door, smiling and handing me an adaptor.  My stay and hair were about to get much better! Was it the lovely hotel or the people working at the hotel that turned me into a raving fan? 

The Harvard Business Review staffers were very gracious. They are bright people, scoring high in IQ and equally great in EQ. The team took time to educate me on the nuances of Polish businesses and business people. All the small details were handled, leaving me time to focus on delivering a compelling presentation. Hmmm. Anyone see a theme here? 

Perhaps one of the best ways to provide disruption isn’t anything new. Instead, it’s doing what’s always worked: Recruiting and developing great people.    

Good Selling!

tags: sales training Denver, sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management
Thu, 10/1/2015

Whether you are a new sales manager or veteran sales manager, you recognize that the skills needed to lead and direct a sales team, are very different than those required to be a top sales producer. Sales management requires skills such as training and coaching, giving feedback and running effective sales meetings. These are important skills to continue to improve, however, if you don’t master this one sales management skill, THE REST DOESN’T MATTER.   

What is the one skill? Learn how to hire great people. When you master this skill, sales management becomes easy. 

The golden rule in hiring is the mantra, “Past behavior is the best predictor of future sales results.” But here is the big however. Past experience doesn’t guarantee future success your company.   

For example, a salesperson might have been successful selling because they sold a need to have product or service such as insurance or accounting. You hire this person with a great track record and they flounder. Your company sells a nice to have service such as marketing or consulting. These are two different sales positions which require different types of selling skills. Past success may not translate to future success. 

Or, the salesperson was successful in their previous role because their leads were generated by an inside salesperson or the marketing department. Your firm doesn’t have either position and the new salesperson fails because he lacks the experience and/or skills to source his own leads. Past success is not translating to future results. 

Set you and your future sales team up for success. Become a student of hiring and selection. Without this important skill, the rest doesn’t matter.

Good Selling!  

tags: colleen stanley, sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, sales management
Thu, 09/24/2015

There are hundred books written on how to close more business. Ask questions to insure you know the prospects goals and challenges. Read their personality style and adapt your communication style to create trust and likeability. And of course, ask for the business!     

The easiest way to improve close ratios is to get clear on your ideal prospect, who you serve best. Then develop a plan to pursue and open up sales conversations. Sales organizations develop complex pursuit strategies, messaging statements and positioning based on the demographic of their target prospect. Demographics include things such as size of the opportunity, market segment, number of employees or geographic location.  

Equally important when developing a pursuit strategy---and often missing, is the psychographic of your best prospects. This is the attitudes and values of your target prospect. Take a close look at the attributes of your best clients, the ones you enjoy doing work with every day. 

  • They treat us like partners
  • They value outside advice
  • They are progressive
  • They’re smart
  • They value AND pay for expertise

Note that all of the above are psychographics, not demographics. It’s important to include both when deciding who and what business to pursue. For example, in the business of sales consulting and training, our close ratios increase when meeting with prospects that value education and outside counsel. They look at training and education as an investment, not an expense. 

Improve your close ratios by targeting prospects that fit your demographics and psychographics. No need to waste time calling on prospects that are never going to buy. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales management, sales management training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Fri, 09/18/2015

“My sales team doesn’t ask enough questions.” This complaint consistently ranks in the top three voiced by CEO’s and sales managers. There are hundreds of sales books emphasizing the value of asking questions. 

  • Ask questions to better understand your customer’s needs. 
  • Ask questions to eliminate assumptions. 
  • Ask questions to build rapport.  

So what’s the reason salespeople still prefer to present solutions rather than ask questions? Well, there are a couple of reasons. 

#1:  You. Most companies invest time and resources in product knowledge training, not active listening and questioning skills training. The salesperson knows the features and functions of your product or services; they don’t know the questions to ask during a sales meeting. An organization’s focus on product knowledge training creates ‘product dumpers’ not consultative salespeople. 

Solution: Invest more time in teaching selling and influence skills. Product knowledge is important, however, without selling skills there is a very good chance you will educate your prospect and not persuade him to buy from you.     

#2:  Presenting is safe. Asking questions is not. When you ask a question, you aren’t guaranteed of the answer given by the prospect. This unpredictability is dangerous ground for a lot of salespeople. They’re worried they will look and sound stupid—and who wants to be put in that role? 

Solution: Practice, practice, practice. Write out possible answers from your prospect and think about your response. Apply your impulse control skills.  Slow down to think through the smart, compelling answers. 

It’s time to get your “people” asking questions. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, colleen stanley, sales management, Emotional Intelligence
Wed, 09/2/2015

TED started out as a conference in Monterey, California in 1984, over 30 years ago.  It was designed to spread ideas, change attitudes and change lives. Today, TEDTalks are viewed at a rate of 1.5 million a day and year-to-date, over a billion video reviews.

There are great lessons for sales organizations to learn from the popularity of TEDTalks. The first is recognizing that people are hungry for information that will make them more successful, in their personal and professional lives. In the words of the late poet and author Maya Angelou, “When you know better you do better.” Informed and inspired sales teams will always beat the status quo sales team. 

So the question to ask yourself as a sales leader is:  Do you have a sales culture of learning? Companies often tout that their salespeople are trusted advisors - business consultants that provide value add solutions. But the irony is these very same companies have not instilled the habit of learning in their sales organizations. The sales team isn’t any smarter than they were six months ago. It’s kind of hard to be a value added provider when your salespeople are showing up to sales conversations with little or no new ideas for prospects and clients.    

Take a lesson out of the TED playbook and instill the habit of learning at your sales organization.  Learning is a habit and like any habit is developed through repetition.  During weekly sales meetings, ask each member of the sales team to share something they’ve learned in the previous week that will improve results in their professional and/or personal lives.  Establish a learning library with books, audio’s and films. Find a TEDTalk that enlightens or inspires your sales team.  Show it during the next sales meeting and discuss how the concepts apply to your business.

Congratulations TED. You’ve inspired and informed thousands of people.  Start creating a TED culture at your sales organization today. 

Join me for my TEDTalk on Saturday, September 26th in Loveland, CO.

Get Informed. Be Inspired. Ignite Action.

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales management, sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, TEDxArenaCircle
Thu, 08/27/2015

I am really tired of salespeople acting like a tired old porch dog. They are sitting on the sales porch, waiting for the prospects to contact them. They’ve repeatedly heard the message that the buyer is 67 percent of the way through the buying process by the time he/she contacts a salesperson.  Hearing this message over and over again has resulted in three selling behaviors.   

  • Reactive salespeople – I just need to wait for the prospect to contact me. They don’t want to hear from a salesperson until they’ve done all their research. 
  • Transactional salespeople – I’ll need to lower my price because the prospect is so well-educated, they really don’t need my expertise.
  • Excuse salespeople – Today’s buyer is more educated. It’s a lot tougher to sell in today’s market.   

Let’s dispel all of these myths by starting with some great data from SiriusDecisions, a leading global business-to-business research and advisory firm. 

Its 2015 B-to-B Buying Study examined the buying behaviors of more than 1,000 B-to-B executives.  It found that more than half the time, a salesperson’s involvement with a prospect starts at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. 

SiriusDecisions Results from New Study

Lesson for salespeople – Stop waiting for inbound leads and the phone to ring.  Do what effective salespeople have done for 50 years.  Get ahead of the opportunity and be the salesperson that creates the first sales conversation rather than wait for the prospect to initiate.   

This study also showed that the highest level of buyer/seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey, often the first selling stage in a purchasing decision. 

Lesson for salespeople – Educate your prospects. However, don’t confuse educating with a badly disguised product dump. Part of education is slowing down prospects and making them think. What is the real problem they are trying to solve? Often the presenting problem isn’t the real problem.   

For example, in the sales training business, a vice president of sales believes he has a closing issue. Instead of moving into an educational presentation, we ask a series of questions. And, both parties often arrive at a different conclusion. This sales team doesn’t have a closing issue, it has a target issue. Its members are calling on the wrong type of prospect. The late Zig Ziglar couldn’t even close these deals!  

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales leadership, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management
Fri, 08/14/2015

Sales managers are hit with information from all sides on how to create high performance sales teams. Hire the right people, create compensation plans that drive behavior, incentive programs, provide consistent feedback and the list goes on. 

With so many choices, it’s hard for sales managers to figure out where to focus their attention. Here’s a  tip that will simplify your job as a sales leader. If you want to motivate your team…..


Let’s look at the importance of teaching with an example outside of the sales world. I live in Colorado where many people enjoy downhill skiing. It’s exhilarating to glide down the mountain while breathing in the fresh air.   

For some individuals, skiing isn’t much fun. They’ve never learned how to ski. Instead of gliding down the mountain, they end up in what I refer to as a ‘yard sale.’ They fall and skis, poles and gloves are all over the place. As they gather their equipment, the snow covered individuals say to themselves, “This skiing isn’t enjoyable and I’m not doing it again.” This person isn’t motivated to continue the great sport of skiing because they’ve never been taught the fundamentals of skiing.   

‘Yard sales’ occur every day in the sales profession. For some reason, CEO’s and sales managers think that salespeople have magically developed the many skills needed to be effective in sales. Take a look at a partial list of attributes and competencies needed to succeed.   

  • Prospecting skills
  • Qualification skills
  • Emotional intelligence skills
  • Listening skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution  
  • Customer service
  • Presentations skills
  • Building rapport

Whew---that’s a long list. Teaching, training and coaching is the number one way to motivate your sales team to greatness. It’s common sense. When people know how to do ‘something’ better, they enjoy doing that ‘something.’ And when they enjoy doing that ‘something,’ they do that ‘something’ more often. 

Salespeople that know how to prospect enjoy prospecting and do it more often. Salespeople that know how to hold a sales conversation with the C suite buyer enjoy those sales meetings and schedule more of them. 

Take a look at your calendar. How much time and money is your sales organization dedicating to motivating your sales team the right way by providing them training and coaching? Avoid ‘yard sales’ and apply the number one motivational tool: teach your sales team how to sell and influence.     

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales leadership, denver sales training
Thu, 08/6/2015

Empathy is an emotional intelligence skill. In simple terms, it’s the ability to ‘walk a mile’ in another person’s shoes. It requires paying attention in order to know what another person is thinking or feeling.   Empathy is a huge influence skill, one that is often not covered in sales training courses or sales books. 

Why?  Empathy just sounds too soft and touchy feely. Top sales producers don’t buy into this myth because they know and understand the importance of empathy. They incorporate empathy into daily interactions with prospects and clients.  Here are two ways top sales producers win more business by being empathetic.   

#1:  Validation.    A salesperson, selling recruiting services, meets with a potential buyer.  She has done a good job of building rapport and trust. As a result, the prospect opens up, shares goals and challenges such as, “I am having a difficult time finding good people.”  The salesperson hears a buying signal and does a good job of not offering up an immediate solution.  She continues to probe, asking further questions about the hiring problem.  Sounds like a good sales call, right? Wrong. This salesperson missed an important cue from the buyer. The prospect doesn’t want to be asked more questions---he wants more empathy!

Being empathetic is as simple as acknowledging you’ve heard the prospect. “You know, you’re not the only one having difficulty finding talent.  Hiring good people is one of the more difficult and frustrating aspects of running a business…you’re not alone.” 

#2:  Objection handling.  The empathetic salesperson knows the power of bringing up potential problems before the prospect does.  Empathetic salespeople are good at seeing the world from the prospects point of view.

For example, a prospect knows that her current vendor is average, however, the fear of change and the unknown lingers in the back of her mind. The empathetic salesperson knows what the customer is thinking and brings up the fear of change. “Joan, if I were sitting on your side of the table, my biggest worry would be the perceived hassle of change….is it going to be worth it?  Should we talk further about that?” Empathy demonstrates expertise without product dumping because you show the prospect that you get her, her business  and her concerns.   

Empathy elevates trust, exposes potential elephants and increases close ratios. Soft skills do produce hard sales results. 

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales training, sales management, sales, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, empathy
Thu, 07/30/2015

The customer is always right phrase has been tossed around the business world for years.  The intent of the phrase is good:  serve the client and exceed expectations.  The problem is that in our desire to serve and exceed expectations, we often don’t set clear expectations with clients to insure mutual success.   Great business relationships are built when both the vendor and customer accomplish goals. 

For example, how many of you have sold a product/service to a new customer and then find disaster hitting.  The deal is falling apart because the customer isn’t honoring commitments on their end of the agreement.   Information needed from the customer to move forward on a project is missing.  Key people from the client side aren’t attending meetings and deadlines are missed.   

In an effort to serve, your team puts on their tennis shoes and starts jumping through hoops to achieve the promises stated in the proposal and sales conversation.    They are trying hard but success is a two-way street and the goals can’t be accomplished without the client partnering with the vendor each step of the way.   

So what can you do to insure a successful launch of a new client?  Create an on-boarding process for new clients.  This process might include a hand-off meeting from the salesperson to the operations team or client services team.    During the hand-off meeting, apply the emotional intelligence skills of reality testing and assertiveness.  Discuss potential elephants (problems) that can jeopardize success such as:

  • Deadlines and needed information.  Get very clear on what your team needs in order to achieve milestones.  Discuss the uncomfortable.  Is the customer okay with changing a deadline if their team fails to supply necessary information in a timely manner?
  • People involvement.  Everyone is has busy schedules and so availability of personnel can be a predictable obstacle to success.  Talk about this potential problem---before it becomes a problem!   What’s the plan if key stakeholders can’t make it to a meeting?    How does their lack of participation affect goals and milestones? 

You get the idea.   Keep the intent of serving and exceeding client expectations.  Apply reality testing and assertiveness skills and set clear expectation for mutual success.   Remember, success is a two way street between a vendor and client doing what they said they would do. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales leadership, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotinal Intelligence
Thu, 07/23/2015

As many of you know, I am an avid reader and like to share great books with clients and colleagues.  My new favorite is Triggers by author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.  He shares a lot of great ideas and tools on how to be a more effective in both your professional and personal life.   

Here is one of my favorites tools shared in his book.    At the end of each day, ask yourself a series of “Did I do my best” questions to evaluate how you are showing up every day.   It’s an active question that gets to the heart of whether you’re showing up ‘all in’ or simply coasting through life.   

Here are a few questions to consider: 

  • Did I do my best to add value to every client interaction?
  • Did I do my best to invest time in pre-call planning to insure the meeting was valuable for the prospect and me?
  • Did I do my best to eliminate excuses and take personal accountability for my success?
  • Did I do my best to improve an emotional intelligence skill or hard selling skill?
  • Did I do my best to learn something that will add value to my work with clients?
  • Did I do my best to avoid the pull of instant gratification?
  • Did I do my best to be fully present in all conversations with colleagues, clients and prospects?
  • Did I do my best to recognize other people on my team for their contributions towards my success?
  • Did I do my best to be an effective leader and manager?
  • Did I do my best to run a great sales meeting? 

You get the idea.  Repetition is the key to mastery and this tool shared by Goldsmith is a winner.  Craft your questions and find an accountability partner to review your questions---and answers with each day.  Get started on doing your best every day!  

Good Selling!


tags: sales, consultative sales training, sales management, Sales Manager, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Thu, 07/16/2015

Emotional Intelligence skills are critical in achieving hard sales results. Well-intended sales managers often work on the wrong end of the problem when diagnosing sales performance challenges. They continue to teach and coach hard selling skills, which are important.  But if a salesperson has been taught selling skills and still is not executing the selling behaviors or skills, it’s time to look at coaching soft skills.

Assertiveness – the ability to state what you need -- is an important emotional intelligence skill needed to create win-win relationships. Salespeople lacking assertiveness turn into sales victims. They complain that prospects and customers taking advantage of them when in reality, they lack assertiveness. 

Budgets are one area of the sales process where lack of assertiveness creates poor sales outcomes.

Here’s the scenario. The salesperson is at the selling stage where they must discuss budgets. When the salesperson asks how much money the prospect has set aside for investment in his product or service, the prospect responds with a predictable answer.  “I have no idea. Just put something together.” 

The non-assertive salesperson goes along to get along.  He spends valuable time putting together a recommendation.  He sets up a meeting with the prospect and shares recommendations, only to hear, “That’s more than I wanted to invest.” 

The prospect obviously had a budget. The salesperson wasn’t assertive enough to uncover it. This salesperson just wasted valuable selling time on a prospect that wasn’t qualified to be in her pipeline.   

The first step in being more assertive is to raise your self-awareness.  Ask yourself this powerful question: What are you afraid of losing? In this case, the salesperson is afraid of losing a deal. He believes that if he asks about a range of investment, the deal will go away. So he goes along to get along.  And you know the end of the story. 

If you want to close more business in the second half of the year, work on your team’s assertiveness skills. Help team members to learn to share what is needed to create true win-win opportunities. 

Good selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales management training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales
Thu, 07/9/2015

“Shark Tank” is a popular show where enterprising entrepreneurs showcase their products and services, with the goal of gaining an investor, strategic partner or both.    

I am surprised that so many entrepreneurs show up unprepared to meet and sell to the sharks.  The sharks are master negotiators.  They throw out counter offers and question the success of the product. More than one entrepreneur has become flustered, blowing his pitch or giving away too much of his/her company. 

We all run into sharks in the sales profession.  Here are some lessons from “Shark Tank” to apply on your next sales call.   

#1:  Emotion Management.  If you’re going to play with the sharks, it’s wise to improve your emotional intelligence skills. When the negotiation tactics begin, it’s easy to go into fight-or-flight mode. Nothing intelligent is landing in your brain or coming out of your mouth.      

Solution  – Normalize the interaction.  Good negotiators negotiate, so be prepared! Visualize the predictable responses from the sharks. Practice your responses in the mirror. It’s important that your nonverbal communication matches your verbal communication. Strong negotiators can spot a crack in the armor.   

#2:  Pre-pitch planning.  There is a basic principle taught in every negotiation course.  “If you can’t walk, you can’t talk.” Translation:  you have to know your walk-away point in any negotiation.  On a recent  “Shark Tank” episode,  a gentleman got so flustered that he conceded 10% more of his company than he needed to.   He wasn’t mentally prepped and certainly had not figured out his walk-away point. 

Solution – Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em, prior to walking into an appointment. 

#3. Be assertive and ask for what you need.  Negotiators typically use time pressure as a tactic. Again, this is predictable behavior from the sharks.  You have to make a decision right now or I am pulling the offer off the table. 

Solution -- There’s a pretty simple fix to eliminate this tactic. Be assertive and set expectations at the beginning of any negotiation. In the case of “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs should politely inform the sharks that they are going to call on each shark to hear their opinion and possible offer.     

Are you ready for “Shark Tank”? Visualize and rehearse responses to predictable objections and negotiation tactics. Figure out your walk-away point.  Be assertive and ask for what you want. Remember: Sharks put on their pants, skirts and shoes the same way you do. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence