The Next Big Deal or Gnawing Dispute: 5 Strategies for Successful Negotiations

There is an old adage that when two opposing parties in a legal matter proceed to litigation, then they have both lost their case. Having negotiated thousands of real estate and finance deals in my career as an attorney, I have listed below what I call the 5 “B’s” of successful negotiation:

1. Be prepared. Know your facts and have the relevant information to support your position readily available. Nothing stalls negotiations better or undermines your position more, then when you have to scramble and seek out the information necessary to bolster your position.

2. Be Patient. With good negotiations, reaching a resolution takes time and is not like ordering “fast food.” Don’t feel compelled to make a decision right away. If you are unsure about something, there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting 24 hours to make a decision. If there are several items to accomplish in a negotiation, focus on those points that the parties are more agreeable on, and tackle the more difficult issues at a later time.

3. Be Consistent. Have a goal of what you want to accomplish going into the negotiations. If need be, “map out” a strategy to reach your goal(s) and plan for contingencies. Most importantly, once you’ve reached an agreement regarding a point of contention, stick with it. Don’t agree to something with the real intent to address and “change up” the issue at a later time. That approach wastes time and undermines one’s own credibility.

4. Be Reliable. Imagine a car that starts only half the time. That’s how adverse parties feel about someone who fails to perform on past promises and then approaches their opposition for new concessions. Granted, in an ideal world, people would perform on their agreements 100% of the time. But in life “things happen” and parties are often called upon to make accommodations and exceptions to agreements long after the negotiations are over. It’s reasonable for a party to be less flexible in their accommodations for people who repeatedly fail to perform. It becomes increasingly difficult for repeat ‘offenders’ to persuade the opposition that “this time things will be different.”

5. Be Civil. This point should go without saying, but negotiations move towards success much faster when parties practice civility. If being civil to the other party proves difficult, then you have an excellent reason for engaging an attorney, a real estate agent, or any other professional intermediary on your behalf.

There are times when parties to a settlement leave the negotiation table not getting everything they wanted. That’s fine. In most good deals, the parties need to concede some, but not all, of their position in order to reach a resolution. Those people who insist on going to the negotiation table with an “all or nothing” attitude, do not make good negotiation partners initially, but by using the preceding 5 points, they will in time.

Presentation Skills – 7 Top Tips

Here are my 7 tips for polishing your presentations and giving maximum value to your audience:

1. Involve the audience by asking them questions and for their own stories and experiences to support what you are saying. However, only ask a question if you know they will get the answer right! You are not there to test them and a series of wrong answers will take you off-track and begin to irritate.

2. Talk for about 15 minutes at most without audience participation, or you will lose their attention. People always start to perk up if they think they may be asked for a contribution!

3. Use plenty of anecdotes and human interest to engage your audience’s imagination. Human beings love stories and they will be more inspired to think about what you are saying.

4. Don’t be afraid to repeat important points several times or to allow a pause for something vital to sink in. Even the most quick-witted amongst us welcomes the opportunity to mentally catch up and really appreciate a point before you move on.

5. Use plenty of visuals, whether that be PowerPoint, props or visual imagery. Being able to see or imagine something brings it alive in a fresh and powerful way.

6. You will probably need to speak more slowly, more clearly and more loudly than you would naturally. A normal conversational pace can come across as a gabble in a presentation.

7. And most importantly of all – look as though you are enjoying yourself! Moods and emotions are catching, and if you look as though you are happy to be there, talking to them, your audience will be more responsive.

Enjoy putting these tips into practice and you will become a popular presenter!

Average Vs Professional Sales Presentations

Research indicates that most salespeople put 80-90% of their time into presenting and demonstrating and leave only 10-20% of their time for other things. Professional salespeople, however, spend only 40% of their time presenting or demonstrating; not more than 10% prospecting; and about 50% of their time qualifying and planning.

Let’s look at these figures one more time. The professionals spend half as much time demonstrating or presenting as the average salesperson does, yet we find that he or she still manages to turn in at least twice the volume. And this is a conservative figure. Actually, the professional brings in between four and ten times as much business as the average salesperson will. It’s not uncommon for a single salesperson to outsell the entire bottom half of the sales force, and keep on doing it month after month, year after year.

So what is it that the true professional does to stand above the rest? By far the greatest difference lies in his or her attention to and ability at planning sales, at selecting and qualifying the right people to sell to, at overcoming objections and closing, and at deserving and obtaining referrals.

So as important as presenting and demonstrating is, if you do it with the wrong people because you didn’t qualify properly, it’s all for nothing. If you’re working with the right people, but you let their objections beat you because you haven’t prepared properly, it’s all for nothing. And if you have no capability in closing, you’re working for nothing. If you can’t close, many sales you could and should make will go to the next competitor who comes along because you built the structure for the sale but couldn’t close the door before he or she got there. You have to be a strong presenter or demonstrator to sell strongly. You also have to qualify strongly, handle objections strongly and close strongly.

There are three things you should cover in your presentation:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. This is your introduction.

2. Tell them what you’re there to tell them. This is your presentation.

3. Tell them what you just told them. This is your summary.

That’s the outline of all successful speeches, presentations and demonstrations. In other words, we use repetition. We don’t say exactly the same thing three times, of course, As outlined above, we begin by introducing our new ideas, then we cover our points in depth and relate them to our future clients’ interests and needs and finally, we draw conclusions from our points and indicate the direction that things should take.

Repetition is the mother of learning, yet average salespeople don’t like repetition. For one thing, they have used their material so many times that it’s stale to them. All too often, average salespeople have gone worse than stale on their presentations and feel it would be better off buried. The professional, on the other hand, never tires of phrases that work, ploys that sell, and ideas that make sense to his or her buyers.

There is no doubt about it, one of the keys to the professional’s greater skill at presenting or demonstrating lies in his or her ability and willingness to use repetition effectively to reinforce every point. He or she doesn’t mind repeating the sales point because he or she knows it leads to repeated sales to the same type of clientele.

So think in terms of tell, tell, tell and remember: Repetition is the seed of selling.