The Benefits of Having Good Negotiation Skills

If you’re interested in the benefits of possessing good negotiation skills chances are you are a business person, seeking to improve your skills, a timid person, fed up with being at the bottom of the food chain, or the type of person who just likes learning new things.

Few people actually realize negotiating is nearly an every day part of life, the only thing which defines negotiation from “cutting a deal” is the perceived importance to the affected parties.

What exactly are good negotiation skills? We’ll explore this question in a manner a little more serious than negotiating “You can go out Friday night if you mow the yard”.

A good negotiator must be intelligent, which doesn’t mean you’re of Einstein IQ, sometimes just the opposite is true. A person must be intelligent enough to realize they are either ignorant of the subject, which is nothing to be ashamed about, nobody knows it all except a fool, or their knowledge is dwarfed by their opponent. One must be willing to research and perform his due diligence in order to understand the subject and be able to intelligently understand and converse about opponent’s proposals.

In order to become a good negotiator one must not only understand human emotions and behavior, but be able to perceive what emotion the opponent is experiencing, when they’re experiencing it and why. In theory negotiations should always be void of emotions, the “can’t take it personal” attitude, should always rule. However, who is negotiating; humans and humans have emotions, which some can control or hide better than others, but still experience. By analyzing your opponent, which a sharp negoiator will have a plan in place to extract reactions to certain questions or situations, you will be able to put yourself in your opponent’s place which could grant you insight to his motives and how to address them.

A great negotiator will maintain a reputation of being honest and fair, which doesn’t mean weak. Many inexperienced or arrogant people placed in the position of negotiating a matter or contract will maintain a staunch position of wanting everything their way, from all their demands to the temperature the air conditioner is set, which only creates an adversarial and confrontational atmosphere. Simple issues will become mammoth obstacles and it quickly becomes a “I’ll take my ball and go home” situation where everyone digs their heels in and refuses to bend.

The great negotiator will understand to arrive at a position both parties can live with, he must ultimately present a win – win situation and he’ll do everything in his power to prevent a confrontational atmosphere from being created.

I was once involved in a set of contract talks where the situation had become stalemated. The ground rules were any request for a recess had to be made onan alternating basis, in other words if the company was granted a recess they could not request another one until the union had used one.

I was taken off guard when the union chief negotiator suddenly requested an unexpected recess, then we just sat at the table doing nothing. When the company human resource manager returned to the table the union spokesman asked if he was alright. The man looked surprised and nodded his head yes. The union spokesman replied “Good, I could tell you weren’t feeling well so I called a recess.”

“I ate something bad at lunch,” the man replied. From that point on, because one negotiator displayed a human concern for the others well being over the importance of the contract talks, the logger head was broken and negotiations were quickly resolved.

Marketing a Product Is Most Effective When Presented Through Story Telling

Many years ago, when I was just a young rookie salesman I was fortunate to fall under sway of a wonderful veteran sales manager. His name was Milton Lupow and he became a mentor, teacher and coach as I struggled to climb the ladder to success. The lessons he taught stick closely to me until this day and at every opportunity I introduce Mr. Lupow’s concepts to my clients. When I became a sales manager, then an executive and business owner I appreciated his imparted wisdom even more.

One of the most important, and profitable lessons taught me by Milton Lupow was to sell by telling stories. Ben Franklin closes, take away closes, sales tapes and courses were the rage of the day in the marketing and sales world of that time. Hard selling was common. Mr. Lupow would have none of the trendy techniques.

His sales presentations were seminars in weaving a products features and benefits, and thus importance to the buyer and their customers, through placing the product in the center of a story. After many successful presentations, as we reviewed the meeting notes, we would discuss the customer’s reactions. I began to notice that buyers enjoyed and looked forward to Mr. Lupow’s visits as they were not the normal sales blather that was served up by competitors.

Product comparisons, figures, data points, market share and so many other important elements key to marketing and selling consumer products usually do not sufficiently differentiate your product from competition. Telling stories does. Very few people enjoy being sold something. Everyone enjoys hearing a good story.

After 40 years in the consumer product sales, marketing and product development business I have enough experience to tell stories based on my own history. Those many years ago I did not have this chest of knowledge to dip into. I learned to take some element of the product, research and obtain unique elements of origin, geography, harvest, processing, rarity or availability and weave that bit into my story.

For instance, when I was presenting a fragrance I would highlight the unique, exotic essential oils we utilized, how weather affected their price and access and how the flora or fauna that rendered the oils was discovered. Ambergris is collected from the surface of the ocean after whales vomit. Berber women process rare argane oil from endangered trees in the Sahara desert. Many ingredients are harvested in the Amazon by indigenous tribes. A kind of travelogue with cultural highlights frames the provenance of the product. As I called regularly on customers I discovered, much as I had experienced with Milton Lupow, that the stories were successful in conveying a more positive image of my offerings. I also found out that I was more welcome each time I returned.

When I marketed pet products the story might highlight how I had stumbled onto the product concept while watching dogs interact on the beach, or at a park, or at my sister’s pool party. I invented a wellness pet product by utilizing an ingredient I had found was being used in medical surgeries. I had taken a quart of the compound and when placed in a sealed, soft-sided bag pets loved to relax on the cooling unit. I discovered this by accident while relaxing at the beach.

If I want to convey how products can jump categories I might tell the story of the famous over-the-counter topical treatment Preparation H. The product was developed by a Dr. Sperti, a Cincinnati-based chemist. It successfully provided hemorrhoid relief for generations. Some enterprising hemorrhoid sufferers somehow discovered that the properties that made the cream so effective in its targeted treatment also made Preparation H a terrific facial wrinkle cream. It became the base for some of the earliest wrinkle creams. That is a real leap.

Several years ago we worked on a gourmet food project. The product was wonderful. But it needed a better story to differentiate it from competition. We perused the ingredients in the recipe and researched their supply sources. Targeting two key components of the label statement we developed a unique process story about them. We then bought minimum quantities of the ingredients from the most exotic, artesian sources and added them to the product. We now had a unique, rare, quality-driven story about the products special features and benefits versus the competition.

Process stories are excellent tools to utilize for cosmetic, aromatherapy, bath and body, wellness, food, drink and other consumable products. A proprietary style of production that can be detailed, utilizing a unique engineering or lab process can be a huge difference maker. Ingredient stories alone are rarely enough to achieve success. A trade secret, highly specific method of handling, blending and producing is much more compelling and intriguing to buyers.

Learn to weave interesting stories and points of discovery into you product marketing and sales presentations. Your trade show meetings and sales appointments will be much more interesting and memorable. You will enjoy the increased sales too!

by: Geoff Ficke

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Womens Bikini Bottoms to create your unique style

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Lighter colors

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High cut-outs

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Bottoms and the hip cover

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