Negotiating – Why Am I So Afraid?

Picture the scene: You have a spring in your step as you follow the secretary into the conference room for your 9:00 meeting. You know this is going to be a perfect way to end the week. Today you will walk out with a signed contract worth millions. You are confident that after a few minutes of conversation you will have them eating out of your hands and that they will not only sign the contract, but be grateful that your company is willing to provide them with such an amazing service. Your eyes scan the conference room as you enter. You notice the freshly polished wood of the conference table. You see that the luxurious leather chairs are occupied by serious, well dressed and obviously uptight executives. Your attention is drawn to the huge clock on the wall which says it is 9:10. You are painfully aware that you are both late and under dressed. You thought everyone observed casual Friday. Your palms are sweaty, your ears are ringing and your heart is racing. Then, you wake up.

Do you have an unrealistic fear of negotiating? Most of you don’t negotiate with customers face-to-face and if you do, it’s rarely in a situation like I just described. A customer is calling you. You don’t know when the call will come or exactly what the customer wants to negotiate. You don’t know if the customer will be nice and understanding or if he will sound angry and make unreasonable demands. You need to be prepared for the unknown.

Recently, a customer asked a CSR why she was willing to lower his rate only after he said a competitor gave a better price for service. The response was, “I’m still new at learning how to um to um have people stay with us when people call and cancel. I’m still learning how to keep people with us. And I’m not exactly sure, from my higher ups, how to keep my people. So, I would just like to tell them I’d like to drop your payment so I can keep you with us.” Her statement was very telling. Are you expecting your team to negotiate without providing them a strategy and training? There is something worse than not negotiating at all. It is expecting your team to negotiate without any guidance. Bad deals cut into your profitability.

What you can do right now

• Determine what types of customer calls will involve negotiating for both existing and prospective customers.

• Sit down with your customer service and sales representatives and have them write down what they are afraid a customer will ask.

• Educate them on your bottom line. Your team should understand what is profitable and what is not.

• Give clear guidelines on what the first response should be to someone who is price shopping or wanting to cancel over price. Provide not just the concept, but the right wording to use which helps prevent misinterpretation of your direction.

• Empower your team to negotiate. That means they need to know what they can offer in the form of a free service, discounted rate or incentive.

• They need to know when it is okay to walk away from the negotiation. Be clear on the protocol to escalate to a manager or bring the sales representative into the negotiation.

• Role-play using the questions they fear customers will ask along with specific responses.

Good negotiation isn’t about being tricky, it is all about preparation.

10 Tips for Successful Presentations

Presentations. Love them or hate them, at some point we’ll all have to do them. So here are our top 10 tips for successful presentations.

1. Your audience may have preconceptions so do your best to manage their concerns. You do this by reassurance and empathy with the audience and demonstrating your understanding.

2. Put key points at the start and end of each section. This is what we’re most likely to remember about your presentation.

3. Introduce each concept as if it’s an elevator pitch; 30 seconds to summarise will be enough to establish interest and set expectations.

4. Use personal anecdotes and humour but don’t tell jokes! The punchline could just fall flat…

5. Remember to ensure outcomes are met, and recap on them.

6. Get feedback from the audience by asking questions. Interactivity is great in presentations and your delegates will leave far more satisfied than if they are just “talked at.”

7. Focus on your attendees; phrase points from their perspective, use their language wherever possible.

8. Prepare, prepare, prepare. But prepare to be flexible; questions will inevitably arise and you need to be confident enough to answer them.

9. If it goes wrong in any way; take it in your stride. What’s the worst that can happen? If your technology fails you, then you know your subject and can continue without it can’t you?

10. Have fun! If you have fun, your audience will too.

It seems to be something of a misconception that we must present with PowerPoint, give out handouts and follow a tried and tested formula. I have trained many courses over the years and attendees have expressed surprise that I have not used PowerPoint slides very much in the courses. PowerPoint is a fantastic tool for presentations, but only if the presenter is good too. Without a speaker who knows their stuff, we’re just left with a bunch of slides that may or may not mean something to us.

My favourite presentations are the ones that are interactive, where the presenter works the room and not just the laser pointer.

Ask loads of questions of your audience when you present, make them feel part of the proceedings and let them contribute. It’s such a nice feeling as an audience member to be a participant and not just a spectator.

If you are a nervous presenter, getting interactive with your audience will settle your nerves, and also means you’re not doing everything. This gives you time to breathe and think about what’s coming next.

Be yourself, enjoy, don’t read from your slides.

Understanding the Cost of Offshore Development: A Quick 101

Before going offshore, it’s really important to understand the cost of offshore development. And, how teaming up with an excellent offshore vendor or offshore team builder can make things a much more simple and seamless process for working with a team abroad in sync with the one you have at home.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Offshore Development?
Well, first things first, having a clear idea of your project makes it easier for an offshore company to understand what should be delivered. This includes things like: the size of the project, the technical considerations to take into account, the time to market for your products and/or services, the skills and expertise needed of the extended team, as well as any additional costs to take into account.

The kinds of costs mentioned below are just estimates that differ when you hire full-time, world-class developers. The actual rate can be influenced by the need of specific or niche technologies, seniority and past experience of developers, past projects, and other factors. Ultimately, it depends on your goals — the bigger the talent pool, the more engineers and skill sets you have to choose from.

Which Locations Can Affect the Cost of Offshore Development?
Different locations provide your business with different benefits. For example, many companies offshore business processes like customer service to locations like the Philippines. But, since we’re discussing software — it’s prudent to look at the cost of offshore development in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

And, how that differs from hiring locally only — something that many tech leaders are realising is a restrictive option in times of talent shortages in major markets. In the Eastern Europe region, it will cost you around €22-€40 per hour, depending on the skill of a particular offshore developer. The rates in Asia range from €17.8 to €40, and the costs in Latin America are roughly around €26.7-€49. In Africa, you’re looking at somewhere around €18 to €43.5.

Hiring locally is something that not only has an impact on salary, but also premises prices, which can spiral in major metropolitan areas like London, New York, Paris, Toronto, and Sydney — to name a few. In Western Europe for example, the cost of offshore development can be over €200 per hour for very high-level engineers.

How the Right Offshore Partner Can Help to Balance Quality With Price
This is the main thing to consider. Finding the right partner probably is the best place to start. They’ll have expertise on the ground, which will prove crucial when it comes to acquiring and retaining the best engineers for your business for the long term — and save on additional costs of local legalities, office procurement, equipment, and more.

Additionally, if they have a proven model that combines all of those added extras with world-class recruitment, managed operations and administration, as well as cultural alignment between the offshore team and your team at home, then it’s simply the smarter way to do it.