Over Done Cologne and Your Business Presentation

One of the easiest ways to destroy a business presentation is to over do the perfume or cologne, as it is distracting and even if the scent is one of high-price and quality, it also is a turn-off to a board of directors or decision making group? After all what are you trying to hide? Are you trying to mask the fact that your program or pitch stinks as much as your body odor? Over Done Cologne and Your Business Presentation do not mix.

What scents make the most sense? It is not so much the scent as it is the lack of a domination over your victims. Over doing the cologne or perfume is not a smart tactic and yet we see so many folks doing this.

Before my retirement as a Franchisor Founder, I had many people present ideas, concepts, products and services to my company and occasionally someone would come in with impeccable attire and over done cologne or perfume, it was such a turn off that rarely did I ever reward them with an order of any kind.

One time we had a gal, quite good looking come in and pitch us one some cleaning products to use in our franchise company. She was very nice, sincere sounding and yet all that perfume, just made me wonder what on Earth she was hiding? I even thought, I wonder if their cleaning chemicals would be that obnoxious. One of our senior executives asked her on a date, which she accepted but we never bought anything from that company. Consider all this in 2006.

What Makes an Effective Negotiator

Effective negotiators try to find a solution to a problem or reach an agreement that meets everyone’s satisfaction. Traditionally, American (and increasingly, global) corporate business has been a zero-sum game; there is a “winner” and a “loser;” with the “winner’s” victory coming at the expense of the loser. This is not what constitutes effective negotiating, and in the long term, leads only to resentment, lost business opportunities, and as some global corporate giants are discovering in Latin America, outright social unrest. Truly effective negotiators work towards results that deliver a net gain for all concerned.

Applying Negotiations to Work

When facing sales negotiating – or any other type of negotiation situation – the first step is to assess your own interests as well as those of the other parties involved. What does everyone want? What is everyone willing to give up? For you see, effective negotiation involves some “give” as well as “take” from all parties.

It is also important to understand where everyone is “coming from.” This is unfortunately a generalized term, but in the context of sales negotiation, refers to past experience, future goals, and culture base – corporate as well as social. It also refers to expectations, which go back to what everyone involved is willing to give up in order to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement – as well as those points that are not negotiable.

Finally, you will need to determine what effective negotiating strategies and techniques are most appropriate to use. There are several such techniques that can be used; many of these involve the “give” and “take” referred to above, as well as breaking down the terms and reaching agreement on smaller elements of a larger agreement one piece at a time. Effective negotiating also requires some flexibility and willingness to change.

Effective negotiation is only part of what can be learning in good negotiation training. Such negotiation courses are provided by highly trained, highly skilled individuals who have a great deal of experience in sales negotiating.

Choosing the Right Negotiations Course

Based on an our own assessment of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, short and long-term goals and present position – as well as those of yourself and any staff members – your trainer will design a negotiation course specifically tailored to your company’s situation. Such a course will include appropriate materials that are easy to understand and are pertinent to a variety of situations.

Most importantly, an effective negotiation course provides opportunities for learners to actually practice using sales negotiation techniques in actual, real-world situations. An investment in training to become an effective negotiator is one of the most lucrative investments one can make in a company and its future profitability.

Presenting ETHICS – Elevating Trust Has Inspired Customer Satisfaction

Do any of these statements ring familiar?
* In the old days, a deal could be done on a handshake.
* A persons word used to be as good as gold.
* The bottom line has become more important than people.

I recently spoke before a group of insurance professionals about customers losing trust in their industry. As the pressure to produce increases, the industry seems to cut corners. Sadly, company communication is breaking down by ignoring the very backbone of the industry: the loyal clients.

Discussing the topic of ethics before a captive audience is a very delicate process. The presenter must strike the appropriate balance between making the audience comfortable by offering objective information in an energized and thoughtful manner, without excessive preaching about the importance of ethical behavior.

I believe that each of us has a strong moral compass which gets tested every day on the job. As a presenter, if I can provide concrete examples to an audience of how unethical behavior will adversely affect a company, I can then initiate a dialogue of ethical dilemmas in any industry. My goal is to give participants a frame of reference, not to instill ethical beliefs. By providing people with relevant analogies, hopefully they will develop the tools needed to prevent any unethical situations from arising in a company setting.

I. The Erosion of Client Confidence
The recent explosion of bad faith lawsuits filed by dissatisfied customers is evidence of an erosion in confidence:

- An insurance company’s delay and denial of a homeowners claim for cleaning up toxic mold caused by a water leak led the client to sue the insurance company.

The result:
$6.2 million compensatory damages
$12 million punitive damages
$5 million for mental anguish
$8.9 million in attorney fees!!

If the initial, knee-jerk reaction of a company is to turn its back on a client, all of the trust built over the years with that client is instantly lost. Immediately, an adversarial relationship is created. It is the very nature of confrontational environments which may plant the seeds of unethical behavior.

II. Building Trust is the Key to Avoiding Ethical Dilemmas
As a lighthearted analogy, I use one of Aesops Fables, in which two buddies (insurance salesperson and client) are traveling together in the woods, when a bear rushes out in front of them. On instinct, the salesperson grabs a tree branch and climbs a tree, stranding the client. Ever resourceful, the client feigns death, knowing the bear wont eat dead meat. After the bear sniffs close to the clients ear, it eventually leaves the area. As the salesperson climbs down the tree, he laughingly asks the client: What did that big bad bear whisper? The client glares, then offers: He said, never trust a friend who deserts you in a pinch.

This issue of trust permeates any discussion of company ethics. It is a message that must start at the top, and is a number-one priority in all company-customer relationships.

III. Tips on Ethics Presentations for Every Industry
1. An observation: The role of the presenter is not to change peoples minds about ethics. Rather, it is to give the audience a frame of reference with examples of unethical behavior.

2. Start the session off in a light manner, using a humorous story to make a larger point.

3. Never put audience members on the spot. The topic of ethics is so sensitive that the facilitator must put no one on the defensive.

4. Remind the audience about the good news: That most people in the industry have very strong morals and usually do the ethical thing.

5. Find specific cases of extreme ethical violations in a particular industry. These examples will generate discussion on how solid communication and trust might have prevented an escalation of unethical behavior.

6. Give hope to audience members. Remind them that special attention to the customer will slowly build back any lost trust.

7. Consider a presentation during which audience members construct a brief, uniform Ethics Mission Statement.

8. Emphasize that employers must continually educate employees on company ethics. There are no quick-fixes to such an important topic.

9. Have fun in any presentation (the most important lesson of all)!

10. Remember E.T.H.I.C.S. Elevating Trust Has Inspired Customer Satisfaction.