Who can escape them? Cheap business cards with Word clipart or the variant with 200 free standard business cards with print advertising on the back. Thrift often begins with the business card and company folder. Business Cards might appear “outdated”, however, some crucial points are still well worth to be considered.
Why are business cards still important in the digital age?
- A business card is often that first physical contact with a new person and helps to win them over as a customer and start the negotiation on the right foot. The situation is even worse with service providers: Here this is sometimes the only tangible “gift” that is ever given. Accordingly, several pieces of perception act here at the same time (see The Master Negotiator Checklist p 108):
- The first impression (Primacy effect) is rated disproportionately and stays in the memory much longer
- Observations are unconsciously selected in such a way that the first impression is confirmed : “I knew it.”
- Therefore, the following performance and price presentation is seen in the light of the business card impression. So it’s easy to start a vicious circle here.
- Business cards are often “taken out again” after the meeting, touched and felt. They are therefore viewed more often than just when they are handed over.
- Business cards are read! In the age of overstimulation, this is a very important opportunity.
- So the last thing your business card should be is boring and interchangeable. Your business card is the mirror of your company and your achievements. Accordingly, you should invest in the design and printing of your business card and be sure to consult a professional.
5 tips for the optimal use of the business card with your negotiating partner
1. Cheap business cards really tend to leave a cheap impression
Do you want to look cheap? If not, invest in your business card.
Invest your time and money. Until you love them. When did you invest enough? There’s a little trick: if it’s such a beautiful work of art that you hesitate to hand your child a copy to play with because it feels too valuable for that.
2. All important information should be easy to find
After a keynote, participants had left countless business cards. Yet, 4 (of about 70) cards lacked e-mail addresses. 6 didn’t give any website information, or maybe didn’t have any ?!
Every industry works a little differently, of course. But e-mail and the Internet are a must practically everywhere.
But there is a little more to it than that. Assume that a casual observer, much like visiting your website, spends only a few seconds answering the following questions:
1) Who is that?
2) What is he doing?
3) Can I use it?
3. Take advantage of the back side
Imagine listening to a 1 minute commercial on the radio. Only if finishes after 30 seconds. Then there is silence. That is the situation and the lost chance if you leave the back of your card blank. You can include current offers, a slogan, a coupon or a URL. For example, I have information about my books attached on the back.
4. Always take business cards with you
You can share your information wherever you could meet people. Put some in your bike, car, bag, sports bag and with the seminar documents. After all, the interested customer can be waiting for you anywhere. So be prepared!
5. Think “Class” instead of “mass” when handing out your cards
During my last Speed Negotiation Seminar one participant “forced his card” on everyone, whether they wanted it or not. When tidying up after the seminar, I found half of the cards spread out on tables and in the garbage can. The potential partners reaction was to be “pissed off” and brought little positive either to her or to the recipients. Only give business cards to someone who deserves them. After you’ve invested so much in your business cards, hand them out only to people you actually want to work with. This saves you from stalking gossip and doesn’t seem so intrusive.
The first but important step would be done. If you want to take a closer look at fee negotiations and practice your first impression, have a closer look at my Speed Negotiation Event..
I wish you success!
Responsible Managers Are Rightly Complaining about Lacking Negotiation Skills
Managers with outcome responsibility often tell me how frustrating it is asking their colleagues to prepare better for negotiations. They complain about lacking awareness for negotiation skills, or even outright misunderstanding of the very term “negotiations”.
More often than not, it is not a lack of will that stops professionals focusing on their negotiating strategies and thus arriving at better results, but a costly lack of awareness:
People want to believe they are just talking, meeting, discussing. “Negotiating” sounds too harsh and tactical, or even too one-sided to what they think they are doing, when what they really are doing is clearly negotiating.
In relationships, ignorance about how to smoothly get what you need can be a costly mistake: Not knowing why and how you can influence others (without bossing them around) will cost you money, time and good-will.
Most surprisingly, it is often the people who would need most to be working on their negotiation skills who least acknowledging that their relationships are not working as well as they think they are.
If your colleague is seeking to keep or improve relationships, they must not ignore negotiation skills.
Here is why:
- People, in general, are not isolated island dwellers. They need others to meet their targets
- Hardly anybody is in the position to order others around. If you need to persuade others to support you, you need to negotiate.
- While it does cost time, effort and money to work on your skills, the long term effects outweigh these costs by far.
- There is no need to go the egoistic route, fight and struggle, when you could find options that satisfy your needs while leaving everyone else better off?
How to persuade colleagues to start negotiating better instead of just repeating their points over?
Here is a short Argumentation guide for people “never negotiating”
Yes, I know, some people just believe they are never negotiating.
Here a little argumentation guide to guide you through the “conversation” with them. You can use it to practice your own argumentation (yes, argumentation skills can be a big part of negotiations)
Colleague says: “Why should I look into negotiation skills? I never negotiate anyways.”
Step 1: Start with asking a question to establish ground:
“I know you are not living on a far-away island, so you are probably entertaining relationships with work colleagues, neighbors, family and friends, right?“
If they are not completely asocial nerds, they would have to answer “Yes“.
Step 2 Go on:
“Are they all following your orders, I mean do they see you as their commander?“
Now some smart pencils will probably point out that their subordinates are following their orders, and maybe their kids, or even their husbands (or wives). But by and large most people can not simply boss other people around to do what they please. Since in free societies people come and interact at their own will, the answer is bound to be “No, they don´t follow my orders”.
Step 3 Continue:
“So if you don´t command them, do people always give you what you want, when you simply ask them for it?“
We all know the answer to this question is “No”. If not, please tell me where to move!
Step 4 Now comes a decisive question:
“How then do you make people do what you need them to?“
They might return your question and ask you: “Like what?“
Negotiating Like what? Human encounters are basically negotiations!
Step 5 It´s your turn to explain yourself now. There are hundreds of examples you can give, like:
- “Do you loath the thought of asking your colleague yet another time to fill you in on what´s happening? You are getting promises, but never quite the most important part?”
- “Do you ever wish you could choose the movie being watched on Netflix?”
- “Would you like your client to give you notice just a little bit earlier next time so you can better plan?”
- “Are you wondering why your group of friends always ends up at the Chinese place, while you prefer Burgers?”
- “Do you try to convince your team to go ahead with certain steps yet they sometimes don´t “get it”?
- “Would you like to buy something, however the price is just not in your budget rage?”
- “Do you wish Mr.X (fill in as needed) would be talking to you in a different, more respectable way?”
- “Do you feel that in your relationship the responsibilities are not quite shared equally and should be?”
- “Would you sometimes like to explain why you are having certain (political) opinions, but you seem to run into a wall with your counterpart?”
Essentially you could choose any example where at least two people are communicating with each other, if one would like the other to do, omit or understand something the way he wants.
Now, what is a negotiation?
The actual definition of negotiation reads: “A negotiation is an interaction in order to influence the behavior of at least on other person, whereby different interests are reconciled and brought about in a developing process” (find more on p20 of my Bestseller The Master Negotiator).
If your counterpart looks at it that way, they will find that the question is not “where do I negotiate?”, but much more “where do I not negotiate?”.
What if the negotiation is called “meeting”, “presentation”, or “discussion”?
Don´t get confused by nomenclature, like masking negotiations under terms like “conversation”, “meeting”, “discussion”, “performance talk” etc. These often obfuscate the picture of what you can contribute and change if you set your mind to it.
All relationships are products of negotiations, and thus negotiable, not only regarding contents, but also in the way the are being conducted:
If your colleagues need to convince people and develop their relationships, there is no way around working on negotiation skills.
Striving to improving your negotiation skills can be a humbling enterprise. When designing the Master Negotiator Curriculum, I ensured participants learn by mastering different objectives in negotiation cases, i.e. role-play simulations.
I am choosing these cases specifically to expose inconsistencies in argumentation, option seeking or strategy, such as the tendency to be overconfident or to assume that they are in a zero-sum-game.
Delegates (and people in general) tend to feel threatened when they discover that they have been making bad decisions because their intuition was flawed. If they see these mistakes as a personal deficiency, they sometimes start making excuses, blaming the very case and setting for being unrealistic or even unfair. They feel “tricked”.
In order to grow negotiation skills, however, changing sub-optimal behavior presupposes feeling uncomfortable with some aspects of a specific action.
Otherwise, why should you even change (it)? This is the reason I reserve quite a bit of time in the beginning of any training to explaining the importance of giving and receiving feedback. It is essential and making mistakes a prerequisite to learning.
Feedback like “you were pretty good, stay like you are” is simply not enough. It is impertinent to be able to name the specific action that should be changed, and how. Only then can the participant choose freely whether they want to try a new line of action.
In negotiations, sometimes you win,
and sometimes you learn.
Brain research has firmly shown that negotiators are susceptible to judgment biases and perception traps like the “Primacy” or “Halo” effect (see Master Negotiator p108). These shape our decisions in negotiations unconsciously.
Once you allow yourself that awkward feeling of making mistakes, you’ll be in a much better position to change patterns that help you improve your negotiations relationships, options and outcomes.
So before going into your next negotiation, make sure you win either way: getting your objective, or learning what you could do better next time.
Tip: Don´t waste your mistakes. I am here to help preparing you for your negotiation and spotting your learning experience as your Negotiation Joker.
You might have experienced the situation:
You are finding yourself talking to a negotiation partner who you have had no chance to establish a trusting relationship with just yet. And, let´s face it, sometimes you never will get that chance. So, coming forward with open questions does not seem to get you anywhere close to where you want to go. You are finding yourself asking them questions like “What is it in my offer you like most?” only to have them ask you back “And what is the best offer you can make me?”
No matter how you seem to phrase your question, they don´t seem to come out with any useful information for you.
What is the actual problem here?
The biggest mistake you can do!
Of course you could just proceed with your argumentation, your product highlights and your offer. However, if you do have no clue about the needs and intentions of the other side, it is a matter of pure luck to hit the right spot if you offer now. So even if it might seem tempting to take a shortcut here and just put together a package with a “convincing” argument (which most people including your competitors do), I strongly advise you to hold back and exercise a little more patience. DO NOT present your best arguments just yet.
So, what can you do?
You do have 2 good alternatives here:
Option 1: Try the indirect track.
Since asking “why” does not produce any good answer, try asking “why not doing/assuming/trying this and that”. To the above mentioned counter question “And what is the best offer you can make me? you should propose one specific offer. Often they want to hear just a number, any number, and are not ready to go into details yet. But make sure they know about your (bad, but not catastrophic) assumptions and thus your option. Then ask “What would be wrong with assuming/doing it this way?”
Say: “OK, you are telling me you want to introduce a scheme in your company and want a quick rough estimate for my best offer? [short break, wait for a nod, “yes” or such].
Option 2: Find out how much he likes to criticize (you)
He might let you know “This is impossible also because we just invested a fortune in our new conference and congress system. The board will demand to know why we establish costly IT in several subsidiaries only to find out that travelling expenses continue to rise!”