“TRIGGER A “THAT’S RIGHT!” WITH A SUMMARY”
“Effective Pauses: Silence is powerful. We told Benjie to use it for emphasis, to encourage Sabaya to keep talking until eventually, like clearing out a swamp, the emotions were drained from the dialogue.”
“Minimal Encouragers: Besides silence, we instructed using simple phrases, such as “Yes,” “OK,” “Uh-huh,” or “I see,” to effectively convey that Benjie was now paying full attention to Sabaya and all he had to say.”
“Mirroring: Rather than argue with Sabaya and try to separate Schilling from the “war damages,” Benjie would listen and repeat back what Sabaya said.”
“Labeling: Benjie should give Sabaya’s feelings a name and identify with how he felt. “It all seems so tragically unfair, I can now see why you sound so angry.”
“Paraphrase: Benjie should repeat what Sabaya is saying back to him in Benjie’s own words. This, we told him, would powerfully show him you really do understand and aren’t merely parroting his concerns.”
“Summarize: A good summary is the combination of rearticulating the meaning of what is said plus the acknowledgment of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labeling = Summarize: A good summary is the combination of rearticulating the meaning of what is said plus the acknowledgment of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labeling = Summary)”
“In the heat of negotiations for a man’s life, I didn’t appreciate the value of those two words: “That’s right.” But when I studied the transcripts and reconstructed the trajectory of the negotiations, I realized that Sabaya had changed course when he uttered those words.”
“In hostage negotiations, we never tried to get to “yes” as an endpoint. We knew that “yes” is nothing without “how.” And when we applied hostage negotiating tactics to business, we saw how “that’s right” often leads to the best outcomes.”
“THAT’S RIGHT” IS GREAT, BUT IF “YOU’RE RIGHT,” NOTHING CHANGES”
“Driving toward “that’s right” is a winning strategy in all negotiations. But hearing “you’re right” is a disaster.”
“It works every time. Tell people “you’re right” and they get a happy smile on their face and leave you alone for at least twenty-four hours. But you haven’t agreed to their position. You have used “you’re right” to get them to quit bothering you.”
“You seem to think it’s unmanly to dodge a block,” I told him. “You think it’s cowardly to get out of someone’s way that’s trying to hit you.”
Brandon stared at me and paused.
“That’s right,” he said.
With those words Brandon embraced the reality of what was holding him back. Once he understood why he was trying to knock down every blocker, he changed course. He started avoiding the blocks and became an exceptionally fine linebacker.
With Brandon on the field tackling and playing star linebacker, St. Thomas More School won every game.”
“Sleeping in the same bed and dreaming different dreams” is an old Chinese expression that describes the intimacy of partnership (whether in marriage or in business) without the communication necessary to sustain it.”
“Creating unconditional positive regard opens the door to changing thoughts and behaviors. Humans have an innate urge toward socially constructive behavior. The more a person feels understood, and positively affirmed in that understanding, the more likely that urge for constructive behavior will take hold.”
“■“That’s right” is better than “yes.” Strive for it. Reaching “that’s right” in a negotiation creates breakthroughs.”
“Use a summary to trigger a “that’s right.” The building blocks of a good summary are a label combined with paraphrasing. Identify, rearticulate, and emotionally affirm “the world according to . . .”
CHAPTER 6 | BEND THEIR REALITY : How to Shape What is Fair
“I’m here to call bullshit on compromise right now. We don’t compromise because it’s right; we compromise because it is easy and because it saves face. We compromise in order to say that at least we got half the pie. Distilled to its essence, we compromise to be safe. Most people in a negotiation are driven by fear or by the desire to avoid pain. Too few are driven by their actual goals.”
“It’s not just with hostage negotiations that deadlines can play into your hands. Car dealers are prone to give you the best price near the end of the month, when their transactions are assessed. And corporate salespeople work on a quarterly basis and are most vulnerable as the quarter comes to a close.”
“When he arrived, his counterparts asked him how long he was staying, and Cohen said a week. For the next seven days, his hosts proceeded to entertain him with parties, tours, and outings—everything but negotiation. In fact, Cohen’s counterparts didn’t start serious talks until he was about to leave, and the two sides hammered out the deal’s final details in the car to the airport.
Cohen landed in the United States with the sinking feeling that he’d been played, and that he had conceded too much under deadline pressure. Would he have told them his deadline in retrospect? No, Cohen says, because it gave them a tool he didn’t have: “They knew my deadline, but I didn’t know theirs.”
“Allow me to let you in on a little secret: Cohen, and the herd of negotiation “experts” who follow his lead, are wrong. Deadlines cut both ways. Cohen may well have been nervous about what his boss would say if he left Japan without an agreement. But it’s also true that Cohen’s counterparts wouldn’t have won if he’d left without a deal. That’s the key: When the negotiation is over for one side, it’s over for the other too.”
“Moore discovered that when negotiators tell their counterparts about their deadline, they get better deals. It’s true. First, by revealing your cutoff you reduce the risk of impasse. And second, when an opponent knows your deadline, he’ll get to the real deal- and concession-making more quickly.”
“THE F-WORD: WHY IT’S SO POWERFUL, WHEN TO USE IT, AND HOW”
“In recent years, Iran has put up with sanctions that have cost it well over $100 billion in foreign investment and oil revenue in order to defend a uranium-enriching nuclear program that can only meet 2 percent of its energy needs. In other words, like the students who won’t take a free $1 because the offer seems insulting, Iran has screwed itself out of its chief source of income—oil and gas revenue—in order to pursue an energy project with little expected payoff.”
“The most common use is a judo-like defensive move that destabilizes the other side. This manipulation usually takes the form of something like, “We just want what’s fair.”
Think back to the last time someone made this implicit accusation of unfairness to you, and I bet you’ll have to admit that it immediately triggered feelings of defensiveness and discomfort. These feelings are often subconscious and often lead to an irrational concession.
A friend of mine was selling her Boston home in a bust market a few years back. The offer she got was much lower than she wanted—it meant a big loss for her—and out of frustration she dropped this F-bomb on the prospective buyer.
“We just want what’s fair,” she said.
Emotionally rattled by the implicit accusation, the guy raised his offer immediately.
If you’re on the business end of this accusation, you need to realize that the other side might not be trying to pick your pocket; like my friend, they might just be overwhelmed by circumstance. The best response either way is to take a deep breath and restrain your desire to concede. Then say, “Okay, I apologize. Let’s stop everything and[…]”
“that supports that,” which alludes to opening their books or otherwise handing over information that will either contradict their claim to fairness or give you more data to work with than you had previously. Right away, you declaw the attack.”
“The last use of the F-word is my favorite because it’s positive and constructive. It sets the stage for honest and empathetic negotiation.
Here’s how I use it: Early on in a negotiation, I say, “I want you to feel like you are being treated fairly at all times. So please stop me at any time if you feel I’m being unfair, and we’ll address it.”
It’s simple and clear and sets me up as an honest dealer. With that statement, I let people know it is okay to use that word with me if they use it honestly. As a negotiator, you should strive for a reputation of being fair. Your reputation precedes you. Let it precede you in a way that paves success.”
“A few years ago, I stumbled upon the book How to Become a Rainmaker,3 and I like to review it occasionally to refresh my sense of the emotional drivers that fuel decisions. The book does a great job to explain the sales job not as a rational argument, but as an emotional framing job.
If you can get the other party to reveal their problems, pain, and unmet objectives—if you can get at what people are really buying—then you can sell them a vision of their problem that leaves your proposal as the perfect solution.
Look at this from the most basic level. What does a good babysitter sell, really? It’s not child care exactly, but a relaxed evening. A furnace salesperson? Cozy rooms for family time. A locksmith? A feeling of security.
Know the emotional drivers and you can frame the benefits of any deal in language that will resonate.”
“Over the next few pages I’ll explain a few prospect theory tactics you can use to your advantage. But first let me leave you with a crucial lesson about loss aversion: In a tough negotiation, it’s not enough to show the other party that you can deliver the thing they want.
To get real leverage, you have to persuade them that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through.”
“1. ANCHOR THEIR EMOTIONS
To bend your counterpart’s reality, you have to start with the basics of empathy. So start out with an accusation audit acknowledging all of their fears. By anchoring their emotions in preparation for a loss, you inflame the other side’s loss aversion so that they’ll jump at the chance to avoid it.”
“I got a lousy proposition for you,” I said, and paused until each asked me to go on. “By the time we get off the phone, you’re going to think I’m a lousy businessman. You’re going to think I can’t budget or plan. You’re going to think Chris Voss is a big talker. His first big project ever out of the FBI, he screws it up completely. He doesn’t know how to run an operation. And he might even have lied to me.”
“Still, I wanted to bring this opportunity to you before I took it to someone else,” I said.”
“2. LET THE OTHER GUY GO FIRST . . . MOST OF THE TIME.”
“3. ESTABLISH A RANGE
While going first rarely helps, there is one way to seem to make an offer and bend their reality in the process. That is, by alluding to a range.
What I mean is this: When confronted with naming your terms or price, counter by recalling a similar deal which establishes your “ballpark,” albeit the best possible ballpark you wish to be in. Instead of saying, “I’m worth $110,000,” Jerry might have said, “At top places like X Corp., people in this job get between $130,000 and $170,000.”
“That gets your point across without moving the other party into a defensive position. And it gets him thinking at higher levels. Research shows that people who hear extreme anchors unconsciously adjust their expectations in the direction of the opening number. Many even go directly to their price limit. If Jerry had given this range, the firm probably would have offered $130,000 because it looked so cheap next to $170,000.”
“In a recent study,4 Columbia Business School psychologists found that job applicants who named a range received significantly higher overall salaries than those who offered a number, especially if their range was a”
“bolstering range,” in which the low number in the range was what they actually wanted.
Understand, if you offer a range (and it’s a good idea to do so) expect them to come in at the low end.”
“Not long ago I did some training for the Memphis Bar Association. Normally, for the training they were looking for, I’d charge $25,000 a day. They came in with a much lower offer that I balked at. They then offered to do a cover story about me in their association magazine. For me to be on the cover of a magazine that went out to who knows how many of the country’s top lawyers was priceless advertising. (Plus my mom is really proud of it!)”
“5. WHEN YOU DO TALK NUMBERS, USE ODD ONES
Every number has a psychological significance that goes beyond its value. And I’m not just talking about how you love 17 because you think it’s lucky. What I mean is that, in terms of negotiation, some numbers appear more immovable than others.
The biggest thing to remember is that numbers that end in 0 inevitably feel like temporary placeholders, guesstimates that you can easily be negotiated off of. But anything you throw out that sounds less rounded—say,”
“$37,263—feels like a figure that you came to as a result of thoughtful calculation. Such numbers feel serious and permanent to your counterpart, so use them to fortify your offers.”
“Back in Haiti, a few hours after the kidnappers had snatched his aunt, I was on the phone with the politician’s nephew.
There was no way their family could come up with $150,000, he told me, but they could pay between $50,000 and $85,000. But since learning that the ransom was just party money, I was aiming much lower: $5,000. We were not going to compromise. It was a matter of professional pride.
I advised him to start off by anchoring the conversation in the idea that he didn’t have the money, but to do so without saying “No” so as not to hit their pride head-on.
“How am I supposed to do that?” he asked in the next call.
The kidnapper made another general threat against the aunt and again demanded the cash.
That’s when I had the nephew subtly question the kidnapper’s fairness.
“I’m sorry,” the nephew responded, “but how are we supposed to pay if you’re going to hurt her?”
That brought up the aunt’s death, which was the thing the kidnappers most wanted to avoid. They needed to keep her unharmed if they hoped to get any money. They were commodity traders, after all.”
“of attrition finally pushed the kidnappers to name a number first. Without prodding, they dropped to $50,000.
Now that the kidnappers’ reality had been bent to a smaller number, my colleagues and I told the nephew to stand his ground.
“How can I come up with that kind of money?” we told him to ask.
Again, the kidnapper dropped his demand, to $25,000.
Now that we had him in our sights, we had the nephew make his first offer, an extreme low anchor of $3,000.
The line went silent and the nephew began to sweat profusely, but we told him to hold tight. This always happened at the moment the kidnapper’s economic reality got totally rearranged.
When he spoke again, the kidnapper seemed shell-shocked. But he went on. His next offer was lower, $10,000. Then we had the nephew answer with a strange number that seemed to come from deep calculation of what his aunt’s life was worth: $4,751.
His new price? $7,500. In response, we had the cousin “spontaneously” say he’d throw in a new portable CD stereo and repeated the $4,751. The kidnappers, who didn’t really want the CD stereo felt there was no more money[…]”
“HOW TO NEGOTIATE A BETTER SALARY
One of the critical factors in business school rankings is how well their graduates are compensated. So I tell every MBA class I lecture that my first objective is to single-handedly raise the ranking of their school by teaching them how to negotiate a better salary.
I break down the process into three parts that blend this chapter’s dynamics in a way that not only brings you better money, but convinces your boss to fight to get it for you.
BE PLEASANTLY PERSISTENT ON NONSALARY TERMS
Pleasant persistence is a kind of emotional anchoring that creates empathy with the boss and builds the right psychological environment for constructive discussion. And the more you talk about nonsalary terms, the more likely you are to hear the full range of their options. If they can’t meet your nonsalary requests, they may even counter with more money, like they did”
“SALARY TERMS WITHOUT SUCCESS TERMS IS RUSSIAN ROULETTE
Once you’ve negotiated a salary, make sure to define success for your position—as well as metrics for your next raise. That’s meaningful for you and free for your boss, much like giving me a magazine cover story was for the bar association. It gets you a planned raise and, by defining your success in relation to your boss’s supervision, it leads into the next step . . .”
“SPARK THEIR INTEREST IN YOUR SUCCESS AND GAIN AN UNOFFICIAL MENTOR
Remember the idea of figuring what the other side is really buying? Well, when you are selling yourself to a manager, sell yourself as more than a body for a job; sell yourself, and your success, as a way they can validate their own intelligence and broadcast it to the rest of the company. Make sure they know you’ll act as a flesh-and-blood argument for their importance. Once you’ve bent their reality to include you as their ambassador, they’ll have a stake in your success.”
“Ask: “What does it take to be successful here?”
Please notice that this question is similar to questions that are suggested by many MBA career counseling centers, yet not exactly the same. And it’s the exact wording of this question that’s critical.
Students from my MBA courses who have asked this question in job interviews have actually had interviewers lean forward and say, “No one ever asked us that before.” The interviewer then gave a great and detailed answer.
The key issue here is if someone gives you guidance, they will watch to see if you follow their advice. They will have a personal stake in seeing you succeed. You’ve just recruited your first unofficial mentor.”
“And then Angel courteously asked for a moment to step away and print up the agreed-upon job description. This pause created a dynamic of pre-deadline urgency in his boss, which Angel exploited when he returned with the printout. On the bottom, he’d added his desired compensation: “$134.5k—$143k.”
In that one little move, Angel weaved together a bunch of the lessons from this chapter. The odd numbers gave them the weight of thoughtful calculation. The numbers were high too, which exploited his boss’s natural tendency to go directly to his price limit when faced by an extreme anchor. And they were a range, which made Angel seem less aggressive and the lower end more reasonable in comparison.”
“Angel didn’t say “No” or “Yes,” but kept talking and creating empathy. Then, in the middle of a sentence, seemingly out of the blue, his boss threw out $127,000. With his boss obviously negotiating with himself, Angel kept him going. Finally his boss said he agreed with the $134,500 and would pay that salary starting in three months, contingent on the board of directors’ approval.”
“As the icing on the cake, Angel worked in a positive use of the word “Fair” (“That’s fair,” he said), and then sold the raise to his boss as a marriage in which his boss would be the mentor. “I’m asking you, not the board, for the promotion, and all I need is for you to agree with it,” he said.
And how did Angel’s boss reply to his new ambassador?
“I’ll fight to get you this salary.”
So follow Angel’s lead and make it rain!”
“Compared to the tools discussed in previous chapters, the techniques here seem concrete and easy to use. But many people shy away from them because they seem manipulative. Something that bends your counterpart’s reality must be cheating, right?
In response, let me just say that these tools are used by all the best negotiators because they simply recognize the human psyche as it is. We are emotional, irrational beasts who are emotional and irrational in predictable, pattern-filled ways. Using that knowledge is only, well, rational.
As you work these tools into your daily life, remember the following powerful lessons:
■All negotiations are defined by a network of subterranean desires and needs. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the surface. Once you know that the Haitian kidnappers just want party money, you will be miles better prepared.
■Splitting the difference is wearing one black and one brown shoe, so don’t compromise. Meeting halfway often leads to bad deals for both sides.
■Approaching deadlines entice people to rush the negotiating process and do impulsive things that are against their best interests.”
■“The F-word—“Fair”—is an emotional term people usually exploit to put the other side on the defensive and gain concessions. When your counterpart drops the F-bomb, don’t get suckered into a concession. Instead, ask them to explain how you’re mistreating them.
■You can bend your counterpart’s reality by anchoring his starting point. Before you make an offer, emotionally anchor them by saying how bad it will be. When you get to numbers, set an extreme anchor to make your “real” offer seem reasonable, or use a range to seem less aggressive. The real value of anything depends on what vantage point you’re looking at it from.
■People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees that there is something to lose by inaction.”
CHAPTER 7 | CREATE THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL : How to Calibrate Questions to Transform Conflict into Collaboration
“The tool we developed is something I call the calibrated, or open-ended, question. What it does is remove aggression from conversations by acknowledging the other side openly, without resistance. In doing so, it lets you introduce ideas and requests without sounding pushy. It allows you to nudge.
I’ll explain it in depth later on, but for now let me say that it’s really as simple as removing the hostility from the statement “You can’t leave” and turning it into a question.
“What do you hope to achieve by going?”
“Best of all, he doesn’t owe the kidnapper a damn thing. The guy volunteers to put the girlfriend on the phone: he thinks it’s his idea. The guy who just offered to put the girlfriend on the line thinks he’s in control. And the secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control.”
“Giving your counterpart the illusion of control by asking calibrated questions—by asking for help—is one of the most powerful tools for suspending unbelief.”
“When you go into a store, instead of telling the salesclerk what you “need,” you can describe what you’re looking for and ask for suggestions.”
“Then, once you’ve picked out what you want, instead of hitting them with a hard offer, you can just say the price is a bit more than you budgeted and ask for help with one of the greatest-of-all-time calibrated questions:”
“How am I supposed to do that?” The critical part of this approach is that you really are asking for help and your delivery must convey that. With this negotiating scheme, instead of bullying the clerk, you’re asking for their advice and giving them the illusion of control.”
“The real beauty of calibrated questions is the fact that they offer no target for attack like statements do. Calibrated questions have the power to educate your counterpart on what the problem is rather than causing conflict by telling them what the problem is.”
“First off, calibrated questions avoid verbs or words like “can,” “is,” “are,” “do,” or “does.” These are closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a “no.” Instead, they start with a list of words people know as reporter’s questions: “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Those words inspire your counterpart to think and then speak expansively.”
“But let me cut the list even further: it’s best to start with “what,” “how,” and sometimes “why.” Nothing else. “Who,” “when,” and “where” will often just get your counterpart to share a fact without thinking. And “why” can backfire. Regardless of what language the word “why” is translated into, it’s accusatory. There are very rare moments when this is to your advantage”
“Having just two words to start with might not seem like a lot of ammunition, but trust me, you can use “what” and “how” to calibrate nearly any question. “Does this look like something you would like?” can become “How does this look to you?” or “What about this works for you?” You can even ask, “What about this doesn’t work for you?” and you’ll probably trigger quite a bit of useful information from your counterpart.
Even something as harsh as “Why did you do it?” can be calibrated to “What caused you to do it?” which takes away the emotion and makes the question less accusatory.
You should use calibrated questions early and often, and there are a few that you will find that you will use in the beginning of nearly every negotiation. “What is the biggest challenge you face?” is one of those questions. It just gets the other side to teach you something about themselves, which is critical to any negotiation because all negotiation is an information-gathering process.
Here are some other great standbys that I use in almost every negotiation, depending on the situation:”
“Think back to how the doctor used calibrated questions to get his patient to stay. As his story showed, the key to getting people to see things your way is not to confront them on their ideas (“You can’t leave”) but to acknowledge their ideas openly (“I understand why you’re pissed off”) and then guide them toward solving the problem (“What do you hope to accomplish by leaving?”).”
“Like I said before, the secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control. That’s why calibrated questions are ingenious: Calibrated questions make your counterpart feel like they’re in charge, but it’s really you who are framing the conversation. Your counterpart will have no idea how constrained they are by your questions.”
“The script we came up with hit all the best practices of negotiation we’ve talked about so far. Here it is by steps:
1.A “No”-oriented email question to reinitiate contact: “Have you given up on settling this amicably?”
2.A statement that leaves only the answer of “That’s right” to form a dynamic of agreement: “It seems that you feel my bill is”
3.Calibrated questions about the problem to get him to reveal his thinking: “How does this bill violate our agreement?”
4.More “No”-oriented questions to remove unspoken barriers: “Are you saying I misled you?” “Are you saying I didn’t do as you asked?” “Are you saying I reneged on our agreement?” or “Are you saying I failed you?”
5.Labeling and mirroring the essence of his answers if they are not acceptable so he has to consider them again: “It seems like you feel my work was subpar.” Or “. . . my work was subpar?”
6.A calibrated question in reply to any offer other than full payment, in order to get him to offer a solution: “How am I supposed to accept that?”
7.If none of this gets an offer of full payment, a label that flatters his sense of control and power: “It seems like you are the type of person who prides himself on the way he does business—rightfully so—and has a knack for not only expanding the pie but making the ship run more efficiently.”
8.A long pause and then one more “No”-oriented question: “Do you want to be[…]”
“The basic issue here is that when people feel that they are not in control, they adopt what psychologists call a hostage mentality. That is, in moments of conflict they react to their lack of power by either becoming extremely defensive or lashing out.”
“Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking?
The listener, of course.”
“■Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or tiny pieces of information. These require little thought and inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.”
“■Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.”
“■Don’t ask questions that start with “Why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. “Why” is always an accusation, in any language.”
“■Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.”
“■Bite your tongue. When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.
■There is always a team on the other side. If you are not influencing those behind the table, you are vulnerable.”
CHAPTER 8 | GUARANTEE EXECUTION : How to Spot the Liars and Ensure Follow-Through from Everyone Else
“Calibrated “How” questions are a surefire way to keep negotiations going. They put the pressure on your counterpart to come up with answers, and to contemplate your problems when making their demands.”
“How can we raise that much?” she asked.
Notice that she did not use the word “No.” But she still managed to elegantly deny the kidnappers’ $5 million demand.”
“As Julie did, the first and most common “No” question you’ll use is some version of “How am I supposed to do that?”
“This question tends to have the positive effect of making the other side take a good look at your situation. This positive dynamic is what I refer to as “forced empathy,” and it’s especially effective if leading up to it you’ve already been empathic with your counterpart. This engages the dynamic of reciprocity to lead them to do something for you. Starting with José’s kidnapping, “How am I supposed to do that?” became our primary response to a kidnapper demanding a ransom. And we never had it backfire.”
“I’d love to help,” she said, “but how am I supposed to do that?”
By indicating her willingness to work but asking for help finding a way to do so, she left her deadbeat customer with no choice but to put her needs ahead of everything else.”
“Besides saying “No,” the other key benefit of asking “How?” is, quite literally, that it forces your counterpart to consider and explain how a deal will be implemented. A deal is nothing without good implementation. Poor implementation is the cancer that eats your profits.
By making your counterparts articulate implementation in their own words, your carefully calibrated “How” questions will convince them that the final solution is their idea. And that’s crucial. People always make more effort to implement a solution when they think it’s theirs. That is simply human nature. That’s why negotiation is often called “the art of letting someone else have your way.”
“There are two key questions you can ask to push your counterparts to think they are defining success their way: “How will we know we’re on track?” and “How will we address things if we find we’re off track?” When they answer, you summarize their answers until you get a “That’s right.” Then you’ll know they’ve bought in.”
“On the flip side, be wary of two telling signs that your counterpart doesn’t believe the idea is theirs. As I’ve noted, when they say, “You’re right,” it’s often a good indicator they are not vested in what is being discussed. And when you push for implementation and they say, “I’ll try,” you should get a sinking feeling in your stomach. Because this really means, “I plan to fail.”
When you hear either of these, dive back in with calibrated “How” questions until they define the terms of successful implementation in their own voice. Follow up by summarizing what they have said to get a “That’s right.”
Let the other side feel victory. Let them think it was their idea. Subsume your ego. Remember: “Yes” is nothing without “How.” So keep asking “How?” And succeed.”
“From Quantico, I loaded Aaron up with calibrated questions. I instructed him to keep peppering the violent jerk with “How?” How am I supposed to . . . ? How do we know . . . ? How can we . . . ? There is great power in treating jerks with deference. It gives you the ability to be extremely assertive—to say “No”—in a hidden fashion.”
“In the Chinese martial art of tai chi, the goal is to use your opponent’s aggressiveness against him—to turn his offense into your way to defeat him”
“Here’s an example:
You: “So we’re agreed?”
Them: “Yes . . .”
You: “I heard you say, ‘Yes,’ but it seemed like there was hesitation in your voice.”
Them: “Oh, it’s nothing really.”
You: “No, this is important, let’s make sure we get this right.”
Them: “Thanks, I appreciate it.”
This is the way to make sure your agreement gets implemented with no surprises. And your counterpart will be grateful. Your act of recognizing the incongruence and gently dealing with it through a label will make them feel respected. Consequently, your relationship of trust will be improved.”
“One great tool for avoiding this trap is the Rule of Three.
The Rule of Three is simply getting the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation. It’s tripling the strength of whatever dynamic you’re trying to drill into at the moment. In doing so, it uncovers problems before they happen. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction”
“The first time they agree to something or give you a commitment, that’s No. 1. For No. 2 you might label or summarize what they said so they answer, “That’s right.” And No. 3 could be a calibrated “How” or “What” question about implementation that asks them to explain what will constitute success, something like “What do we do if we get off track?”
Or the three times might just be the same calibrated question phrased three different ways, like “What’s the biggest challenge you faced? What are we up against here? What do you see as being the most difficult thing to get around?”
Either way, going at the same issue three times uncovers falsehoods as well as the incongruences between words and body language we mentioned in the last section. So next time you’re not sure your counterpart is truthful and committed, try it.”
“The more in love they are with “I,” “me,” and “my” the less important they are.”
“Like you saw Aaron and Julie do with their kidnappers, the best way to get your counterparts to lower their demands is to say “No” using “How” questions. These indirect ways of saying “No” won’t shut down your counterpart the way a blunt, pride-piercing “No” would. In fact, these responses will sound so much like counterbids that your counterparts will often keep bidding against themselves.”
“The first step in the “No” series is the old standby:
“How am I supposed to do that?”
You have to deliver it in a deferential way, so it becomes a request for help. Properly delivered, it invites the other side to participate in your dilemma and solve it with a better offer.
After that, some version of “Your offer is very generous, I’m sorry, that just doesn’t work for me” is an elegant second way to say “No.”
This well-tested response avoids making a counteroffer, and the use of “generous” nurtures your counterpart to live up to the word. The “I’m sorry” also softens the “No” and builds empathy. (You can ignore the so-called negotiating experts who say apologies are always signs of weakness.)
Then you can use something like “I’m sorry but I’m afraid I just can’t do that.” It’s a little more direct, and the “can’t do that” does great double duty. By expressing an inability to perform, it can trigger the other side’s empathy toward you.
“I’m sorry, no” is a slightly more succinct version for the fourth “No.” If delivered gently, it barely sounds negative at all.
If you have to go[…]”
“As you put the following tools to use, remember this chapter’s most important concept. That is, “Yes” is nothing without “How.”
“How,” knowing “How,” and defining “How” are all part of the effective negotiator’s arsenal. He would be unarmed without them.
■Ask calibrated “How” questions, and ask them again and again. Asking “How” keeps your counterparts engaged but off balance. Answering the questions will give them the illusion of control. It will also lead them to contemplate your problems when making their demands.
■Use “How” questions to shape the negotiating environment. You do this by using “How can I do that?” as a gentle version of “No.” This will subtly push your counterpart to search for other solutions—your solutions. And very often it will get them to bid against themselves.
■Don’t just pay attention to the people you’re negotiating with directly; always identify the motivations of the players “behind the table.” You can do so by asking how a deal will affect everybody else and how on board they are.
■Follow the 7-38-55 Percent Rule by paying close attention to tone of voice and body language. Incongruence between the words and nonverbal signs will show when your counterpart is lying or uncomfortable with a deal.
■Is the “Yes” real or counterfeit? Test it with the Rule of Three: use calibrated questions, summaries, and labels to get your counterpart to reaffirm their agreement at least three times. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction.
■A person’s use of pronouns offers deep insights into his or her relative authority. If you’re hearing a lot of “I,” “me,” and “my,” the real power to decide probably lies elsewhere. Picking up a lot of “we,” “they,” and “them,” it’s more likely you’re dealing directly with a savvy decision maker keeping his options open.
■Use your own name to make yourself a real person to the other side and even get your own personal discount. Humor and humanity are the best ways to break the ice and remove”
CHAPTER 9 | BARGAIN HARD : How to Get Your Price
“Experienced negotiators often lead with a ridiculous offer, an extreme anchor. And if you’re not prepared to handle it, you’ll lose your moorings and immediately go to your maximum. It’s human nature. Like the great ear-biting pugilist Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
“As a well-prepared negotiator who seeks information and gathers it relentlessly, you’re actually going to want the other guy to name a price first, because you want to see his hand. You’re going to welcome the extreme anchor. But extreme anchoring is powerful and you’re human: your emotions may well up. If they do there are ways to weather the storm without bidding against yourself or responding with anger. Once you learn these tactics, you’ll be prepared to withstand the hit and counter with panache.”
“First, deflect the punch in a way that opens up your counterpart. Successful negotiators often say “No” in one of the many ways we’ve talked about (“How am I supposed to accept that?”) or deflect the anchor with questions like “What are we trying to accomplish here?” Responses like these are great ways to refocus your counterpart when you feel you’re being pulled into the compromise trap.”
“And if the other side pushes you to go first, wriggle from his grip. Instead of naming a price, allude to an incredibly high number that someone else might charge. Once when a hospital chain wanted me to name a price first, I said, “Well, if you go to Harvard Business School, they’re going to charge you $2,500 a day per student.”
No matter what happens, the point he”
“We’ve said previously that no deal is better than a bad deal.”
“We’ve said previously that no deal is better than a bad deal.”
“progressively smaller concessions. Finally, I dropped the weird number that closed the deal. I’ll never forget the head of the Miami FBI office calling my colleague the next day and saying, “Voss got this guy out for $4,751? How does $1 make a difference?”
They were howling with laughter, and they had a point. That $1 is ridiculous. But it works on our human nature. Notice that you can’t buy anything for $2, but you can buy a million things for $1.99. How does a cent change anything? It doesn’t. But it makes a difference every time. We just like $1.99 more than $2.00 even if we know it’s a trick.”
“Identify your counterpart’s negotiating style. Once you know whether they are Accommodator, Assertive, or Analyst, you’ll know the correct way to approach them.
■Prepare, prepare, prepare. When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion; you fall to your highest level of preparation. So design an ambitious but legitimate goal and then game out the labels, calibrated questions, and responses you’ll use to get there. That way, once you’re at the bargaining table, you won’t have to wing it.
■Get ready to take a punch. Kick-ass negotiators usually lead with an extreme anchor to knock you off your game. If you’re not ready, you’ll flee to your maximum without a fight. So prepare your dodging tactics to avoid getting sucked into the compromise trap.
■Set boundaries, and learn to take a punch or punch back, without anger. The guy across the table is not the problem; the situation is.
■Prepare an Ackerman plan. Before you head into the weeds of bargaining, you’ll need a plan of extreme anchor, calibrated questions, and well-defined offers. Remember: 65, 85, 95, 100 percent. Decreasing raises and ending on nonround numbers will get your counterpart to believe that he’s squeezing you for all you’re worth when you’re really getting to the number you want.”
CHAPTER 10 | FIND THE BLACK SWAN : How to Create Breakthroughs by Revealing the Unknown Unknowns
“What came next showed the power of Black Swans, those hidden and unexpected pieces of information—those unknown unknowns—whose unearthing has game-changing effects on a negotiation dynamic.
Negotiation breakthroughs—when the game shifts inalterably in your favor—are created by those who can identify and utilize Black Swans.
“Black Swan theory tells us that things happen that were previously thought to be impossible—or never thought of at all. This is not the same as saying that sometimes things happen against one-in-a-million odds, but rather that things never imagined do come to pass.”
“In seventeenth-century London it was common to refer to impossible things as “Black Swans.”
“But then the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh went to western Australia in 1697—and saw a black swan. Suddenly the unthinkable and unthought was real. People had always predicted that the next swan they saw would be white, but the discovery of black swans shattered this worldview.”
“This is a crucial concept in negotiation. In every negotiating session, there are different kinds of information. There are those things we know, like our counterpart’s name and their offer and our experiences from other negotiations. Those are known knowns. There are those things we are certain that exist but we don’t know, like the possibility that the other side might get sick and leave us with another counterpart. Those are known unknowns and they are like poker wild cards; you know they’re out there but you don’t know who has them. But most important are those things we don’t know that we don’t know, pieces of information we’ve never imagined but that would be game changing if uncovered. Maybe our counterpart wants the deal to fail because he’s leaving for a competitor.
These unknown unknowns are Black Swans.”
“I began to hypothesize that in every negotiation each side is in possession of at least three Black Swans, three pieces of information that, were they to be discovered by the other side, would change everything.”
“Finding and acting on Black Swans mandates a shift in your mindset. It takes negotiation from being a one-dimensional move-countermove game of checkers to a three-dimensional game that’s more emotional, adaptive, intuitive . . . and truly effective.”
“Finding and acting on Black Swans mandates a shift in your mindset. It takes negotiation from being a one-dimensional move-countermove game of checkers to a three-dimensional game that’s more emotional, adaptive, intuitive . . . and truly effective.”
“Unless correctly interrogated, most people aren’t able to articulate the information you want. The world didn’t tell Steve Jobs that it wanted an iPad: he uncovered our need, that Black Swan, without us knowing the information was there.”
“Remember, negotiation is more like walking on a tightrope than competing against an opponent. Focusing so much on the end objective will only distract you from the next step, and that can cause you to fall off the rope. Concentrate on the next step because the rope will lead you to the end as long as all the steps are completed.”
“The answer is leverage. Black Swans are leverage multipliers. They give you the upper hand.”
“That’s why I say there’s always leverage: as an essentially emotional concept, it can be manufactured whether it exists or not.
If they’re talking to you, you have leverage. Who has leverage in a kidnapping? The kidnapper or the victim’s family? Most people think the kidnapper has all the leverage. Sure, the kidnapper has something you love, but you have something they lust for. Which is more powerful? Moreover, how many buyers do the kidnappers have for the commodity they are trying to sell? What business is successful if there’s only one buyer?”
“I should note that leverage isn’t the same thing as power. Donald Trump has tons of power, but if he’s stranded in a desert and the owner of the only store for miles has the water he wants, the vendor has the leverage.”
“As a negotiator you should always be aware of which side, at any given moment, feels they have the most to lose if negotiations collapse.”
“To get leverage, you have to persuade your counterpart that they have something real to lose if the deal falls”
“This sort of leverage gets people’s attention because of a concept we’ve discussed: loss aversion. As effective negotiators have long known and psychologists have repeatedly proved, potential losses loom larger in the human mind than do similar gains. Getting a good deal may push us toward making a risky bet, but saving our reputation from destruction is a much stronger motivation.”
“So what kind of Black Swans do you look to be aware of as negative leverage? Effective negotiators look for pieces of information, often obliquely revealed, that show what is important to their counterpart: Who is their audience? What signifies status and reputation to them? What most worries them?”
“If you shove your negative leverage down your counterpart’s throat, it might be perceived as you taking away their autonomy. People will often sooner die than give up their autonomy. They’ll at least act irrationally and shut off the negotiation.
A more subtle technique is to label your negative leverage and thereby make it clear without attacking. Sentences like “It seems like you strongly value the fact that you’ve always paid on time” or “It seems like you don’t care what position you are leaving me in” can really open up the negotiation process.”
“Every person has a set of rules and a moral framework.
Normative leverage is using the other party’s norms and standards to advance your position. If you can show inconsistencies between their beliefs and their actions, you have normative leverage. No one likes to look like a hypocrite.”
“Discovering the Black Swans that give you normative valuation can be as easy as asking what your counterpart believes and listening openly. You want to see what language they speak, and speak it back to them.”
“Access to this hidden space very often comes through understanding the other side’s worldview, their reason for being, their religion. Indeed, digging into your counterpart’s “religion” (sometimes involving God but not always) inherently implies moving beyond the negotiating table and into the life, emotional and otherwise, of your counterpart.
Once you’ve understood your counterpart’s worldview, you can build influence. That’s why as we talked with Watson I spent my energy trying to unearth who he was rather than logically arguing him into surrender.”
“He wanted attention, and knowing what he wanted gave us positive leverage.”
“Watson also told us he was a veteran, and veterans had rules. This is the kind of music you want to hear, as it provides normative leverage.”
“The reason for that is something called the “paradox of power”—namely, the harder we push the more likely we are to be met with resistance. That’s why you have to use negative leverage sparingly.”
“Research by social scientists has confirmed something effective negotiators have known for ages: namely, we trust people more when we view them as being similar or familiar.”
“People trust those who are in their in-group. Belonging is a primal instinct. And if you can trigger that instinct, that sense that, “Oh, we see the world the same way,” then you immediately gain influence.”
“This is really stewardship for you, isn’t it?” I said.
His voice immediately strengthened.
“Yes! You’re the only one who understands,” he said.
And he hired us at that moment. By showing that I understood his deeper reasons for being and accessing a sense of similarity, of mutual belongingness, I was able to bring him to the deal. The minute I established a kind of shared identity with this Christian, we were in. Not simply because of similarity alone, but because of the understanding implied by that moment of similarity.”
“THE POWER OF HOPES AND DREAMS
Once you know your counterpart’s religion and can visualize what he truly wants out of life, you can employ those aspirations as a way to get him to follow you.
Every engineer, every executive, every child—all of us want to believe we are capable of the extraordinary. As children, our daydreams feature ourselves as primary players in great moments: an actor winning an Oscar,”
“when someone is courageous enough to draw it for us, we naturally follow.
“Research studies have shown that people respond favorably to requests made in a reasonable tone of voice and followed with a “because” reason.
In a famous study from the late 1970s,3 Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer and her colleagues approached people waiting for copy machines and asked if they could cut the line. Sometimes they gave a reason; sometimes they didn’t. What she found was crazy: without her giving a reason, 60 percent let her through, but when she did give one, more than 90 percent did. And it didn’t matter if the reason made sense. (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I cut in line because I have to make copies?” worked great.) People just responded positively to the framework.
While idiotic reasons worked with something simple like photocopying, on more complicated issues you can increase your effectiveness by offering reasons that reference your counterpart’s religion. Had that Christian CEO offered me a lowball offer when he agreed to hire my firm, I might have answered, “I’d love to but I too have a duty to be a responsible steward of my resources.”
“The rationale for this nonengagement is summarized well by the journalist Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst: “Negotiations with religious fanatics who have delusions of grandeur generally do not go well.”
“GET FACE TIME
Black Swans are incredibly hard to uncover if you’re not literally at the table.
No matter how much research you do, there’s just some information that you are not going to find out unless you sit face-to-face.
Today, a lot of younger people do almost everything over email. It’s just how things are done. But it’s very difficult to find Black Swans with email for the simple reason that, even if you knock your counterpart off their moorings with great labels and calibrated questions, email gives them too much time to think and re-center themselves to avoid revealing too much.
In addition, email doesn’t allow for tone-of-voice effects, and it doesn’t let you read the nonverbal parts of your counterpart’s response (remember 7-38-55).”
“During a typical business meeting, the first few minutes, before you actually get down to business, and the last few moments, as everyone is leaving, often tell you more about the other side than anything in between. That’s why reporters have a credo to never turn off their recorders: you always get the best stuff at the beginning and the end of an interview.”
“Students often ask me whether Black Swans are specific kinds of information or any kind that helps. I always answer that they are anything that you don’t know that changes things.”
“OVERCOMING FEAR AND LEARNING TO GET WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE”
“But stop and think about that. Are we really afraid of the guy across the table? I can promise you that, with very few exceptions, he’s not going to reach across and slug you.”
“Black Swans are leverage multipliers. Remember the three types of leverage: positive (the ability to give someone what they want); negative (the ability to hurt someone); and normative (using your counterpart’s norms to bring them around).”
“Work to understand the other side’s “religion.” Digging into worldviews inherently implies moving beyond the negotiating table and into the life, emotional and otherwise, of your counterpart. That’s where Black Swans live.”
“Exploit the similarity principle. People are more apt to concede to someone they share a cultural similarity with, so dig for what makes them tick and show that you share common ground.”
PREPARE A NEGOTIATION ONE SHEET
“Negotiation is a psychological investigation. You can gain a measure of confidence going into such an investigation with a simple preparatory exercise we advise all our clients to do. Basically, it’s a list of the primary tools you anticipate using, such as labels and calibrated questions, customized to the particular negotiation.
When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion—you fall to your highest level of preparation.”
“Think through best/worst-case scenarios but only write down a specific goal that represents the best case.”
“I tell my clients that as part of their preparation they should think about the outcome extremes: best and worst. If you’ve got both ends covered, you’ll be ready for anything. So know what you cannot accept and have an idea about the best-case outcome, but keep in mind that since there’s information yet to be acquired from the other side, it’s quite possible that best case might be even better than you know.”
“my clients the security of some structure, when it comes to what actually goes on your one sheet, my advice is to just stick with the high-end goal, as it will”
“Bottom line: People who expect more (and articulate it) get more.
Here are the four steps for setting your goal:
■Set an optimistic but reasonable goal and define it clearly.
■Write it down.
■Discuss your goal with a colleague (this makes it harder to wimp out).
■Carry the written goal into the negotiation.”
“Summarize and write out in just a couple of sentences the known facts that have led up to the negotiation.”
“You’re going to have to have something to talk about beyond a self-serving assessment of what you want. And you had better be ready to respond with tactical empathy to your counterpart’s arguments; unless they’re incompetent, the other party will come prepared to argue an interpretation of the facts that favors them.”
“Get on the same page at the outset.
You have to clearly describe the lay of the land before you can think about acting in its confines. Why are you there? What do you want? What do they want? Why?
You must be able to summarize a situation in a way that your counterpart will respond with a “That’s right.” If they don’t, you haven’t done it right.”
“Prepare three to five labels to perform an accusation audit.”
“There are fill-in-the-blank labels that can be used in nearly every situation to extract information from your counterpart, or defuse an accusation:
It seems like _________ is valuable to you.
It seems like you don’t like _________.
It seems like you value __________.
It seems like _________ makes it easier.
It seems like you’re reluctant to _________.”
“As an example, if you’re trying to renegotiate an apartment lease to allow subletters and you know the landlord is opposed to them, your prepared labels would be on the lines of “It seems as though you’re not a fan of subletters” or “It seems like you want stability with your tenants.”
“Prepare three to five calibrated questions to reveal value to you and your counterpart and identify and overcome potential deal killers.”
“Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has a great quote that sums up this”
“concept: “You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it’s whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.”
“There will be a small group of “What” and “How” questions that you will find yourself using in nearly every situation. Here are a few of them:
What are we trying to accomplish?
How is that worthwhile?
What’s the core issue here?
How does that affect things?
What’s the biggest challenge you face?
How does this fit into what the objective is?”
QUESTIONS TO IDENTIFY BEHIND-THE-TABLE DEAL KILLERS
When implementation happens by committee, the support of that committee is key. You’ll want to tailor your calibrated questions to identify and unearth the motivations of those behind the table, including:
How does this affect the rest of your team?
How on board are the people not on this call?
What do your colleagues see as their main challenges in this area?”
“Think about their perceived losses. Never forget”
QUESTIONS TO USE TO UNEARTH THE DEAL-KILLING ISSUES
What are we up against here?
What is the biggest challenge you face?
How does making a deal with us affect things?
What happens if you do nothing?
What does doing nothing cost you?
How does making this deal resonate with what your company prides itself on?”
“Be ready to execute follow-up labels to their answers to your calibrated questions.
Having labels prepared will allow you to quickly turn your counterpart’s responses back to them, which will keep them feeding you new and expanding information. Again, these are fill-in-the-blank labels that you can use quickly without tons of thought:
It seems like __________ is important.
It seems you feel like my company is in a unique position to __________.
It seems like you are worried that __________.”
“Prepare a list of noncash items possessed by your counterpart that would be valuable.
Ask yourself: “What could they give that would almost get us to do it for free?” Think of the anecdote I told a few chapters ago about my work for the lawyers’ association: My counterpart’s interest was to pay me as little cash as possible in order to look good in front of his board. We came upon the idea that they pay in part by publishing a cover story about me in their magazine. That was low-cost for them and it advanced my interests considerably.