Short Reads to Improve Sales
When it comes to increasing sales and revenue, there are four key levers an orga¬nization must focus on:
1) Volume of attempts
2) Contact rate
3) Conversion rate
4) Deal sizeThe purpose of sales technology is to directly impact one or more of these levers. For example, if you can increase the volume of your dials, your reps will speak with more prospects, close more deals and ultimately generate more revenue.
What are you hoping to get out of that call?
Is it to close a deal?
Is it to find out who the decision makers are?Is it to get an appointment? Know your goal and tailor your pitch accordingly, because each of these calls will require a slightly different approach.
Gen. Contractor, Remodeling, Home Improvement
Can you widen doorways, install ramps and handle bars or lower cabinets?
Are you doing interior or exterior work mostly?
Can you make bathrooms handicap accessible?
Are you familiar with the HISA grant? Explain HISA Grant, This can be found on www.hthproject.net.
Do you handle collision, repair and maintenance work?
You can deal with everything right, complete drive train A to Z?
Are you able to remove small dents and dings?
You guy’s offer Paint less dent repair?
Can you handle engine rebuilds or replacement?
Can you overhaul transmission?
I am looking for a reliable high-quality shop that is knowledgeable and can provide expert repairs, for our veterans and 1st responders would you be able to help?
Landscaping, Lawn care, Tree Service
Are you doing residential work?
Do you do maintenance or installation?
If the tree is located in a hard-to-reach area or if there are power lines either near it or in the way could that be something you can handle?
You chop down trees and do stump grinding?
What kind of programs or discounts do you offer for the veteran community?
Do you have experience providing Military & Veteran’s Services?
Can handle special services for military like P.O.W and M.I.A?
Can provide special services for all Faiths & Cultures?
Do you have the resources in place to be able to accommodate Military Burials with Honors?
We are looking for a Caring, understanding staff to answer any questions for our veterans and 1st responders would you be able to help?
Would you be able to play a critical role in planning and carrying out a special funeral or memorial service for a veterans or 1st responders?
Can I speak to someone that can handle VA loans or can help a first time home buyer please?
Do you have a military relocation specialist or someone that can deal with military relocation I can speak to?
Would you like to work with the veterans and 1st responders to provide your real estate expertise when they are looking to move or buy a new home?
Can you coordinate open houses and schedule photos of the home if someone was trying to sale their house?
Do you have a lender that deals with VA loans I can speak with?
Do you deal with a lot of VA loans?
Would you like to feature your VA loan program to active and retired military?
You can help with retirement planning correct?
You can help finance the purchase of a home or cars if a veterans or 1st responder needed correct?
I am looking to connect veterans and 1st responder’s to a Financial Advisor that can help them prepare for retirement, save for their education and manage their Investments.
I am looking for a Financial Advisor that has an extensive understanding and expertise, in dealing with Investment Management and Retirement Planning that a veteran or 1st responder’s can depend on.
Assisted living and home health
How many vets do you currently have in the community?
Do you currently have Medicare, VA, & Medicaid billing options in addition to private pay?
Do you have any experience with care services for Veterans?
Do you help with Personal care – like help with daily living activities, bathing, meal preparation, and housekeeping?
So if a veteran or 1st responder was looking to have a registered professional nurse they could call you?
Do you offer 24-hour attentive and compassionate professional care for seniors?
Do you offer mobility improvement activities and Social activities for seniors?
Do you handle repair and replacement of toilets, faucets, water heaters?
Do you handle repair and replacement of water lines, sewer lines and gas lines?
Do you do backflow tests for like sump pumps and recirculating pumps?
Can you install tankless water heaters? So if a veteran or 1st responder was looking to have a tankless water heaters installed they could call you?
I am looking for an HVAC company that has an extensive understanding and expertise, to create the perfect indoor environment for a veteran or 1st responder’s home.
Do you deal with Duct Repair like installation and Air duct cleaning?
As far as Service & Repair work you guy’s deal with Air Purifiers and Water Heaters right?
I looking for a HVAC company that prides itself on providing real comfort solutions to real people that I can connect with veteran or 1st responder’s.
I am looking to connect veterans and 1st responder’s to an HVAC company that can handle service, routine maintenance and complete installations.
Can you help with air conditioning installs and Air Conditioning Repair?
Do you deal more with new construction or repair work?
Are you just dealing with tear offs or do you do repair work too?
Do you do any siding or gutter work?A lot of these vets are older and can’t get out and climb a latter to do the work you do.
1. Priorities – We all have loads to do and have competing pressures on our time and attention. However, if winning the sale is important, it needs focus. That means removing unnecessary distractions. Ever tried to have a conversation with someone whose focus is elsewhere? Obvious isn’t it. Try to stay focused on what’s in front of you.
2. Don’t pre-judge – If you join the conversation with pre-determined ideas, there’s a risk that you’ll spend less time actively listening to what the other person says and more time plotting how you’ll convince them to your point of view. Try to enter the conversation with an open mind and you’ll be more inclined to listen so you can understand their point of view.
b3. Feedback – It’s the acknowledgements such as ‘OK’ or ‘uh huh’ or ‘ah I see’ and expressions such as ‘oh really’ that we all naturally do when we’re engaged in an interesting conversation. I’ve heard people interject with ‘oh right that’s interesting’ at the most inappropriate time in the conversation that was unrelated with what the prospect was saying. So take care to listen before chucking in acknowledgements.
4. Don’t interrupt – This is the worst sin and we’re all guilty. Whatever the reason, try to refrain from speaking over the other participant. It doesn’t work well. You can do this by following some of the other tips below.
5. Breathe & Pause – This may seem a strange one. But taking a deep breath and pausing, enables you to gather your thoughts, interrupts the pattern of speech and allows the other person the time to speak. It also slows you down and reduces the likelihood of pummeling the other person with a rat a tat tat of words.
6. Summaries – There’s nothing that demonstrates good listening than a good summary of the conversation. Use things like ‘so, if I understand correctly’ and ‘OK so what you mean is….’ It shows you listened and that you are interested. But beware doing this if you weren’t properly engaged as to what was being said.
7. Practice – It may sound foolish as we listen all the time. But, we all like the sound of our own voice. So, from the next conversation you have, try out the tips above and check out the difference in response. You never know, it may make you more likable and win you more sales!
TIP 1: THE GATEKEEPER IS NOT THE ENEMYWhoever is acting as the Gatekeeper between you and the Decision-Maker (DM) is just doing their job. Part of that job is managing demands on the DM’s time. Seeing the Gatekeeper as the enemy creates a self-imposed psychological barrier that it will be difficult, if not impossible to remove.
TIP 2: SOUND SENIORManagement never gets treated the same as the workers. If someone believes that you are important, they will treat you differently. Using a relaxed and calm voice, speak slowly and articulately and don’t divulge more than is necessary. During the opening seconds of your conversation, if the Gatekeeper senses that you are their senior, they will not risk offending you by probing too deeply.
TIP 3: THE GATEKEEPER IS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGERemember that whilst the Gatekeeper’s role is to restrict interruptions to the DM’s daily routine, they do know a great deal of important information about the DM and the business. Use this opportunity to check that the person that you want to speak to IS the decision-maker. Check your facts with them. Ask simple, non-intrusive open questions to try to build up a picture of both the Gatekeeper and the Decision-Maker.
TIP 4: DON’T SELL TO THE GATEKEEPERThe Gatekeeper has several distinct ‘powers’. One of them is the power to connect you with the right person. However, they do not hold any decision-making powers. When the Gatekeeper asks ‘Can I tell him/her what it’s regarding?’ – do not try to pitch your product or service to the Gatekeeper. Firstly, it will waste your time. Second, it will irritate them because they will just be waiting for an opportunity to tell you that they cannot help you. No matter how desperate to connect with the DM you are, do not sell to the Gatekeeper.
TIP 5: ENGAGE DON’T EVADEDon’t be awkward, don’t try to sneak past the Gatekeeper, the chances are you’ll get cut off at the knees. Actively engage with the Gatekeeper. Don’t get too personal, don’t pry, but you can gently probe. If you can’t get through to the DM, engage the Gatekeeper so that they have a positive and friendly attitude towards you when you call again. You’re unlikely to become best friends, but building a relationship and a rapport with them will help them want to help you.
TIP 6: EASY DOES ITIf you are nervous, stressed or tense, you will transfer those feelings to your voice, your behaviour and choice of words. All of these will make an impact on how the Gatekeeper perceives you and therefore how they receive your request for access or information. Take some deep slow quiet breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to put yourself at ease. When the Gatekeeper answers, smile and confidently greet them with energy and ease.
TIP 7: DON’T SCRIPT, PLAN.Unless you are a particularly good actor, don’t use a script on the Gatekeeper. They are likely to hear the scripted tone in your voice. Instead, plan how you will approach them; what approaches you might take depending upon the range of responses that they might make. Plan your responses to key objections but leave yourself room by improvising the dialogue.
TIP 8: WHAT’S YOUR TRANSITIVE VERB?Do you know that whilst you are speaking to the Gatekeeper, you are consciously or unconsciously employing a transitive verb to do something to them? A transitive verb is, if you don’t know, a verb that can be done to someone else such as ‘I CHARM You, I AMUSE You, I PRESS You’. In Oral Communications, verbs are used as tactics to get results from other people. It’s essential that you be in control of the tactics that you are playing. Think about what tactics you will play throughout your PLAN.
TIP 9: IS SHE EXPECTING YOUR CALL?This is largely irrelevant because you want to speak to the DM nonetheless. However, in order to bypass the Gatekeeper, use the DM’s first name only. Ask ‘Can I speak to Jenny please?’, it sounds like a personal call. Remember your goal is not to inform the Gatekeeper; your goal is to bypass them to get to the DM. Next, they might ask ‘Is she expecting your call?’. Simply and easily reply ‘Yes, I sent him some information through from our Head Office, we need to discuss it before close of business today’.
TIP 10: THE LAST BEST SOLUTIONIt’s not the best solution, and this tip often splits Telemarketers down the middle. You can always ask if you can be put through to the DM’s voicemail. Just like in a sales environment, quickly point out a benefit for the Gatekeeper of doing this. If they say that the DM is ‘out to lunch’ or ‘in a meeting’ and you’ve already called several times, point out that you’ve already taken up a lot of their time and ask if they can put your through to voicemail to save bothering them further. Of course, Marketing is a personal art and what works for one, will not necessarily work for another. These Top Ten Tips should be the starting place for developing your own personal method of bypassing the Gatekeeper, rather than seeing them as cast iron instructions to be rigidly followed.
Straight Line Training Lesson #1 Training Plan:
The First 5 Seconds.
In 2013 a Harvard Professor did a study on the importance of first impressions. What he found was that the human brain makes the initial first impression in 5 seconds. What the study also found was that if you make a bad 1st impression it takes 8 subsequent positive impressions to erase that 1 negative 1st impression.The simple fact is that we all want to deal with pros or experts, and we also want to deal with people who are sharp, on the ball, and are enthusiastic about what they do. Experts have a certain way of talking that literally “commands respect”. They say things like “Listen, _____, you need to trust me on this I’ve been doing this a long time and I know this will be beneficial for both you and the Veterans. Novices, on the other hand, tend to speak in far less definite terms, they scramble for the right words to say. My point here is that how you are perceived in the beginning of the call will carry through to every part of the sale. In knowing this you always want to start every call as positive as possible. There are 3 things that you need to establish in the initial first encounter if you want to be perceived in just the right way: 1) That you’re sharp as a tack: Problem Solver, You Sound Intelligent. If they don’t think you’re sharp as a tack, you’re wasting their time and yours. You must come across as someone who’s on the ball, a born problem solver who is defiantly worth listening to. You must sound and act like someone who can help the consumer fulfill their needs. So how can we do this? (go over one liners, leading questions, get 1 from each agent) 2) Enthusiastic as hell: If you sound excited and believe in what you’re doing and what we’re doing here and online for the Vets the consumer’s going to be excited. Make them feel like you have something great to offer. (what kind of things can you do as an agent to be enthusiastic?) 3) You’re an expert in your field, a force to be reckoned with: From the time we could walk we were all taught to respect and listen to competent and knowledgeable people, right? By knowing your product and how it will benefit the consumer and their business you will be perceived as an expert in your field. Not only does this allow you to gain the prospects respect, but it also allows you to take control of the sale. Always Remember: • That how you’re perceived in the beginning of the call will carry through to the very end. If you screw up and make a negative 1st impression, then you have a very slim chance of making the sale. • Show them that you’re worth listening to. When you can establish these 3 things, they’ll all roll up into one simple fact, THAT YOU’RE WORTH LISTENING TO. Once you have achieved those 3 things the consumer will believe that: 1) You will get to the point quickly. 2) Not waste their time. 3) Have a solution to their problems 4) You and the product that you’re offering will be an asset to them and their business not a liability. If you’re perceived the right way, then the prospect will defer to you and let you take control of the sale. If you’re perceived the wrong way, that your dull as dishwater, a stone cold novice, then the opposite happens and the consumer takes control of the sale and you pretty much lost it.
Straight Line Training Lesson #2 Training Plan:
Tonality and Body Language. The 1st 5 seconds.Since all your sales conversation takes place over the phone, how do you insure that you’re being perceived in just the right way when the prospect can’t even see you? Is it through the words you say? Think about that for a moment. What could you possible do to be able to say everything you needed to say in the first 5 seconds? You would literally have to yell everything at the prospect all at, once right? • You’d sound like a freaking idiot! The simple fact is that you could never say everything you needed to say in the first 5 seconds to make a good 1st impression. So, if your words won’t do it, then where do you turn? The answer is simple: YOUR TONE OF VOICE!!!! HOW you say what you say has a profound impact on how its perceived and, for that matter, how YOU’RE perceived! And that doesn’t just last the 1st 5 seconds it will last through out the entire call. • Talk with agents about ways they can practice their tones to get a good message across. Our ears have become so adept to recognizing tones that even the slightest tone shift in the conversation can have a lasting impact on the rest of the conversation. • HAVE 2 or 3 different agents pitch in different tones. In terms of percentages did you know that in Human Communication your Tonality counts for 45%, your Body Language counts for 45% and your words only count for 10%. That’s right 10%. That’s why your Tonality is so important. • Go around room and have a tonality exercise. Another great example of this is how we use enthusiasm to create massive emotional certainty in our prospect- meaning our tonality was so enthusiastic that the prospect gets the overwhelming sense that whatever were doing or selling must be good. You don’t want your tone to be overly enthusiastic to where you end up yelling and screaming about how great your product is. Its about ENUNCIATING certain words with absolute clarity so that your words almost have a level of intensity. This kind of enthusiasm makes a massive impact on someone emotionally, and is one of the ear marks of sounding like an expert. Look guys when it comes down to it you’re all phone agents your job is to sale over the phone you’re never going to meet these people in person! The most important part is going to be the way you convey your message and it starts with the way you say whatever it is you need to say. THE WAY YOU SAY THE WORDS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE WORDS YOU SAY!! Straight Line Training Lesson #3 Training Plan: Managing your emotional state. • Have you ever heard the term “fake it till you make it”? Well how long do you really think you can fake it until you sound so unauthentic you can’t make it 10 secs into a phone call with out getting hung up on. So, what do we do to change this problem? State Management. (emotional state) OR ANCHORING • Why is State Management so important to achieving sales success? It’s because your current emotional state determines whether you’ll be able to access your internal resources at that moment to achieve your desired outcome. In other words: “Act as if your already rich and you will become rich, act as if you have unmatched confidence, and people will have confidence in you, act as if you have the answers and the answers will come, act as if you have already made the sale, and you will make sales! • Talk to agents about ways to build confidence in them selves while on the phone. • When you’re in an “empowered state” like certainty then you’re able to access your internal resources which in turn sets you up for massive success. Being in an “empowered state” is the equivalent to having the valve to your internal resources fully open, allowing you to access them at will, while being in a “disempowered state” is the equivalent to the valve being closed, keeping you from those internal resources and therefore blocking you from sales success. • In terms of achieving success in sales there are 4 key states that you need to learn how to trigger at will within state management. They are the 4 C’s of anchoring: Certainty, Clarity, Confidence, and Courage. These are your linchpin states for achieving great sales success. • Talk to agents about ways to activate the 4 C’s This is called NLP Anchoring or Nero-Linguistic Programming what this means is that human beings can choose how they feel at any particular moment in time. We can be proactive when it comes to choosing our emotional state. For example, if positive things are happening to you, then you’ll end up falling into a positive emotional state. There are 2 core elements you need to focus on: 1) What you choose to focus on: At any moment you can choose the precise direction of your focus; and based on that choice, you’ll fall into a state that’s congruent with what you’ve chosen to focus on. If you choose to focus on things like your kids, past success, money, family, then you’ll quickly pop into a positive, empowered state that reflects all those wonderful things. But it goes both ways if you spend the same amount of time focusing on everything that’s going wrong in your life then you’ll quickly fall into a disempowered state that reflects all those crappy things. Its as simple as that! 2) Your current physiology: Which is the physiology of human beings as it relates to each emotional state. NLP’s first leap of logic was based on the idea that human beings could proactively manage their emotional state with near 100% success by directing their focus and their physiology in a specific way. Its kind of like Pavlov’s Dogs. What a Scientist in Russia did was took a starving dog and would hold out a steak until the dog’s mouth salivated and at the same time would ring a loud bell. Well after doing this so many times over and over when he would ring the bell without the steak the dog would associate it with the steak and its mouth would water. He used the steak to set the anchor. The most common state that salespeople will try to set anchor for is the state of absolute certainty, and the most common anchor they’ll choose to link it to is a combination of shouting the word “yes” and clapping their hands. Straight Line Training Lesson #4 Training Plan: Advanced Formulas for Managing Your State. Managing your State can also be known as Anchoring. • Step 1: Choose a State: This is where you set an intention for the emotional state you want to anchor. This will always be a conscious decision, based on the circumstances your about to face. (how do you want to be perceived through out the day by your prospects?) In other words, anchoring is a forward-looking process that’s proactive in nature. (absolute certainty, confidence, etc.) • Step 2: Choose your focus: Think back and find a time in your life when you felt absolutely certain or confident like when you made your first sale or your toughest sale, or just another exciting time in your life. Try to picture that time with as much detail as possible. • Step 3: Choose your Physiology: This is where you’re going to change from your current physiology to that of the physiology you’re trying to anchor. Or in other words feel the way you felt at the time you’re trying to anchor. • Step 4: Intensify your focus: Think back to the time in your life when you felt absolutely certain or confident like when you made your first sale and try to recall the feeling of energy and excitement you had at that time. Try to harness that energy and excitement on every call. (talk to agents about ways or tools they can use to intensify their focus or anchor.) • Step 5: Set your anchor: What this means is taking the state that you’ve just created in your mind and linking it to a word or sound or feeling. You can stand up and move around or get up and clap your hands. GET EXCITED!! Heck you can even get up and get jacked up on coffee or dance around and celebrate. Anything you feel that you need to do to set this anchor. Anchor So, to sum it all up: with zero preparation, beyond simply choosing what state you want to anchor, all you must do is wait for that awesome moment when you close that big sale, and you all will! And then in that very instance when that moment hits, you do what ever it was or use whatever tool you need to set your anchor! Here’s how it looks in 2 small steps: 1) Choose a state: Like before, lets choose a state of absolute certainty! 2) Set your anchor! Wait for that moment and then do what ever it is you need to do lock it in like getting up and jumping around, chug some coffee, dance around, anything you need to do to lock that state in your mind. And that is that! You have anchored your state of absolute certainty! And just to make sure you set that anchor firmly for the next month or so, whenever you close a sale get up and do whatever it is you have chosen to do to set your anchor. Straight Line Training Lesson #5 Training Plan: Advanced Tonality. • When you call a prospect, they are listening to two things at once, the words you say and their inner monologue as they debate the last words you’ve said. For example, you just cold called a prospect named John Smith. He picks up the phone and says hello to which you reply, hi this is Bill Peterson with the Veterans Network and I’m looking for John Smith. • Now unless John Smith hasn’t answered his phone in the last 30 years there’s a 99.9% chance that he already knows you’re a salesman. What you’re selling or how you got his info he still doesn’t know, but that doesn’t change the fact you’re a stranger, as opposed to someone John knows or maybe even wants to talk to. After all, if you were a friend you would have never addressed John Smith in such a formal manner. And when he combines that with the fact that almost every time his phone rings it’s a telemarketer, John knows the deal within the first 5 seconds. So how does he respond? • He’s either going to hang up or be respectful and listen to your Pitch with all his walls up. And wait for the opportunity to end the call. (send me some info, no $, talk it over with my partner, my dog died etc.) And just like that the sale is over before it even started! Core Influencing Tonalities: • When you’re a born salesman, you don’t have to consciously decide which of the Core Influencing Tonalities you need to apply to your words to take control of your prospects inner monologue and stop it from narrating against you. You can unconsciously do this automatically and get it right every single time. On the flip side, though, when you’re not a born salesman, which most people aren’t, then a breakdown in your inner communication occurs. What you actually say ends up being a watered-down version of what you had originally intended to say! • Remember it’s your words that move a prospect logically, and it’s your tonality that moves your prospect emotionally. In short, the words you say AND HOW you choose to say them are what is going to take you to the next level in your sales game! So, now let’s go back to the call with Mr. Smith. Instead of saying: Hi, my name is Bill Peterson with the Veterans Network. Is John Smith in? You should simply in an upbeat tone say: Hi, is John there? • By upbeat tone I’m referring to one of the Core Influencing Tonalities, called the “I Care” or “I really want to know” tonality. By applying this upbeat, enthusiastic tonality, while virtually all other salespeople are saying the same words in a perfunctory manner, not only do you immediately stand out from the rest of the pack, but you have also begun the process of taking control of your prospects inner dialog. • This is about being fully engaged and showing great interest in speaking to your prospect. That’s why when you say: “How are you?” Great you sound good! You establish instant rapport with someone and establish yourself as a person who cares and really wants to know how they’re doing. This tonality creates an unconscious connection, because we naturally feel closer to people who express a sincere caring for our well-being. Now, to be clear, there is a sweet spot here, insofar as just how much enthusiasm you can layer onto your words until you start to sound disingenuous. In other words, you don’t want to say it like Tony the Tiger, you’d sound like a complete idiot if you did that. You want to be upbeat enough to get your point across, but not so over the top that you sound ridiculous. • Remember, tonality is the secret weapon of influence, because its an unspoken language. Your prospect hears words without you having to say them and gets influenced without even knowing.
Lesson 2: Voice - Gently Reach Into Their Brain
Law of the Universe #1: Your voice will introduce emotional reactions in your counterpart.You smile. They smile. Without realizing it, you’ve just reached into their brain and turned a dial. It’s called mirror neurons and it’s involuntary. They can’t help it or stop you. Even if they don’t smile, they are fighting it because a portion of their brain is telling them to smile. Your simplest, yet effective tool in negotiation, and actually in any verbal communication, is your voice. Your tone of voice can turn this dial. Its stealth nature may actually make it one of your most effective tools. This process begins before you’ve even spoken enough words to complete a thought. This is one of the simplest, yet most sophisticated emotional intelligence (EQ) skills in your arsenal. When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly. There’s data out that indicates people’s brains may function up to 31% more effectively in a positive frame of mind. They are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve with you, as opposed to struggling against you, if they are in a positive frame of mind. The reverse of this is true as well. Keeping a smile on your own face and in your voice will increase your own mental agility.
Law of the Universe #2: You are 6x more likely to make a deal with someone you like.There are essentially three tones of voice available to negotiators. The first two are the only ones you should ever use and they are: the "late-night FM DJ" voice and the smiling positive/playful voice. The third tone of voice, which will always have a negative effect on your counterpart in negotiations, is the direct/assertive voice. Using the assertive voice is like slapping yourself in the face while you're trying to make progress. Your counterpart will always be looking for the opportunity to push back. The late-night FM DJ voice Use this voice when it's extremely important to make your point. It should be used in place of the direct/assertive voice. This may be in regards to a term in a negotiation that there is no “give” on. Follow this with silence (an effective pause). Do not be the one to break that silence. The key to the late-night FM DJ voice is for your voice to inflict downward at the end, very much like a late-night FM DJ. This gives your voice simultaneously a calming effect and elements of both authority and trustworthiness. It's very close to the voice used by the best TV news anchors. They need you to believe in them and trust what they say. It's powerful and it works. Be cautious of overuse of this voice. With overuse it will make you seem distant or even condescending. A licensed hypnotherapist once told us the late-night FM DJ voice was the first thing he'd been taught in hypnotherapist training. That's how powerful it is.
“How am I supposed to do that?”Use the late-night FM DJ voice to say this in a deferential, graceful manner and as though you are actually asking for their help (in essence – you are). There is great power in deference and you will find the ability to say nearly anything that might provoke a negative reaction if you say it with deference. The smiling positive/playful voice This voice is actually the voice to you should use most of the time. It’s the voice of an easy-going, good-natured person. The key to this is to smile while you're talking and be somewhat relaxed. It's about conveying a positive attitude and encouragement. When you smile while you're talking people can hear and feel the smile (the mirror neurons are reacting). People are drawn to this voice. Recognize and use the power of your voice. It gives you the ability to literally reach into a counterpart’s brain and flip an emotional switch the moment you begin speaking. Example: Voices in Action One of our Black Swan Group instructors was bargaining in the spice markets in Istanbul. A female friend bargaining at the same time was consistently getting better deals, and she was bargaining quite assertively. The culture in the spice markets in Istanbul is a merchant culture and they are used to spirited bargaining. They use hospitality and friendliness themselves in a powerful way to draw you in and create reciprocity. Our instructor had been using mostly the late-night FM DJ voice. The friend pointed out that she was making it a point to be as "playful" as possible and that was the key to her success. Learn to hear your own voice as you speak and watch its effect on your counterpart. You’ll simultaneously find your own state of mind is balanced.
Lesson 3: Labels - The Stealth StratagemYou should already be seeing improvements in all your interactions. Changes in your psychological “balance” and the artistic use of your tone of voice should already be paying dividends for you. Skill 1: Labels What is a label? The first negotiation skill in this program is labels. A label is an intentionally designed verbal observation. It's a sentence that most always begins with these words: "It seems like…" “It sounds like…" “It looks like…” This phrase is then followed by your observation of the dynamic you wish to affect. It’s one of the reasons these skills in other formats have been called the stealth weapons of effective negotiations. Use your powers for good and not evil. This is a crafted and targeted skill. It’s seemingly innocuous. It will have an impact on what you’ve selected. It’s used to reinforce a selected positive dynamic or diffuse a selected negative dynamic. It’s a skill that allows you to surface objections and diffuse them or conversely surface dynamics, which are to your advantage and reinforce them. You can label an action, an implication, an intuition, an affect; literally almost any part of the communication process that has, or is occurring. This process will be invisible to your counterpart. An example of a label used in an actual negotiation between a landlord (who was known for not allowing sub-letters) and tenant (who wanted to sub-lease his apartment) was: "It seems like you don't like sub-letters." This is an elegantly simple, yet versatile skill. You will feel awkward when first implementing this skill. We can promise you in advance the first time you use a label your imagination is going to conjure up an image of your counterpart jumping up and shouting "Don't you dare use labels on me!" It's not going to happen. But the only way you're going to find out how undetectable labels are is by using them. How to use labels Labels are used for confirmation of understanding, for digging in deeper, and even as a way to ask a question. A label can be constructed as a statement by using a downward voice inflection at the end of the sentence or as a question by using an upward voice inflection at the end of the sentence just as you would when you ask a question. Labels encourage your counterpart to be more responsive. They will usually give you a longer response than just a “yes” or a “no”. With someone who won't answer at all it will usually get them to give you at least a “yes” or “no”. The use of several labels in a conversation will accumulate to achieve breakthroughs. At the end of the landlord/tenant negotiation mentioned earlier, when the tenant thought he’d reached an impasse and was getting ready to gracefully withdraw, he said: “It sounds like there’s nothing I can say to get you to change your mind.” The landlord then responded with “Yes there is” and proceeded to outline the exact terms he wanted. They made the deal. Start labeling right away. The sooner you get the feel for this skill, the sooner you will be generating breakthroughs.
Lesson 4: Targeting Success with Labels
Law of the Universe #4: Labeling positives reinforces them; labeling negatives diffuses them.Contextual intelligence You learned in the last lesson that labeling positive thoughts and dynamics reinforces them. Labeling negative thoughts and dynamics diffuses them (or in some cases the word “defuse” is appropriate as it avoids an explosion). We don’t know why this is... we just know it is. Grasping this is powerful. It gives you the opportunity to look over what is being expressed by your counterpart and choose what direction you want to guide them towards. What they express and how they express it gives you a virtual buffet of choices. “It sounds like it’s important to you to find just the right program match.” This was the label that sealed the deal for a $5,000 donation. That label, enhanced by the several that came before, created the tipping point that established a bond of trust. A donor signed a check without even knowing where the money was actually going, a first for this professional fundraiser. “It sounds like you’re not a big fan of sub-letters.” This was the label that played a key role in opening up the conversation where a landlord (who was famous not allowing sub-letters and not renegotiating leases) renegotiated the lease and allowed a sub-letter. Positive and negative: choose a side Any thought or idea expressed by someone carries a preference of like or dislike intertwined within it. This like is what we refer to as a positive. Dislike, lack of appreciation, disdain for something, is what we mean by a negative. The positive or negative emotion intertwined in someone’s reaction is a clue to how they value it. Smart exchanges of value are the essence of negotiation. You can even label indifference! Your counterpart’s reaction to that label will reveal more information about what they value or why the are indifferent. Any passion, feeling, or expressed thought has both a presenting and an underlying emotional tone to it, both a yin and a yang, so to speak. The thought will be presented overtly either as positive or negative. You have a choice of which side you want to label. People who hate cheaters love fair play. People who are passionate about their business and its mission are somewhat indifferent or even disdainful of people who are apathetic to their company’s mission. “It sounds like you hate sub-letters” could become “It seems like you like stability”. Listening to what is expressed by your counterpart and breaking down the components in this fashion is what begins to slow time down for you without actually slowing the process down. What is happening is your ear and mind are working together it pick apart the components of what you counterpart is expressing to “read between the lines” and gather insights. As part of your preparation process, consider and write down a summary of the situation as you know it. Then consider the predictable positives and negatives your counterpart is likely to bring to the table. Whether these predictables are reasonable or not, isn’t relevant. Prepare 3-5 labels in advance to deal with them. Inoculate at the start You can choose to use some of these labels preemptively, to effectively inoculate your counterpart from having a negative feeling. “This is going to sound harsh” is a great label to lead off with when you know your counterpart is going to have a negative reaction to what you are getting ready to say. You pause for a moment (a 3 second effective pause) and follow it with what you believe will be poorly received. For whatever reason, people’s imaginations get so carried away they think of something really, crazy bad! Then whatever you follow up with actually turns out to be a bit of a relief! Every single time this label has been used, the response has been the counterpart thinks it over, shrugs their shoulders, and shrugs it off saying “That wasn’t that bad.” Use this power preemptively and wisely. Maximize your contextual intelligence.
Lesson 5: How to Be Smooth - Mirrors
Skill 2: MirrorsMirror, mirror Mirrors (or mirroring) may be the simplest of all the skills. And it is smoooooooth. You simply repeat the last three words your counterpart has spoken, or repeat a word or selected three words that you want to amplify/clarify. Sounds ridiculous, right? Please do not underestimate the power of this skill. Mirrors pull responses out of people even when they know you’re using them. They trigger an almost unconscious reaction. Be aware - when you first start mirroring other people it’s going to feel awkward. Very awkward. Discomfort with a new skill is the biggest barrier to learning it. Please don’t let that get in your way. Don't worry, mirrors are truly invisible, compelling, and even a surgical at times. A skeptical colleague was once protesting whether or not mirrors were a valid skill. He said, "I just don't see how mirrors would work. I just don't see how it would be useful to repeat the last three words." My response? - "The last three words?" And he said "Yeah, I just don't see how it would work…Hey wait a minute! You got me!" Mirroring is great when you are at a loss for words. No matter how blank your mind may feel, somewhere in the recesses of your memory you can pull out the last three words of what someone just said. It's great for helping you get on track. One member of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (SWAT) who went through the hostage negotiation course would use mirrors to sharpen his ability to label. He would always start each negotiation with two or three mirrors. As he mirrored, you could watch him hone in and he would come up with an extremely effective label. With each mirror his mind focused even more and his listening became more in-depth. Clarifying powers You can use mirrors for "surgical" clarifications. We don't even ask the question "What do you mean by that?" anymore. Instead when someone says something you don't understand, mirror it with an upward inflection (questioning tone). The counterpart will automatically reword what he/she just said instead of repeating the exact same words in a louder tone of voice (very similar to the way many Americans overseas try to get people to understand them). You can use mirrors effectively with assertive types. This is an actual conversation between a CEO and his Director of Operations (DOO) over a misunderstanding regarding 3-ring binders for a training session. The CEO wanted 3-ring binders but kept referring to them as notebooks. CEO: “Are the notebooks ready?” DOO: “What do you mean by notebooks?” CEO: “Notebooks.” (Exasperated.) DOO: “What do you mean by notebooks?” CEO: “NOTEBOOKS!” DOO: “Notebooks?” CEO: “Yeah, 3-ring binders.” (Bingo! Clarity!) Here are a series of mirrors with Wendy the airline employee that got Ryan a seat on an airplane when he was stranded by weather in an airport with a host of unhappy travelers: Ryan: “Hi, I’m Ryan. It seems like they were pretty upset.” (Note the Label – Lesson #3 & #4). Wendy responded about how they had missed their connection and then said something along the lines of “we’ve had a fair amount of delays because of the weather.” Ryan: “The weather?” Wendy explained to that multiple airports in the Northeast had experienced delays due to weather conditions. “It’s rippled through the system.” Ryan: “It seems like it’s been a hectic day.” (Label.) Wendy opened up about a lot of “irritated customers” (like the ones before). She said a lot of people are trying to get to Texas for the two big college games. Ryan: “The college games?” Wendy answered about the UT vs Ole’ Miss football game and that “every flight into Austin has been booked solid.” Ryan: “Booked solid?” Wendy went on to explain that every flight was sold out through the weekend, but that the weather was likely to “reroute a lot of people through a lot of different places.” She finally gets around to asking, “So, how can I help you?” Ryan: “Look, it seems like you’ve been handling the rough day pretty well. I was also affected by the weather delays and missed my connecting flight. It seems like this flight is likely booked solid, however, it also might make sense that someone affected by the weather might miss this connection. Is there any possibility a seat will be open because of this?” At this point Wendy said nothing and began typing on her computer. Ryan kept silent, as he did not want to talk himself back out of what might be done deal. After about a minute, Wendy printed a boarding pass and handed it to him. She explained that there were a few seats that were supposed to be filled by people who would now arrive much later than this flight’s departure. She also placed Ryan in Economy Plus setting (which generally has an upcharge) and mentioned that it was “all taken care of.” (Boom!) Ryan: “Thank you so much Wendy, I really appreciate it.” Please begin using mirrors immediately and become comfortable with them. Have fun with them. You’ll find they're effective and powerful. They will serve you well. Make some rain!
Lesson 6: How to Leverage Encouragers
Law of the Universe #5 is “Ignore human nature at your peril.”Necessary, Effective, Invisible Encouragers are simple small words needed during a conversation/negotiation to lubricate the flow of information. They are a great mercenary and missionary skill. They work and they are good for the relationship. They are one of those small effort skills that leverage larger results. People like to be encouraged. Remember Law of the Universe #2: “You are 6x more likely to make a deal with someone you like.” Encouragers are words typically “uh-huh, yeah, ok, m-hmm, go-on, and really?” They let your counterpart know you are there and listening. They encourage people to continue talking, especially through extended thought. If you are in their presence or they can see you, physical gestures are effective as well, especially head nods. Interestingly enough, the head nod is one of the most appreciated physical gestures you can give someone. Encouragers are a necessary and critical conversation/negotiation skill. Misuse of them is easy and they can become counterproductive. They are often referred to as minimal encouragers because effort to use them amounts to minimal effort. Some communication methodologies refer to these as “amplifiers” because of their effectiveness in getting people to amplify their thoughts. That concept alone should help you appreciate how effective they can be when properly used. Use, don’t abuse them It is very easy (and frequently done) to keep someone talking without actually listening at all when using this skill. It is in fact very easy to let your mind wander while using encouragers. As always, focus is required to effectively communicate. (This is a good time to listen to tone.) It is also very easy to use encouragers to keep someone talking, giving them the impression you agree when you don’t agree at all. The uses of “ok” and “sure” as encouragers are examples. You have to be especially cautious of using these encouragers when you know you’re not in agreement. Doing this sets a trap that your counterpart will resent you for walking them into. “Ok” is particularly problematic and the user of it often has great expectations of the listener to interpret their tone. Please think back to Lesson #2 and look at tone of voice from another perspective. Example of an effective use of encouragers: Counterpart: My boss is killing me with these new requests. You: Really? Counterpart: We have a new contract and he’s scared we’re going to mess it up. You: Uh huh Counterpart: I think he’s worried about his end of year bonus. He’s constantly coming into my office to check on the status of things. I can’t get anything done with him interrupting me all the time. It’s driving me nuts! You: Go-on Counterpart: So, yesterday… Use encouragers! They are effective and helpful. Please remember, they are only effective when used in support of other skills.
Lesson 7: The "F" Word in Negotiations
Law of the Universe #6: People will walk away from deals that would otherwise make them better off, if they feel they've been treated unfairly."That's not fair" "Fair" is the "F" word in negotiations. It comes up in almost every negotiation. It’s directly related to feelings of worth and loss. This can often become very personal. The automatic implication is that the person it’s being used on is being unfair. If your counterpart uses this word you have a problem. People will walk away from deals that would otherwise make them better off if they feel they've been treated unfairly. “Fair” comes up in three contexts, two of which are accusatory. 1. The Defensive The "F" word can be used by someone not meaning to make an accusation against you, but simply intending to defend themselves. This might take the form of "We just want what's fair." This accusation will immediately trigger emotions of defensiveness and discomfort in you. These are often very subtle, almost invisible to you. Accusations tend to create emotional defensive reactions Example: A homeowner was selling his home. The market prices of houses in the area had dropped. Consequently, the offer for the house was much lower than what the owner hoped for. The owner responded to the potential buyer – "We just want what's fair". The buyer raised his offer. Yet, how is that fair to the buyer? Was it the buyer's fault that the market dropped? The word can also be highly manipulative. 2. Manipulation "We've given you a fair offer", "We've made a fair offer” or "What we put on the table is fair." Anytime a negotiator self-describes their actions or offers as being "fair" it's likely an intentional manipulation to get their counterpart to give in. It also can be an irritant for the other side and may well consequently diminish the working relationship. Example: Remember the last National Football League (NFL) lockout? During the impasse the Players Association was trying to get the team owners to completely open their books. The team owners responded publicly that what they had offered the players was "fair". Note the timing of the "F" word with the refusal to disclose information. 3. Proactive (Recommended) You can be proactive with the "F" word. It's acceptable to tell someone at the beginning of a negotiation that you're going to try very hard to be fair and that you want them to tell you if they think you're not being fair. (Note the timing of this: before you made any offers.) Be both conscious of the "F" word and cautious with it. Understand its implications. Please do, in fact strive to be very fair and understand what your counterpart perceives to be fair. If they feel you're being unfair they could well walk away from a deal that would make them better off. Lesson 8: Reading Between the Lines
Content, Tone, Body LanguagePerson-to-person communication (while you're in each other's presence) is described as being carried by three means: the content (the literal meaning of the words), the tone of voice (this includes inflection, pacing, etc.) and body language (how the person stands, the look on their face, how they placed their hands and arms, etc.). There was a famous study by UCLA Professor Albert Mehrabian that came up with the ratio for these three components regarding how much the recipient of the communication "liked" the components, and that ratio was 7 - content, 38 - tone, 55 - body language. The meaning of this study has been widely interpreted, contested and debated. Do they line up? The Black Swan Group advocates that you look at this ratio for relative importance of differences in the communication. This means paying very close attention to tone of voice and body language so you can see how they match up with the literal meaning of the words. If they don't match, it is quite likely the literal meaning of the words is not the truth of the sender's message. By this ratio, tone of voice is five times more important than the literal meaning of the words. Body language even more (8x). How tone of voice and body language align with the literal meaning of the words is critical in understanding the meaning. You can take the sentence "I think you're very smart", and change its meaning entirely based on which words you choose to emphasize, your inflection and the tone of voice you choose. There is a great cartoon of two small children walking down the street talking and one says to the other "My mom says to me she hopes I have kids like me when I grow up, but I just don't like the way she says it." Insight is Rewarded Please keep in mind, that if their tone of voice signals hesitation, they know it. On one level or another they are well aware they have indicated this to you and are probably unsure as to how to come out and say whatever it is that doesn't quite line up. Your act of recognizing this and gently dealing with it via a label will be greatly appreciated by them. They will feel respected and consequently, your relationship of trust will be improved. They will be grateful for your insight. This is interpretation process is a two-way street. The person you're communicating with will interpret you in much the same way, whether consciously or unconsciously. (Lesson 2). Here's what you do with this knowledge: label tone of voice and label body language. You: "So we're agreed?" Them: "Yes....." You: "I heard you say yes, but it seemed like there was some 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 you make sure your agreement get implemented with no surprises. Use the ratio of 7:38:55 as a guideline to line up what someone says with how they say it. When someone's tone of voice or body language are not congruent with the meaning of the words they say, use the communication tool of labels to dig in and discover the source of the incongruence.
Lesson 9: Secrets on Really Listening
Multitasking the Right WayYour natural inclination to multitasking can be redirected to make you a better negotiator. Track mentally within the 7:38:55. Here's how. Consider the following: there are a variety of sources that provide that people roughly speak at the rate of about 125 - 160 words per minute and our brains have the capacity to process about 400 - 600 words per minute. Therefore, if you are keeping track of only the content, then you have excess mental capacity that's not being used. If you don't know what else to keep track of, your mind is invited to wander (or multitask). Overload But if you accept anything resembling the 7:38:55 ratio, or any ratio that places an emphasis on tone of voice and body language, then there may be as much as 5x more information to process from the tone of voice alone. This begins to stretch the capacity of the brain without even adding in the brainpower necessary to construct verbal responses or take good notes. Even More Overload Additionally there are estimates that equate the amount of visual information being given off by a person's body language to be approaching the equivalent of 1000 words per minute. If this is anywhere near true, the visual data alone, without asking the brain to do anything else, stretches your mental capacity to keep up. Therefore, the advice here is for you to use the negotiation skills being provided to bring your full focus to bear on the negotiation at hand. Use the skills to clarify and dig more deeply into what's being said in order to discover the value. Here's what the best practice is: Compare how something is being said to what's being said. Gently react to any perceived incongruence - use a label. Whether consciously or unconsciously, your counterpart will leave you clues as to hidden problems by their tone of voice and body language. A lack of clues is no guarantee of either veracity or problem free implementation, but a presence of clues correlates very highly with problems. It then becomes your job to gently uncover them.
Lesson 10: The Dynamics of PricePrice is no guarantee of success. The reality is that price is only one term. Price, in many cases, should be the last thing settled in a deal. If the terms don't work, the price won't work. The Rules Involving Price (RIPs) are so important they fall their own category. Rules Involving Price (RIPs) Follow these or you're dead (your deal that is). A good price doesn't make a good deal. Price will break a deal but it won't make it. When you get your price, you're probably only 65% of the way through the negotiation. Terms make a deal & price is only 1 term. Any given term can break a deal, it's the collection of terms that make a deal. Profit is not made at signing, it's made during implementation. A "Bargain" Price is No Bargain A bad price for either side will kill a deal for a variety of reasons. A good price is no guarantee of success. If you kill your counterpart on the price, there is a very good chance they won't perform and the deal will fall apart. Penalty terms won't save you. Or, you may need them to perform on something subsequent and they will be slow and resentful afterwards. Threats of legal action are often simply ignored. Legal action (if it takes place) is a poor way to maintain profit margins. This is one of the reasons why "yes" is nothing without "how". Just as the saying goes, "The devil is in the details" so also "The gold is in the details". You also don't do your reputation a great deal of good to be known for putting your partners out of business. We would suggest that you will prosper more long term by being known for making your business partners wealthy. Gus Levy, a famous Goldman Sachs executive has been quoted as saying "Greedy yes, but long-term greedy". You do need to know the basic market prices. You also need to know the range of your counterpart's comfort levels and then begin navigating around that. Price is a very emotional concept. It may actually be the single most emotional term in the deal because it begins to trigger people's feeling of worth. The Sweet Spot on Price - A Solid Gold Concept Therefore: Hitting the sweet-spot can often put you in a position to get remarkable terms that turn deals into solid gold for you. Your counterpart will consciously (or sub-consciously) have both a bottom-line/walk-away price and an aspiration price (or a hoped-for price). Hitting a mark just above the middle value of these two often puts you in a wonderful position to begin weaving in the phenomenal terms to make a great deal. There will likely also be good-will that you can spend during the implementation phase. Another counter-intuitive reality is that approaching too close or even exceeding the aspiration price and over-paying can hurt you as much as underpaying can. You will reset their internal valuation of themselves. They will think they were always worth that much and therefore be less flexible on terms or additional good-will gestures in performance. (The RIPs and the Negotiation Rules are separate complementary sets of guidelines to help make you a better negotiator.) Negotiation Rule #4: When Price Comes Up Pivot to Terms When they want to talk about price, you should pivot to terms. One means of doing this is saying "Let's set that aside for now, we can come back to it, let's discuss how we do this..." They may begin to spontaneously reveal their price parameters as the conversation ensues about terms. This puts you in a position to "give-in" (slowly, not easily) until they give you the terms (and price) you want.
Lesson 11: Why Compromise KillsNegotiation Rule #5: Avoid the Compromise Trap The spirit of compromise is great - the practice of compromise is often horrible. Here's how the practice of compromise kills you. Example: You have a suit on and think you should wear black shoes. Your significant other thinks you should wear brown shoes. You compromise and wear one black and one brown. How do you integrate these idea that the spirit is a good one yet the practice often poor? Having the spirit of compromise often means you are willing to listen and explore options. If you are actually listening and considering the merits of options, then this is an essence of great negotiation. A great negotiation is a great collaboration. In reality, the practice of compromise is often a shortcut taken instead of engaging in great negotiation. If I have an idea for a good term in a negotiation and you have a different one, and we might be tempted to "compromise" and take parts of both ideas. What we have done is dilute both solutions so neither is likely to be effective. You have to be very, very careful with compromise. You also have to aware of making poor trade-offs as a compromise. What happens occasionally is you will subconsciously be willing to give-in or compromise on an issue when you know you have taken advantage of your counterpart on another issue even though the terms may deal with unequally valued commodities. You might trade salary figures counted in the thousands, or tens of thousands, for equity figures counted in the hundreds of thousands, or even the millions. When you make trade-offs be cautious of trading unequal commodities until you have calculated the implications. Know if it's "apples for apples" as the saying goes, unless you have intentionally selected it otherwise. Most people actually want to be fair and that is what the spirit of compromise is about. You have to be aware of what you are being fair in relation to; and that it is a 2-way street. If someone is inviting you to compromise, you should also be aware that is may be the sign of a cut-throat negotiator. This is often the person who has perfected the "I'll meet you halfway" strategy. There is an adage that goes "The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance." Though they are in a minority of the counterparts you will in encounter (no more than roughly 25% by our estimate) you need to be aware of their tell-tale signs. Asking you to compromise as a means to get you to give in may be one of those signs. "What are we trying to accomplish here?" is always a great question to refocus your counterpart when you feel you're being pulled into the compromise trap.
Lesson 12: Endurance & Effective Pauses
Negotiation Rule #6: Give your counterpart the chance to talk and they will be more likely to tell you what you want to hear.Effective Pauses Effective Pauses are also known as "Shh". Many people are uncomfortable with silence. You can make it an incredibly effective skill for just that reason. Give your counterpart the gentle opportunity to fill that silence and they will likely give you something useful. What many of are afraid of - loss of control. Many people are afraid that if the other person is talking then something might be said that can't be undone, or somehow they are losing momentum, or somehow things are out of control. Negotiation Rule #7: He or she who talks most loses. The opposite is true. If you're talking more than the other side you're giving out the most information and you're becoming more emotionally invested in making the deal. With each word uttered, a person puts more effort into making the deal and therefore become more vested and less likely to turn and walk away. You need that dynamic working for you and not against you. Bundling Skills for Effect This is your introduction to the concept of strategically bundling the negotiation skills. Your negotiation skills properly bundled will magnify each other. There are going to be many times when it's important for you to go silent. One of those times is right after a label. It's important to let your labels take hold to give your counterpart the opportunity to respond and for you to simultaneously focus on how they respond (their affect - their body language, their facial expression and their tone of voice). An effective pause is critical after you've asked a good calibrated question. There will come a time when you pose a calibrated question creating an uncomfortable or awkward silence. It is very important that you not fill that silence. Effective pauses are not designed to give you the opportunity to think about what you want to say next. Effective pauses are designed to give you the opportunity to let your counterpart react and to observe that reaction (Lessons 8 & 9). Those people who feel negotiation is "argument" based cannot be silent. They feel if they're not talking they're out of control. The brain does not have the ability to talk and make good observations at the same time. While your brain is engaged in either talking or thought construction you are missing important observations. Please teach yourself to get comfortable with silence. It provides valuable moments of observation for you and the chance for your counterpart to give you a thoughtful response.
Lesson 13: Paraphrasing Builds Rapport
The Importance of ContentParaphrasing is the negotiation skill that focuses on content. The definition of this skill is very close to what you would find in any dictionary, for you to listen to the literal meaning of what is being said and express it back to your counterpart in your own words. It is you rewording the message in a fashion that carries the same literal meaning. It is not you repeating back to them exactly what they have just said. It helps them feel what they are saying is being respected. Showing respect for what they are saying in this fashion increases their comfort level in talking with you and builds rapport. It increases the flow of information from them to you. Paraphrasing Helps You Look for Balance and Uncovers Opportunities The instruction so far seems to have placed a relative value of "7" on the content of what is being said. This is not meant to trivialize or ignore the value of content. It is meant to provide you a guide of what to look and listen for relative to how a message is conveyed. It helps you look for balance in what they are saying and it helps them find balance as well. An example of good paraphrasing (from an actual negotiation) would be: Building Manager: "No, unfortunately, I can't have your lease expire in May - or else you need to pay $200 more per month. So, that would be $3930 per month. We do this for business planning purposes. A lot of people have signed up to have their leases end in May and now the quota is filled, but I still have a few spots available if you want your lease to run into June". Tenant: "Oh, I see, so there's a quota system that keeps you from letting too many leases end in May so that you're not over-loaded with new rentals at the same time next year, but now the quota is filled and we need to have our lease expire in June." Building Manager: "You can choose when you want your lease to end, whether it's the end, middle, or beginning of June, you would just have to pay the prorated rent for whichever day you choose." Tenant: "Oh, I see, so we can choose which day in June to end the lease and we would just pay the prorated difference." Building Manager: "That's right." Paraphrasing uncovered that the only thing the manager cared about was not having the lease expire in May. What sounded at first like having to pay for an entire month ($3930) was uncovered to only be for one extra pro-rated day to get into the next month ($127). You can also paraphrase when a longer message is being relayed. You should do it in relatively short bursts, not waiting until the end of the long message. To do this effectively you may actually need to occasionally interrupt your counterpart to check-in and display to them the meaning of what you are hearing them say. Some people may find this disconcerting since most interruptions are designed to take over a conversation and stop the other person from speaking. As a result, it may be useful for you to advise your counterpart that you would like to paraphrase them while they are speaking just to make sure you're getting things right. You may tell them that as soon as you finish paraphrasing you're going to give a conversation right back to them. Once your counter-part gets used to it, they will likely find themselves surprised at how much they like being listened to this well.
Lesson 14: Skills in Action
Bundling Mirrors with ParaphraseOur hero (client) in this story is a Quality Assurance Engineer at a nuclear project firm. Her counter-part is her aggressive, know-it-all, Project Manager. The situation: almost everyone in the entire world from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reviewers who get paid for every mistake they find is scrutinizing every inch of our client's projects paperwork. Adding to our client's agony (as she described it), was that she had recently taken on the responsibility for the finalization of another project. This project had not only been a complete mess from the beginning but another subcontractor had failed to properly release the final documentation. As she works to put this nightmare of a project behind her, her Project Manager is continually adding more requirements, making the load heavier. "Negotiations" with this Project Manager frequently turn into arguments. The Project Manager is now trying to impose an additional requirement for two sets of paper copies of the documentation. (This had been a requirement prior to the era of electronic storage of documentation, i.e. the last century.) This involves literally thousands upon thousands of pages of documentation. There is nowhere to physically put this documentation and if done each page needs to be physically checked for printing and compiling errors. Other than the Project Manager's wishes, there is no actual requirement for doing so. Our client made two attempts at a negotiation with the Project Manager to remove the necessity of the paper copies. Attempt #1 : Which ended in failure Project Manager: We need two sets of paper copies of FDP. Client: Why? We only need to store our copies electronically in two places as required. Project Manager: This is my project and I need two copies. Client (trying really hard to stay civil): We are already behind the schedule which is not my responsibility in the first place. I volunteered to do FDP to help out the project and making extra copies will take a long time because I have several other projects. Project Manager: Go talk to my boss. (Her boss usually supports her and has more pull and is assertive, unlike the client's so the conversations with him usually don't prove to be helpful). Attempt #2 : Successful after training in mirroring and paraphrasing In the client's words: "I decided to put my guns away and try out my new skills." Client: What are the plans for FDP paper copies? Project Manager: As I said before we need two copies as usual. Client: Two copies? (mirror) Project Manager: Yes- one for us and one for the customer. Client: So you are saying that the customer is asking for a copy and we need a copy for internal use. (paraphrase) Project Manager: Well, let me see if the customer actually needs the copy but I definitely want a copy. That's how I do business. Client: That would be great if you could check with the customer. (paraphrase + appreciation) Do you know where we could store the in-house copy; we are out of space here in QA? Project Manager: You can store it anywhere Client: anywhere... (mirror) Project Manager: As a matter of fact you can put them in my office. I have some space here. I really like having an extra copy even though it is not required. I will just get the new PM assistant to print it for me after the project is done and all the files are on the server. This way I know that they are exact copies of what is stored. Client: That would be great. Let me know what the customer says about their copy Project Manager: OK Follow-up comments from our Client: "I was shocked. I think she was too. Later on I received an e-mail from her saying that the customer does not need a paper copy. All they want is a CD or two, depending on the size of the file! A week of work is avoided and no argument with the PM!"
Lesson 15: Getting to "That's Right"
Summary"That's right" creates breakthroughs Everyone who grasps the importance of "that's right" is making incredible breakthroughs in their negotiations. They are killing it and you will too. It's one of the answers that is much better than "yes". "That's right." = Good "You're right." = Bad If you can grasp this critical distinction, you've given yourself a huge advantage. A good summary will be met with a "That's right." A summary is a combination of labeling and paraphrasing. It is taking what you have heard so far, or know to be the case about a situation, and summarizing the known facts/content (paraphrasing) and how your counterpart feels about it (labeling). First, let's deal with "you're right". We all love being right. It can be intoxicating and often gives a feeling of great accomplishment. And, in many if not most cases, we are right! So why not be given the accolades for it? The reality though, is when someone says "You're right" to us, we have probably been making an argument based approach, and it is our point we are pushing on them. Subliminally we are showing them we are smarter than they are. Human nature being what it is, this does not bode well for implementation of deals. Our counterparts will be much more interested in going the extra mile for the success of their ideas then they will be for ours. Second: Please think of the number of times you have said "You're right" to someone else just to get them to be quiet and leave you alone. They have been unrelenting in their approach. They won't listen to you at all. The only way you can get them to be quiet and go away is to say "You're right". They then get a happy look on their face and go away (at least for 24 hours). You can then go back to what you were doing. At the same time, how many times have you worked very hard to get someone to see the reason and logic of your thinking, had them respond with "You're right", only to find they didn't change any of the behavior you had been trying to get them to change? Rapport "That's right" indicates two important things. You are listening to them accurately and (maybe even more importantly) they realize you are listening. On an unconscious level they genuinely appreciate it. When you get your counterpart to say "That's right" they will often turn to you with a look as if they are suddenly seeing you in a new light. (There is a halo around your head and they hear birds singing.) The magic of ownership Actually, by saying "that's right" they have declared what you said is correct. It's true. They can then embrace it without the reservations they may have secretly harbored by it not being their idea. Since they have pronounced it correct it is their idea. They have owned it. They "feel" in control and they can move forward. These are the breakthrough moments where the process has suddenly put you into the next phase in a productive manner. You can't always predict exactly where that will be, but you will be stunned at how it works to your advantage. It's like an athlete who has learned the perfect form. Please put this into action and find out for yourself. Fully summarize the other side's position, both in content (paraphrasing) and how they feel about it (labeling) until they only possible response they have is "That's right". You will remove false obstacles that are holding you back. You will create turning points in your negotiations (and in your relationships) that work for you.
Lesson 16: Closing to Implementation
Bundling: Rule of 3"The first time you say something, it's an incident, the second time you say something, it's a co-incidence, but the third time you say something, it becomes a pattern." 3 times is the application of a long known aspect of human nature to negotiations, the Rule of 3. Repeating something successfully three times strengthens it. Your method for specifically accomplishing this objective is by bundling skills such as labels, mirrors and paraphrases to get to the repetition without simply parroting the other person. Please note: you will use this as a confirmation process of a "yes" or "no" on a single concept/point to test the strength of its validity. It is not an attempt to get a succession of "yeses" to multiple successive closed-ended questions (not a "yes" momentum). Insuring a strong foundation While it may seem counter-intuitive for you to test the foundations of a hard-won "yes", it in fact gives you the critical information of how firm your "yes" actually is. You need to know sooner rather than later if it will hold up. The sooner you know the sooner you can address the as-yet undiscovered traps. This is the old adage of "a stich in time saves nine." You don't want to proceed on a "yes" that is actually a "no". In many cases, the first "Yes" you've heard may sound firm. If you paraphrase it to hear it again, it may be delivered with a slightly perceptible hint of hesitancy. This could be an indicator of a genuine obstacle to implementation. The best response here would be: "I know you said yes, but it seemed like there was something nagging at you when you said it?" The Rule of 3 is not just a good closing skill, but assists you in the critical transition to implementation. You have to be able to implement what you've agreed on or your deal is built on quicksand. You will sink and then be in a worse position than you would have been otherwise. Another effective aspect of the Rule of 3 and bundling skills is bundling calibrated questions to help your counterpart give you a better answer. Repeating a calibrated open-ended question but with different words helps your counterpart respond with a more nuanced answer. There is a good chance the slightly different words will help trigger their thought patterns. Example: "What's the biggest challenge you face? What's your biggest obstacle? What's been the most frustrating thing that's gotten in the way?" "How can we work together? What did you have in mind? What was your vision for success between us?" This particular approach works equally well with email. Make sure the foundations of your deals are firm.
Lesson 17: Leverage
Law of the Universe #7: There is always leverageLeverage is the ability to inflict loss. This immediately makes it an emotional term. Leverage is therefore drenched with emotions. There is always the potential for loss for both sides, therefore there is always leverage acting on both sides. As long as there are emotions there is leverage. This is the foundation for the concept of "perceptions anchors". Where are the perceived losses for each side? Discover these and you begin to unlock your ability to affect what is anchoring the other side's perceptions and therefore actions and decisions. You certainly know what it feels like to think you don't have leverage in a negotiation. You don't have a way to force the other side to do what you want or punish them if they don't agree. When you feel the other side has leverage that means you feel as though you will experience a loss if you don't agree; i.e. you have been taken hostage. You may imagine that when your counterpart has leverage he won't be subtle about it. You may mentally "rehearse" how the conversation will go. You imagine hearing your counterpart using phrases like "or else" and "because you have to". Those who feel that leverage is the key to negotiations equate negotiation to hostage taking. Even if the counterpart were to say these things you can still navigate these instances. If you take the mindset that no matter what, your counterpart cannot make you say "yes", you've blunted the dynamic where you get taken hostage. Law of the Universe #8: It doesn't matter what leverage they have on you, what matters is what they think of the leverage you have on them. Leverage is in the eye of the beholder. Prospect Theory teaches us that losses sting twice as much as equivalent gains. It also teaches us that people are more likely to take a risk to avoid a loss than they are to take a risk to achieve a gain. The key to it is the ability to navigate emotion and identify the perceived losses, knowing that the loss of $5 stings twice as much as the gain of $5. 1st - This doesn't mean you want to lead with your leverage in a negotiation. Bad idea because then leverage becomes a threat and might be perceived as you taking away their autonomy. People will often sooner die than give up their autonomy. Proper use of tactical empathy puts you in a position to refer to leverage. Negotiation Rule #8: Label the Leverage. Good labels (and mirrors) are some of the best methods for you to deal with situations when it feels like the other side has all the leverage. Labeling leverage points works wonders in moving or even removing perception anchors. If you use them frequently then you will open up the negotiation process and create options. You will map the terrain, identify leverage and even affect it with the design of your labels. The next lesson will introduce you to more skills that broaden your ability to successfully deal with "perceived" leverage inequality.
Lesson 18: Flexibility - Calibrated QuestionsNegotiation Rule #9: Never be so sure of what you want that you wouldn't take something better. Flexibility is key to negotiation power. "Never be so sure of what you want that you won't take something better". Negotiation is an information gathering process and there is some information that you can only get at the table and through other interactions with your counterpart. You are looking for new information that may change your valuations, and provides clues and insights into the nature of their valuations. Only they are the source of information of how/why they value things the way they do. Your primary purpose is to get your counterpart to discover the things about your proposal that work for them. Right along with this is a discovery process for you. Your counterpart is a singular source of critical information. High value trades are the true essence of great negotiation. This information gathering process paves the way for you to make high value trades - the true essence of great negotiation. It also helps prevent you from blundering into low value trades. It is impossible for them to value everything you have to offer the same as you do. The last thing you want to do is give them something you value highly yet they don't. It is impossible for them to actually value everything the same way you do, therefore every trade either leans in your favor or it doesn't. If you don't know then you are relying on hope and hope is not a strategy. Hope is not a strategy. Calibrated questions grow out of the list widely known as interrogative questions, open-ended questions or the reporter's questions. That list is questions that begin with: who, what, when, where, why & how. Please note that this excludes questions that are verb-led, or begin with words such as: can, is, are, do, does, etc. These are closed-ended questions which can be answered with a "yes" or a "no". Even "Can you tell me more about that" should be avoided. Closed-ended questions generally provide you with little information. Open-ended questions tend to provide you with longer responses and more information. We are now going to refine this list, or calibrate it, to "what?", "how?" and sometimes "why?" You can reword nearly any closed-ended question, with some effort into a calibrated open-ended 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 likely trigger quite a bit of useful information. Your use of well timed calibrated questions will cause people to stop and think. Very aggressive types often love when you ask these because being asked gives them a "feeling" (illusion) of control. The secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the illusion of control. You asking them calibrated questions can be very effective in helping you accomplish this objective. Very cautious, analytical types will often want time to think before they respond to your calibrated questions. Your questions work with them as well but the reaction is often delayed. You should use calibrated questions early and often. 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.
Lesson 19: Sometimes "Why" - More on Calibrated Questions
"Why not "Why?"Universally across our planet, "why?" makes people defensive. One of the advantages The Black Swan Group has in drawing from negotiation experience on literally every continent is that we've seen "why?" used everywhere, and we've seen it make people angry everywhere. For whatever reason, it has become part of human behavior to ask someone "why" when we think they are wrong. So whether it is nature or nurture, the dynamic of "why" making people defensive has become universal. As an experiment, at your next opportunity ask your boss "why" he or she wants something and watch what happens. Then ask a peer a "why" question, and then ask someone younger than you, or subordinate to you in some way a "why" question. Watch all reactions and see if you don't find some level of defensiveness across the spectrum. Of course, the problem is, quite often you really need to know "why". So here is how you can finesse "why": substitute "what". "What made that a good choice?" "What makes you ask?" "What made you want that?" Even "What made you do that?" is much more likely to get a good answer then "Why did you do that?" "What" is a great alternative to "why" and a much more effective way to get information. Now that it seems like we've totally destroyed the use of "why", here is how you can (in a calibrated way) use it effectively; when you want someone defending a position that benefits you. "Why would you do that?" - is the question you ask only if the "that" favors you. "Why would you ever do business with me?" "Why would you ever change from your existing supplier?" (Both of the last two may be useful if you are working to lure a client away from a competitor.) In these examples the person being asked the "why" will be inclined to defend a position that favors your cause. In essence the only time you want to cause your counterpart to be defensive is when they would be defending your position. Using this technique does take some boldness because it is a bit counterintuitive. Similar to all of your skills up to this point, delivery is crucial. You can effectively use "why" when you are strategically prompting the other side to defend you. If you need to know "why?" then calibrate into a "what" question.
Lesson 20: Preparation Makes Perfect
Law of the Universe #9: When the pressure is on you don't rise to the occasion; you fall to your highest level of preparation.In any given negotiation, prior to the beginning of the interaction you will be at an advantage if you: Summarize the known facts that have led up to the negotiation. Make a list (3-5) of possible labels that would be an educated guess about how they might feel about those known facts or the passions that are driving them Make a list of calibrated questions to reveal value to both you and your counterpart 3-5 Labels For example, when approaching a re-negotiate of a lease to attempt to allow sub-letters with a landlord who is already known to be opposed to sub-letters your prepared label would be: "It seems as though you're not a fan of sub-letters." Additionally, making an educated guess (hypothesizing) on they are not a fan of sub-letters, you might prepare the label "It seems like you want stability with your tenants." There are also partially pre-scripted labels (fill in the blank) that can be used in nearly every situation (at the right moment) that are designed to reveal value. 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... It seems like you hate... 3-5 Calibrated Questions There will be a small group of "what" & "how" questions that you will find yourself using in nearly every situation. With a small amount of effort you will be able to add to this list depending on what you are working to uncover. 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? Follow-up to Their Answers You will find it valuable if you're prepared to label the response to every calibrated question. "Based on what you've said, it seems like... is important?" "Based on what you've said, it seems you feel like my company is in a unique position to... ?" If you make it a habit to engage in this small amount of preparation and you will receive a rate of return on your time spent of up to 7:1.
Lesson 21: Saying "No" Elegantly
"No" is necessaryWithout finding out what won't work in a deal, it is much harder for you to uncover out what will work. It serve you well to be able to both hear "no" and also express "no" in a manner that continues to invite collaboration and does not reject the counterpart personally. This is conveying "no" elegantly. Not saying "no" when you should causes your counterpart to proceed with false assumptions. These false assumptions will later be viewed as traps or even betrayals that will be resented heavily when they are discovered. Where you are left after this interaction has a critical influence on where you go next. You need to be able to say "no", as gently and as gracefully as possible. Being able to say "no" gently and gracefully will leave your counterpart with a feeling of having been treated with respect. Saying "no" in a well-designed and even elegant manner enhances your career, your value, your "brand" and your profitability. It distinguishes you. "How am I supposed to do that?" The 1st way to say "no" is: "How am I supposed to do that?" Tone of voice is critical as this phrase can be delivered as both an accusation or as a request for assistance. Remember Lesson #8 on 7:38:55? The emphasis can be placed on the "How", the "I", the "that" or any of the words for very different effect. This question also tends to have the effect of making the other side take a good look at your situation. This is what we refer to as "forced empathy". Forced empathy is much more effective if leading up to it you have been empathetic towards them. This utilizes the dynamic of reciprocity. You reap this benefit if you have had the foresight to make the investment. "Your offer is very generous, I'm sorry, that just doesn't work for me" is a common means of avoiding counteroffers and getting the other side to bid against themselves and the 2rd way to say "no". The "I'm sorry" portion here is important. Much is made of whether apologies ("I'm sorry") are signs of weakness. Per se, they are neutral. When linked to assertion or confrontation they are effective and useful. This is also a mixture of elegant empathy and a form of an "I" message. We have found that the word "generous" can be very powerful as long as you don't use it to describe yourself (which can irritate your counterpart). When using this word to describe them, it helps bring out the best in them as it nurtures their desire to live up to it. They will want to do business (or refer business) to someone who describes them as generous. The "I" portions of this statement is designed to bring the focus at this point to you. "I'm sorry but I'm afraid I (we) just can't do that." The next way to say "no" is : " I'm sorry but I'm afraid I just can't do that." It's a little more direct and does a great job of removing other justifications such as outside criteria and market value as reasons for why you should say "yes". "I'm sorry, no" is a slightly more succinct version of the above. If delivered gently, this is completely acceptable. "No" is the last and most direct way of saying "no". This really should be the last way it is said and is not meant to be "NO!" Verbally, it should be delivered with a downward inflection and a tone of regard. "No" all by itself in an email will come off as very cold and abrupt no matter how you may have intended for it to be. You can distinguish yourself as a negotiator and even a rainmaker by acquiring the ability to say "no" elegantly.
Lesson 22: Bargaining & Anchoring
"Everyone has a plan until they get hit." ~ Mike TysonMake no mistake: extreme anchoring is powerful and frequently used because it works. The vast majority of bargaining is typically: offer - counteroffer - meet in the middle. The subsequent evolution it most often veers to: offer - counteroffer - call each other names - meet in the middle. The first thing hard bargainers learn to do is simply become more and more shameless in setting extreme anchors (extreme opening positions) in order to reset the other side's perceptions and move the midpoint. If you've had this happen to you it may have felt like getting punched in the nose. "Everyone has a plan until they get hit." One of our clients once commented "Having the other side set a high anchor is like watching a vision disappear in front of your eyes." The "call each other names" dynamic is a means of trying to get a counterpart to bid against themselves. Many a hard bargainer has learned that getting a counterpart to bid against themselves is useful, though most don't know a graceful way of accomplishing this objective. For that reason, as a negotiator who has to be prepared for hard bargaining you need to come to grips with two things: #1 - Are you going to name price first? & #2 - How are you going to deal with high anchors? Naming Price First This is your personal choice and you must make it. Our experience is more seasoned negotiators tend to believe "He/she who names price first loses". At the same time, you will encounter some experienced negotiators who love to start out with extreme anchors. This in reality is a testing behavior to see how savvy you might be or how susceptible you are to having terms dictated to you. Say "No" or Pivot to Terms The successful negotiator makes fewer counter-offers. You do this by saying "no" in a variety of ways or by simply pivoting to terms. An example of pivoting to terms would be "What else would you be able to offer to make that a good price for me?" You can also pivot to terms by (with an encouraging tone of voice) directly saying "Let's put price off to the side for a moment and talk about what would make this a good deal." The series of skills and strategies you have been given up to this point in the training have been precisely designed to give you the ability to not bid against yourself, to entice the hard bargainer into bidding against themselves if necessary but most importantly to build better terms so the bargaining process becomes less relevant. These are all emotional intelligence skills and your daily use and practice of them for the last 23 days will have increased your skill level so that you can perform at this level. Remember our Rules Involving Price (RIPs)? Any price needs terms to make it effective. It just may be they could offer terms that make that price work, or their inability to improve the terms will cause them to change their price (which after all is only one term anyway). Asking for additional terms they can't give is a great way to get them to adjust their price (if they can). If they can't improve their price remember that "No-deal is better than a bad deal."
Lesson 23: Email Negotiations
Email Rule 1: Less is moreYou write brilliantly crafted emails only to have the recipient pick out one small point and ignore everything else. They frequently miss your main point or don't answer the question you posed at the end. It seems like email's purpose should be to make life a little bit easier and much of the time it makes things more difficult. The fix: ask less per each of your emails. Improve their tone and subsequently you will get farther with each one. Less is more. Play what The Black Swan Group calls "The Short Game". This is a golf reference. In golf, as you approach the green, your objective is to get the ball close to the hole, not necessarily get it in the hole. Use email to get closer to the objective, not necessarily close the deal. Take it one step at a time, one email per step instead of trying to lay out the entire path in one dissertation. Let your counterpart react so you can re-calibrate before you proceed. Tone You make it easier for your recipient to focus on your message by writing succinct yet warm emails. You will find there is no special merit in quantity of reasons which carry logic (the IQ heavy approach). (There is data that indicates that the more successful negotiators avoid argument dilution and use fewer reasons to back up their points.) You will find there is merit in increasing the quantity of your words which convey your friendly tone (the EQ - emotional intelligence approach). Your counterpart will almost never read the tone of the email in the way you would like them to unless you take the time to add in the specific words and punctuation to give your email a friendly and welcoming nature. Without this your email will have a cold tenor that will work against you. No matter how it sounded in your head while you were writing it, without taking the time to make it softer, at best it may seem cold, at worst threatening or angry. It takes less time to do something right than to do it over. Negotiation Rule #10: It takes less time to do something right than it does to do it over. Delay to save time. The negotiation skills you've learned in this course are each designed to function best for you when you pause effectively to give your counterpart the chance to react (remember Lesson #8: 7:38:55?). In this manner, your exchanges actually become collaborative interactions. The same is true in reference to the best approaches for writing your emails. Once you start a dialogue, other skills can be incorporated. With more pressing issues, you should transition to either phone or face-to-face contact to sew them up. Email Rule #2: Take the time to soften the tone. The Black Swan guideline to follow first for email communication is: "Less is more". Lay out your main objective as succinctly as possible, followed by a skill (label/calibrated question). Use humor or rapport building at the beginning and end. Your friendly tone at the end is actually more important than it is at the beginning. You never want to end an email with a negative comment. Always end positively. Law of the Universe #10: People remember experiences based on the most intense moment and how the experience ended. This applies to email as well. Use this law to your advantage in all your negotiations Email Rule #3: Always end with encouragement or a positive note. Please keep in mind you can also effectively soften the tone by being apologetic. Example: "I'm sorry but I am afraid if we don't do X then X will happen." It's a good practice for you to go back over your email once written to soften it and to also ensure it ends on a positive note.
Lesson 24: Implementation - Make it Their Idea & You Win
Negotiation Rule 11: Profit is not realized upon agreement. It's realized during implementationThe profit of a deal is not realized when the deal is signed, it's realized during implementation. Poor implementation is a cancer that eats your profits. It's made even worse by not factoring in mechanisms to address problems. It's one of the reason people want penalty clauses, they don't address implementation so often they are used to having deals fall apart! These are the underlying truths that were given to you in Lesson #1 as Rules #1 ("No-deal" is better than a bad deal) & #2 ("Yes" is nothing without "how"). Negotiation Rule 12: Ignore human nature at your peril. Human Nature - The magic of their idea. How to fix this: Your counterparts will make more effort to implement ideas and solutions when they think it was their idea. Negotiation is often "The art of letting someone else have your way." If you feel the need to make sure they know it was "your" idea then it will likely not be implemented effectively by the other side. They will be content to let it fail. Your profitability will suffer. The first method for you to gently guide them is through the use of calibrated questions (Lessons 18 & 19). This is why in some circles these questions are referred to (appropriately) as guided discovery questions. The process takes a little longer up front, but probably pays about a 7:1 return on time saved during implementation. To paraphrase the immortal words of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street 2, "Time, after all, is the most valuable commodity." Your use of calibrated questions to guide them to a mutually beneficial discovery is in synergy with the dynamic described in Lesson 15 where we discussed the snare of "You're right." When your counterpart is saying to you "You're right" it's often a good indicator they are not vested in what is being discussed. They are less likely to perform on the agreement or make changes in their behavior. 2 calibrated questions designed for implementation that will serve you well: "How will we know we're on track?" "How will we address things if we find we're off track?" Summarize the answer until you get a "that's right." Human Nature - "I'll try." When pushing for implementation, you may get a response of "I'll try". Warning lights and sirens should be going off in your head if you hear this. Every culture has its own version of the American phrase "I'll try." You should get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you ask someone to do something and they say "I'll try." Why? Because when this is really often "no" in disguise. "I'll try" is often heard right after "you're right". If you've suggested the solution, you may well get an "I'll try". Present the problem and give them a chance to come up with the answer (often with the use of a "How should we address this?" question) that benefits you both. "I'll try" also leaves the other person in a position to be able to say afterwards of "Well,,,,you asked and I tried! So now you owe me!" Human Nature - They Win Anything acquired easily has less value. Imagine if you were in a bargaining situation and when you made your first offer the other side said "I'll take it!" You would immediately regret not having offered less (and feel you somehow lost). You want them to not only feel they won, but they worked hard. This is simply recognition of a human nature reality. For your greatest successes, let the other side feel victory. You (and they) win!
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