8: Effective Negotiation with Chris Voss CEO of the Black Swan Group

February 28, 2018

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Yigal Adato: 00:05 Yigal Adato and this is the Pawn Leaders podcast, a podcast to help you make more money, stress less, and live an epic life, all while working at the pawn shop. Hey pawnbrokers! Welcome back to another episode of the Pawn Leaders podcast, and today I'm so fortunate you're so fortunate that our guest is Chris Voss, and Chris Voss is the CEO of the Black Swan Group and the author of the national bestseller Never Split the Difference, negotiating as if your life depended on it, which was named one of the seven best books on negotiation. He's a 24 year veteran of the FBI. Chris retired as a lead international kidnapping negotiator, drawing on his experience in high stakes negotiations his company specializes in solving business communication problems using hostage negotiations solutions. Welcome, Chris, to the show. Thank you so much for being here.


Chris Voss: 01:03 It's my pleasure. I'm happy be on it.


Yigal Adato: 01:05 So I brought you on, I heard you on a good friend's podcast in and Michael Port's and I thought to myself for 16 years, all I did was negotiate every single day with clients and there were negotiations that were small. How much can I get for this item? I want to buy this item giving me a discount. So I thought this would be the perfect fit for the pawnbrokers to learn from you. How to negotiate better. Chris Voss: 01:30 Alright. Hopefully. Yigal Adato: 01:31 Awesome. Yeah, let's do it. So I did some research obviously on you. And the first thing I want to talk about is that what we've learned about negotiations is all wrong. That's what you say. Chris Voss: 01:45 Yeah, most of the academic books, I take a different approach.Absolutely.


Yigal Adato: 01:50 So tell, tell us about that. What do you think? What have we learned and what's your method of negotiation?


Chris Voss: 01:55 Well, the vast majority of it is intellectually sound and the problem is you and brings that intellectually sound, you know getting to yes. And the people that wrote it and the people who have been affiliated with it. I mean, I mean, I, when I was the first time I was up at Harvard Law School negotiation project at the pleasure of meeting Roger Fisher, brilliant. And I mean just oozing emotional intelligence if you will, but not the book. I mean, getting the book, getting to yes is rational, you know, come to a rational agreement, a wise agreement, I mean, it's intellectually sound, but people are not intellectually sound. People are emotional creatures, and so why not just start from that premise, which is true and take a set of skills that are designed, with that being the fundamental underlying premise, which is what hostage negotiation is all about. Hostage negotiation is just an intense human behavior. It's not any different. Just actually, it's often not as intense as we are in our day to day interactions. I mean, people act as if their life is on the line over the smallest thing. So hostage negotiation, tools work that.


Yigal Adato: 03:11 So tell us about how you got into a hostage negotiation. I mean,that's something that a lot of people see on TV and movies.How did you get into that line of work?


Chris Voss: 03:21 Well, with nearly every law enforcement agency that has hostage negotiators. For the vast majority of the negotiators, it's an additional duty. So I was an FBI agent, I was an FBI investigator. I work terrorism, and I knew we had a hostage negotiator as I was actually also involved in SWAT when I was in Pittsburgh and FBI, Pittsburgh. I was on a SWAT team there. Then when I was in New York, I was on the terrorist task force. I want to be a hostage negotiator. I figured, I figured it was easy how and can it be, you know, I talk to people every day. It must be mine, must be able to negotiate in anybody that's really into negotiation, knows that it's a nuance that's fascinating. It's complicated. It's, it's really it's really getting in deep into human behavior. So when I got into it, I ended up being 10 times more interesting than anything I expected. And of course I was initially rejected because I was eminently unqualified. But, I asked a woman in charge of the team in New York, Amy Bondo, what I could do and she said, go volunteer on a suicide hotline, which is like the best practice of navigating human behavior. It's incredible. It's a laboratory. And one of the crazy things about the hotline was when I first got there, they said, look, if you take more than 20 minutes to get to the bottom of this and get this resolved, you're doing it wrong. And I remember thinking 20 minutes, you got to be kidding me. And it's going to take hours like, now you know this, these, these emotional intelligence skills actually really saved vast amounts of time when you apply them. And that's the other thing that's really kind of cool about it. It's the indirect route that saves time and said, the lady that stayed this time, I mean without question, a tactical application of empathy will cut anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of unnecessary communication out. It's astonishing.


Yigal Adato: 05:17 So let's talk about that. What is a tactical implementation of empathy? What does that really mean?


Chris Voss: 05:23 Well, what it really means is we know so much about how the brain works, now that I know what I'm looking for in advance as opposed to just trying to, I feel your pain. Look, I get a pretty good idea what you're paying this. So I'm just going to go ahead and articulate it right off the bat. In any given negotiation, if you think I'm being unfair and a bully, I'm going to say, and I'm sure it seems like I'm being unfair and kind of bullying it now. That's a hostage negotiators approach for the two millimeter shift there, which most people do wrong, is they'll deny those feelings and say, you know, I don't want you to think I'm being unfair. I don't want you to think I'm bullying, well that's the two millimeter shift that makes light years of difference from the denial to the identification and you know, the day and age that we live in now, neuroscience actually shows us that we dial emotions down when we do that and we get to our resolution much quicker.


Yigal Adato: 06:19 Nice. So using empathy in let's say a retail environment and understanding what the client wants, what their needs are, is essentially the best way to negotiate as opposed to this is how much the item is, this is what I want and that's it.


Chris Voss: 06:34 Right, because when you lay stuff out and what you believe to be just a direct and honest manner, it feels harsh to the inside. Like there's a difference between someone that we think is a direct and honest are blunt and someone who's a straight shooter now we like straight shooters. We don't like people who are blunt. You know, without taking any sort of opposition whatsoever on current presidential politics. It wasn't that long ago that Ivanka Trump, Ivanka Trump's said about a father, look, my, my dad's just direct and honest, that's all. And she was just trying to explain a way why he seems so blunt and harsh to some people which drives people away. And there's a subtle difference, you know, telling someone the truth is not the issue. It's telling them the truth in an emotionally intelligent way where we appreciate straight shooters because they're, they don't treat us like, ike we're getting hit in the face with a brick when they, when they talk to us and to say, you know, this is how much it's worth. This is a deal. I'm, you know, I'm just giving it to you straight, you know, sometimes people feel like they're getting hit in the face with a brick and consequently will either not make the transaction or resented, which then has a downstream cost.


Yigal Adato: 07:52 So what's the best way to go about that? We talked about if you're blunt and just say, hey, this is how much it costs. That's the way it is. So sorry about that. What could a pawnbrokers say in turn, so they connect emotionally with the client?


Chris Voss: 08:05 Well, you know, the two millimeter shift without really even changing what you just said, I'd, I'd slightly, just two ways. What you did was you laid out the costs and then say you, sorry, say you're sorry first and then lay out the cost. Because when I'm sorry, it properly dropped on a calm conversation at the right time is actually a warning that bad news is going to come. And it gives people just that slight moment to brace themselves, which they appreciate. It's like watch out, I'm going to slap you in the face and in the slap or it's slap him in the face, and they say, sorry, now they appreciate the warning ahead of time and we do that all the time when we're getting ready to lay a price on somebody that they're not gonna like will say, I'm sorry, this is a price, instead of this is the price, I'm sorry. It's amazing how much people appreciate the warning that bad news is coming.


Yigal Adato: 09:04 When you were in the hostage negotiations, you know, I saw some of your videos, you talk about one, like a bank robbery, which only comes up once every 20 years. How do you deal with your emotions in that state? You know, you're trying to save a bunch of people inside, making sure that nothing bad's going to happen. How do you deal with your emotional state while thinking about their emotional state at the same time?


Chris Voss: 09:27 You know, and I just got off the phone a few minutes ago and this sort of myself, again, I'm so the voice triggers emotional reactions in the person that hears it in anybody that hears it and you hear your own voice when you talk. If I talk with my late night FM DJ voice, which is designed to calm you down, it actually also calms me down. I just got off the phone not 20 minutes ago with the credit card company trying to get a fee waives and I was way past the deadline for having a fee waived, and all of that stuff and I was really kind of getting annoyed with the credit card company on the phone and I switched over to my late night FM DJ voice and I said, you know, if I'm no longer receiving the benefits and how am I supposed to pay for the benefit? And it calm both of us down and so much got us out of the argumentative mode and when I got off the phone because the customer service guy after telling me that he couldn't do what I asked him to do, and he said, well, do you want to speak to somebody in management? And I said, yes please, you know because if you were asked to speak to someone and they ask you if you want to speak to someone, you want to go, that's what I just said. But instead I went, yes, please. That's what I'd like, while I'm on hold, I'm thinking to myself, thank God I use that voice because it kept me from getting angry, controlled my anger, and then when he came back on the phone and he said, I spoke to my supervisor and she's given me permission to waive the fees and refund your money. So calm both of us down at the same time that the late night FM DJ voice is miraculous in what it can accomplish for both sides.


Yigal Adato: 11:23 While you were saying that story, I remember when I was in the pawn shop and I would have clients come in yelling at me because he wanted some money back or they thought it wasn't fair. I would just, you know, put a wall up and say I'm done, there's no way we're talking. Get Out of my store. You know, I try to calm the situation. The more they yelled, the more yelled. Now when a client walked in just said, Yigal, I'd really like to solve this you know with that calm dj voice, I was able to breathe. Some of my clients use your methods on me, I'm going to say-


Chris Voss: 11:59 Well, and and you, you kind of made a point also, and we run this as an exercise a lot because the first voice is the assertive voice as direct and honest, and I'll run a three different people through all three voices in every person. That sort of voice. What it does is it triggers mirror neurons in your head and part of your brain actually does get angry. Now you might be able to control it or, and then it, if part of your brain is getting angry, it's actually triggering a chemical change in your brain, but that chemical changes going through your entire brain. It's making you combative. The mirror neurons are an involuntary response. It's like when the doctor taps your knee with the little, the little, the little hammer and, and your, your leg automatically jerks because it hits the nerve. You don't make a choice in that. And what we often do is I can't dial that anger down myself unless. I flipped to that voice and then the voice dials me down but it, you know, the, the mirror neurons are going to fire whether you like it or not, and the voice is the best way to even control your own emotions.


Yigal Adato: 13:04 In pawnbroking, Chris, there's, there's something that we call, you know, emotional love towards an item and a customer walks in, they have a ring and the ring is worth $500 in gold. We want to offer them $400, but they think it's worth a thousand dollars. In your negotiations with some of the big things that you've done with the hostage negotiations, how do you deal with instances where either A, it's not possible to give what the hostage taker wants or B, you're not meeting somewhere because it's not making sense for either side. It's above and beyond because it's emotional for them. They think there's more value to it.


Chris Voss: 13:46 Well, what you're talking about also in terms of emotional love, it's not just the people in your circumstances is something called prospect theory that won the Nobel Prize for behavioral economics. A guy named Danny Conoman who wrote a book called Thinking Fast and Slow, it's really interesting book out there called the Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, who was the guy that wrote moneyball and the big short, you know, Michael Lewis is greater explaining complicated stuff so that, you know, average folks like me can understand it-


Yigal Adato: 14:16 And like me.


Chris Voss: 14:17 But prospect theory tells us that we value a lost twice as much as we value a gain, you know, like, so losing $5 hurts twice as much as gaining $5. It's actually more than that. What does that mean? What does that have to do what we're talking about? You know, they're going to come in at a high price on something they're losing. They're not screwing around. They emotionally, all human beings, you value something that giving up more than they value what they're gaining. It was a study done where they asked people, all right, so it's your favorite bottle of wine. It's in a liquor store. What's a fair price? And people will typically say well if it's a best bottle of wine in the entire planet, maybe I'll pay $200 for it. And say,alright he got the same exact bottle of wine and it's at home in your cab and one of your neighbors wants to buy it from, you know, what's a fair price not screwing around. And they'll say at $1,200 dollars. It's insane. It's just a human being response. So what's happening is just apply some emotional intelligence skills. If somebody comes anyone $500 for something, you can only give them $400. Then get a little, get a little pro active with your empathy and say, you know, I'm sure it seems like I'm treating you fairly. You know, I got, I got nothing but bad news for you. You are not going to like the price I can offer you and then go dead silent now because the human brain is overly negative before you filled out an offer if they want to. If they want 500 and you say to them, you know, you're just not going to like this at all, it's really going to seem unfair. They're going imagine something like $50, like their brain will always kick into overdrive and, and we typically do this in our bargaining, you know, I, I don't set a high anchor by expressing it. I sat in an extreme anchor by letting your brain do it to you. Gotcha. And then whatever I say after that is actually a relief to you.


Yigal Adato: 16:19 So you've built up the angst, I guess when the client thinks that you want $500 and then you go silent, they're thinking in their mind and this guys going to give me a hundred bucks and you come back at a higher price. So now they're like, wait, I'll take $400 that I can do that, right? You're going to build that up.


Chris Voss: 16:38 And then you know, and one step further is, you know, we're finding ranges are ridiculously powerful. I mean if you give somebody a range of numbers, they're going to say, well, you know, whichever ended this range is against me. I could, I could have settled for that. So it's a win for me to take the other ranks. So let's say you want to give somebody $400 for rent, say might say, look, you know, the best I could do is somewhere between $200 to $400 and they'll say $400 deal because they heard the 200 and they, they'll, they're immediately grabbed in the end of the range that benefits them, which they also additionally feel like it's a victory and it's the difference between them walking out feeling like they lost what they want. Now, why you want to walk out feeling like they won because you want them to come back-


Yigal Adato: 17:29 Of course


Chris Voss: 17:29 And happy. And you also want the word of mouth. Yeah. You know, I went into the pawn shop. They were, wow. I, you know, I think I got the best deal I could have got that word of mouth is, is money in the bank?That's marketing. That's advertising.


Yigal Adato: 17:42 Yeah. 100 percent. And I think that if a pawnbroker was to utilize these methods, then two things happened. One, their stress, you know, decreases because it's, it's a stressful situation to consistently have to be fighting over price. And then the client also will distress and say, Hey, I got the best deal. Why don't you go to, you know, Chris' pawn shop, he's a great guy, he gave me the best deal he could. So-


Chris Voss: 18:10 Yeah, exactly. Exactly right. It does do a great job of controlling your own stress.


Yigal Adato: 18:15 Now you talk about the word compromise is a bad word and you say compromise is one of the worst things to do. A lot of times in the pawn shop, you know you will have an item for a thousand dollars and the client will offer $800. And then most pawnbroker say, how about we meet in the middle $900? That's what they mostly say. So talk to us about compromise and why it's such a bad word to you and how we can overcome compromising when we're negotiating.


Chris Voss: 18:45 Well, I mean if you think compromise works good then you probably think

our federal government is incredibly efficient operation, and you admire politicians and you think all laws, they're fantastic and the best we possibly could have done. Because they live by compromise, you know and thank God all those politicians work in government because I don't think that could hold a real job. You know compromise is horrible I mean in reality, compromise. I just example after example where we're compromise leads, people unhappy and comes to bad solutions that, you know, I'm looking at a card on my desk from my girlfriend the other day, it says, you know, never, never half ass two things, only whole ass one thing. You know you got two half ass ideas just, you know, I just compromise is really bad now in bargaining, people use it as to create an illusion of fairness and we'll extreme anchor so that they can offer to compromise and in a boil they wanted it to be all along. Now there's a certain amount of emotional intelligence involved there. If the person on the other side is naive, you know, if they're B players. So I understand why people use it, but the reality is there's an old saying beware the personal offers to meet you in the middle. They're usually a poor judge of distance. And typically like the term win-win is most frequently used by really aggressive negotiators. Like I know my conversations if, if somebody brings up the word win-win when they're trying to do business with us, I already know they're trying to get all our services from that.


Yigal Adato: 20:34 Especially from you. Right? Like the master negotiator.


Chris Voss: 20:37 So we see that, I see those guys coming a mile away and you know, then then, and then. So now what happens is when you run into an astute negotiator, you know, I may just want to beat you up in the negotiation because you started, you may go, I may think. All right, fine. You want to rip me off? Okay, that's the game you want to play. Let's go.


Yigal Adato: 21:02 Nice.


Chris Voss: 21:02 So with the, you got to be careful using that on somebody's good at negotiating because you might have revealed something about yourself you didn't really meet to reveal which is I want to beat you up. And if somebody can see that common again, it's bad for longterm relationship, it's bad for referrals bad for marketing, which is what referrals are strongest form of marketing.


Yigal Adato: 21:23 Is there also a sense that if I've compromised, that means I have more room to compromise. So if I've come down on my price, that means that I can come down even more. So you can, if you're a strong negotiator, you will keep bringing me down until the point of like enough like just take it or leave it, you know?


Chris Voss: 21:44 Right? Right. They're there, there's a very significant portion of negotiators out there that are not going to let up on you until you squeal, if you will. Which means, you know, you're gonna, you're gonna have to drop your price two, three times. I know a lot of people, I've run into a lot of people who said refused every deal at least twice because you know, the other side is just going to keep going. Which means yeah, that's part of, you know, if I cut your, if I cut your price once, I'm probably going to cut it again. You know we found pretty consistently that there's usually three rounds of cuts in nearly every negotiation. People walk into a deal expecting to drop their price and we find that if we do it in an emotional intelligent way, we could probably get them to knock the price down at least twice. Before we settle.


Yigal Adato: 22:37 You brought up the word anchor, can you tell us, explain to us a little bit about that, what that means when you anchor something so that the listeners know.


Chris Voss: 22:46 The anchor is an extreme offer, you know, a high price or low price one way or the other. It's probably the most common move out there, because it works and you don't have to be really smart to use as soon as people start to get out, they literally compromising mindset and they start to gain a certain amount of savvy in bargaining. That's pretty much the first move and the only move that they ever learned because it works really well. I mean, the extreme offer, works well. It's why it's used so often. The old Mike Tyson line, you know, everybody has a plan until they get punched. So the anchor is a punch, most people that teach negotiation advocate high anchors, I mean I've had a number of conversations with the academics, if you will, and they'll always say we advise people to go first and to anchor high and you did not. Why is that? And you know, my answer is, none of the A plus players want to go first. You sit down with any of the A plus players. I don't care. It could be Warren Buffet, it could be any of the Wall Street significant players and they're going to sit back and they're going to try to get you go first on a price. They, you know, they believe that he
or she who the names price first loses. So going first, extreme anchoring is, is a good move if you're a B player or less, even a B plus player, you get to people in the A game. They don't want to go first. They look at the prices completely soft, completely flexible. So when you throw out your price, you just given them more information on your position and they love information.


Yigal Adato: 24:32 Got It.


Chris Voss: 24:32 Carl Icahn was, the other guy was trying to think of Carl Icahn loves to punch you hard, but he's going to let you go first and then he's going to punch you.


Yigal Adato: 24:41 Gotcha. There was a, there was an instance that a lady walked into my store and she wanted a watch, I think it was worth $800. And she said, well, what's the best price, you know, I'll offer you $600. So I was compromising. I'm so sorry to use that word. And, I met her and we were negotiating. I met in the middle and I said, fine, you know, I'll give it to you for $600. And she kept on going. No, no, no. So what I did was I said, every time she would say something, I would up my price, right? So she would say, no, I'll give you $500. So it's a 6:50. No, no. I said $500, 700. And I said, the more you stick to $500, the more the price just goes up. And she ended up paying me $700. Now I don't know if I was right in doing that, but I just felt like confidence played a role. And tell me if that's true. Does confidence play a role in negotiation or has nothing to do with it?


Chris Voss: 25:42 Well, confidence is going to come across, first of all, in your tone of voice. So you're gonna, you're gonna tend to less inflamed the situation. It sounds to me the way you were responding to it was very matter of fact as opposed to being argumentative. And, and that's going to work in your, in your favorites. Actually it's gonna help calm her down. It gives you a confident voice, gives you more authority. Now so I'm going to speculate your description of her you didn't describe her as this great customer of mine who's been in a whole bunch of times. This is what happened the first time she was in. Could you ever see her again after that?


Yigal Adato: 26:17 She would walk in and try the same thing. And then realized
that she just couldn't after that one time.


Chris Voss: 26:23 Yeah. You know how many more transactions afterwards?


Yigal Adato: 26:26 Maybe two, because she just consistently want to low ball. That was her. That was her game.


Chris Voss: 26:31 So, so we know what's her game, you know, maybe she's out there having a good time, you know, who knows, who knows what it is, you know, she's in and out of a pawn shop. She's, she's trying, she's getting emotional satisfaction from good and from beating you up. It's hard to say how much money was left on a table. I don't think that's a problem with what you did. I might, depending upon the person, you know, I, I, we like instead of escalating price, which I might do it as a punishment to someone, but before I punish them, you know, we, we love, we love the phrase, you know, how am I supposed to do that? And we'll take a position. And we worked very hard. If somebody wants to bargain with us like that, I'm just going to pick a price and get them to negotiate against themselves and use empathy the whole time and just watch them give in. I don't, I don't, there are times when I would, I would take your approach, I might take it as a plan B depend upon how plan A one.


Yigal Adato: 27:26 No, I wasn't saying it was the right approach whatsoever.


Chris Voss: 27:30 Well, you know, you got your way.


Yigal Adato: 27:35 True, true. But so let's talk about this. I know that the listeners want to hear everything that we've spoken about from empathy to compromise to you say that no is not the end of the conversation. Right? And talk about knowing yes a little bit, what that means and why no is not the end of the conversation.


Chris Voss: 27:53 Well, let, let's go back to and I wanna I want to compare and contrast empathy for just a second. Also because most people say empathy then leads the compromise. My empathy is leads to a surge. My empathy puts me in a position where it can be really asserted. The more empathic I am, the more assertive I am. And one of the guys that I really admire a lot of Bob Manoukian, Robert Manoukian, who's the head of the program on negotiation at Harvard. He wrote a book called beyond winning, which is primarily for lawyers, but the first chapter of his book is actually kind of a deceptive chapter. It's called the the tension between empathy and assertiveness. And I remember reading that chapter thinking like, I don't think there is a tension. I wonder why he titled It this way. And the answer was it's a fake title. He ends up making the point that empathy is required for more assertiveness. So one of the things I'd like to clear out with people is like, we're not empathic because we're giving it. We're using empathy and have very tactical manner to be even more assertive but not leaving any hurt feelings. Right, so now let me, then they go back to the question you were asking instead of rambling, you know, people feel protected when they say no. And so some people are no mode. You know I remember there was a lieutenant with NYPD that I worked with and used to say, you know, Chris lieutenant's job is to say no. I've heard people say, you know, the people that we're dealing with on the other side, there are no mode. That's all they ever say, and I, and my answer to them has been, all right, well change your questions, change your questions around. So when they say no, it benefits you instead of saying, would you like this? Say, are you against this? They just love saying no. They don't think about it. They just love saying no. Saying no makes people feel protected and safe. That happens every time. So it sounds stupid, but all you gotta do is change your questions and you'll be astonished at how far you could get by changing and making no work for you.


Yigal Adato: 29:45 So when you change your questions and their answer is still no, that's what you're saying is now the no is benefiting you as opposed to stopping what's going on.


Chris Voss: 29:54 Yeah. You know, and I think I believe that we call them calibrated nos and a calibrated knows work usually at least five yeses because instead of, if I try to get you to agree to something, a typical question might be with everything I've laid out, would you agree this is the best idea and you might get them to say yes, but it fed just they feel that trap and I'll say instead I'll say everything I've laid out, are you against this? Is this a bad idea? And their answer will be, well, no, no. As a matter of fact we can do this, this and this, and that gave me three or four more things that I might normally have to ask about. I mean that happens every time. So I like kicking things into gear and making a move forward by just changing it so that no works for me.


Yigal Adato: 30:42 Nice. Love it. What's some tell us about one of your hostage negotiations. Obviously people want to hear about that. Tell us one extreme case or one case that really stands out to you where you used all of these methods to, I don't know if you call it win-win negotiation or just get back what you needed to get back.


Chris Voss: 31:03 Well, you know, the Chase Manhattan Bank robbery that we talk about in the book, you know, one of my favorite cases because the bank robber on the other side was as in control and is guarded, you know, and is just calculated a person's we ever ran across. I mean the first hostage negotiator on the phone with them from NYP, he actually said to the negotiator, I'm calmer than you are, I'm the calmest one here. And he was hiding lots of things from us. He was, he was as shrewd as they come, you know, really powerful negotiator. When they come to the table they'll say, you know, it's not up to me. There's other people involved, you know, in business I might say I've got a board of directors. I got to check with my wife, you know, I got to check my kids, you know, they're always alluded to people that are not there. It's kind of bank kept saying, you know, these other guys that with me, boy, that you know, they are the dangerous ones. I'm worried about those guys. He was calling all the shots, so when I get on the phone with him, he said one thing that caught me off guard and you know, my instinct was to do this thing called the mirror, which is just repeat word for word, the last couple of words. The person is just said because we found this van out front and I was at and he was keeping his name from us. So I did. I said, we've got a van out front here, you know, it's registered to. And he says, we don't have a van. I said, you don't have a van? He said, we have more than one van. I said, you have more than one van? He said, well, you chase my driver away so we chased your driver way? Said Yeah. When he saw the police, he cut and run. Those would just mirrors by, because I was caught off guard by what he was saying and I didn't understand it. The reality was his driver was what we referred to as a black swan. Information that we wouldn't have gotten only from him. We didn't know there was a driver involved at that point, had no clue the driver had been outside the bank. When the bank alarm went out, he was gone. There were no witnesses that connected them to the robbery, no information whatsoever. We've been had the bank surrounded for, at that point in time, probably about five hours, no clue that there was a third guy, he blurted it out because mirrors trigger involuntary sharing of information and he was the most closely guarded guy that I ever ran across in a contained siege. And you know, that's the brilliant thing about mirrors is people start doing what we referred to as vomiting information and it kind of can't help themselves. And that, that was one of the cool things that happened in that bank robbery.


Yigal Adato: 33:36 Nice. I love that, I mean, so he gave up information that he would have ever given up. And all you do is repeat yourself.


Chris Voss: 33:45 Just the word for word anywhere from one to three, maybe no more ever than five words, just each and every word and people. There's an involuntary response from, when the other person just adds to it. And starts, starts drawing information out there and they can't stop themselves.


Yigal Adato:34:02 So you said that the bank robbery happens, you know, once every 20

years. Obviously in movies it's, it's made bigger than it really is, more drama, all that type of stuff. How is it compared to what we see from what you actually do?


Chris Voss: 34:20 Well, and, and, and to qualify because somebody wants hit me with a statistic that said you know, the FBI crime reports talk about bank robbery with hostages a lot. Well, they take hostages and they get away before the police show up, you know, getting the bank surrounded and giving them contained. Because bank robbers know the police would come and say they're looking to get out of there as fast as they can. So actually catching somebody inside is a really rare event. Now what happens most of the time is, you know, they're a little panicked, a little confused. They didn't plan on getting caught inside. And it's typically moral panic that unless planned, then we might have imagined like, you know, the Denzel Washington movie inside man, which is a great film by the way. I really enjoyed it, you know, the bank robbery, was in control the whole time and I was part of a larger plan. And thank God in real life, they're not that far. So there a lot more panicked and then what we typically see on tv.


Yigal Adato: 35:24 And it's also true that in the book how to win friends and influence people. The first chapter talks about how this guy, I don't remember if it was a bank robber or what he was doing, but he would just write a letter and said, I'm doing this for my family. Do like they have reasons that they believe that are right, why they're doing it. Correct?


Chris Voss: 35:46 Right, right. You know, and it's, you know, you never know. I mean, there's something that in the book we call it find the other side's religion. Some people also refer to that as sacred values, but these are bigger ideals that drives this behavior that on its face next makes no sense. But you know, they got a story in their head to the larger ideals that they're telling themselves. And then they're there. What they're living out in their head is
not only is it not making any sense, but we're not going to find out until we get them on the phone and talk to them. And it's pretty much everybody's motivation throughout life, not just bankrupt. So, you know, that's the idea that these emotional intelligence tools are designed to get in the other side's head. Find out what the heck is going on in there so that you can have an influence on what the pattern is and actually change it. Yigal Adato: 36:37 Gotcha. And what's, what's the stress level when you're called, similar to do a negotiation? What's your stress level or a negotiator's stress level at that moment?


Chris Voss: 36:48 Well, it depends on how prepared they are. You know, we like to say you don't, you don't rise to the occasion, you fall to your level of preparation. I was always very prepared. I spent a lot of time on a hotline which meant I got a lot of practice on my emotional intelligence skills. When you put me on a phone, I know in advance when I get into my late night FM DJ voice, I'm going to get the upper hand really quick. Now, if it's somebody that's not that prepared and not that ready and you know, it's the equivalent of taking a game winning shot, having never rehearsed it. You know, they say Michael Jordan rehearsed game winning shots hundreds of times on the court by himself. He'd imagine a clock counting down. He'd imagined it, a defender all over him. He'd imagined in build it all up in his head and rehearse it so that when it had happened in real life, he'd been there a bunch of times. It didn't rattle him that much and it depends upon, have you imagined that, had you gone through the mental exercise and then how did you control? Did you imagine yourself getting mad? Or did you imagine yourself staying cool. And that's how you react.


Yigal Adato: 38:02 Yeah, so it's being mentally prepared for any situation regardless of-


Chris Voss: 38:08 And knowing that we actually prepare all the time. Our preparation might be like every time I talked to that person or that type of person, they make me mad every time. Well, you're actually preparing to be mad every time and you can, but you can get behind that preparation. Go like, you know what? Next time I'm gonna, hit him with the late night voice and I can just see myself calming them down. Same amount of preparation time, one's good and one's bad.


Yigal Adato: 38:35 And I love the fact that you keep on bringing up emotional intelligence. I think it's something that's not brought up enough, especially in our industry because it's such a not a cutthroat industry, but it's an industry where people are coming in because they need money and you are trying to make a deal. But if you use emotional intelligence, you get much further. And, and I, and I totally believe that.


Chris Voss: 38:58 Farther and faster too. I mean, the crazy thing about it is it saves time and believe me, I'm about saving time.


Yigal Adato: 39:06 So what do you think are three mistakes that people who say that I'm, I'm a great negotiator make?


Chris Voss: 39:14 First of all to me that somebody I automatically know, they got a close mind. Like if somebody, somebody write up that says I'm a great negotiator, a number one, you gotta close mind, which also means your skills are actually deteriorating because it's a performance is as my friend Jim camp used to say it's a performance event just like any other sport. So somebody's saying like, I'm a great baseball player and they never prep or I,you know, I'm a great home run hitter. You know, the great home run hitters. First of all, I say that they get out on the field and they do it and they practice all the time. So problem is somebody who says that their skills are slowly deteriorating.They got a close mind now they'll tell you stories where they beat the other setup. And I love that, which now that means all right, so unless you feel you have leverage, you can't get anything done. So I, you know, hostage negotiators like, you know, put me in a situation where leverage is completely up in the air. Let me use my skills to change everybody's feelings and leverage. I got, I got a big advantage on that person. Yigal Adato: 40:30 That's great. Chris, what can you leave us with from all your coaching that you've done in the industries from real estate and other industries, what do you think the biggest lessons are for people? Apart from the emotional intelligence that they can take with them, plus everything that you've given us already on this value. Like the one thing, if they could take one thing with them to put into practice tomorrow at their stores, what would it be?


Chris Voss: 40:56 You know, the, the Marion technique. I'm just just start mirroring people, you know, when you repeat the last couple of words of what they just said, you know, what the tone of voice, it's encouraging that you actually want to hear more. You haven't taken a position one way or another on anything that'll probably get you to the heart of the matter much quicker and the other side is going to feel a lot better about. And it doesn't take any sort of intelligence or practice to be able to mirror someone. You'll actually find out that they love the interactions and you'll have a lot more satisfied customers probably make deals faster.


Yigal Adato: 41:34 Nice. Love it. Chris, how can people get ahold of you or, tell us about the book and how they can find you online.


Chris Voss: 41:43 Alright, sure. The, I'd love for people to buy the book, buy it on Amazon. Absolute best price. I mean Amazon beats everybody. They're great distribution channel. We've got a newsletter that newsletter. It's free and a colleague of mine used to say if it's free, I'll take three, you know? But it's a, just got one short article in each newsletter. Some newsletters you can get them just so jam packed with information and where's you trying to decide what to read. Like we're giving you something simple and quick and easy to read once a week. A lot of people really like it because it's a good refresher and the best way to subscribe to that is through a sign up via text. Send a text, FBIEMPATHY, all one word. Don't let your autocorrect put a space between FBI and empathy and send it to two, two, eight, two, eight, and again, that's 22, eight, 28 words, the words FBI, empathy, no space and you'll get a dialog back box back and the newsletter is a gateway to everything. It's a gateway to the website which is BlackSwanltd.com. But if you get the newsletter, we put in announcements about new training materials, about free training materials, and when we're training across the United States, it's really the gateway to our gold mine.


Yigal Adato: 43:04 Awesome. Love it Chris. So the guys, the book is Never Split the Difference. It's on Amazon. I'll put the link in the show notes and then text FBIEMPATHY to, two, two, eight, two eight Chris Voss: 43:15 And make sure that there's not a space in between FBI and Empathy.


Yigal Adato: 43:18 Yeah, yeah. No space. Between FBI and empathy will put on the show notes so you guys can get that. Pawn Leaders thank you so much for listening to the show. Chris, thank you so much for being on. If you'd like to continue this, this conversation about negotiation, don't forget to check out the Pawn Leaders podcast community, review the podcast so that people, other pawn brokers can find it and check it out. Thank you for listening, and Chris I appreciate you and what you've taught us today.


Chris Voss: 43:44 I've enjoyed the conversation. Thanks for eveything.


Yigal Adato: 43:46 Thank you.




Chris Voss is the CEO of the Black Swan Group and author of the national best seller, ‘Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It’; named one of the 7 best books on negotiation. He is a 24 year veteran of the FBI, and retired as a lead international kidnapping negotiator. Chris’ company specializes in solving business communication problems, using hostage negotiations solutions. Listen how you can practice effective negotiation in your pawnbroker business.


[01:57] What have we learned and what’s your method of negotiation? “Vast majority of it is intellectually sound, and the problem is human beings are not intellectually sound




[02:53] Hostage negotiation is intense human behavior, but not as intense as day to day interactions




[03:31] Chris had to do additional duty while being an FBI agent. He was an FBI investigator and worked in terrorism.




[04:16] He was initially rejected when he applied to be a negotiator, because he was unqualified. Utilizing the Suicide Hotline was great practice in getting him to negotiating.




[04:39] “When I first got there they said ‘Look, if you take more than 20 minutes to get to the bottom of this and get this resolved, you’re doing it wrong’”




[05:09] “A tactical application of empathy will cut any work from 20-80% of unnecessary communication




[05:25] Knowing how the brain works gives you an idea of what you are looking for in advance




[08:17] What could a pawnbroker say in turn so that they connect emotionally with a client? “Say you’re sorry first and then let out the cost




[08:21] Apologizing first prepares the customer for what is about to happen next; which they genuinely appreciate




[09:35] The tone of your voice triggers emotional reactions in the person that hears it, and also in yourself




[11:14] “The late night FM Dj voice is miraculous in what it can accomplish for both sides




[12:13] The assertive voice triggers a chemical change in your brain which causes you to get angry




[13:55] Daniel Kahneman, author of ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ and ‘The Undoing Project’ by Michael Lewis explains the Prospect Theory.




[14:19] Prospect Theory implies that we value a loss twice as much as we value a gain




[16:39] Finding ranges when selling an item is powerful, as customers compare the lower figure to the higher figure and are attracted by the figure at the end of the range




[17:24] Customers walk out your store feeling happy about getting a bargain and shares the deal with their friends. This word of mouth increases your customer base and profits




[19:18] Compromising leaves people unhappy





[21:45] There are many negotiators that will not go easy on you until you drop your prices significantly




[22:16] “We found consistently that there’s usually 3 rounds of cuts in nearly every negotiation. People walk into a deal expecting to drop their price and we find that if we do it in an emotionally

intelligent way, we can probably get them to knock their price down at least twice before we sell




[22:46] The anchor is a very common move by negotiators. It is an extreme offer (high price or low price)




[23:33] None of the A+ players want to make an offer first




[28:06] “The more empathic I am the more assertive I am




[28:11] In the first chapter of the book ‘Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes’ Robert Mnookin, speaks on The Tension between Empathy and Assertiveness.




[29:38] “All you got to do is change your questions and you’d be astonished at how far you can get by changing and making ‘No’ work for you




[35:49] There are sacred values that criminals have in their minds that influence their behavior




[36:51] What’s your stress level when called to do a negotiation? “You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your level of preparation



[38:10] Preparation may come through experience, so you know what to do the next time something similar happens




[39:15] Three mistakes “great negotiators” make:


  • Having a closed mind
  • Deteriorating skills
  • Having no leverages



[40:57] What is the one thing to put into practice as pawnbrokers? Practice the mirroring technique.




[41:45] Buy the book Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It on Amazon.com and subscribe to the weekly newsletter by sending a text to FBI empathy to ‘22828’. There should be no space between the words FBI and empathy.

Yigal Adato

Yigal is a 3rd generation pawn broker, and is now a mentor, coach and educator with the pawnbroking industry.

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