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3 Negotiation Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Deals

10 min
Average Score

Chris Voss

CEO & Founder

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Have you ever wondered why some negotiations falter despite your best efforts? Understanding and addressing common negotiation mistakes can drastically improve your success rate in sales. This session, based on insights from Chris Voss, CEO of the Black Swan Group, focuses on three key negotiation mistakes that could be hindering your deals.

1. Listening to Respond vs. Listening to Understand

The Essence of Effective Listening

The primary mistake many negotiators make is listening with the intent to respond, rather than to understand. This approach is inherently self-centered and overlooks the critical aspect of empathy in negotiations. As Gerard Nuremberg, a notable negotiation expert, suggests, true listening involves sensing emotions as much as hearing words. It's about shifting focus from yourself to truly understanding the other party's perspective and emotions.

The Impact of Empathetic Listening

Empathetic listening enables you to grasp not only what is being said but also the emotions and intentions behind those words. This deeper understanding can significantly enhance your ability to address the core concerns of your prospects effectively.

2. The Misuse of "I Understand"

Understanding vs. Making Felt Understood

Many negotiators use "I understand" with good intentions, hoping to convey empathy. However, this phrase often falls short in making the other person feel genuinely understood. The key is not in asserting your understanding but in making the other party feel their perspective is truly comprehended and valued.

Avoiding the "But" Trap

When "I understand" is followed by "but," it negates the intended empathy, often leading to defensive responses. The goal is to avoid this trap and focus on articulating the other party's perspective to elicit the response "that's right," which indicates they feel understood.

3. The Pitfalls of Yes-Oriented Questions

The False Security of "Yes"

Yes-oriented questions might seem effective, but they often lead to superficial agreements or "counterfeit yeses." Such questions can mask the true sentiments of the prospect, leading to uncertainties and potential deal failures.

Shifting to No-Oriented Questions

Instead of seeking affirmative answers, it's more productive to frame questions that allow for a "no" response. For instance, instead of asking, "Do you have a few minutes to talk?" consider, "Is now a bad time to talk?" This approach can yield more genuine responses and a clearer understanding of the prospect's position.

Implementing the Black Swan Method

Preparation and Application

Implementing the Black Swan method in your sales approach involves thorough preparation and a shift in your communication style. It's about moving away from conventional yes-oriented tactics to a more nuanced, empathetic, and understanding-based approach.

Building Rapport and Trust

By focusing on understanding rather than responding, demonstrating understanding rather than just claiming it, and avoiding the pitfalls of yes-oriented questions, you can build stronger rapport and trust with your prospects. This approach can lead to more successful negotiations and long-lasting customer relationships.

Mastering the Art of Negotiation

In summary, mastering sales negotiations isn't just about persuasive talking; it's about effective listening, empathizing, and carefully framing your questions. Watch this session to delve deeper into the Black Swan method and learn how to avoid common negotiation mistakes. Remember, the more prepared you are, the better equipped you'll be to handle life-changing deals that come your way. Adopting these strategies can enhance your negotiation skills, leading to more successful sales outcomes and stronger connections with your clients.

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