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How to Negotiate: Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

8 min
Average Score

Productivity Game

Book Summaries

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Have you ever wondered how to negotiate effectively without compromising too much? In this session, we explore the fascinating world of negotiation as taught by Chris Voss, former FBI hostage negotiator and author of "Never Split the Difference." This session is a treasure trove for sales reps, account executives, and anyone looking to improve their negotiation skills.

Tactical Empathy: The Key to Negotiation

At the heart of Voss's approach is tactical empathy. This involves sincerely empathizing with your counterpart's situation and then getting them to empathize with yours. It's not just about understanding the other party's feelings but also about using this understanding to guide the negotiation towards a mutually beneficial outcome.

Learning from Real-Life Scenarios

Consider the story of Susan, a pharmaceutical sales rep. During a tough negotiation with a skeptical doctor, she noticed and remarked on his passion for patient care. This simple act of recognizing his concerns broke the ice and led to a successful deal. It demonstrates the power of tactical empathy in action.

The Magical Words: "That's Right"

According to Voss, a negotiation doesn't truly start until you hear "that's right" from your counterpart. This phrase indicates that they feel understood and are more open to your proposals. To achieve this, listen closely to the emotion behind their words, identify their concerns, and summarize these with empathetic statements like "It seems like…" or "It sounds like…"

The Role of Calibrated Questions

Calibrated questions are open-ended inquiries that start with 'how' or 'what'. They shift the negotiation from confrontation to collaboration, encouraging the other party to think about your problems and seek solutions. An example of a powerful calibrated question is, "How am I supposed to do that?"

Mastering Rent Negotiation with Tactical Empathy

Imagine negotiating rent with your landlord. Start by empathizing with their position, then use a calibrated question like, "How am I supposed to afford $1,500 a month on my current salary?" This approach not only shows understanding but also invites the landlord to help solve your problem.

Countering Offers with Empathy

When faced with an unsatisfactory offer, respond with a variation of the calibrated question. For instance, if your landlord proposes a $1,400 rent, you might say, "That's very generous, but how am I supposed to manage $1,400 a month when similar apartments are available for less?"

The Harvard Negotiation: A Case Study

Voss's ability to secure the maximum budget from Harvard students during mock negotiations illustrates the effectiveness of his methods. By empathizing with their position and using calibrated questions, he persuaded them to willingly offer the maximum amount.

The Essence of Negotiation

Negotiation is essentially about getting the other person to see things your way. This doesn't mean manipulating them but rather guiding the conversation through understanding, empathy, and strategic questioning.

In conclusion, mastering negotiation isn't about aggressive tactics or compromising too much. It's about understanding the other party's perspective, using tactical empathy, and asking the right questions. This approach not only leads to more successful negotiations but also ensures that both parties feel fairly treated.

For a deeper understanding of these negotiation techniques and their practical applications, watch this session. It offers valuable insights and strategies for anyone looking to improve their negotiation skills, ensuring more favorable outcomes in both professional and personal interactions.

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