Chris Voss, Tahl Raz:
Never Split the Difference
December 11, 2020
- Let them say “no”. It’s a very good place to start, because it voices the objections that you’ll need to alleviate. Also, you might want to encourage them to answer with “no” to feel more in charge. Like “are you okay with this project starting late?”
- Don’t expect (and worry about) that if they gave you something you need to give something back. It’s not about meeting each other in the middle. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for things. But you can give something, to make them feel like they should give back (maybe they will, maybe they won’t).
- Once you get to “yes”, don’t stop. It means nothing without “how”. Make sure that both sides agree on how to implement the agreement.
- Anchor expectations. You can do it without specifying what you want, but explaining what’s the world like (“a typical rate for a contractor like me in a bigger company in Berlin is X”). You can preface it with “current market is crazy, I’m sorry”. If it might shock, warn them that it might be shockingly high and you’re sorry about that.
- People are more inclined to protect themselves from losses, than to strive for wins. Also, they’re more moved by sure things than thay are by low probability outcomes (90% chance of a loss of $10 will move them more towards action than a 20% change of winning $100).
- Let the other side go first and when it’s your turn pivot to non-monetary terms to avoid giving your number early.
- Supposedly, the “mind hack” of giving odd numbers ($43.70/h) works, because it seems more rooted in objective reality than $50/h. You should avoid round numbers (to convince them the price is final).
- “Fair” is often a tactic, but sometimes not. It’s important that the other side feels like they’re getting a fair deal, so when they use this word you don’t have to lower the price, but you have to clearly communicate you hear them and you want them to be fairly treated.
- Calibrated questions
- Give them (illusion of) control by asking calibrated questions (what? and how?). This will make them help you to work on a solution to the impasse / problem.
- Repeat the last three words the other person just said to draw more information out.
- We want to label the feelings (and fears) that the other person feels to get them out in the open, allow to address them, and show them we understand their situation. Once you label a negative feeling, rephrase it with a positive equivalent.
- Accusation list
- We list the worst possible accuses the other side could say about us ("the project was late", "it doesn't work on Samsung", etc.) to be able to alleviate them ("we'll prioritise Android from now on"). You can't address it if nobody says it out loud.
- Methodical and diligent. Needs time to go over facts and consider the options
- Builds rapport through a continuous free-flowing exchange of information. Not necessarily focused on the desired outcome
- Direct and candid. Getting it done quickly is more important than spending more time on getting it done right
Written by Wojciech Ogrodowczyk who takes photos, climbs mountains, and runs Brains & Beards to help companies deliver better mobile applications faster.