July 13th, 2023

Episode #63

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

This week’s exciting episode deviates from our standard entrepreneurial guest, instead we have a former FBI agent hostage negotiator, Chris Voss.

Chris Voss is also the author of the world renown book “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It” – recounting the practices and tactics Chris used in hostage negations and how it can be applied to business negotiations.

Mark, Justin, and Chris breakdown the process of becoming a hero for the buyers we’re selling to. Showcasing our desire to collaborate to mutually succeed. It’s not a simple, linear path, but Chris believes uncertainty is an opportunity for our genuine curiosity to allow us to be open to new ideas that can navigate us down a path to success we never would have imagined before. 

You will learn how to become a trusted advisor for your buyer. We discuss how Chris’ tactics in hostage negotiations can be used to achieve your marketing goals. 





To contact Jekyll+Hyde, visit Jekyll+Hyde Labs or call 800.500.4210.

Special Guest

Chris Voss

Chris used his many years of experience in international crises and high-stakes negotiations to develop a unique program that applies globally proven techniques to the business world.

Prior to 2008, Chris was the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group. During his career, he also represented the U.S. government as an expert in kidnapping at two international conferences sponsored by the G8.

Before becoming the FBI's lead international kidnapping negotiator, Christopher served as the lead Crisis Negotiator for the New York City division of the FBI. Chris was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force for 14 years. He was the case agent on TERRSTOP (Omar Abdel-Rahman/"The Blind Sheikh" case) and the TWA Flight 800 catastrophe. He also negotiated the surrender of the first hostage taker to give up in the Chase Manhattan Bank robbery.

During Chris’s 24-year tenure with the Bureau, he was trained in the art of negotiation by not only the FBI, but also Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. He is also a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and the FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.

Chris has taught business negotiation in MBA programs as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. He also taught business negotiation at Harvard University and guest lectured at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Goethe Business School in Frankfurt, Germany.

Episode Transcript


Mark Young, Justin Girouard, Chris Voss


Mark Young  00:18

Welcome, everybody to this edition of CPG insiders. I'm your host Mark Young and my co host, Justin Girouard. Justin, we have a really special show and a great guest today.


Justin Girouard  00:29

I couldn't agree more I... this is gonna be a different show. I think it's gonna be a very different show than what our audience is used to, and I am so excited for it truly am.


Mark Young  00:42

So our guests on today's show is a friend of mine, his name is Chris Voss. No, Chris is a not the type of person you would normally expect to hear on the show about consumer packaged goods. Because he is a hostage negotiator. He was actually the the hostage negotiator or a hostage negotiator for the FBI. Now, I will admit that some of you who have ever sat across the desk from somebody at Walmart or CVS or something, may have felt like you were in a hostage negotiation. At that very moment. And you were the hostage in this particular case. But Chris, welcome to the show buddy. But if you wouldn't tell us tell our audience a little bit about who you are. So they understand it. And I want to really encourage people to get your book at the end of this show, which is never split the difference.


Chris Voss  01:37

Thank you. Yeah. Yeah, well, um, former FBI hostage negotiator, wrote a book, after I left the bureau when looking for legitimate employment, never split the difference. Business negotiation book, Principles of hostage negotiation applied to business and personal life test drove the concepts in a couple of different business schools, with business school students who had actual jobs where they needed to get better every day in their negotiations, really, for several years at Georgetown, and then a USC and and put the book out, the students did well made more money were happier, the book has been really successful. And it's been a great business and personal guidance book for negotiations for everybody across the board. I mean, literally, globally, it sells well, in China, it sells in Pakistan, it sells in India, because negotiation is kind of a human experience, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of who's across the table. And it's about it's about applied emotional intelligence. So what it really is.


Mark Young  02:45

So let me paint the picture for you, Chris. Our listeners are in the business of selling consumer packaged goods. So they sell stuff that is sold in big brick and mortar retailers.


Chris Voss  02:56



Mark Young  02:57

So they have to go meet with buyers, and all the big retailers. Now in today's world, that list of people is getting smaller and smaller because of consolidation. So nowadays, five buyers represent over 70% of all the retail products sold in America in the CPG class, so that would be Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and now we put Kroger Albertsons in there, and then we get a few regionals. So in the grand scheme of things, their entire world operates by negotiations with probably 12 individuals, 12 people. So 12 People in the in the world in this country will control their entire future. That's kind of stressful, isn't it?


Chris Voss  03:47

That's a little bit being taken hostage isn't? Yeah.


Mark Young  03:52

So it's kinda like, you know, we talk about fear, it's almost kind of like having an IRS audit. Because, as an entrepreneur, Walmart might say yes to your product, and your product might sell $10 million a year in Walmart, which is a big deal for you, or $20 million. That buyer isn't making $20 million and buyers a working person, but it's a working person that controls your future during that 30 minute meeting. And I think what happens is as as young entrepreneurs, when I say young, I'm saying new to CPG, where you haven't done a lot of this. Getting across the desk from one of these buyers, is a pretty high stress meeting,


Chris Voss  04:40



Mark Young  04:41

for the CPG customer. And the CPG vendor kind of comes in that thing, knowing that they have no choice but to make a deal which I think is very similar to you and hostage negotiating because as the negotiator, you you couldn't have a loser You couldn't have a loss. Right? A loss for you was probably a life. Right? So you're there was no not winning or splitting the difference, wasn't it?


Chris Voss  05:09

Yeah, no, no. And that's why, you know, the subtitle of the book negotiating is if your life depended on it, it's really applicable here isn't?


Mark Young  05:17

It really is because for many of these people, for our smaller entrepreneurs, their entire life savings, their family's life savings, their futures bet on this company. And a no from one of these people can be a devastating day. So start us off with, is there anything that somebody should do before the meeting is there is, you know, obviously, you want you to know your product, and you know, who you're selling to, and you know, the numbers and you know, the profitability. But what do you need to know, on a human basis? Before you get to that meeting?


Chris Voss  05:52

Several things simultaneously, first, you got to understand human nature, then you're looking at the human across the table, and look at them first in terms of, you know, what's the job asking of them? And then what is the nature of their regular interactions? Now, you get a tremendous advantage, regardless of the circumstances when you understand human nature. And then the third level, the nature of the regular interactions, the regular interactions are generally combative. You know, in the buyers, the supply chain side of this, they got a tough job on their side. And how do you apply empathy?  Start out by telling them that a tough job like if you're a buyer for Walmart, like Walmart expects you to be the expert on everything from paper clips, to drones. And that is just not possible. So the first default is going to be on price. Well, what they're really looking for is making a better deal, the person on the other side of the table is always looking for a better deal. Now, one of our rules involving price is that price may break deals, but it doesn't make deals. Which means you can hold your price and make a far better deal for them. If you're patient. If you allow it to play out, if you don't take yourself hostage. One of the individuals that runs a company that sells to all the people that you're talking about is that our top level of negotiation clients, I mean, he's at the very top level, we refer to him as cohort. And they've been taking our training, and they got there now involved in their whole organization and learning in our training. He went through our cohort last year, and he raised his price on all of these buyers, far in excess of what he hoped for. He told me personally, that moving from cutthroat to collaborative made him more money than being cutthroat every day. Because he taught his people to take the time with the buyers, and focus on what terms would make a better deal for both sides. And they start they started discovering these gray areas. That made money for both sides. They got out of the normal, aggravating price gouging, price attacking conversations that a lot of the supply chain people get into because they don't know how to be an expert on everything from paper clips to drones. So when a seller starts becoming a trusted adviser, being honest with them, giving them the straight scoop, and then seeking for the changes in the terms that leave them both better off. Now that's a scary thing to do. Because you don't know where you're going. As human beings, we're not really wired to think that way. We're wired to think about a goal and then how do we get to the goal goal. And this is putting the goal to better deal in kind of a gray area, which scares a lot of people. But if you can make the jump from cutthroat to collaborative, especially with these guys, because these guys got a tough job. And become their trusted advisor and not cut their throat and genuinely look for a better deal. You will find that both of you are  better off.


Mark Young  09:18

I always tell our listeners kind of a Dan Sullivan kind of thing, which I always tell him and get him to get your input. I was telling them to walk into that meeting, trying to find out how they can be a hero for that buyer.


Chris Voss  09:31

That's a great way of putting it.


Mark Young  09:31

How can I how can I be the buyer's hero


Justin Girouard  09:35



Mark Young  09:35

and knowing that it's easier it's safer for a buyer to say no than it is to say Yes, yep. Because no doesn't get me fired. But the but a lot of bad yeses can get me fired.


Justin Girouard  09:48

I was going to ask you Chris, you said something and maybe already explained it but it really stuck out to me. You use the phrase don't take yourself hostage. That really stuck out now did Did you already talk about that by going in with that the whole concept of going in and being more collaborative and cutthroat? Is that the thought process behind that statement? Or is there more to that? Because it's very interesting to me, because I think that a lot.


Chris Voss  10:12

Yeah, I'm glad you're digging into that. Because never be so sure of what you want that you wouldn't take something better, what are the things that you can say to yourself on a regular basis so that you don't take yourself hostage? You know, there's a variety of things. And the first one is the acceptance that there's actually a better deal out here for both sides. And you don't know what it is. That's really hard for anybody over the age of 25, to wrap their minds around. Because long up to about your mid 20s, you're still discovering the world. And a world is this great adventure, and you're genuinely curious. And then there's some neurological changes happen in your mid 20s. And you also start to get a little bit of a past reflect on and you start making predictions about the future and you start having a certain success rate. You know, when you were 21, you didn't know what the hell the future was going to look like. You're 26-27 You start being able to predict it. And that actually starts to narrow your focus. So one of the you know, be gent being genuinely curious is a superpower. Like when we're coaching people, our phrase all the time is, be curious, because you're open to new things, you see things faster, and you're in a positive frame of mind. You're 31% smarter in a positive frame of mind, it's impossible to be curious and negative at the same time. So Mark, you know, to use Dan's phrase, again, be a hero to the other side, then just layer in on top of this, you know, how can I be a hero to the other side? I'm genuinely curious as to what the opportunity is here. You know, there's an opportunity here, I'm here to tell you people that we coach are making better deals and more profitable deals with these buyers, regularly. And the first move is, you know, I'm wondering, let me talk to this guy who got to cut a deal in a first conversation. But let me be genuinely curious as to how I can end up being a hero to the other side. Now you're in a completely different conversation with them, you're not defensive, you're not negative. You're you don't have blinders on in the conversation. And your counterpart, whether it's Walmart, Kroger, whomever, they're going to notice a difference in you. And your approach is going to be from being defensive to defending your territory to actually help them up. They're going to resonate with this on a subconscious level and they'll start to open up


Mark Young  12:52

I've always found tell me what you think Chris, I've always found that if I ask the buyer for advice, the buyers usually quick to give it and what I mean by that is I'm selling whatever aspirin and if I asked the buyer what would be your advice to me on how we can best bring value to to Walmart as an example? How can I best bring value to Walmart? What What would if you were me, Mr. Buyer, what would you do? Will that technique work?


Chris Voss  13:33

First of all, what I love about that to start with is you did what-how-what in a sequence and you asked the same question basically with three different trick two different trigger words but three times what-how-what. Any open ended calibrated question that you want to ask somebody if you find a way to ask the same thing three times. You add depth to your listeners thinking. You help them think around it three dimensionally. And you give them the opportunity to really give you an in depth answer you give them time to think about it you stimulate their thinking by hitting it three different ways simultaneously. That's completely different. Completely different from the yes trap nonsense which anybody out there should get out of it. You know, asking three different yeses in a row. The yes momentum. Yes, it will agreements the momentum selling you know, that's that's crap. And that is a really bad habit. And your buyers, a sophisticated buyer on the other side smells that trap and immediately distrust you. If you try to get three different yeses in a row. This momentum selling nonsense has been sold at each yes as a tie down. And they gotta ask, you know, do you like would you like to make more money? Would you like to be happier? Would you like to live longer? That's three different yeses. And it's a trap and a sophisticated buyer immediately distrusts you when you do that. Now your approach is three different open ended three different ways of asking the same open ended question three times, it's vastly different and they love it. Now the kicker is you got to listen to the answer. Because they're used to people asking them sellers. They used to ask sellers ask him questions, and then not listening at all. And they're gonna smell that also. So you ask that question three times, you're gonna get an in depth answer. And you better listen. And you better show them that you listened before you move on in your presentation. Otherwise, you just conditioned them that you can ask great questions, and simultaneously not listen to the answer. And they're gonna pick that up really quickly too.


Mark Young  15:53

One of the things that I try to do. It's not easy to do, but I tried to do this. We all have a tendency to start creating responses as we're listening to people.


Chris Voss  16:04



Mark Young  16:05

 And I've tried to train myself to not create responses while someone's talking. And part of that is having enough faith in yourself that I'll know how to respond when it's my turn to respond. So you have to have enough confidence to do that. But if you will stop trying to formulate your response, and put all your focus on the speaker, you'll get way more out of that encounter.


Chris Voss  16:31

Yeah, now, how do you how do you how do you bridge that golf? You got to practice it in your daily life. Like and I love and we, you know, you know, maybe I learned it from you from osmosis, because we've actually given people a specific technique of three different open ended questions, three open ended questions, asking the same thing, three different ways. Add depth to somebody's thinking, and then shut up. And actually, if you listen, your brain will produce the response.


Mark Young  17:00



Chris Voss  17:01

Now, if you're not used to that you kind of practice it in your daily life, small stakes practice for high stakes results, practicing with your spouse. Now, which is a great way to practice because your spouse is conditioned probably to not listening.


Mark Young  17:17

Right? Watch the relationship start to improve.


Chris Voss  17:20

Exactly, actually listen. And then if you start doing it with your spouse, your kids, your colleagues, your co workers, people that you interact with on a day to day basis. Then when you're in that big game, high stakes conversation with the buyer on the other side was so much of your life on the line, you'll be able to do it because you practiced it.


Mark Young  17:42

Now we're always told from the typical negotiations, the first step I want to I want to say, I totally agree with you on the compliance set on the Yes set. Those were and I always tell people that that whole Yes, set thing goes all the way back Encyclopedia Britannica. Do you remember that?


Chris Voss  18:03

Man, that was they were around for a long time when I was born, and I'm old. I'm a last century guy.


Mark Young  18:08

And Encyclopedia Britannica used to have door to door salesman, and they were trying to get 27 yeses. That was the actual pitch. And it started with somebody answers the door. Are you the lady of the house?


Chris Voss  18:24



Mark Young  18:25

Yes, one. Do you have children? Yes two , now, anytime you got a no, you left the porch. You went to the next house. You the lady of the house? Yes. Do you have children? Yes. Are you interested in your children getting a better education? Yes. If I could show you how your children could get a better education, and it wouldn't cost you anything. Would you be interested in knowing that? Yes. That was their program. And we all got trained on that stuff. As young salespeople and negotiators, we all got trained on this, that a thing in motion tends to stay in motion. Now these techniques work in things like a TV commercial. Because in a TV commercial, there's no dialogue going on.


Chris Voss  19:08



Mark Young  19:08

So for me to say, you know, are you a senior citizen? Are you currently on Medicare? Are you you know, yes, because I can keep saying yes, in my head. And that yes, in my head will just keep me engaged with the commercial so that I get more information. There's no one to have a dialogue with.


Chris Voss  19:25



Mark Young  19:26

But you're right when there's when it's humans. It's different. I had a guy come in come in to see me to sell me something and he was using that sales technique. And he got right down to the sales technique where you, you take the contract and you say, all I need is your endorsement here, not a signature. All I need is your endorsement here. You put your pen you slide your contract over and then the training tells you don't do anything wait for the other side to respond. So I just went like this. Then I put my hand Nope. And I just sat there. And I sat there. And this guy's not saying anything. And I'm not saying anything. And I'm watching him just start to move in his chair, and he has no idea what to do. And finally I like, look, I'm screwing with you, I know everything you're doing. And I can tell you what your next three steps are going to be. Stop, stop selling me and start talking to me. As you're reading a script, to me, you've memorized the script.


Chris Voss  20:26



Mark Young  20:27

The other thing, I think that happens, when we go in to see these buyers, the buyer is the buyer knows that you want something from him or her. You want to get your product on the shelf in that store. And it's going to it's going to mean an enormous amount of money for you. And you want something I think when you flip the script. And, yeah, let's not hide the reason I'm here, I want to put my product in your store. But when you flip the script and say, what are the needs? What are your needs in the needs of Walmart right now? And how can my product help meet those needs? And if you were me, what would you do right now to have this to really bring value to Walmart. And when you throw those questions out there, I think it's a bit disruptive for the buyer and you force the buyer. I mean, is this true, you're forcing the buyer into a different headspace. When you do stuff like that?


Chris Voss  21:29

Well, those those are the steps Absolutely. And in some of it is start laying out to them what your understanding of their position is because the thing that you talked about before asking for advice, when you ask somebody for advice, essentially, if they give it to you, they've stepped around the table, they're on your side of the table, there are correct correcting, it's enormously satisfying to give advice.


Mark Young  21:53

And they told you exactly what they want.


Chris Voss  21:55

And they've told you what you want. Now similar satisfaction, which works the same way is correction. Because effectively advice is correction. So if you start laying out to the other side what their world looks like, which is the definition of empathy, you they nail it, or they correct you, which again triggers the same advice giving thing. So you can lay out what they want. Look, of course you want the best price you could possibly get. But you also know that you need a reliable vendor, you need somebody that will consistently provide a product for you, that is not going to embarrass you because of its quality and your turnover costs. So changing out vendors all the time is extremely expensive. It's just like firing bad employees. Why don't we fire bad employees, because it's so expensive to replace it. So you need a vendor that you can rely on that will consistently deliver a reliable product. And it will deliver it on time. And your real costs are an unreliable products that you have to backup or you're embarrassed by real causes and a turnover events. Now that's what they're looking for. And that gets you immediately out of the price discussion. Now either you're going to nail it on the head, which they're going to find enormous ly satisfying and see you differently and connect with you. Or whatever you left out, they're going to add, which now they're in this, they're in this advice giving mode. And they're no longer on the other side of the table. They're on your side of the table, trying to solve a mutual problem.


Mark Young  23:29

I have a tendency when I meet with a buyer. Let's say we're selling shampoo to the buyer. And this could be good or bad. You tell me I have a tendency to you know, you do your introductions and you get to meet people who will sit down and I will say well, we're you know, we're here to talk about XYZ shampoo. And I will say because exactly what Walmart needs is another bottle of shampoo in the store.


Chris Voss  23:57

That's perfect. I love that because that's, you know, that's self effacing humor that breaks the ice that changes the dynamic in so many different ways.


Mark Young  24:06

And I usually find the buyer will laugh and agree with me. So there's actually an agreement. Yeah. But there's laughter. But I think it also lets the buyer know, okay, I've got something else in mind here. I realize, okay, this seller realizes I don't need another bottle of shampoo, so they must have something else in their toolbox.


Chris Voss  24:28

You also use what I have come to refer to as the Bono method of negotiating Bono from U2. And you know, the point is getting somebody to laugh with you early in the conversation, laugh with you. And a little bit at your own expense. It's a point of self effacing humor, no matter how tough the adversary is on the other side. Now, how is this a Bono technique? Bono and Bob Geldof negotiated the forgiveness On the Millennium project of literally hundreds of millions of dollars of third world debt, African debt, they got they got the whole digital debt to just forgive it, forget it, wipe it off the books, and Bono always been criticized for pictures of him meeting with Vladimir Putin and laughing with Putin, like how dare you laugh with the devil with this evil man with this person who only wants to hurt people. He got Russia to forgive a bunch of the African debt.


Justin Girouard  25:32



Chris Voss  25:32

And he knew that no matter who was on the other side of the table, if you could get them to laugh with him early in the conversation, the chances of making a deal was extremely high. And that's why there are pictures of Bono laughing with Putin. And to your point, no matter how treacherous, how tough how cutthroat, the adversary is on the other side, you get him to laugh with you very early, the chances of you making a great deal are jump exponentially.


Mark Young  26:02

And that's how I'll do that. I'll say, you know, well, I'm here to talk about the XYZ shampoo. Because exactly what Walmart needs is another bottle of shampoo on the shelf. And now usually laugh and then I will say, but what I'm really here to find out is I'm here to find out how I can help you and Walmart, make more money in the shampoo business.


Chris Voss  26:21

Both. Both exactly. You and what you get out of that as a response, not a yes, but a that's right.


Mark Young  26:33

Right? You're here for the right reason. Now the buyer is going to say, okay, this person actually understands what my job is.


Chris Voss  26:41



Mark Young  26:42

Because my job as a buyer is to get more money out of this category.


Chris Voss  26:47



Mark Young  26:49

And it's not to promote your product.


Chris Voss  26:52

And it's not just based on price. There's so many other aspects and make something valuable, and it gets you out of that price conversation, which puts you in a position to hold your price.


Mark Young  27:03

Now, we usually tell our clients, and you don't know this, Chris, but we usually tell our clients in the consumer space, if at all possible, be the highest priced product in the category or almost the highest priced product in the category. And here's the reason we tell people that. Walmart doesn't need the 15th $5 bottle of shampoo. What they need is a $15 bottle of shampoo that former $5 buyers will trade up to because it's so good.


Chris Voss  27:32



Mark Young  27:33

Because 32 points a margin on $15 is a lot more than 32 points of margin on $5. So you get completely away from the pricing. Now here's the question I want to ask you, we're all trained by experts, so called experts, not you. But other experts in negotiation, never go into a negotiation that you're not willing to walk away from. In this world, you're not willing to walk away. Just one account, Walmart 40% of retail sales of almost every category of consumer packaged goods in America walking in and saying, well, you know, I don't need Walmart, I can walk away. First thing Walmart has 148,000 SKUs in a Walmart Supercenter. They can live without 148,001. But you can't live without your one. So you really do walk into there in a in a life, you know, do or die, live or die mentality. So how does one gear their brain up for that because you had to, you had to be in environments where if you screwed up, somebody was going to die?


Chris Voss  28:53

Yeah, the challenge between not walking away and not being abused, though, just because you're not going to walk away doesn't mean that you can't stand up for yourself gently. It doesn't mean you can't say no to certain aspects of the interaction. And they're, you know, they want to test you because, you know, can you respectfully and gently stand up for yourself. That's the mark of a vendor that's going to be there for the long term if you can't stand up for yourself with them, you cannot stand up for yourself with anybody. Which means you're not going to be there long. And they might as well pick your pocket because you're going to put yourself out of business anyway. They're really looking to see people who can continue to be determined to collaborate respectfully and deferentially. As a hostage negotiator wasn't gonna walk away. But simultaneously, we could make it clear that there was certain types of behavior wouldn't put up with we're coaching a kidnapping in Colombia a number of years ago. Child has kidnapped, we're coaching them up. Since they started a threat to child, threaten a child. We coach a mother to say, I'm going to do what you ask, you're gonna get the ransom. But let me be clear, I can never deal with somebody who would threaten a child. And which is a contradiction and statements, logical. But there's this long period of silence on the other end. Kidnappers killers. And they never threaten a child, again. It's maintaining respect and deference in a conversation being insistent on making a good deal, or not walking away. And simultaneously. I'm going to stay collaborative. And we're going to make a great deal. It's a fine line, it's a tough psychological leap to make. I made it early on just because I had faith in my process of being able to stand up for myself. And I knew that if I approached approach people in an emotionally intelligent way, that the threats and the hostage taking and the negative things they could do to interfere with the deal, that was the best chance of success of getting all that to fall away, and it worked well enough that we saved a lot of lives.


Justin Girouard  31:22

Well, you know, what was one of what really intrigued me, Chris, first off, titled The book, never split the difference. We're always taught in most human interaction, compromise, it's fun, buting compromise, right? And you're saying, No, don't compromise.


Chris Voss  31:39



Justin Girouard  31:40

 It's okay to not compromise, and still build value for both parties.


Chris Voss  31:44



Justin Girouard  31:45

That there that space exists, right? And so I think a lot of what Mark is talking about too, and this is something that we, we constantly are trying to, to coach our brands, especially in this engagement, because there is so much tension, and there's so much on the line is to do not compromise, because again, they walk into a situation soon, and they don't have the power. And then maybe there is a deal presented to them. That is horrendous for them in the long run, but it works for the account. Target has all these fees, and it works for them. So the buyer is fine. And they feel they can't say no.


Chris Voss  32:25



Justin Girouard  32:26

 So again, if they flip their mindset to a collaborative environment, that you can bring target value and still maintain your position yourself. And sometimes, maybe you have to walk away that one time. But that's only one deal, in effect.


Chris Voss  32:45

Well there's a couple of things I'd love to touch on real quick. And you know, it's the space between yes and no. And what does compromise mean. First of all, compromises lose, lose. And I don't know that anybody wants to can survive, can thrive can grow can be a consistent, solid, reliable vendor, if you're negotiating, lose lose deals. Now I do avoid the phrase win win for a variety of other reasons. But just get out of lose lose. And let's say that you can't say no. It doesn't mean that you have to say yes, there's a lot of space between yes and no. So you can't make me say yes, you can't. Which means I'm going to continue to collaborate with you. Because I'm, if my approach is Mark said earlier, and quoting Dan Sullivan, if I'm genuinely here trying to make you a hero, trying to how can I be a hero to you and your company. Then there's a lot of space between yes and no, just because I feel like I can't say no doesn't mean I have to say yes to a bad deal. Because I'm doing a bad job for you as a buyer, if I say yes to a bad deal, because I'm not going to be there for you in the long run. I'm just it's just a bad idea to say yes to a bad deal. Because I'm going to let you down eventually, because the deal is going to come.


Justin Girouard  34:12

And in that space, and that again, there's that patience in your book. And I think that was so critical. That piece was so critical when we're going through it was to have that patience. And and when you're in these scenarios, and Chris to give you more, you know, more context. Most of these initial meetings are 15 minutes. They're 20 minutes. So a lot of the brands feel I'm under the gun I only got 15 minutes with this buyer and that's all that I have and I got to you've got all the time in the world, that one meeting might only be 15 minutes or they could extend it longer or the so the the concept of the not only the negotiation because I think negotiation also many times He has a very negative context towards it. You know, many times we talk about the concept here when we talk we do, right? The concept of selling is like, Oh, it's so dirty. No, no, it's a conversation. It's education. Right? And I think negotiation has the same kind of tone that's connected to it. It doesn't it's not a negative, it's a conversation, that conversation is going to lasts forever. Be patient. Be be comfortable in that that space between yes and no, because it exists to bring value to both parties. It absolutely is there. If you have the fortitude, to hold on to that patients. Are there any, are there any techniques or thoughts or mindsets that that you've trained on to help people, you know, kind of embrace that patience?


Chris Voss  35:46

Well, I love that you bring that up. I used to counsel people that patience is a weapon. You know, I didn't say be patient. No, patience is an asset. It's an attribute that it's a weapon. You know, whichever one of those words appeal to you, to get yourself to let the time continuum work for you instead of against you. Depending upon your type, you might need a different word like I'm a natural born assertive. So the thought that patients is a weapon and like, like that, four or five, we'd found in kidnap negotiations, especially, you know, the family feels like they're under attack from the kidnappers. And they need a weapon to defend themselves. And I couldn't say be patient, but I could say patients is a weapon. And they'd be like, Oh, all right.


Mark Young  36:34

Because they wanted a weapon at that point. That's what they wanted.


Chris Voss  36:37



Mark Young  36:38

 Patience, is a weapon. Patience is a tool and, and you're right. Just because somebody asks something doesn't mean you have a requirement to respond in a in a millisecond.


Chris Voss  36:50



Mark Young  36:51

You can give yourself a beat to think about it. But sometimes giving them a beat to think about what they just asked is just as powerful.


Chris Voss  37:04

Agree completely. Yeah. Yeah, I agree completely.


Mark Young  37:07

So now you you offer training. Walk us through the training. What What if our people came to training with you. What would they learn?


Chris Voss  37:17

Well, we, you know, we do a little karate kid stuff, you know, Karate Kid, wax on wax off. You know, what the learning journey is, is a little bit different for different people. But we want you to start getting reflexive. In a couple of basic skills, we got a total of nine skills. But we got something called a quick two plus one, which is labels and mirrors, which are flexible and work under any circumstances, any person on the other side. Whether or not you got to buy time, whether you got to collect information, whether you got to develop rapport. They're the two negotiation skills that actually do all three things simultaneously. Which makes them a great time saver. Labels and mirrors labeling the affected dynamic. Seems like you've given this a lot of thought, seems like you're under a lot of pressure. Seems like you've got other options. You know, those are all labels. They tend to trigger information from the other side without asking a question, which opens up the inflammation, information flow, because it's voluntarily and people love you to make those observations. So we'll start teaching you that stuff right off the bat. And the labeling technique happens to be one of the most powerful skill when you get really good at it at like our top level people. On my team, I can work my way all the way through a negotiation, only labeling and nothing else. And I got nine other tools that I can lean on if I need to. So that's what we start people out with. And then we start as we get you get better and better at it. It's like a martial arts skill, then you learn you addanother move, and another move. Pretty soon you get into flow.


Mark Young  39:03

And this stuff doesn't just work with a buyer. I mean, this works with your kids, this works with your employees, this works with your wife or husband. We're all we're all communicating and we're all negotiating at some point on everything.


Chris Voss  39:19

Yeah, and you know, my co author, our co author, because never split the difference. Officially myself and tall Roz but in point of fact, my son Brandon is an uncredited co author. You know, talk contended to us that every human being is hardwired to collaborate. Because we all inherited that you know the caveman that didn't collaborate, died alone in the dark or got eaten by a saber toothed Tiger because they went out hunting by themselves and the cavemen that survived collaborate. And so the approach means that every human being, regardless of who's on the other side, whether you're negotiating with buyers or China is still human. So they're hardwired to collaborate. And if you stay this collaboration route, you're gonna make a better deal.


Mark Young  40:09

This, um, I want to encourage everybody to think about the training. And I certainly want to encourage everybody to get the book, we'll have links to the book in the shownotes. And we'll have links to Chris's website in there also. Chris before you run, I want to ask you one other question. How in the world does someone find themselves on the path to be a hostage negotiator? I mean, clearly, you didn't. You weren't in high school, when they say I want to negotiate with lunatics when I get out of high school.


Chris Voss  40:45

Now, you know it, was it the cliche following your bliss. Like it was, you know, it was one interesting thing after another. I mean, I was originally I was a police officer, then I was an FBI agent and I was member of FBI Swat. And I liked crisis response because it required decisions.


Mark Young  41:05

But being a SWAT officer is the opposite of being a negotiator.  On on some levels. On some level, yeah, I mean, charging the door is different than trying to get the guy out of the door.


Chris Voss  41:17

Ya know, very true. Which is why ultimately is sexy and fun as SWAT was when I got into negotiation as a result of a recurring knee injury. I found negotiating far more satisfying than I ever SWAT was great negotiating even better.


Mark Young  41:35

There's fewer people shooting at you.


Chris Voss  41:39

What are. The reality bureaus? SWAT versus negotiation is SWAT guy spent a lot of time and laying in the rain in the mud, wait for something to happen. And negotiators are the ones on the phone making it happen. And that was one of the big differences.


Mark Young  41:56

Yes, I don't know if you noticed that I was a cop. So I was I was a first through the door guy at one point in my life.


Chris Voss  42:02

 I 'm not surprised.


Mark Young  42:04

And I would much rather negotiate at this point and then have to be the first guy through the door. Although at that at that point in my life, I enjoyed being the first guy through the door.


Chris Voss  42:16

There are those days, right? Yeah.


Mark Young  42:18

That was that was that was for my youth. And in my youth, being the first guy through the door seemed like the fun thing to do.


Chris Voss  42:27

That back in the days when somebody could drop you off the top of a building and you just, you'd be fine.


Mark Young  42:34

Exactly. I, I can imagine you were probably a first to the door guy also.


Chris Voss  42:39

Yeah, I enjoyed that. I was enjoyed, I wouldn't have been assaulter


Mark Young  42:43

Yep, you have you have the personality for that. And by the way, being the first to the guy door doesn't mean that you're violent, it doesn't mean that that you are overly aggressive. It just means that you value your team. And you want to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. You want to be the person that's going to resolve that problem right now and do it fast.


Chris Voss  43:06

I like to lead.


Mark Young  43:07

And yeah, and I will say the key to being the first through the door, which sounds kind of weird. It's to be explosive and to be violent and to be shocking. And to be disruptive where you are, you're just making chaos.


Chris Voss  43:23

Speed, surprise and violence of action.


Mark Young  43:26

Absolutely. Just making chaos.


Justin Girouard  43:29

Sounds like entrepreneurship to me.


Chris Voss  43:34

Good point. Exactly.


Mark Young  43:36

Entrepreneurship is very much controlled chaos. And being and being a great entrepreneur is actually controlling chaos.


Chris Voss  43:44

Yeah, yeah.


Mark Young  43:46

It really is. Never split the difference. Chris Voss we'll have links to the book. I want you to go get it. Chris, thanks for being with us. It's been awesome.


Chris Voss  43:57

Can I can include the website?


Mark Young  44:01

 Oh, absolutely. And we'll have this in the notes to folks. So don't worry about pulling off to get it but go ahead, Chris.


Chris Voss  44:06

All right. Yeah, it's www.blackswanltd.com. BLACKSwanltd.com. You know what you find your way there, we got a host of stuff to get you started with for nothing. Because once you get started, you're going to really want one.


Mark Young  44:23

I'm going to tell you folks so I personally am an NLP certified NLP practitioner. And that's part of what my education is in. And that's why Chris is probably responding to some of the stuff that I do because it's I know how to do this stuff. It's a superpower.


Chris Voss  44:41



Mark Young  44:44

You have no idea how powerful these this ability is. And these techniques are once you learn them, and I want to add, not only do you learn them and you and it's like learning martial arts. You can't somebody just can't tell you once go do this, it has to become a reflex, it has to become natural, it has to become you. But when you when you perfect these kinds of skills that Chris teaches, and then you use them for positive outcome.


Chris Voss  45:17



Mark Young  45:18

Because they can be used for bad outcomes. But when you use them for positive outcomes, you become a human being that other people want to know and want to be around. And nothing, nothing will have a bigger impact on buyers. Then being the vendor they're looking forward to visiting with next.


Chris Voss  45:42



Mark Young  45:44

When they when they say, Man, Chris is going to come and see me next week, I always love my time with him, because we always have a great time together. It's still a big company, they're still making big decisions. But we're all still humans. And as humans, we like doing business with people we like.


Chris Voss  46:02



Mark Young  46:04

 And I'm gonna assume and I know this, because I've seen your work before. When you're negotiating with a hostage, you're working very much to be liked by that person.


Chris Voss  46:15



Mark Young  46:17

Where this guy with a gun who's holding prisoners is actually saying, well, this guy seems pretty decent. I kinda you know, I kind of have an ethos with him. He kind of gets me and, and that's the game. That is that's the game you want to get. Get the book. And again, I cannot encourage people enough to have this kind of training. It will. It very much has the potential to change your life. I firmly believe that any last comments, Justin?


Justin Girouard  46:49

No, no, no. All I all I can say is thank you so much for your time today, Chris. The book is incredible. It's amazing. Again, people it is a life skill. It is absolutely a life skill. Don't even look at it as this is only going to help my business this will genuinely help your life. This will bring value in every aspect of your life. So please go out and get this if for nothing else. You want to create stronger relationships, no stronger impact on your personal life. Read the book for that alone.


Mark Young  47:20

Yeah, I gotta tell you, I've been trained in this stuff for years. And I'm still thinking, geez, maybe I should go to Chris' program here because I'm sure he can teach me stuff. That's it for today folks, if you liked the show, pass it on wherever and wherever you get your podcasts. Please remember to go leave us a five star review. Go to the show notes at CPG insiders with the episode with Chris Voss and you'll find links to the website and to the book and everything you need there. Matt will be taking care of making sure that you can find everything and we will see you on the next episode of CPG insiders. If you're looking to greatly increase sales on your CPG product, don't hesitate to contact us at Jekyll and Hyde advertising and marketing. By the way, the only advertising agency with a guaranteed result just go to JekyllHydeagency.com Or feel free to give us a call at 800-500-4210