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#56 Chris Voss | how to earn your worth by nailing the negotiation conversation

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As the prices of things rise while economies contract, the ability to collaborate with others to carve out your piece of the pie will be one of the most valuable skills you have. Negotiating well will help you maintain your ability to save and invest as the prices of assets fluctuate. And this means there will be times you’ll be able to buy more with less. That is why this economic season can represent a rare window of opportunity for the proactive. 
In this episode, former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss takes Terry through his groundbreaking principles for preparing for any negotiation conversation. And specifically how to have conversations about increasing your pay with your employer. 


What you'll learn

Welcome to episode 56, this is Terry. I believe that the ability to collaborate with others, to carve out your piece of the pie, it’s going to be one of the most valuable skills you could have over the next five to 10 years, because prices are rising, but economies are contracting.

And so those who do this well are gonna be able to maintain or increase their ability to save and invest despite those rising living costs. And if you can do that, you can continue to buy assets as they get cheap. Effectively, you’re gonna be buying more for less, and that’s why this economic season, it’s a rare window of opportunity for the proactive.

So in this episode, we’re gonna be learning from one of the world’s most respected authorities on how to ask for your fair share by mastering the out of negotiation. Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator, an author of the best selling book, never split the difference in this conversation.

We explored how to apply his most powerful principles to any conversation about pay. And Chris gave away some super practical tips that you can use right away to avoid classic negotiation mistakes and earn it your worth. Now, there are people who know a lot about a topic and there are people who know how to make what they know.

Chris is definitely one of the latter. And at one point in the conversation, he shares this single question that you can ask your employer to virtually guarantee that any conversation you have about pay goes your way. He also explains why seeking yes, can work against you in a negotiation and what to do.

If your employer ultimately says, no, I know you’re gonna get so much outta this conversation, and I’m so excited to share with you. So please enjoy.


Chris welcome to the passive income project.

Chris: Yeah. Thank you, man. Thanks for having me on. I’m happy to be here.

Terry: I was just saying to you before this episode, look, I really appreciate the book that you wrote. And I read it on the first year it came out and I’ve reread it several times since, because it is such a practical book and it’s helped me prepare for some really important conversations in my life.

And that’s one of the reasons where I really wanted to get you on the show. Thanks.

Chris: I’m happy to hear it. I mean, that’s the whole point of the book, right? Help people give themselves a better life.

Terry: Absolutely. Yeah. And these are such important conversations. And as I said, I feel like the ability to negotiate over the next five to 10 years, it’s gonna be an edge just because in these massive times of transition, humans have to interact around these changes and we have to do better with these conversations.

And I feel like your wisdom’s gonna be so well put to use if people are aware of it. So can you take me back to sort of where all this comes from, and I guess a bit of your background working in the FBI.

Chris: Yeah, well, it all started really when I wanted to be an FBI hostage negotiator, I’d been a member of the FBI SWAT for a variety of reasons.

I wanna switch over to negotiation cuz I’d torn up my knee. I recurring knee injury and I wanna stay in crisis response. Cuz decisions have to be made in crisis. You can’t procrastinate. You gotta make a decision. So we had negotiators. I didn’t know what they did. It sounded easy. You know how hard it could it be?

I get, I talk every day. I could talk to Terra. So then I tried to get on the negotiation team and was rejected cuz I just wanting to do it was in. And sitting still, so to speak, accepting the rejection. I asked a woman who was in charge of the team, what should I do? And she said, go volunteer on a suicide hotline.

I didn’t know it at the time, but there’s a couple of phrases. Never take advice from somebody you wouldn’t trade places with. Or never take directions from somebody who hasn’t been where you’re going. Like people are full of advice and direction. They don’t know what they’re talking about. If you would trade places with them, they might know what they’re talking about.

They could love you and they, you still wouldn’t trade places with them. So I ended up being the head of the team in New York, but she was in a position. So she told me. Volunteering a hotline. I just did it. I just assumed that that would be the obvious move. And when I came back to her, she was shocked.

She said, I tell everybody to do that. Nobody does it, understanding who to take advice from first, secondly, I’m on a hotline and I thought. Wow. This stuff is really cool. It’s gotta apply to just more than people on the hotline. So I started using it in my everyday life and my interactions, and it was just emotional intelligence before we knew what emotional intelligence was and the approach accelerated the conversations on the hotline, like on a hotline.

If you were on the phone for longer than 20 minutes, you’re doing it. Which I thought was crazy. Like how could somebody be in crisis in suicide and you should get to a resolution in 20 minutes? Well, that’s a cool thing about emotional intelligence. it accelerates the outcome. So I started using it and everything I was doing, got better.

I learned the nuances of it over the years, became a hostage negotiator, used it then, and really started to drop crisis intervention, emotional intelligence into everything I did as a hostage negotiator. And while I was still a hostage negotiator ended up at Harvard law school going through their course. So I just figured I put a little hostage negotiation mojo on them.

Terry: And how did that go

Chris: down? Oh, it was great. Like, I killed him, I bought crisis intervention and with the bargaining I’d learned and kidnapped negotiations, it was phenomenal. It was a great success. And that was really the avenue of proof of concept that it would work in business and personal life.


Terry: this was very unconventional at the time. Cuz the course he went to is based off the book getting to yes, correct. Right. Yeah, exactly. And so a lot of what you were saying is unconventional

Chris: completely, completely counterintuitive we’ve even evolved the black Swan method where we don’t even try to get people to say yes anymore. No. Is the foundational word that we build around. It’s it’s a game changer. It’s a huge competitive advantage in and of itself.

Terry: I really wanna get to that. No, but before we do, how is this so different? So you talked about emotional intelligence in what other ways is your approach? So against the.

Chris: Wow.

Really. There were a lot of things that were true in hostage negotiation that just applied to human behavior. For example, the two primary things that we learned in hostage negotiation was diffuse the emotions by labeling them emotion labeling, and then look for the laws. And we figured that was, those were crisis situations.

People would be predominantly negative in their thinking and they will have experienced a recent loss. So that’s actually decision making and human behavior every day, day in and out. Your default wiring, your limbic system, your emotional. Is negative cuz the, you wake up pessimistic, the pessimistic caveman survived.

So from a layman’s perspective, roughly 70% of our emotional wiring is negative. So that becomes something to do with first. Now hostage negotiation taught us how to just call the negatives out and it turns out that works really well in everyday. So it’s getting people to better decision making mode when their livelihoods are on the line, not their lives, but their livelihoods.

And then the whole issue of loss. Again, we thought it was hostage negotiation, but then in 2002, Daniel conman won the Nobel prize and behavioral economics over prospect theory. Which to paraphrase it, loss is the biggest impact on human decision, making all human decision making loss. And I remember reading that and thinking like, wow, dealing with someone’s loss or their perception of what they might lose is the strongest influence factor.

There is. We had a set of tools to deactivate negatives and get people to take a different look at loss. And you’ve basically got the formula for the black Swan.

Terry: Just a quick question on this. This is just an observation from my point of view, but I would love your thoughts on it. When you talk about loss and Amos, DSKY Daniel Carman, like love that book.

Huge, huge book, massive contribution. Obviously. That’s why the one, the Nobel priest prize in your experience is loss of status, more important than anything

Chris: else. Well that it becomes an identity issue. And that might well be the loss. what loss are they seeing in their head and what subsequent losses are there?

So loss of status is very big. I’d want to see it in the context of what other things are people thinking about? there’s something we call immortality or what’s somebody religion. some people will give. Social status to become monks because becoming a monk is your gateway to heaven. So that’s, what’s the status that you’re talking about versus are there larger issues revolving around it never split the difference.

We called it their religion in point of fact, another way to look at it is I mortality in sports. What’s more important than a championship hall of. Both goals are really big, but you pursue a career where you win some rings, you get some championships. That’s pretty cool. But ultimately the hall of fame, there are few people in the hall of fame.

Then there are champions, that’s a little bit of higher level a I mortality. And there are examples like that across the board. Yeah.

Terry: So it’s loss of the opportunity of getting what you want as opposed to not always loss of

Chris: face. Short and long term what you want. And there are different levels and that’s where negotiation’s really come into play because there’s a different view of the short term loss.

And there may be no view of the long term loss.

Terry: Tell me, was it easy convincing people that this is potentially a better way to get better outcomes in negotiation or, were people saying no. No, you don’t what you’re talking about, mate. We’re the.

Now it’s

Chris: not easy convincing people, which is great because there are always gonna be a lot of people that are just not gonna catch on the people that we train will always have the competitive advantage. Like one, one of my coaches forwarded me, newsletter posting from my brothers and, and sisters at Harvard.

A couple of weeks. And it was just bad. It was, it was horrible advice. and he sent me the link in the email. He wrote, we are never gonna go outta business. Yes. Yes. So I’m happy that the people in the middle of the bell curve don’t wanna be convinced because the people at the top end of the bell curve, the high performers are always gonna have an advantage adopting a black Swan method.

Always. Yes,

Terry: totally. And you know, what’s interesting to me as well, is the evolution in negotiation the way you’ve, I guess, your contribution to it. It’s very similar to me in terms of economics, right? So I go through, I do my business degree. I do my MBA and you learn classic economics and you learn that it’s all based off the assumption that humans are rational and they make rational decisions.

It’s like where machines and you can just kind of create equations and you can figure humans out where. Everyone’s coming to the same conclusion, which is actually no humans are brilliant, weird, crazy irrational beings. and you best understand that before you can get what result you are sort of coming to.

It’s just something I realize. Just then really, because it is, it has been that evolution in both spheres. Yeah.

Chris: And, and speaking of economists, I remember reading a long time ago that economists have effectively predicted 13 out of the last three

Terry: recessions. Yeah. Cuz they’re operating off those old models, still.

Most of them it’s crazy. So tell me about you’re coming in. You’ve got this new wave of doing things or a new face this basically, and then you start building some new tools around that. What are some of the results that you started to notice that changed very quickly that told you, yes, this is.

Chris: My son, Brandon and I, we were using it in our personal lives and our business lives and we’re making great deals, but that’s sort of a microcosm, not that many people see it, we’re not sure how teachable it is because I’ve been doing it for a long time.

And how long does it take to learn? So the real proof of concept really began when I started teaching at Georgetown in the NBA program there. And my son, Brandon is uncredited. Co-author the book. Brilliant negotiator and was always involved in a development of the methods. And so we’re teaching it in business school to students who have day jobs.

It’s a part-time MBA program means they’re working during the day. They’re go getters they’re learners. They got a full-time job. They’re going to college at night. And how quickly could we teach it to ’em and how quickly could they apply it in their business and personal lives. And then we had ’em write about it.

And they started having huge successes in startling ways from the very beginning. So that was really when we knew that not only did we have it down, but it was teachable, it was digestible. People could pick it up relatively

Terry: quickly. Was there one story that comes to mind where somebody came back and said, wow, this is what happened.

And you. I think we’re

Chris: on something here real early on. There was a, it was a negotiation between a young lady who was doing fundraising for the girl Scouts and a potential funder. And she’s not selling girl scout cookies. She’s getting funding $50,000, a hundred thousand dollars checks. And so this is securing funding for anything, whether it’s M and a, or whether you’re funding rounds of investment in your company, or whether you’re finding sponsorships for an event, securing funding is securing.

And we just taught her to use labels. It looks like interacting in the, conversation and she started pulling really personal information out of the donor really quickly. The real motivations for donation. And then just having expressed them. Then the donor simply wrote a check and handed it to the young lady that was in our class, the fundraiser.

And she said, no one ever trusted me enough to hand me a check without knowing where the funds were going first, that was always part of my close is here’s where your money’s going. And here’s what your money’s gonna do. And simply approaching emotional intelligence. Methodology, the donor trusted her so much that she just handed her the check, trusting her to put it in the right place at certain game, changing moments like that.

And then the stuff just

Terry: continued. Yeah. And what I got from your book, almost like a, deeper theme is like understand humans at a deep level first, and then understand the human in front of you at a deep level first. And it kind of works itself. Doesn’t

Chris: it, that’s really well put. I like the way that you phrase that, cuz it’s a bit of a sequence.

If you can understand humans, then a person in front of you is gonna be understandable even that much more quickly.

Terry: So since then you’ve been teaching it, you’ve realized this can be taught. It can be learnt everyday. People can pick this up. So you started your consultancy, you started kind of moving out into sort of teaching it to a bunch of different sectors.

Is that

Chris: right? Yeah. We teach it to top performers. So we focus on naturally high performers as opposed to sectors per se. Now we teach in all the sectors, like there isn’t any business sector out there that we haven’t taught into, but we don’t focus on those sectors. Those come in sort of with the top performers who like

Terry: this stuff.

And so have you found that these principles. Across the board or is it these principles work in certain

Chris: contexts? Well, the limitation is, it only works with human beings.

Terry: good. cause we’re not negotiating with aliens yet.

Chris: yeah. Right, exactly.

Terry: So why do you think most people tend to want to not negotiate?

What do you think stops people here?

Chris: Couple of different things. A lot of bad negotiation advice, the view of negotiation is zero sum game. It’s a fight. It’s a battle. One person wins. The other person loses a lot of people. Don’t like win, lose propositions. They don’t like it. When the other side loses a lot of people don’t like that poster child for negotiations is a aggressive table, pounding, threatening human.

A long time ago, the company blockbuster back when videos were the way we watched movies, the CEO of that company was famous for pounding his fists on a table and storming out, displays of anger. That’s kind of the person that everybody anticipates encountering in a negotiation, the aggressive attacking negotiator.

When in fact that’s about a third of the people max. But the people that don’t wanna deal with that person don’t wanna be that person. So the leery of taking negotiation instruction, because people are gonna be afraid that they wanna be that person. They don’t wanna be that person.

Terry: Yeah. There’s a little bit of nuance in what you said there, because part of what you talk about in the book is don’t go for a win-win because then no one really gets what they want.

You both have to compromise in a way that no, one’s actually satisfied, but not a zero sum game. So can you. Square that circle

Chris: for us. Well, you never know everything that’s going on to start with. How does it become value added or one of the phrases we use never be so sure of what you want, that you wouldn’t take something better.

Everybody’s hiding information. When they go into a negotiation, we talk to people, I’ve got an entire team of, of people that teach and coach. And we say, when are you in a negotiation where you’re not hiding information, you’re holding back your budget, you’re holding back your timetable. You’re holding back to things that have driven you to the table.

You’re holding back to things that make you reluctant about being at the table. Like there’s always a list of stuff that people are holding back and they’re holding it back. Because it’s important. Otherwise they wouldn’t hold it back. They’d be open about it. So you’re holding stuff back. That’s important.

That means the other side is too. So it’s not possible to know the best deal. before you go in, which is why you need a collaborative of approach. Then a really hard thing for people to wrap their minds around is what’s going on when your holdbacks overlap with their holdbacks like there’s really important information.

Nobody has any ideas gonna affect the outcome woman in Los Angeles several years ago is trying to get funding for film she’s working on. Just using the quick two plus one are mirrors and labels. Dynamic, silence. you can cut almost any deal just by labeling what they’ve said or how they’ve said it.

Mirroring what they’ve said and shutting up, letting them talk, we call dynamic silence, shut the front door. Shut up. And so she’s working on this female donor for movie fundraising source for movie about the donation by mirroring and labeling suddenly this woman offhandedly mentions. She owns a castle in France.

Which could be the setting for another movie. And it’s a perfect location that they could acquire this phenomenal castle, the woman that’s trying to get the money for the film. She got a second film. It never even occurred to her to talk to this woman about and his a non monetary asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In this context, she’s looking for a few hundred thousand dollars for this woman. She’s not gonna start the conversation about the Castine France, cuz she got no idea. This woman’s got a Castine France. So you know, crazy stuff like that is gonna happen. There’s always something about the other side that if they either knew it or could trust you with it would change everything.

Terry: Yeah. So I’m kind of reading between the lines here, but what I’m hearing is the frame of reference people have for negoti. Is generally wrong. War is the wrong analogy. So if war is the wrong analogy, what is the right analogy?

Chris: Great question. Whatever euphemism is for long term productive relationship of trust, that could be a business colleague, but people who are on your side of the table, or you would like to have on your side of the table.

One of the rules that we live by is the adversary is the situation you’re negotiating with somebody because you’re both confronted with different aspects of the same problem. You just got different aspects of it doesn’t matter what it is, but the adversary is really the situation. So great negotiations about great collaboration.

I had a conversation with mark Cuban some months ago, interviewed him on a social media platform. He’s a collaborative dude and somebody you can trust. They characterize him as a bully on shark tank. I don’t think he’s a bully at all. He tests people. He wants to see if as his ambassador, whether or not you could stand up for yourself, but he is not exploiting you picking on you.

He wants to see whether or not you got an, a game and would I’m talking to him. And he talks about how much time he invests and really get getting to know the other side in his first dealer, two, gaining their trust and trusting. Because it’ll accelerate every subsequent deal. He invests all that time to become a great colleague.

They have a deal. He then gets a chance to test whether or not they’re people of their word, and then whether or not they’re willing to fix things when things go bad. And when they are, then it’s a great partnership and pretty much three or four deals in. All you gotta do is tell mark Cuban what you want.

And he’s probably gonna give it to you cuz you’ve done four deals and you’ve delivered and you make money for the guy and he knows he could trust you. Yeah.

Terry: So, so how about this? How about if negotiation’s not war. Just sort of reading into what you’re saying there. If it’s not war, what if it’s solving a puzzle with a friend?

The problem is the puzzle, not the person. The problem is what you’re working on together, but you’re working on it together. I

Chris: think that’s a very effective analogy. There’s no model per se that describes it exactly, but the solve it a puzzle with a friend is a great, great analogy. Yeah,

Terry: I think it’s important, right?

Because if you get the frame wrong, then it kind of calibrates all your non-verbal behavior, all your language, everything,

Chris: your inner voice, betrays your outer voice. What you’re thinking about the person on the inside is gonna come out in your tone of voice. And they’re gonna sense it. Totally.

Terry: So let’s get a little bit more technical here.

You said this earlier in the conversation, what is the role of no. And why is it so important in negoti?

Chris: No is just a word. Most people think no is failure. They think yes is success, which by definition makes no failure. And to start with who says yes, is success. The vast majority of yes is a counterfeit.

I’ve asked a lot of business people. Have you ever been told? Yes. Only find out later it was a no. And I go like, ah, God, that’s my every day. At its best. Yes. Is only aspiration, which is why in the early days we said, yes is nothing without how. And now today we say, yes is nothing. How is everything?

90% of the time it’s counterfeit or indifference because people are afraid of what they’ve let themselves in for the other. Side’s trying to get commitment. Yes. Commitment. What all goes with that commitment? A number of years ago, I double checked with the girl I was seeing at the time about a shirt I had on that I was thinking about getting rid of, she told me earlier in the day she liked it.

And then I said, so you told me that you liked this shirt. Right? And she says, if I say yes, what am I letting myself in for? Like, that’s what everybody thinks when somebody’s trying to get him to say yes, it creates anxiety. What am I letting myself in for? What’s the hook. What’s the hidden catch that I’m not aware of now?

No, on the other hand, for the same opposite reasons, people feel safe when they say no. No, I’m not doing that. And as soon as somebody feels safe, they’re automatically more willing to listen, or they’re more willing to lay out to you what the obstacles are instead of saying, do we agree? We ask people, do you disagree?

and they might say, no, I don’t disagree, but here are the following problems now, bang, you got all the obstacles. If you wanna say, do you agree? You hope the other side say, yeah, I agree. But here are the following problems because they’re so worried about yes, they will not lay out the follow on problems and that’s really where you need to.

Terry: You know what I use that insight in a couple of really important conversations. And I did frame it and say, I said, would you be opposed to, and as soon as you say it that way, the no comes first, as you said, so you don’t have to deal with the, but it’s it does. It actually works. Yeah.

Chris: It’s phenomenal. It’s crazy how effective it is.

It’s so effective. That’s sometimes that’s the only thing that people learn, which is sad because it can make so much more money, but that in and of itself is so effective that people sometimes quit there.

Terry: Two other tools that you’ve mentioned and just in passing, as we’ve spoken so far, that I wanna dig a little bit deeper into labeling and mirroring.

How are these very important tools for helping the other person feel understood?

Chris: They’re so important across the board that. We actually called a quick two plus one, because if you label and mirror, well, you won’t have to do much else at all. Most of the people on my team can work their way through an entire negotiation.

Only labeling. Labeling can be that effective soon as you start to sense it. So with a greater gathering information, you asked me a question. I say, what makes you ask? You’d be like, uh, you’ll think about it. Cuz what is. Way to start a question. It triggers in depth thinking. So you’ll think about it in depth.

If you have the mental energy and then you’ll give me a qualified, guarded answer. On the other hand, if you ask me a question, I say, seems like you have a reason for asking. I just use a label. The dynamic that I suspect is there. If you ask me a question, you got a reason you asked. If I say seems like you got a reason you’re asking you are gonna give me a much faster, much less edited, immediate download of your thoughts.

Yeah. No matter how tired you are.

Terry: It’s so interesting because your language, the words you’re using, it’s almost like there are tools for collecting data that you need to solve the puzzle. Isn’t

Chris: it that’s exactly it collecting data. And in a way that’s not intrusive, like most data collection people. No, they need information.

So they say, I gotta ask questions. Well, questions to begin with are intrusive. And the other person might feel interrogated. They raise their guard, and this is a way to gather information without making the other side feel interrogated. They actually like responding to it versus feeling backed into a corner.


Terry: And this is where it can be a good experience for both people, but you can still get what you want without compromising. Isn’t it. Exactly.


Terry: okay. So talk me through mirroring what is mirroring and how do we use that? Yeah.

Chris: Mirroring is the craziest skill. It’s just the hostage negotiator’s mirror is not the body language mirror, not, not, not the body language mirror, which is, you scratch your eyes.

I scratch my eyes. I mirror your body language. Black Swan mirror is simply repeating the last one to three words that somebody said one to three ish could be just one word. It’s never more than five. And what it does is it helps people connect their thoughts. It helps people go on. It helps.

It’s a great conversation lubricant, but also it helps people reword what they’re thinking. It’s a great thing to do instead of saying, what did you mean by. And you might ask yourself, does it have to be the last one to three words? Like we teach people the last one to three words, cuz that’s the easiest.

Even if you forgot everything else, they said the last three words are probably still in your short term memory, you could repeat, let’s say you forgot everything. They said, just repeat the last three words. They go back on topic, start talking. It could be the last words or then you could move it around.


Terry: about getting them to keep talking. Is that

Chris: right? Right. And gently guiding the conversation. They could say something in the middle of the conversation where you heard that and you go like, I don’t know what that meant. Well, if you mirror it, they’ll go back there and they’ll expand on it almost effortlessly, which is the whole point you want to get ’em talking and sharing information effortlessly.

Terry: Yeah, as we kind of said, if it’s about collecting data, here’s a way to get them continually giving you data in a way that makes it easier. Right. Let’s sort of talk about the context within this conversation was had really, so to start to think about how we use these tools to get a pay rise, let’s start with what would be the absolute wrong way to try to use negotiation and get a pay rise.

And let’s assume that I’ve done everything I need to do, and I’m worthy of a pay rise, and we’re actually just in the convers. Well,

Chris: especially with a pay raise. Anytime you’re trying to use quote, leverage, it’s a bad idea. It damages the relationship. And if you’re talking about your salary, this ain’t a one off negotiation.

I mean, there’s no such thing as a one off negotiation in any way, but this is by definition planned on being a long term relationship. So, I can make more money elsewhere. I got other offers. There’s demand for my services. There’s so many different ways to try to use leverage that is gonna damage a relationship.

Now point the fact salary in a job is the price term. If money’s involved, there’s a price term. Money’s not always involved. Time always is, but price doesn’t make deals. It does break. But it doesn’t make ’em. If you get your salary, there’s no guarantee that you’re gonna be successful. Like everybody assumes, like pay me a lot of money.

I’m gonna be a superstar. Eh, maybe not. What you really need to get into is terms, how can you be successful in the job? What’s your opportunity to advance? How much of an appetite do you have to advance? What happens if you get into trouble, what happens if what they have in mind for you is not what you have in mind for you.

I mean, there’s all these variables. So switch out of how do I become successful in this job and switch into how do I make this company more successful by my contribution, which is pretty much in many cases that exact. In a job interview, because as soon as you’re talking about making the company more successful, you’re instantly more valuable.

Now it’s the secondary issue as to whether or not you, how you’re gonna get compensated for that value, but you gotta be more valuable to start with. And the automatic way to be more valuable is to increase everybody’s value. Now you’re somebody they’re interested in. You’re gonna help me make more money.

You’re not just here grabbing for you. but you wanna get involved in a larger vision where everybody gets wealthy. Ah, now, now that’s a completely different conversation, which means if you’re focused on how you make the entire organization better, either they pay you more or based on your accomplishments, somebody else will.

Terry: Yeah. And what’s interesting to me is when we think back to the war frame, that would push you into. You would, you’d be going in saying, here’s my bargaining power and all those things you said, people can pay me more. And that would probably also push you into the idea that this is one conversation, but everything you just said to me kind of says to me that if you were thinking about it from that perspective, this would be one of, probably a few conversations that happened before the pay rise.

It might be something you do six months before that pay rise happens, cuz you’re actually negotiating. What are the conditions for this to be. Would that be right?

Chris: Yeah. You’re completely dead on a friend of mine. Who’s ridiculously successful and he’s the head of an international bank. He and I both started out in the same place.

Small town in Iowa, no education, no credentials, no big family connections, not wealthy family, not Ivy league educated, none of that stuff. And every job interview. and in all of his performance reviews, he’s got one question. How can I be guaranteed to be involved in projects that are critical to the strategic future of the company?

So he’s laid that out for a year in advance because he asked his question how to raise everybody’s value on high projects. Now they gotta say, all right, so you gotta do the following things. Now he’s got a roadmap to follow that when the next review comes up a year later. He already knows whether or not he’s been on track and they know whether or not he’s been on track.

So yet talking about it in advance is low critical issue. Because if you’re looking to have value recognized that you haven’t discussed in advance, the other side is not gonna put the same price tag on it that you are, they’re never gonna put the same price tag on your contribution after the fact as they will, if you’ve been discussing it all along the.

Terry: Yeah, I love that question too. What was it? It was, how can I be assured that I can be on the most important projects that are pushing this company forward? Is that right?

Chris: That’s pretty much it. Yeah. Use different words. You said exactly the same issue.

Terry: Okay. So like, if you’re starting a job, you’re listening to this, make that part of your conversation.

There you go. You’re gonna get a roadmap to get that pay happening as soon as possible. That’s a really good technical sort of tip. All right. So we know how not to do this. But what would be the actual steps you would take?

Chris: You need to do some preparation, not too much. If it’s a job conversation, you wanna get a feel for what their stated mission is, what they say.

Their core values are. The two critical issues. That’s really all you need to know about the company. What’s their mission. What’s their state of core values. Now they’re probably living up to their mission. I read in a book, Daniel Coyle wrote a book called culture code. And I think this is where the statistic is from.

As I recall, he said only 6% of corporate executives actually know what their core values are. They might know their mission. They don’t know their core vices. What does that mean? That means if they don’t know ’em they ain’t operating. And so you knowing the company’s stated core values does not mean those are the values they’re living by it, but that’s how the conversation starts.

And then you’re gonna want to design what and how questions to talk, find out what core values they’re living by and how people are getting ahead. One of my students at, Georgetown once said, what does it take. To be successful here. And one of the people on the interview panel leaned forward and said, no one ever asked us that before, people are always pitching, I’m valuable.

I’m good. I’m gonna be good. I got this education, no diagnosis as to what success looked like from the other side, that’s like getting married to somebody and having no idea what they believe. That is low percentage chance to success.

Terry: that’s a big decision

Chris: too. Yeah. So a job, a job is a two way relationship.

Are they a good fit for you as much as are you a good fit for them?

Terry: Okay. So know what their stated core mission is and know what their values are. That’s step one, use that to craft. What and how type questions that draw information out is

Chris: that. Right. Yeah. What does it take to be successful here? How do people get in trouble here and actually listen to the answers?

It’s one thing to ask a question. It’s a whole nother thing to actually listen to the answers. Cause they’re gonna notice whether or not you’re listening. And they’re gonna remember whether or not you then acted. If you got the job, they’re gonna pay attention to how you listened to the guidance and the nuggets that they will give you in the job negotiation.

If you give ’em a chance. Yeah.

Terry: And these questions I think, are gonna be great for somebody who’s starting to almost start the payroll conversation from day. , but let’s say you’re already in that organization. Maybe you’ve been in the organization for a while and you’re now looking to increase that income.

Another 5, 10, 15, 20 K a year. How would you prepare for that kind of conversation

Chris: if you haven’t laid the groundwork six months or year earlier, then the question in the job review, what would it take for me to be worth $25,000 more realizing. For them to be able to comfortably pay you that you need to actually be worth $75,000 more.

They’re not gonna pay you a dollar for dollar increase, understanding what it looks like to the other side, how retaining you is more than worth it. The more, you can show that and ask them, how do they gauge you? How do they know how much you’re worth? What’s the value of the contributions? How can I be involved in more valuable contributions, start teasing out what the value looks like, and then letting people know in advance before the value’s been realized, and then people gotta divide it up.

If you haven’t talked about in advance, there’s always gonna be a disagreement as to whether or not you had anything to do with it. And how much of it are you entitled? So tease out what value looks like, and then what do you have to do to have demonstrated that value, do that

Terry: first, and then do the things that are required to crystallize the value before you ask, let’s say you have done that.

And you’ve had that early conversation and you’ve asked all those great questions. what value is? You’ve got the roadmap and you’ve done all of those things and you can measurably point to that, but your boss is not coming to the party. How can you push back in a respectable way that maintains a relationship, but also has to know that you do value yourself.

And it is something that is important to you.

Chris: That’s gonna be a how question who’s creating the problem. If they’ve made promises to you that they haven’t fulfilled, they are so with respect and with deference, they need to be made aware of the problem and be confronted with the realistic consequences without feeling.

Which would be, how can I remain a loyal, productive employee to an employer who’s laid out promises to me when I’ve kept up my end of the bargain and they haven’t kept up theirs. Now that’s not threatening to quit. It’s not saying, you gotta pay me or I’m outta here. You never wanna put yourself in that position because they’ll get bent outta shape.

And, and, and they’ll, they’ll kick you out the door just to prove that they’re in charge. You need to shift the burden of the problem back. The problem is how are you supposed to stay? If you don’t get paid, what they promise to pay you? That’s the problem you differential and respectfully put it back on a person who’s creating the problem.

Now they still might not solve it. But then you found out for sure that they’re not gonna solve it. You wanna give ’em a chance to solve it with a how question without backing yourself into a corner. Because if you say, Hey, look, if I don’t get this money, I’m gonna walk. They might just say to you, well, you’re not gonna get the money and stare at you, cuz they’re hoping you quit employers rather have you quit than fire you in the United States.

If you get fired, you get unemployment. If you quit, you don’t get anything. So an employer would prefer that you quit. You don’t wanna put yourself in a position where you said something that you have no alternative. And so you shift the burden of the problem back onto them. Designed some how and what questions to be asked preferentially and then see where they’re gonna take it from there.

Terry: What is the role here in tone? You talk a lot about tone in the book as well. So talk to me about how you would ask this question in

Chris: relation to tone. Well, there’s great power and deference. So your tone has gotta be differential with deference. It’s shocking. What you can get. Was saying to people and no oriented questions.

Also, do you want me to fail? Do you want me to be non-productive? Do you want me to be happy? It’s stunning. What you can get away with asking people if it’s a no oriented, do you want me to fail in particular employees ask that bosses all the time because it just lands well, so you gotta ask it deferentially.

You’re not. Do you want me to fail? Would be an accusatory way. The unspoken terminology. There you are an idiot. So deference is a differential tone. Calm. There’s great power in deference. You can get away with saying almost anything. If you say deferentially, you have a

Terry: good, almost like a mental model for what the tone needs to be.

And you talk about radio announcers voice. Now this is probably not radio announcers voice, right? This is probably more concierge voice. Is that

Chris: right? Yeah. I like that analogy. Yes. Concierge voice is a great analogy. Respectful deferential, careful.

Terry: Okay, so making sure you ask those questions in a Def way.

Absolutely critical. That is how you push back. I think you talk about it in the book. You say it’s how you be passive aggressive in a way that is respectful.

Chris: It can be very passive, aggressive based on a context. And it’s extremely effective because of the way it’s delivered. So yeah, that can be true.

Terry: So let’s say we’ve had this conversation, right.

For whatever reason, it didn’t work out. All right. So I didn’t get my pay rise, but I haven’t left. And now. The boss is starting to treat me differently or I’m feeling like things have changed. How would you use tactical empathy and all these tools we’ve been discussing to deal with that scenario and get things back on track?

Chris: Well, a label would be, seems like I’m being punished for stuff that I didn’t do. Seems like you’re angry with me. Because you feel I put you in a bad position, empathy is about what the other side’s point of view is. Now. It seems like you’re angry with me because you feel, I put you in a bad position is not an admission of anything.

It seems like, and you feel period, that’s all empathy. They may be in a set of circumstances where they’re caught in some sort of vice. You don’t know whether or not their head is on the chopping block or whether it’s just a less important body part that they’re getting ready to lose. You don’t know for sure.

What’s going on with the other side and you gotta use empathy statements. Like some of the ones that I just threw out to find out what’s going on. Maybe the whole division is getting ready to get whacked. Maybe your boss is getting ready to get cut. You don’t know for sure. What’s going on. Your boss is fighting for his or her life.

And unfortunately what’s in it for me is the underlying motivation to be answered and addressed with everybody in any given situation, because they’re scared of the losses.

Terry: What about the other side of the coin? If it went well and you’re getting to the price discussion, and they’re saying, okay, how much do you want?

And you have this model in the book. I think it’s the Ackerman bargaining model. Would you use the Ackerman bargaining model when you’re getting to that point in the conversation where they’re wanting to know, okay, how much extra

Chris: do you. Salary pays your bills. It doesn’t make your career. You gotta be really careful.

You need to hit a sweet spot on price that both sides are happy with because you don’t need any resentment. Or discomfort on either side, you wanna make people think they’re getting their monies worth, and there’s gonna be a little bit of back and forth between sides. A great way to tease it out is ask people for ranges.

People are remarkably much more willing to throw out ranges than specific numbers realize when somebody uses a range. What they’re gonna have in mind is the end of that range that favors them. Realize if you throw out a range. The other side is not gonna pick the middle. They’re gonna pick the number that favors them.

One of my students at Georgetown a long time ago, he knew the market value was between 18 and $24 an hour for the particular task that he was working on. He wanted to land in the middle. So the boss asked him, what was he looking for? What was arranged? He said 18 to $24, hoping for $20, the boss said, oh, okay, I’ll pay you.

So understand the dynamics and psychology of ranges. People are much more willing to talk about numbers. If they’re in ranges, what they’re gonna have in mind is the end of the range that’s advantage to them.

Terry: So would you push that onto them and say, give me a range in terms of what you think is acceptable for my next payer rise?

Or would you actually say, this is what I think is

Chris: accept? I’d say, it seems like you probably have a range in mind. I wouldn’t ask. I wouldn’t demand. I’d use a label to try to tease that out. Seems like you have a range in mind is the highest percentage statement to getting an answer. Now, what kind of a range do you have in mind will work sometimes.

Seems like you have a range in mind will just work more. Okay.

Terry: Let’s say you get to a point where you’ve got a. And both people have said, yep, that’s what we’re gonna do. It’s probably not really talked about much, but how do you close this conversation in a really constructive way where both people are walking away going?

Wow. That was a really good conversation. I feel good about that.

Chris: Well summarize what you think the other person meant you’re really driving for that’s right. When the other side says that’s right, that’s an expression of complete agreement. So summarize, make sure you’re clear on everything. Get a that’s right to everybody.

And then to set the stage, say, I hope we look back on this moment, 10 years from now and see this as the beginning of a great series of successes.

Terry: That’s a great way to think about it. Just almost framing the next little stage as well. Love that. And thank you so much for your time. Is there a question that I should have asked you that I haven’t, if I’m trying to get and help the person who wants to get a pay rise,

Chris: other than telling people how to follow up with me?

I think we did a great job covered a lot of useful material. Yeah, I

Terry: agree. I think there’s so many good tactical pieces of advice. Like things you can actually start using right now, but also from a mindset perspective, like how you’re coming into the conversation. I. that framing the way you kind of talked about the difference between the way you kind of look at, is it war or is it solving the puzzle that I think is critical and that’s so valuable to have the tactical, but also that, that kind of mindset piece as well.

So thank you so much for your time, mate. where can people learn more about you and learn more from you more

Chris: frequently? Well, the black Swan website is black Swan,, B L a C K S w a N. LTD like Now the website’s got a ton of free information, when you have time. Take a look at it, but in the upper right hand corner of the website, it’s a tab for the blog.

The blog is free. It’s negotiation advice, it’s actionable and it’s concise wherever you are in a world. When you provide your email address, it’s gonna give it to you. First thing, Tuesday morning. And it’s actionable. It’s concise. It also will help you make sense of the website because we’ll put training announcements up in the newsletter that will call your attention immediately to opportunities that are going on.

So it’s actionable, it’s concise and it’s a gateway to the website. Do you do any online training? we do a lot

Terry: of online training. So if you’re listening to this, we always talk about the best investment you make. As in yourself, you would be very hard pressed. I would argue to find a better investment than taking this training.

Cuz as I said before, I’ve read the book several times. The depths you can go into in training, particularly getting real time feedback, have a real think about that. Get on the email list and, start learning from Chris. And if you haven’t already bought the book, buy it, read it and Rere.

Chris: You get a long way with the book and our free stuff alone a long way.

Terry: Thank you so much, Chris really appreciate your time and I hope you have a great

Chris: day. My pleasure, Terry. Thanks for having me on.