Have you ever wondered how some people you know seem to be so lucky and always get the best deal on something? Maybe they told you how much under the sticker price they paid for their new car. Or the massive raise they got in the midst of the recession. Or they are the one who always gets the girl (or the guy).
Is that person really lucky, or is there something else at play there?
I lived in Vegas for almost 10 years and worked in the casino gaming industry. If there is one thing that I learned, is that “luck” doesn’t exist. People get lucky here and there, but nobody can sustain luck for the long term, over and over again. The casino will eventually win.
The common element in the three examples I started this page with – the car, the raise, and the girl (or the guy) – is that they all involve a negotiation. Your friend negotiated with the salesman to get the ridiculous deal on the car, but the salesman also won by getting a commission and got closer to his quota. Your friend negotiated with his boss to get the great raise, but the boss also won by getting to keep a great employee happy who is now more loyal and hard working. Your friend negotiated a date with the girl (or the guy), and the girl (or the guy) also won by getting to enjoy the company of a great person.
How does your friend do it? Do they have negotiating superpowers that nobody else seems to have?
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss explains how negotiating works and teaches how to be a better negotiator. Chris Voss was an FBI hostage negotiator. His need for negotiating skills was significantly more important than trying to get the girl (or the guy), but the tactics are strikingly similar.
Voss explains that there are many aspects and strategies to negotiating. He provides anecdotes from his career at the FBI, which are exceptionally fascinating, in order to provide context for the strategies. And it is amazing how similar negotiating for a car is to negotiating with hostage takers. Nothing against car salesmen, of course.
I didn’t realize how many angles there were to negotiating. Voss takes the reader step by step through each tactic, how to respond to any type of adversary, and how to not only win, but make the other side feel as though they won as well. I have always enjoyed negotiating for things, but it is still a challenge. Negotiating will now be less of a challenge for me because of Never Split the Difference.
Realtors have to negotiate the price of a home for their clients, their fees with prospective clients, or their split with their brokerage. Home stagers have to negotiate the price of their service, deals with vendors, and even delivery times for furniture. Every small business has to negotiate with prospective clients to prove that they are the Realtor, home stager, or business that the prospect should select.
Everything in life is a negotiation. Everything in life is negotiable. Voss gives us an greatly educational book, while providing the information with stories that are captivating. Each example that Voss tells us about would easily make for a blockbuster movie.
I highly recommend this book. You will learn the basics and complexities of negotiation. And you will be entertained the entire time.
Although I borrowed Never Split the Difference from the library, I plan to purchase it so that I can read it again, highlight it, and refer back to it. Never Split the Difference is a negotiating manual that every single person should have.