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How do you use "Never split the difference" In sales?

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I like the book a lot and can see how it really works in the situations described by the author. But in sales, how can you make us of the teachings and improve that of SPIN selling or the opposite of the book, YES latter ?

Has anyone formed a way to use this book to enhance sales and get better customer relations?

I can imagine this book being good in negotiations for salary raise, investment etc. But i have a hard time seeing this in a sales meeting for products.

Anyone with experience or good imagination?

This forum is awesome.
I found some good stuff on Chris Voss over here:

The Art of Negotiation
Never Split the Difference Review

How Chris Voss Says You Should Negotiate for a Raise
Chris Voss's Masterclass Negotiation Principles

I have not gone through the book in detail though.

Maybe you have something specific in mind?
I find that a quick search on the forum has been quite useful for me.
It has lots of solid content.

Lucio Buffalmano and legend503 have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanolegend503

Sure! I just threw it out there if anybody wanted to respond so it's "fresh" in case i needed followups and not a dead thread.

I'm basically looking for script-examples. Scripts are never exact,  but just too get my head around how it can be used and what it might sound like. Because i have more reasons in my head why it wouldn't work than why it would. I like to learn and discuss

Hello legend503,

I cannot answer your question. However have you checked Lucio’s list:

Best books on Negotiation

I’m saying this because through the intense marketing I bought the book. And then I found this site. So I am currently listening to Negotiation genius and I have to say it’s very solid. So my own strategy would be to drop the book at number 8 and start the list over from the beginning.

Rationale: starting with the most recommended resources gives a more solid framework and then it’s easier to understand resources that are less “foundational”.

Cheers!

Quote from John Freeman on February 18, 2021, 6:39 pm

Hello legend503,

I cannot answer your question. However have you checked Lucio’s list:

Best books on Negotiation

I’m saying this because through the intense marketing I bought the book. And then I found this site. So I am currently listening to Negotiation genius and I have to say it’s very solid. So my own strategy would be to drop the book at number 8 and start the list over from the beginning.

Rationale: starting with the most recommended resources gives a more solid framework and then it’s easier to understand resources that are less “foundational”.

Cheers!

This is a very good answer.

As a matter of fact, I updated that list and book description in a way that can serve more as a "warning".

Books, authors and resources that have better marketing and hype tend to attract more people, but of course, that doesn't mean they're always they're the best resources (to start with).

There is plenty to learn from Voss and I think that the empathizing and "empowering to say no" are great nuggets of wisdom -the latter is a specific technique of the "power-protecting" strategy we talked about here-.
But to put together a larger approach to sales, it's probably better to start with resources that provide a better overview -albeit not sure where legend503 stands, he might already have that foundation-.

legend503 has reacted to this post.
legend503
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Books, authors and resources that have better marketing and hype tend to attract more people, but of course, that doesn't mean they're always they're the best resources (to start with).

I wonder if this is a feature rather than a bug. I have a hunch that a lot of marketing and publishing firms tend to ask their authors to somewhat dumb down material in order to reach a broader audience. As an easy example, look at Tim Ferriss or Robert Kiyosaki - solid ideas and very motivational, but the thesis behind it could be explained in one page. I've noticed as I've gone deeper into any subject that the 'starting point' for most topics is the most publicized and most easily accessible version, which is to say, usually the most 'dumbed down' version.

None of this is an indictment against these authors or their work. I really think that they do a terrific job of explaining rather complex (and often very useful) topics in easily-digestible forms. They are just also the tip of the iceberg in any field. Maybe that makes them a great place to start and see if you're actually interested in a topic before dropping hundreds of dollars and hours into the "real" books on the subject.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Yeah, that's a very deep and insightful observation, Jack.

Indeed, if you want to go after the bigger bucks, it probably makes more sense to market to the average, where most people cluster, than to market to the more advanced folks.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Adding to this thread here, I recently started studying sales and negotiation under a man named Chris Do.

About: Chris Do is an Emmy award-winning designer, director, CEO and Chief Strategist of Blind and the founder of The Futur—an online education platform with the mission of teaching 1 billion people how to make a living doing what they love.

I jumped into his program and got started.

Come to find out, we both studied under Chris Voss. Do's initial sales lessons leverage principles and strategies you'll frequently find in Voss's work (including Never Split the Difference).

Chris Do's first lesson was an introductory lesson meant to get my feet wet. It contained a workbook to download.

Only four pages in and this is what I saw:

Eheh, I couldn't believe it :).

These are some of the exact tones of voice Voss taught in his Masterclass.

Moving into the next lesson titled "8 Mile Rule", I was officially presented with a Chris Voss negotiation technique inside of a sales program:

Voss: "Say it first. Be the first to raise the objection. (Accusation audit.)"

Chris Do shared the 8 Mile video as an example of the accusation audit. Coincidentally, Voss had used that same exact example on his Instagram to help illustrate the concept to his audience.

*Note: For a full breakdown and explanation of the accusation audit, check out that section of the Voss Masterclass review here.

Chris Do: "If your clients [prospects] say, 'can you do this', or, 'is you team capable of...', then you are basically going to be put in a very defensive position and you're going to sound like you're not credible, that you're not confident. By bringing it up [first] you're communicating several things. You're signaling to the other person: "this is not my first rodeo, I already know what you're going to say, I'm going to bring it up because I have nothing to hide. And, if you can get over that, we might be able to do business together."

Basically, Chris Do recommends saying your client's objections before they do. That way, it's already out in the open and can no longer be used against you. More specifically, Chris Do is recommending you use frame stealing as a form of frame blocking any of your prospect's attempts at disqualifying your product or service as a fit.

A strong move indeed.

As much as I like this application of Voss's technique to sales, I'm still a bit skeptical myself. For one, its effectiveness depends on when in the sales call you perform it.

I was on a sales call recently with The Influencer Project, they wanted me to join their program.

I had filled out an online form to book a call with them and reaching the "book a call with us" page meant I was a fit for their program. So, when we got on the call, all they wanted to talk about was money. And, it was a good way of doing what accusation audits do: addressing the elephant in the room..price.

But, because it was so soon (really right away), it felt like they cared more about the money than the success the program would bring me. And, as a result, I stopped the salesman and asked if we could start by discussing whether or not I'm really a fit for the program.

There's an example Chris Do provides of how he believes the accusations audit should be used. The following is what he calls one of the best sales calls that's ever been done to him:

Sales Professional: "Do you know something about us, Chris?"

Chris Do: "No."

Sales Professional: "Do you mind if I take a few minutes to tell you what it is that we do?"

Chris Do: "OK. I'm all ears."

Sales Professional: "If you've worked with sales reps before, I imagine that it takes a really long time to get results. It might take months. Actually, several months before you see any results. Is that correct?"

Chris Do: "Yeah. That's true."

Sales Professional: "So, that means that you're going to have to wait a long time. And, you're not sure. And, you're spending money during this time...if any money's coming back in. And, you might realize four, five, six months later this is a poor fit for you. But, you've already lost half-a-year's worth of opportunities. So, there's an opportunity cost that you're missing out on. The other thing is when sales reps go meet with people, you have no idea if they met with them, if the meeting was productive, or if it's gonna yield anything until it materializes a job. The rest of the time, the entire process is very opaque. Is that true too?"

Chris Do: "Yes."

Sales Professional: "At that point, we understand then, traditional sales is slow, it's ineffective, and it's expensive.

Chris Do: (thinking) Yep. This guy knows exactly my business. He knows all my pain points and my feelings.

Sales Professional: "Our entire process is against all of that. You're going to be able to see what we do on a daily basis. You're going to see who we connect with, who responds, and who's going to call you. And, it's not going to take us months to get these results, it's going to take us days. Once we set up the template and we get your approval, we move forward and we start hitting it hard day one. And, you're going to see exactly what's happening. Would you like to work with us?"

Chris Do: (thinking) You're saying everything that I felt, you are the person.

Now, I disagree here. I don't believe this is an accusation audit—a means of removing objections. I believe this is tactical empathy—a means of making the other side feel understood—without the use of Voss's tactical empathy techniques such as labeling or mirroring (AKA: "parroting").

The above is more along the lines of how Daniel Pink might recommend doing sales. As for what Voss might recommend, I can actually see the same scenario playing out more or less like this:

(...)

Sales Professional: "I took a look at your business to prepare for this call. And, (Chris Voss label) it looks like in your time working with sales reps before, it takes a really long time to get results."

Chris Do: "Yeah. That's true."

Sales Professional: (Chris Voss label)  "It also seems like, in your experience working with reps who go out to meet with people, you have no idea if they met with them, if the meeting was productive, or if it's gonna yield anything until it materializes a job."

Chris Do: "Yes."

Sales Professional: (Chris Voss label) "So, it feels like traditional sales is slow, it's ineffective, and it's expensive."

Chris Do: (thinking) Yep. This guy knows exactly my business.

Sales Professional: "Our entire process is against all of that. You're going to be able to see what we do on a daily basis. You're going to see who we connect with, who responds, and who's going to call you. And, it's not going to take us months to get these results, it's going to take us days. Once we set up the template and we get your approval, we move forward and we start hitting it hard day one. And, you're going to see exactly what's happening. (No-oriented question) Does that sound like a ridiculous idea?"

Chris Do: "No."

Sales Professional: (Move From “No” to “How” technique) "How would you like to proceed?"

That's the exact same script and framework leveraging what Chris Voss might recommend as the right techniques.

Either way, I'm going to be finishing up this program and seeing what works and what doesn't. If this was valuable please let me know, it helps me decide what's a waste of time and what's worth sharing with you guys.

Lucio Buffalmano, Matthew Whitewood and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew WhitewoodTransitionedSerena Irina

Thanks a lot for sharing Ali!
These course breakdowns are really valuable.
I don't think many people do such a detailed review of courses with examples, especially for sales courses.

I am curious.
Would these calls be cold calls or calls from leads a little down the sales pipeline?

Tone

Inquisitive and Curious

An upward pitch of voice. Carry a level of excitement and curiosity when you ask.

I'm guessing this means a slightly higher pitch and faster pace.
But the inflection still goes down at the end of sentences to sound authoritative.
This would sound warm & powerful.

Roger Love talks about melody being the secret weapon to achieve this balance:

  • A loud, monotone voice sounds like shouting.
  • A voice rich with melody can still sound warm even with downward inflections and a powerful voice with diaphragmatic support.

My Recent Conversation with a Salesperson

I recalled that the salesperson made a pitch.
Then it became a question & answer mode afterwards.
With me asking the questions and him answering.

I viewed him as less credible and experienced because he seemed to not address any possible concerns.
And he didn't really lead the conversation as well.
This seemed to tie in with what you mentioned in this paragraph.

Quote from Ali Scarlett on April 14, 2021, 4:51 am

Chris Do: "If your clients [prospects] say, 'can you do this', or, 'is you team capable of...', then you are basically going to be put in a very defensive position and you're going to sound like you're not credible, that you're not confident. By bringing it up [first] you're communicating several things. You're signaling to the other person: "this is not my first rodeo, I already know what you're going to say, I'm going to bring it up because I have nothing to hide. And, if you can get over that, we might be able to do business together."

It seems that by stating objections out in the front, it achieves 2 things:

  • you portray yourself as credible, knowledgeable and trustworthy
  • you lead the conversation and manage the frame better.

Matthew:"Would these calls be cold calls or calls from leads a little down the sales pipeline?"

These are calls for MQLs (market-qualified leads) who are a little down the pipeline already. The goal of Chris Do's program is to help you take your current process for turning them into SQLs (sales qualified leads) and combine it with his strategies for closing (converting them into clients).

Matthew:

Tone

Inquisitive and Curious

An upward pitch of voice. Carry a level of excitement and curiosity when you ask.

I'm guessing this means a slightly higher pitch and faster pace.
But the inflection still goes down at the end of sentences to sound authoritative.
This would sound warm & powerful.

Close, but Voss recommends using deferential communication. In the Masterclass, he actually does his mock negotiations with an upward tonality inflection at the end whenever he uses the "inquisitive and curious" voice. He equates this voice to a young child asking his neighbor's mom, "Can Timmy come out to play?"

The downward tonality inflection would help him come across as more powerful, I agree with you there Matthew.

That said, Voss's mindset is that the other side should feel like they have total control of the situation. And, that you should give them that feeling by giving them more power with your own submissive behavior. That way, as Voss says, they'll want to "give you your deal" (i.e. they'll believe the deal is good thanks to the trust-based influence you built up by not coming across as more powerful than them—which could make you seem like a threat in the negotiation).

Matthew: It seems that by stating objections out in the front, it achieves 2 things:

  • you portray yourself as credible, knowledgeable and trustworthy
  • you lead the conversation and manage the frame better.

Yeah, in my opinion, that's also assuming you're saying your accusation audit in a way that's powerful. If you say it in a way where you sound desperate for the close, or insecure about how your accusation audit will be received, I think the whole frame steal attempt could end up registering as a low-competence trigger.

As the old saying goes, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." 🙂


Thanks for letting me know this course breakdown is valuable, Matthew! I'm going to do my best to get some more content out surrounding this program.

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