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How Power-Intelligence Helped You in Life (Concrete Examples)

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How Collaborative Frames and the "On Your Honor" Gambit Got Me a Refund (Despite Their "No-Refund Policy")

Quote from Ali Scarlett on December 13, 2020, 6:26 pm

My company has been working with HomeAdvisor for a while now. Since 2018 to be exact.

They send us leads, we pay for the lead, and if we acquire the business of that prospect, HomeAdvisor keeps the money. If not, we get a "credit".

So, we had a situation where we paid for a lead, went out to give the homeowner a free estimate, and the homeowner told us it was her 70-year-old, mentally ill father who accidentally put out the request for our services. And, that they will not be requiring our services, especially since they're moving to a different state.

We check our business bank account to find that HomeAdvisor also charged us about $107 to cover the bill for our past leads, even though they weren't supposed to have our card on file.

My business partner lets me know what's going on and I tell him to leave it to me.

Step One: Go Straight To The Top

I call HomeAdvisor, and a customer service agent picks up the phone, giving me the standard "how can I help you". In response, I ask if they can put me through to their supervisor. They do. Good start.

Step Two: Explain My Side

When I get on the phone with the supervisor, she pulls me and my business up on her computer. She notices that we've been working with HomeAdvisor since 2018. That showed that we've been value-adding individuals to her company for years. So, her voice tonality noticeably changes to sound more open to hearing what I have to say when she sees that we've been with HomeAdvisor for so long. That's a good sign.

So, I let her know the situation. And, I ask for a refund.

Her response is that they actually reached out to that same homeowner after we gave our estimate and that homeowner went with a different company and even left that company a review (i.e. it's your fault for not securing the business so we're not going to pay you). Then, she says that they have a no-refund policy anyway.

Step Three: The Silver Medal Technique

Gotta love Lucio for the gems he drops here.

Here's my response (more or less):

Ali: Alright, I think I understand. (controls the scope) Look, the problem that I see here isn't really the customer, it's our relationship. (sets a new frame) Our businesses are built on providing value in exchange for money. In this case, we gave you money, but received no value, which affects the win-win part of our partnership. And, some money was deducted from our bank account that we weren't prepared for because our card isn't supposed to be on file. So, we love HomeAdvisor, we've been with you for years. But, (small nod to a silver medal, we would love to give you our future business) we can't really move forward with you with our financials the way it is. (reframes for collaboration) So, what can we do to fix this?

She puts me on hold. Then, comes back with a good chunk of money for us. But, it's only enough to resolve the issue of the homeowner. So, I continue the negotiation.

Step Four: The "On Your Honor" Gambit

So, I let her know that what she did is great and ask about the $107.

She says:

Supervisor: Oh, so, what were you looking for for that? Did you want a refund?

I can feel her preparing to clamp down on me with her no-refund policy speech. So, I say:

Ali: Well, actually, that's up to you. Like I said, we've been with HomeAdvisor for years now. Pretty much since our business first opened in late 2017 we've been with you guys, so you guys have really been with us since day one. And, we love your services, so (on your honor gambit) we trust you completely to do what's fair. It's up to you :).

She puts me on hold again. Then, comes back with more money :D.

Step Five: Leaving a Positive Last Impression

I compliment her, letting her know that I think she's really great and I can see how she became supervisor. She lets me know that she's been working for HomeAdvisor for over 12 years now. That small detail only makes me feel more proud of myself for this negotiation because this tells me that she has a lot of experience giving callers like me nothing in return to reinforce that no-refund policy. Yet, here I am with a lot of my money back.

If you haven't checked out those resources, here they are below:

How to get salespeople to tell you the truth: the silver medal technique | Forum | The Power Moves

Negotiation technique: "on your honor" gambit (

As much value as I get from my negotiation course reviews, these techniques are golden. Don't miss out on them :).

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Collaborative Frames and an "Exception-Seeking Frame" Saved Me $298

Quote from Ali Scarlett on May 8, 2021, 5:59 pm

Quick note here, I bought this course for $149 through the seller's Teachable payment page.

I just realized/remembered that I'm enrolled in a subscription of $149 for three months.

Given that some of the information was incorrect and pulls directly from a course I already took and reviewed, I don't believe it's worth that much and this course's rating has just gone down for me.

I've begun negotiations for them to keep my initial payment but stop any further charges on my card for this program.

Quote from Ali Scarlett on May 12, 2021, 8:30 pm

Sharing my negotiation with The Futur as an addition to this thread—hopefully, you guys will find some value in it for your own negotiations with sellers in the future.

*Note: Please ignore any typos.

Step #1: I Field My Request for Value (and Introduce My Frames)

Step #2: They Respond with Their Frame

Step #3: I Leverage Frame Control Accordingly (Agree)

The way I see it, it's not up to me to determine and negotiate the value of their course, that's up to them. And, since I didn't pay the full amount for the course, it only makes sense to me that I don't keep the full value of the course.

Therefore, in my eyes, unenrollment is only fair.

Step #4: We End In A Win-Win

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Used a Learner's Mindset to Apply the "WIIFT frame" and Secured Future Media Placements For Free

A more recent example from a couple of days ago:

I easily could have simply accepted their offer. And, the old me would have simply said:

  • "Yes, that'd be great, I appreciate it!" (= mindset: I don't want to say "thank you" yet because I haven't gotten anything yet, but this is a great opportunity so I want them to know that I accept their offer and that I appreciate it)

But, I saw an opportunity to practice the WIIFT frame that Lucio recently wrote about.

So, instead, I said:

This is a little different from Lucio's example in that we're not taking an ask and framing it as a give. But, there's a lot of overlap in that we completely flipped how the receiver might perceive us.

We had already agreed to give value. So, their willingness to give back is also a move to pull them out of negative social capital.

With a simple "yes", the receiver might think "he accepted my offer, now I'll have to work on this to resettle my social bank account with him".

And, similar to Lucio's example, that could make them think of me as a burden.

On the other hand, this second option leads the receiver to think "nice offer of him!".

And, what do you know, that's also exactly what happened here:

More notes on this exchange:

  • Antifragile ego (learner's mindset): willing to try and fail
  • Frame control: recognizes the opportunity to set an even more collaborative, WIIFT frame and expanded the pie for everyone
  • Power protecting: more than the "if you want to", the "are you against that at all?" is the no-oriented question technique by Chris Voss. If I would have led them to say "yes" to my offer (e.g. "Are you open to that?"), that would have made it harder for them to walk away later because they already agreed. By instead empowering them to say "no", I protect their power to walk away later (which makes them want to work with me more because they feel like it was their choice since they had the initial option and freedom to deny my offer if they wanted to and still chose to move forward with me)
  • Recognizes judge roles: the first "I appreciate it" came after we had already agreed that I would provide them with value. So, it was OK. The second "I appreciate it" is before the collaboration has been finalized (hence the "let's discuss next week"). So, the "I appreciate it" attaches a small judge role where I don't want to "disappoint" them by taking back my offer. (Still, knowing the personality of this contact, when she says "I appreciate it" she's really saying she's grateful, and will likely find a way to give back even more in that future discussion.)
  • Reciprocity for win-win: turns what might be a simple "yes" into an opportunity for giving more value, which also invites reciprocity. Now, the contact wants to give back more and collaborate further

Also, when I first joined PU, if I would have seen the opportunity to set that collaborative frame, I might have said:

  • "In exchange, I'll..." (= frames the exchange as being colder and more transactional which erodes rapport and emotional bond)

The mindset back then was that by saying "in exchange", I'm underlining that I'm giving back which would show that I'm not a taker. And, by saying "in exchange", the future-value signaling is more obvious that "if you don't hold up that offer you gave me, you'll lose this incentive that I'm giving in exchange for that offer".

But, as you can see above, it's not the best option for when one also wants to make friends.

So, instead, I say:

  • "I'd be more than happy to" (= frames it as if I'm giving)

And, that achieves all of the above while better preserving rapport :).

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235 With Machiavellianism (& More Important: The Pleasure of Teaching The Bully A Lesson)

In short:

this guy threatens to "report" me to his 39.000 Instagram followers if I don't comply with him.

Turns out, he never set foot at my place, and lost 80% of his booking.

There is nothing I love more than taking from the bully.

It takes a few steps to explain these dynamics properly, including the thinking and strategizing behind it.

It will be one of the case studies in the new lesson on Machiavellianism.

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How Negotiation Power Dynamics Saved me $500

Placing this as a reminder.

Example coming as soon as I've got 15 mins.

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Book a call for personalized & private feedback

How stacking the deck and having allies dethroned the wicked witch 

Been working with community here helping my g/f in her work battles with a nasty drill sergeant




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And today was the finale

Drill Sergeant is the small boss of this teaching unit (unit coordinator) of diabetes and then there s a second teacher (my girlfriend)

Manager asked teachers what units they want to teach next year.  2 units each

Advised gf to talk to 3 other unit coordinators.  So she had 3 lead teachers who want her to teach their unit.  And she didn't say she wanted to teach diabetes (with the drill sergeant)

Mgr said she d noticed this and wanted a chat.

Approach for mgr chat was was:

Hard for mgr to say she couldn't make one of 3 options work on the timetable.

Gf had 3 teachers who wanted her so message is people want to work with her.

Telling how she d enjoyed helping out on these units and was looking FWD to teaching the new subjects.  Message is G/f is flexible (no mention of all the bitch moves) gf moves towards doesn't run away from.


Mgr put her on one of the units suggested.

And made her the unit coordinator of diabetes.  Said drill sergeant isn't a mentor and she would talk to the big boss.

So the wicked witch has been overthrown.

Shame, we didn't want to upset anyone but I guess that's the risk with playing a win lose game. Ironically my GF doesn't even want the unit coordinator role.  This other lady started the fight.

BTW I have to say it's not the moves that won the day.  It's my GFs kind nature, hard work and willingness to flex and learn

The overall story for the mgr is somebody who makes problems Vs somebody who helps with problems.






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Nice, happy to read that, rock on Kevin!

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How Power Dynamics Got Me A Full $497 Refund

From my journal entry:

Ali: "I recently negotiated (and received) a full refund of $316.50 from a Fiverr seller. And, after some back and forth, a full refund of $497 on a course from Jon Anthony. And, on top of that, was able to preserve the relationships with both parties.

Both make for interesting case studies due to some key moments in the interaction that, if handled improperly, could've resulted in very negative results."

Finally, I can share how I did it.

I bought Jon Anthony's Bitcoin Millionaire course a while back.

The sales page for his course said that you could get started with only $100, but when I got into the program, I realized that wasn't true. (It seems like something changed between the time of the sales page's writing and the way the crypto exchanges are functioning now, so it’s not entirely his fault.)

After I realized the course wasn't a fit for me, I decided to begin the negotiation for a refund.

Here was my first email:

If you've seen some of my other refund negotiations, you're already familiar with the techniques I used in this email. So, I'll spare you the repetition.

He didn't respond to that email, so after three days, I followed up with another one. And, there was still no response.

So, I wait three more days before considering that email thread a "burned medium" and tried another line of communication.

To get his attention, I posted the contents of my email into the private Discord chat for his Blog Money Blueprint course. The idea behind that decision was that (1) he's more active there (2) he won't have to sort through a bunch of messages to find mine like he would with his email inbox (3) it would show that I'm a value-giving individual since the only way to join that private community is to have purchased his respective course for it.

Finally, after posting that, he responds four days later:

I had a feeling he wouldn't appreciate that last approach to getting his attention. So, I agree with his boundaries and redirect to how I can move the conversation back to the medium he prefers.

Now, you might be wondering, why "OpenMindGuy?"

Well, I planned on updating my profile to accurately reflect my identity after determining whether or not I can trust the community. (More than that, "advertising" that I'm a bestselling author could lead to a lot of spam emails from people looking for an email list shoutout/promotion — especially in a community of bloggers.)

So, the "OpenMindGuy" profile was my attempt at applying Nick Kolenda's work from Methods of Persuasion (see "prime their mindset"):

  • "Open mind" in "OpenMindGuy": activates people's schema for open-mindedness which can influence them to be more open-minded.
  • Birthday cake: activates people's schema for giving which can influence them to give.

*Note: This was only one of my many tests on Nick Kolenda's "mold their perceptions" strategies, but that's another discussion for another thread.

After giving him my email so he could read our thread, he said:

He wanted feedback on why I felt his Bitcoin Millionaire (BTCM) course wasn't a fit for me.

But, I wanted to receive the refund first because it giving feedback wasn't part of his money-back guarantee:

And, actually, it even says "no questions asked" guarantee. (I underlined it in red at the bottom there.)

So, I wanted to assertively ensure fairness while avoiding coming across as "sneaky" or only looking to get my money back after having already taken most of the course's value.

So, I say this:

Jon: "I see you watched most of the videos which is good."

This was interesting to read for me because most business owners would consider this bad.

It's not uncommon to come across the turkeys who seek to take all of the value they can (by taking all of the lessons in a course) while giving back nothing (by abusing the money-back guarantee).

Instead, Jon seems to be the type who cares more about making sure his students are action-takers (something he can control by making them complete the course before approving the refund) and doesn't seem to worry too much about the value-takers (which are more abundant than water — there will always be turkeys in life so it can be far more difficult to control, in my opinion).

Anyway, you can see from the message above that I used the silver medal technique in my own way to limit his losses.

He pulled what felt like a small covert power move there, attaching a judge role to tasking me with giving feedback after I already said that I would.

But, I already won, so it felt like the "more power is always better" trap to withhold the feedback simply because of that small power move. And, giving that feedback felt like a great way to show friendliness (warmth) while also keeping my word.

So, I sent him that feedback via email and, as you can see, he gave me a like (another reason I'm not a fan of that covert power move — judge role tasking can lead to judge credit awarding).

But, I was able to preserve the relationship. And, we both happily ended on a collaborative tone and frame.


If you're curious about the email I sent him, here it is:

I sought to give value with the email while also showing my future value-giving power. It's another reason I would've preferred if he simply said "thank you" instead of giving a like, but nobody's perfect.

And, I can always raise my power in the relationship later on — another reason I feel it's more important to have an eagle approach and look at the long-term rather than over-focusing on the one or two power moves here and there (so long as the power moves aren't too damaging).

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How Power Dynamics Got Me A Full $316.50 Refund

Also, from my journal entry:

Ali: "I recently negotiated (and received) a full refund of $316.50 from a Fiverr seller. And, after some back and forth, a full refund of $497 on a course from Jon Anthony. And, on top of that, was able to preserve the relationships with both parties.

Both make for interesting case studies due to some key moments in the interaction that, if handled improperly, could've resulted in very negative results."

This is the $316.50 full refund negotiation. And, this one was more than a bit tricky.

There are some areas where I could've handled it better, but I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it well at all if it weren't for Power University.

So, let's begin.

After joining Jon Anthony's Blog Money Blueprint course, I ordered some web design services for my author website.

I was doing my best to avoid the "perfect is better than done" trap of waiting until I've completed the entire course (which is already 20 long modules to work through) before taking any action. So, I had to do my best to take action while going through the course, making any adjustments based on any new information he gives along the way.

Unfortunately, these new, last-minute adjustments also fell on my web designer:

*Note: Since some of you were curious, "Networking Sociology" was going to be the name of my course before I scrapped it. I'll improve on it and then consider releasing it after I know it's good enough for the time and value of the people who invest in it.


As you can see above, I no longer need an eCommerce product done and I no longer needed a whole page. That's a lot of work — and money — now off my designer's plate.

Thankfully, he was understanding enough about it. So, now, we were faced with a different challenge:

When I said "can we do a small refund" only to follow up with "what price do you think would be fair?" in the same message, it felt to me like I'd gone and decided that a refund should be in order without having gotten his buy-in first. And, that feels like slight frame-imposing, which I think is good for assertively ensuring fairness here.

So, I think that better phrasing might've been, "I'd like to do a small refund." But, my actual message here was not disrespectful or unfair, so I think we're still in the green on this one. (Even so, I still prefer to be more direct, so I'll likely switch to that phrasing in the future anyway.)

Web Designer: "Actually, refunds of small amounts is not possible on any order, but we can adjust [the price] in the future proejct."

The future project is actually my other website — I hired him to work on both at around the same time, so giving that value is also what might've led him to be so understanding.

However, he's still denying this small refund. And, I prefer to handle refunds as they pertain to their respective orders because (1) it leads to fewer mix-ups in coordinating the refund (2) it preserves my power in case I need Fiverr to step in because they'll be able to see all of the negotiations in one thread — and less confusion for them means less chance they'll take the seller's side (since buyers try to get full refunds all of the time).

So, here's how I respond:

I continue with the frame-imposing that a refund is fair. And, rather than give him a number I'm thinking of, I want him to give me the price so I can (1) assess his character to know if he'd be good to work with in the future (2) understand the price range he's thinking of to avoid breaking rapport with a disrespectful number.

He completely frame ignores my entire message (which is something I think could've been better communication on his part), but it's for what I feel is a good reason. A close family member of his passed away.

So, now, he's taking value twice (1) by holding onto my money for work he's never going to do (2) by taking more of my time to complete the project.

But, I don't feel like I care that much. My grandmother meant the world to me before she passed away, so specifying that it was his grandmother that he'd lost triggered an empathy in me that made me put aside the coldness of the pure "business exchange/transaction."

Plus, he said he'd be grateful for my patience which is a good WIIFM. (Maybe now we can discuss that refund after things cool down on his side and I'll have a better chance of reaching a satisfactory number because of his gratitude).

So, I do my best to communicate understanding while still being professional (by not overdoing it) and being conscious of my limited time to complete the Blog Money Blueprint course (due to the time-limited money-back guarantee on top of other work that needed to be done soon).

Unfortunately, this is where things start to get difficult to navigate.

I reach a lesson in Blog Money Blueprint advising me that the website I'm currently getting design work for isn't good for blogging. And, to use my other website.

So, now, more than the small refund (whatever that amount would've been), I need a full refund, I need it soon, and I have to go back on my word that he could have extra time to do the work because of the new changes that are now required.

So, after some thought, I decide to navigate this with full, total honesty and to deal with any resulting damage as best I could moving forward:

Some potential areas for improvement:

  • With better social skills, the first two "bad news" could've been combined: less negative information can lead to a less negative outcome. But, I was so focused on being honest about the situation, I wasn't thinking.

How I sought a collaborative frame despite the negative news:

  • Offered to give value now: "I still need your services for the second blog [right now]."
  • Showed future value-giving power: and, given that I'm a "blogger" now, I'll make you my go-to guy for any blog web design work I need done in the future.
  • Power-protecting: by asking, "Is that OK with you?"
  • "It'd be great" judge role: sometimes a poor choice, such as when tasking someone with giving value without the social capital to ask for it. But, in this case, the "it'd be great" nudges the designer to at least respond (he doesn't have to agree) sooner rather than later because the deadline is immovable. So, if he doesn't respond in time, I'll need to work with someone else — and I really don't want to do that, I like him and his services so far (hence why I set the collaborative frame as best I could beforehand).
  • "But, no pressure...": this feels like it gives him an out. I'm not sure how devastating his loss is for him, so if he decides he'd rather give up the money and relationship to take time for himself, it's more than within his right to do that (one of the benefits of being a freelancer). So, while this may seem like conflicting information to nudge him to be responsive and then say "no pressure," I wanted him to know that he can decide for himself what he'd like to do.

And, in return, he was honest with me as well:

I had no idea that canceling orders affected Fiverr sellers' profiles and businesses. But, now that he'd mentioned it, it made sense.

And, personally, I hated the idea that a situation like this — where we only needed to cancel the order because of reasons completely outside of Fiverr — could affect someone's ability to eat / provide for themself.

So, once again, I did my best to be understanding:

And, again, he was understanding in return:

And, with that, we got the negotiation!

And yet, I still took it a step further:

I wanted to make sure I got his buy-in so I could (respectfully) hold him to his word and so it'd be harder for him to change his mind later on.

So, my "post-negotiation" approach was to:

  • Thank him for understanding: expressing gratitude for the behavior I want to encourage more of in the future
  • Remind him of my willingness to give value in the future: "I'm more than happy to hire you again because my websites will need work in the future."
  • Solidify the agreement: "I'd be grateful if you could cancel and refund the order."
  • Limit his losses: I researched and sent him a way to cancel his orders without damaging his profile or business — which is valuable to him for this case now and in the future.

And, I sent him a cancellation request along with the exact script I sent to Fiverr to help him keep his rating.

And, he approved the cancellation request right away:

So, finally, even after taking back all $316.50, we've still been able to collaborate and maintain a positive, win-win relationship thus far.


You might notice another power move in this case too where, this time, he gave me an order. He said, "send me the refund request" with no power-protecting. But, the end result of our negotiations left me doing most of the winning again so, as with the Jon Anothony example above, I ignored it and kept an eagle attitude in mind.

And, that eagle approach has resulted in a long-term relationship between this web designer and I that's been beneficial for both of us throughout our time working together and collaborating.

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