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How to Negotiate by Chris Do (The Futur): Summary & Review

How to Negotiate by Chris Do (The Futur): A tactical guide to deal with the most challenging client questions so you can win more business and make more money: Summary & Review

How to Negotiate is a 14-module online course on negotiation techniques in which Chris Do, the instructor, applies the wisdom from the books Socratic Selling, Never Split the Difference, and Win Without Pitching Manifesto to sales and closing.

Bullet Summary

  • Never sell. Seek to understand.
  • Raise objections first.
  • Leverage the Socratic Six: raging bull, hall of mirrors, double down, wolf, five-year-old, and yin/yang.
  • Devise unique responses.
  • Remember that decisions are scary when going for the close.
  • Expect your prospect to seek assurance against failure.

Full Summary

About The Professor: 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.

Negotiation Concept/Theory: The 8-Mile Rule

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 as far as what it is and how it works, check out that section of the Chris Voss Masterclass review.

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.

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.

Negotiation Concept/Theory: Voice

Chris emphasizes the importance of communicating with persuasive vocal tonality because, as he notes from the 7/38/55 Rule in Never Split the Difference, only seven percent of your intended message is communicated by the words you choose. A whopping 38 percent is communicated by how you say it with your voice.

*Inquisitive and Curious

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

*Speaking Smile

"Smile when you speak. You can tell if someone is smiling."

*Late-night FM DJ

"Smooth, slow, methodical, and deep. This is calming. It makes it sound like you’re in control. Conversely, if you sound frantic, you make others nervous."

*Note: For more on the recommended tones of voice for negotiation, see that section of the Chris Voss Masterclass review.

Negotiation Concept/Theory: The Objection Deck

As WSJ bestselling author and entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David says, "Proper preparation prevents poor performance."

An objection deck is a collection of your most common objections and your plan for responding persuasively. And, one thing that should be in your objection deck is a list of mindsets you can read to prepare yourself before each sales call.

Here are the mindsets Chris Do recommends:

  • Your prospect's time is valuable (= They have the money, power, and ability to hire you, but you don't have the power to hire them. Therefore, they have way more leverage than you. But, if they've already agreed to call and talk with you, they're already interested in working with you—or someone just like you. So, you're both on equal footing in this negotiation)
  • Start with good will (= Be attentive, ask more questions, listen longer, and be slow to prescribe advice. If you cut them off or give advice too quickly, you will lose good will with your prospect)
  • They have the desire to purchase a solution (= They have a problem and they need to buy a solution. That solution is you. They need you. Therefore, you're both on equal footing in this negotiation)
  • They have a problem to solve (= By delaying this decision to purchase a solution, they're costing themselves more time and more money. Therefore, you're both on equal footing in this negotiation)

Negotiation Concept/Theory: The Socratic Six

Named after Socrates the great philosopher, the "Socratic approach" is less about telling people convincing or persuasive arguments and is more about asking people strategic questions that often leverage powerful frame control techniques.

Negotiation Principles/Strategies: The Raging Bull

"The bull seems to be angry most of the time...when it sees red, it charges forward. And, creative people especially are very sensitive to other people's emotions and they don't like it when there's a lot of drama and anxiety. So, we'll do just about anything to avoid this [bull]. but, that's exactly what you don't want to do. When the bull charges, don't run because [if you do] it's going to hook you with its horns. What you want to do is stand your ground and to look it in its eye."

The "raging bull" is an analogy for a disrespectful, rude, or socially abrasive prospect. They might say something offensive or insulting toward you if they get heated. And, Chris Do recommends dealing with "raging bulls" the same way Chris Voss recommends:

"Label the emotion. Acknowledge the emotional state of the other person. Demonstrate empathy...FM DJ voice is probably the most important for this one."

Ex:

Prospect: (frustrated) “It shouldn’t take this long”
You: “It sounds like you’re upset at something...What happened?”
Prospect: (they tell you a story)
You: (listen to understand)

Voss actually teaches to avoid the urge to add some follow-up or to talk at all after using a good label. And, here, Chris uses "what happened" as a follow-up.

Voss says, "Good labels must have the chance to sink in for it to have its effect. If you explain or follow up after a label, you’re stepping on it [the label you just used] and decreasing its persuasive power/ability to influence."

Negotiation Principles/Strategies: The Hall of Mirrors

Here's the idea:

"Answer a question with a question if you don't want to answer the question...Not all questions should be responded with an answer."

You're basically reflecting a question you don't want to answer back at the asker. The example Chris Do gives is when he was a teenager unable to get in touch with his girlfriend for an entire day. He mentions that this was a time when he was very jealous and wasn't very secure or comfortable with himself. So, he was starting to go crazy with thoughts of the worst.

The next day he was finally able to get in contact with her. The conversation that follows goes like this:

Chris: "Hey, where were you? I tried calling you all yesterday, usually you answer, you had me really worried."

Her: "Where'd you think I was?"

Her: "Do you not trust me?"

That's how this technique works. A question you don't want to answer reflected back at the asker. In this case, she even followed up with a second question—a second mirror in the hallway that was that conversation.

Ex:

Prospect: “What assurances can you make that this will work?”
You: “What kind assurances do you need to have to make this work?”

Negotiation Principles/Strategies: The Double Down

"Challenge an absurd objection by simply agreeing. Call the bluff."

Ex:

Prospect: “How hard can designing a logo for my business be? I have a subscription to Adobe Creative Suite.” (challenges the frame that your work is difficult and, therefore, valuable enough to warrant your price point)
You: (agree) “You’re right, this isn’t very hard. You can probably do this yourself, since you have the Creative Suite. It’s a powerful set of tools.”
You: (pivot, retreat and have them follow) “You’re probably going to pay too much for me to do it. Why not just do this yourself?” (Now they have to chase you)
Prospect: (agree) “I’m not really good at it. It’ll take me too much time to do it”.

The game of doubling down on their value-taking frames to call their bluff is an OK strategy, in my opinion.

The problem I see with this approach is that you're thread-expanding on bad frames. And, in general, that's a poor social strategy. And, sales is a social game.

Negotiation Principles/Strategies: The Yin-Yang

By far, my absolute favorite Socratic approach in the entire objection deck.

The overarching framework relies on this foundational point: "If this is true, is the opposite also true?"

The tactic lies within testing the other side's symmetry of logic and then looking for one instance where their frame is not true. As with almost all frame control teachings here, it's easier explained with an example:

Prospect: “Your team is too small!” (implied frame: big teams are better)
You: “Would you be more comfortable with a bigger team? Are bigger teams always better? Do you feel like bigger teams are more focused and attentive?”
Prospect: (thinking) No.
You: “Yes, our team is small. But if you work with us, you work with me. The cost will be less than a bigger, bloated team. And you’ll have more personalized attention."

Just as the accusation audit recommended by Chris Do and Chris Voss is frame stealing as a form of frame blocking, the yin-yang approach is frame flipping.

Here, Chris Do has taken the frame flip and outlined a step-by-step process to create your own for all your business weaknesses. I'll explain that process with an example provided by Lucio:

Lucio: "On one occasion, Reagan’s flame flip coupled with his humor helped him win the presidency.

Reagan’s old age was an issue in the campaign, and when asked about it, this is how Reagan flipped it:

Reagan: 'I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.'

Big laugh by everyone, and he turned weakness into strength.

Reagan accepted the original age frame, but twisted it to make a handicap for his opponent, not for him."

The process is:

  1. Do your best to identify their implied frame (= a younger president would be better)
  2. Ask yourself, "If this is true, is the opposite also true?" (= if a younger president would be better, is an older president always worse?)
  3. Do your best to identify one way in which the opposite is untrue (= an older president brings more experience to the table)

Boom!

This process is the same as above where Chris Do accepts the prospect's original frame that his team is small and twisted it into a handicap for his competition (a bigger team means less attentiveness for you and your business). And, you can use this process to flip any of your own weaknesses into strengths.

Negotiation Principles/Strategies: The Wolf

A wolf howls. And, that's the entire technique here. Howl by asking your client "how".

This is best used when your prospect asks for a very difficult or impossible request or task, such as reducing your rates.

Ex:

Prospect: “I can make this deal happen if you reduce the estimate by 30%”
You: “How do you propose we pull 30% out of the budget, and still give you the same product?” (stay silent)

By asking, "how do you propose we do this?" you're setting a collaborative frame similar to asking, "What can we do to make this work?". You're recruiting the prospect to work with you on achieving a solution that works for everyone.

Chris uses this technique to highlight to the other side that what they're asking for isn't fair. For example, if they ask you to cut your rates, Chris Do recommends asking "how do you propose we do this" in order to let the prospect figure it out themself. And, when they can't, that will serve as justification to keep your rate right where it is.

But, I believe that if they can figure out a way forward that gets them what they want while still keeping the deal a win-win, it's still a great technique to use. Not for making the other side give in to your numbers, but for exploring new ideas and expanding the pie for everyone.

Chris Voss actually calls this technique "forced empathy" and recommends going about it a bit differently from how Chris Do teaches. Here's an example of how that might play out:

Prospect: “I can make this deal happen if you reduce the estimate by 30%”

You: (forced empathy) "How am I supposed to do that?"

Prospect: (short pause) Reduce the estimate.

You: (forced empathy) "What challenges will I face if I do that?"

Prospect: (longer pause) "I guess you'll lose some money, but like I said, it's the only way I can make this deal happen. So, 70% of something is better than 100% of nothing."

You: (Chris Voss label) You said one of the challenges I'll face is that I'll lose money. (forced empathy) How do I overcome the challenge that I have here?"

*Note: For more on what "forced empathy" is and how to do it, see that part of the Chris Voss Masterclass review.

Negotiation Principles/Strategies: The Five-Year-Old

Chris Do says that this technique is used by basically doing what five-year-olds do: ask "why".

Ex:

Prospect: “Why should I hire you?”
You: “I don’t know...(pause) I’m curious, why did you call me?”
Prospect: “Well, you have a great portfolio, and you came highly recommended through our friends.”
You: “If you trust your friends’ recommendations, and you like my portfolio, what else do you need to know in order to make your decision?”

This is great. This is what's also referred to as "Putting Out the Fire (Rational High Ground): Analyze Motivations" in Yale's negotiation class:

You: “I can only pay up to $450,000.”

The Other Side: “I have another offer of $500,000 [crosses arms and locks eye contact] (impied frame: why should I take your deal?).”

You: [Ask yourself] Why did he come here? If he had another offer and he didn’t think I would go up at all or very little, he wouldn’t even be dealing with me. Why would he rather do a deal with me? What do I have that his alternative does NOT that he wants?

The only difference is, with this technique, instead of only analyzing their motivations you're choosing to actively ask for them.

*Note: The very technique of leveraging "why" this way is reminiscent of Daniel Pink's five whys technique. For more on how that works, take a look at that section of the Daniel Pink Masterclass review.

It's also worth noting that Chris Do mentions he has no interest in "jumping through the prospect's hoops" in one of his sales roleplays. It makes it seem like he has an idea of the "prove yourself to me" judge role dynamics.

One of Chris Do's mindsets is that him and the prospect are on equal footing and that, if they're on a call together, the prospect is already interested in working with him. So, when asked a question like "why should I hire you", he doesn't believe in playing their game by explaining all of the reasons he's the best.

Now, sales is not the same as seduction, but if I had to create an analogy, I would say it's similar to being on a date with a girl where she says, "Why should I choose you?" Chris believes that, if she's already agreed to go on a date with you and actually showed up, you've already proven yourself enough as being worth choosing. And, that answering that question by jumping through her hoops would only disempower you in that negotiation for her heart.

Chris Do even goes so far as to say that what makes him different is that he doesn't want the prospect. He only wants people who want him. That makes his sales style very far away from ABC ("Always Be Closing") and helps him come across as more detached from the outcome as well as the negotiation. That in itself helps him come across as more persuasive.

Then, there's also the mindset that you're both on equal footing. She's on that date for a reason—she's looking for something, she has a need. And, you know you're what she needs because she's already expressed enough interest in you to go on a date with you. So, the only question left should be if she's comfortable with all the ways in which you're imperfect (i.e. if your prospect is comfortable with your price).

Real-Life Applications

The Yin-Yang Approach

I remember a few years back I had started to dive into more about self-development. On that journey, I came across a blog called Masculine Development.

The site owner, Jon Anthony, is a pick-up artist who decided to pursue "looksmaxing". Exactly as it sounds, it's the act of maximizing your looks.

He basically got really jacked to the point of becoming a fitness model. And, to the point where attractive women would tease him about having man-boobs.

Here's how he mixed frame flipping with humor framing to deal with it:

  1. Do your best to identify their implied frame (= a man should not have boobs)
  2. Ask yourself, "If this is true, is the opposite also true?" (= if a man should not have boobs, is a man having boobs always a bad thing?)
  3. Do your best to identify one way in which the opposite is untrue (= Jon would say with a smile, "Hey, I'm getting in touch with my feminine side 🙂

And, with that, he put a tool in his toolbelt to come across as a more confident, less insecure guy.

CONS

  • Not Always Accurate to the Source Material

Sometimes Chris Do misuses Chris Voss's techniques. You'll often notice Chris Do adapting Voss's techniques to how he would prefer to execute them for sales. Not a bad thing, but if he's going to reference Voss so often to where he puts his picture and quotes from Never Split the Difference on the screen, it would feel more like I'm not being fed misinformation if the techniques he shares were used properly in his examples and role-plays.

  • The Mindsets Were Sometimes Questionable

Chris Do encourages the mindset that if someone agreed to speak with you on the phone and is now on the phone with you, they're interested in working with you. He also says, "Also realize that the client has a problem that they need to solve and that the only way to solve the problem is they need to purchase—or spend money to purchase—or buy a solution. Guess what? That's you."

I believe that how true this mindset is for you depends on your funnel.

If you have little to no marketing or your marketing is very vague, a prospect might call you simply to get more information. That means they're interested, yes, but it also means that depending on the information you provide they may decide you're not what they're looking for. Your marketing didn't provide enough information to know if they're really interested, so there's no guaranteeing that you're their solution yet.

Similar to the example with the date, just because a woman agreed to a date with you doesn't automatically mean you're the one to fill all of her needs and make her feel whole. That mindset can make you cocky when you should be confident and arrogant when you should be humble.

PROS

  • Incredibly Informative Workbook

Having gone through the program, I feel like the workbook could've been provided on its own and would have been enough to level up your sales game even if only slightly. The workbook goes over the best uses for each Socratic approach, how to use them, and what tones of voice to use with each one.

  • High-Quality Video with Up-To-Date Information

After having gone through my fair share of courses, I've been hit with a few that weren't worth the price tag. Even one that was over a decade old. You can ignore this pro, but you'll appreciate it more if you're ever hit with a course with low-quality production and outdated, irrelevant information.

  • Added Resources

Chris Do included a module that contained bonus tips, references, added resources, and an array of helpful attachments and links.

It's a nice surprise that makes one feel like this was money well spent.

 

Matthew Whitewood and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodTransitioned

I'm reading some of this back wondering what the hell I was thinking with some of those dating analogies...I suppose every idea sounds great when you're only half-awake.

Was also locked out before I could finish proofreading. If Lucio reduced the timer for editing after a post is published he likely would have put it in the announcements section. So, it might be time to system reboot my laptop.

One of the notes I wanted to make was on Chris Do's use of the word "why"—especially with the Five-Year-Old Socratic approach. Voss avoids the word "why" because he believes it makes your message come across as accusatory. He prefers to use what he calls "calibrated questions" by framing every question with "how" or "what".

Also, loved Lucio's notes on the accusation audit. One of my concerns using it is exactly as he said: accidentally unselling your prospect.

Lucio Buffalmano, Matthew Whitewood and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew WhitewoodTransitioned

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.

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Thank you for the review Ali, it's awesome!

Ali Scarlett and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettMatthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

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

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood