Negotiation is an interesting word. What comes to mind when you hear someone say “negotiation”? Do you tense up and get a little fearful that you’ll be swindled or taken advantage of? When we think of negotiating, most of us immediately think of the pain and agony of our last car purchase. Many of us avoid negotiating at all costs because it’s not fun. It makes us uncomfortable. And we want to avoid conflict.
What comes to mind when you hear someone say “crucial conversation”? That doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, it sounds important—like something that you don’t want to put off and really talk through. Well, here’s the thing, every crucial conversation that you have—whether it’s with a boss, client, spouse, or child is a negotiation.
In fact, just about every conversation you have in your business is a negotiation as well. Think about it …
That email exchange you had with a client about which package they’ll purchase next. You’re negotiating their next sale—Will they stick with what they had before? Will they spend more? Will they spend less? Will you totally blow it and lose the sale? Everything you say during this crucial conversation will have an impact on whether or not you retain that client.
What about that text you just sent an employee? Chances are you want something from them or are communicating important information. That’s a negotiation. You want the outcome to be in your favor and probably want the employee to be happy about it so they’ll keep working hard and attain great results.
I recently saw former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, speak at a conference. And I was so blown away by what he said that I immediately bought his book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, to learn more. I mean, everything the guy said was an actionable change that I could make in my business … RIGHT NOW.
I hope you’ll take a second to purchase the book too because each chapter has amazing information that will change the way you communicate in your business. (Click here to purchase.)
But I know that sometimes there is so much going on that reading a whole book is just not going to happen. So … I summarized each chapter with the key points and how I’ll be using and implementing them in my business for you to take advantage of right away. You’ll definitely want to read the book, but I’d hate for you to miss out because you’re busy. (Click here to download the book summary.)
One of the key pieces of information from the book addresses exactly why many of us don’t like to negotiate—and that is because they way we’ve been taught to always seek a “yes” response from our counterpart is totally wrong and unnatural.
Voss says: “Saying ‘No’ gives the speaker the feeling of safety, security, and control. You use a question that prompts a ‘No’ answer, and your counterpart feels that by turning you down he has proved that he’s in the driver’s seat. Good negotiators welcome—even invite—a solid ‘No’ to start, as a sign that the other party is engaged and thinking.”
How can you get a “No” right away when speaking with clients about a future purchase? Instead of asking someone the usual “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” ask “Is now a bad time to talk?” Do you see the difference? If you get a “Yes, now is a bad time” on the second question, most people would typically follow up with a better time and you can simply get back to them. If they say, “No, now is a good time” then you have their total focus.
The same principle of seeking a “No” response can be applied to emails and texts that go unreturned by clients—so annoying and frustrating!
According to Voss: “There’s nothing more irritating than being ignored. Being turned down is bad, but getting no response at all is the pits. It makes you feel invisible, as if you don’t exist. And it’s a waste of your time. We’ve all been through it: You send an email to someone you’re trying to do business with and they ignore you. Then you send a polite follow-up and they stonewall you again. So what do you do? You provoke a ‘No’ with this one-sentence email. Have you given up on this project?”
I’m sorry, but this is pure gold. How many clients do you have that never got back to you after taking a free class, or free week, or after finishing an introductory offer? If you’re like me, lots. And we still try to connect with them to bring them back into the studio. By changing our approach to include the words “Have you given up on …” to the email will provoke that “No” response and get them engaged in speaking with us again.
These are just 2 actionable items that I learned in this book!
To read the book yourself click here.
To download the summary prepared by me, click here.
Hopefully you’ll check out both and get some great ideas to improve the crucial conversations in your business including, client retention and communicating with your employees.