Chris Voss – [Negotiation]
Chris Voss is World’s #1 Negotiation Coach, Bestselling Author “Never Split The Difference” – CEO at The Black Swan Group, Ltd.
Chris talks about:
- How long do you have to make that first impression?
- How did you make your first impression count?
- How do I get the customer who is fired up to calm down and get them to trust you?
- What is the power of an open-ended question?
- How do you continue to push somebody to the limit, but still gaining their trust?
- What is mirroring and why it works?
- What is the beauty of silence?
- How to get comfortable being uncomfortable?
- What is the importance of visualization?
- What tactics should a Customer Service Rep use to diffuse a frustrated customer?
- Why you shouldn’t say “I’m Sorry” in Customer Service.
Nick Glimsdahl 0:00
Welcome to the Press 1 For Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Chris Voss for the five people who do not know who you are, Chris is the world’s number one negotiation coach, CEO of the Black Swan Group, a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies. Chris founded the Black Swan group in 2008, upon his retirement from the FBI, where he was the FBI, lead international kidnapping negotiator, last he’s also the best-selling author of the book never split the difference, negotiating as if your life depends on it. And just recently, it made the books authority’s best influence books of all time, Chris, welcome to the podcast.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Hey, man, I’m happy to be here. Happy to be on. Thanks for having me. Yes, sir. So one question I ask every guest is what’s one thing people might not know about you? Wow. I’m a grandfather. How about that?
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference 0:59
Yeah. And also, you know, I grew up in Iowa. I’m a small town. I will boy, no, I know the accent doesn’t sound like it. But I grew up in a small Midwestern town. I love that being a grandfather is a great honor. Yeah, it’s cool. You know, my son, Brandon runs my company. Actually, we got a team with a black swan group, we got an entire team of coaches, negotiation coaches. On Father’s Day, last year, he became a father and I became a grandfather. That’s awesome. So cool. So let’s dig into your book club bet you got this awesome book, never split the difference. Negotiating as if your life depends on it. There’s a lot of stuff that you’ve been through in your time in the FBI. And you’ve taken that and put it into a book, you’re kicking butt and taking names now at the Black Swan group. Let’s get into it. Because you know what, I want to help as many people as we possibly can, you know, wherever you are, we, we want to find a way to help you. So let’s get into relationship stuff. Alright, so the first question I got is, how long do you have to make that first impression? So there’s, I want to answer that a couple different ways. Because what’s more important than the first impression is a lasting impression. But you got seven to 10 seconds to make a first impression. And there are two bells, you need to ring in that seven to 10 seconds. And you can only ring him in a really counterintuitive way. But seven to 10 seconds for the first impression. Yeah. What is that? So first of all, trust and competence are the two things, which seemed like a really tall order at the very beginning, which is why a lot of people you know, it’s not laying out your resume. It’s not saying trust me, people don’t trust you by saying, if you say trust me, and everybody knows that, but here’s something that most people don’t know. Because empathy is about demonstrating understanding. And you don’t show that you’ve understood people by saying, I understand. This doesn’t happen. So those of you that are out there that think thinking you’re saying I understand is going to make the other side feel like you understand them. You know, I’m sorry, I got I got bad news for you. It’s as effective as saying Trust me.
And so as a hostage negotiator. How did you talked about those two things, but you got people that are robbing banks that are taking hostages? How did you make that first impression cam? First of all, your tone of voice. You know, one of the things that we teach in a black swan method is, you know, what tones of voice are good, what tones of voice are bad, basically, especially at the beginning, the late night, FM DJ voice, now I’m impacting your mirror neurons, and actually starting trust with you, just based on the sound of my voice. It’s a neurological response. That voice is reassuring. It feels trustworthy. So before I’ve even finished the sentence, I’ve gotten started on building trust. You know, when I negotiate the chase, Manhattan Bank Robbery, hostage taking back in the last century, you know, I don’t even want to say what year was the second bank robber on the inside surrendered to me personally, he came on the phone after we’d been on the phone for five hours. He didn’t know that negotiators it switched from the other guy to me from Joe Chris. But he gets on the phone and about 90 seconds in he says I trust you. That was completely based on my tone of voice. So that the mechanism if you will, people these days like to talk about hacks and shortcuts. What you’re really after is the most effective mechanism. The mechanism for trust. Before you finish the sentence is your tone of voice. So in customer service and customer experience he always think of in customer service specifically right you get the people that are fired up, they’re ready to rip that customer service representative in
One, right and you’re saying, how do I get them to calm down and maybe not match that voice or their cadence, but slow down the conversation to get them to trust you once they trust you, then you can start solving a problem. Yeah, there’s, you know, you touch on something that is so misunderstood, because there’s a lot of training out there that says, match their cadence. And then they’ll feel that you’re like, and then start taking your voice down. And people go like, Holy mackerel, you know, that worked?
Well, it worked. In spite of the first part. What really worked was when you started to take your voice down, that’s when there wasn’t this bonding moment while they were melting down. So you should meltdown simultaneously. You know, they didn’t go like holy cow. I’m out that he’s mountain down. We must be alike. I’m willing to follow his lead. No, no, no. No. I feel that.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Thank God, you’re is out of control as I am. You know, that’s just, that’s nonsense. Yeah. But people miss it. Because of when the mechanism went into gear was when you started to take your voice down. They say like, wow, you know, that worked. Yeah, it worked. But you, you know, it was delayed because you screwed up the first part. Yeah, it could have worked a lot quicker if you would have been a buffoon at the beginning. Exactly. Yeah. So in the book you talked about listening is the cheapest, yet most important concession. Can you explain that? Yeah, you know, it doesn’t cost you anything to listen. And listening is not simply not talking, waiting for your time. You know, a lot of people misconstrue silence is listening, when they’re really waiting for that time. You know, listening is actually hearing what other people say tactical empathy is a demonstration of understanding. And you don’t demonstrate your understanding by saying, I understand. You know, you listen, you dial in, use one of the Black Swan tools, probably a label, it seems like it sounds like it looks like or if you if your game is stepped up to the next level, based on our training, you can adjust that slightly, but a hostage negotiator is going to say right off the bat, you know, sound upset. You sound like, I want to get out of here. Get out of there, you sound like sounds like the days not going, as you planned, you know, that’s dialing into showing demonstrating an understanding of the dynamic. And what is the importance about labeling those fears. So completely counterintuitive, labeling fears. Diffuses. We’re much more into neuroscience these days with tactical empathy, application of empathy. With a tactical understanding from neuroscience, neuroscience has shown us really clearly through experiments, and a bunch of people have done these, the first time I ran across the experiment was in a book called the upward spiral, where they put people in fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging equipment where you could they could watch the electrical flow of thoughts in the brain, it lights up like electricity, they show people a picture that induces a negative thought, you know, could be a puppy in the rain could be a baby, she could you know, make you know, who knows, it doesn’t matter. You know, it could be little old lady all by herself looking lonely. All they know is that it induces negative thoughts, the person sees a picture, and the appropriate areas of the brain are pre identified is where essentially negative emotions are amplified lights up the amygdala. And then they simply ask the people, what are you feeling, which is a self-label. And every time the people would self-label simply call, the negative emotion of electrical activity would diminish. Now there’s two important things to remember. First of all, it happened every time. Secondly, the degree of impact was not always the same. You can label a negative emotion with someone and it might look like it had no effect, you know, they may continue to stare at you. Well, it had an impact. It just wasn’t as much as you hoped for sometimes, you label negative emotions and you watch the person completely relax. Or, you know, my son, Brian has got a great story where he was standing in front of a judge who was upset with him in a courtroom.
And, you know, he did what we referred to in a black swan method as an accusations audit, which is taking a scientific wild ass gas and swag and all the negative emotions that somebody is feeling and calling them all out. I mean, going forward, firing every cannonball you and he’s, as he’s doing that, he says she just kind of starts to she just starts to twitch and you know, because the electrical activity in our amygdala is just like Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, completely changing in an instant. And, and she looked at him, and he ends up walking out of the courtroom having to go attend a course, when walking in, he was facing a steep fine for the driving violation and potential jail time. And he didn’t walk in with a clean record, you know, very few 20 somethings do not have heavy feet. I had a heavy foot when I was in my 20s. You know, we’re all racecar drivers. We all think we’re driving a NASCAR, male and female until you hit the age of about 25, which is where everybody’s automobile insurance drops, because neurologically, that’s when our brains pretty much finished forming. But you know, 18 to 25. Most of us don’t even know there’s brake pedal on a car.
Nick Glimsdahl 11:00
He’s there’s a there’s an E brake.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Yeah, yeah. He was no different anybody else he just had to get caught. So but and so he’s facing stiff penalties. And again, nothing based on deactivating the negatives in the judge’s brain. And he watched the electrical activity diminished by simply by calling him out not denying it. You know, among the things he said was, he didn’t say, I don’t want you to think I’m a stupid undisciplined kid. He said, I know, I look like a stupid undisciplined kid, the two millimeter shift. Because you know, you’re going to stay in front of a judge or anybody else. And you’re going to say to yourself, what do I want them to not think? Yeah, I don’t want you to think I’m a stupid and disciplined kid. The two millimeter shift on this neurologically sound approach in tactical empathy is to say, I’m sure I do look this way. And you just watch that stuff, deactivate. The point, though, is that he didn’t say he was.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference 12:02
Sure, there’s a lot to that the tiny little distinctions that almost everybody gets wrong with empathy. Understanding is not agreement demonstrating an understanding is not agreeing that it’s true. And in today’s vernacular, everybody thinks that empathy and sympathy are synonymous. It is not it never was the origin of the word, the etymology of the word. I always get etymology and entomology mixed up. But it never was sympathy, it never was compassion. It’s a compassionate thing to do. You know, a writer that I admire greatly. Steven Kotler said empathy is the transmission of information, sympathies reaction to the transmission, it’s a great way to think about it. Transmitting information is not disagreement or agreement. I’m sure I look like a stupid kid. That’s the transmission of information. And as you’ve heard accurately, point out, not an agreement.
Nick Glimsdahl 13:10
There’s a lot of power behind that I think you guys should have a Google AdWords that say, how to talk to the judge after the speeding ticket is $100 course to get out of a speeding ticket, but how to get out of jail, get out of jail free, for only $9.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
There you go, be a black swan, attend a black swan training and learn how to get out of your traffic tickets, I see a market.
So tell me about the power of an open-ended question. You know, the real application of an open-ended question is to get people to think it’s not to get an answer. Now, it’s an OK mechanism to get an answer. You know, like, what’s the biggest challenge you face?
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
If the person has enough gas in their mental tank? They can answer that question. You got to catch them in the morning, while they’re on our first cup of coffee. There’s a whole bunch of neuroscience reasons why you cannot get a good answer to that question. Probably after 11 o’clock in the morning for sure. After one o’clock in the afternoon, circadian rhythm, decision fatigue a whole bunch of things. On the other hand, you can ask that question at any time if you want them to stop and think Daniel Kahneman would call that slow thinking, in-depth critical thinking. The classic that question stopped me in my tracks. You know, that’s a physical manifestation, the power of a great open-ended question, stop them dead in their tracks. And if you choose those, you wanted to start with the word what are the word how and stay away from any other opening question.
One of the open-ended questions that I love that you say is how am I supposed to do that? Yeah. And you use that as it FBI hostage negotiator and use that in the black swan group training. And what is the power behind that is it puts them back in their seat right where they have to help you make that the
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference 15:00
Yeah, you know, you’re and you’re absolutely right on how it’s one of the critical things in a black swan method. And as I said before, a stop you in your tracks question, stop them dead in their tracks? And how am I supposed to do that hits on a lot of levels, we refer to it on our team as forced empathy, stop them in their tracks, force them to take a look at you again, the issue is not the answer. Now nine times out of 10, their answer is going to be something that you love. And the good news, bad news about this technique, like it’s only one thing that we teach in our company, but it is so powerful. And in and of itself, it can make such a massive difference in people’s lives, that sometimes that’s the only thing that they learn. Because they’re like him, bang, you’re in a different world. As soon as you learn that, you get the other side, cut the price in half, you get the other side, you know, just massively changing their position based on the strength of that one single Black Swan method. And then the one time out of 10 It’s so effective. You’re used to hitting great not just home runs, but Grand Slam home runs. The one time you know you miss people just like holy cow. Ah, I don’t know what to do. I you know, I got that from somebody the other day she said I used How am I supposed to do that? And it didn’t work. Now, that tells me so much. Number one. She was so flummoxed by it not working. She was used to it working ridiculously like a magic spell like she’d been to Hogwarts and been taught the Petronas charm, you know? And so I said, Well, no, it’s not that it didn’t work, it’s that you’re so used to get a different result, you misinterpreted the data that you got back at one time in 10. By the way, nine out of 10 successes is higher than anything else that anybody else is using. But the one time in 10, the person is going to come back with that your problem? Or do you want the deal? You do it, which is to immediately put it right back on you? And she called? She said, Well, I was a failure? Well, no, it’s not a failure. What it just told you is, you’re dealing with someone who’s not collaborative. Now that made you smarter, wandering, going from wondering if they weren’t collaborative, to knowing at least on this point, it also tells you as a negotiator, your job so that you don’t leave money on the table, is to find the limits. And with that application of the Black Swan method, you just found the limit without driving the other side from the table. Because under all of the circumstances, when you push somebody to the limit, the gauges when they start to meltdown. You know, when I long time ago, I wrote read herb Cohen’s book, you can negotiate anything, you know, if you’re into reading the literature of negotiation, everybody that I know, read this book is probably the first negotiation book, Herb told people push him till they’re genuinely angry, genuinely angry, because that’s when you know, they’re at their limit. There’s always a toxic residue from genuine anger. And I remember doing that. I remember thinking like, well, cool, you know, I’m gonna continue to pan this guy, until he’s angry, until they pound the table, and they go, cuz that would hurt me, that would cost me I would lose money. And you know, Herbes instruction was like, awesome. He just found the limit, you did your job. Where we are here is find a limit, without inducing that sort of anger, which is radioactive toxic waste, which is not what you need for long term successful relationships. So that the university other thing to misinterpret a patient of the data, how do you not leave money on the table? You push the other side, too, they say, because if you want the deal, you’re gonna do it. And you’re like, awesome. I just did my job. Yeah, there is a ton in there too. Like, how do I continue to push somebody to that limit by still gaining their approval or trust along the way and building that relationship? Because there’s, there’s a fine line between that of pushing them to that frustration point to saying, Hey, I still like you. I still love your service. I still love the product, I still appreciate you. But here’s our limit. Yeah. And you hit on a really important point in long term relationships, or how you get wealthy. It’s a combination of assertion and empathy. And actually, in the opposite order, empathy proceeds a search. Another thing that is like required reading in our company, and it’s at the point now, where coaches that we’re going to bring on have to read this, and it’s Bob manoukian, wrote a great book called Beyond winning second chapter is the best chapter on empathy.
I’ve ever read anywhere, and I got a negotiation book. And the new Kunz chapter on empathy is better than what we put up tension between empathy and assertiveness. And I remember looking at the chapter title thinking like nobody doing it no tension, and making it sound like it’s an either or thing. And then I get into the chapter and I realize it’s almost a fake title, because he clearly lays out the case that empathy precedes assertion. And an empathy makes your assertion more effective. And his definition of empathy, he just flat out says, it is not agreement, it’s not even liking them. And when you can understand empathy, that way, you can be a black swan, I love that there’s a ton to tend to get to that black swan level. So I recommend everybody taking a peek at that book never split the difference. But though, a couple more questions I have for you one of them as I’m gonna interrupt you for one second, because I want to go off on a tangent on a point because you’re talking about everybody. Hmm, whoever you are, you’re at some stage of your journey as a negotiator. You might be just at the beginning, you might be intermediate, you might be advanced, we got something for you, at the Black Swan group, we will meet you where you are. And we will help you move ahead. And the point that I really wanted to go off on just now when you said everyone, everyone is at a different stage in their journey, meet you where you are. And the point is, is that everybody’s in negotiation, whether they know it or not. Yes, amen.
Nick Glimsdahl 21:44
So one of the techniques that you do is something called mirroring. And how is that you call it the closest thing to a Jedi mind trick? I love that. But tell me more tell the listeners a little bit about it and why it works.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Well, you know, Black Swan mirroring is not the mirror that you hear. And also the nonsense where you know, if they put their hand to their chin, you put your hand to your chin, if they lean to one side, you lean to the same side. This is not body language mirror. You know that’s, that doesn’t even come from a great place. mirroring is starting out by repeating the last 123 words of what the other person has just said, is just said, Yeah, the last one to three words. See, I just may read myself. Yeah, last one to three ish words, it could be one word, it could be three words, it is the least amount of thought. It’s the simplest mechanism there is you don’t even have to contemplate somewhere in the dim recesses of your mind. No matter how startled and flummoxed you are by the insanity. It’s coming from the other side, you can pull out the last one to three words. And it’s a great skill to use when someone has just said something that has just sort of so caught you off guard that you’re just flummoxed. You don’t know what to say to it’s a great way to give you time and contemplation without having the other side have any idea. That’s what you’re doing. So it’s great to getting you back on your feet. Now what does it do the other side, they want to talk some more. They love it. Not only they want to talk some more. And this is another example of how a black swan tool is a is a next level tool. If you didn’t understand something that somebody just said, you probably say what did you mean by that? Common guidance? ask good questions. Gather information. That’s a word question. What did you mean by that? What are they going to do? Quite likely, they’re going to repeat what they just said with the exact same words only ladder just like an American overseas. Yeah, well, I want to don’t it you know, when you’re pointing out a croissant and in France, give me that doughnut? What I’ve done it you know, we say it again.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference 23:53
But we do that to each other. Because for whatever reason, the words that we’ve chosen in our brain, make the most sense for our vernacular. Now, many times it’s got to be rewarded. And a mirror actually gets people to say the same thing in different words. And it will be more enlightening for you and for them. You know, my son, Brandon, he is he’s got a great story, which I think is probably in a book. We’re prepping to do a training. And we’re trying to get the notebooks together. But when I say no book, I got one picture in my head and, and he’s got a different picture in his head. Now in his head, a notebook is basically a folder with pockets. And that is not what we’re supposed to be getting together. And so I asked him literally I say, hey, you know, the notebooks ready? And he goes, what do you mean by notebooks because he suspects that we’re not on the same sheet of music. So what do I do? Now blocks, I say the same word again, only louder and we go through the three times until finally he
There’s me. He goes notebooks. And I go, yeah, three ring binders.
And he’s like, look how in my mind, a notebook and a three ring binder are two distinct things. And that’s what the mirror does, you know, and and he married me and I and I probably I probably did calm down a little bit. So a mirroring is just repeating the last 123 ish words. A lot of people say, Well, can I repeat words that weren’t just the last ones? And the answer is, yeah, when you get good at it, then that mirror becomes a surgical tool that you can use all over the conversation to guide things you said doesn’t even know you’re doing.
So with mirroring and labeling, what is the beauty of silence? After you ask that question, or mirroring? Or it sounds like it seems like it feels like or sounds like right.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Yes, silence. It’s so powerful. You know that we’ve even changed the terms in the book, we call that effective poses. Now we call it dynamic sounds, you know, as the Black Swan method continues to evolve, and as we learn this, you know, and silence really comes in several doses, you know, there’s a half a breath, there’s a moment moments, three seconds.
And dynamic silences, when you just shut the front door, you shut the heck up, and you start counting 1000s to yourself, and look at no glare at him. You know, don’t look like a serial killer when you’re looking at him. But Count 1000s we had people that we’ve trained, who said, I’ve never counted past seven, I go expecting to go till forever. Some most people never get past three. One person told us and my company’s literally coached 1000s in all situations, one person has told us to get the 45 Wow, now that that’s some serious patients. But patience is a weapon. Dynamic silence brings things to you in a way that after label or mirror, but nothing else will, I mean, shut the heck up Shut the front door. Dynamic silence. And, you know, here’s the range of stuff we coached.
When Brandon was 26 or 27, he coached a $35 million difference in a merger. Another coach Derek, he coached the $20,000 settlement from an insurance company when they were required to give me nothing. statute of limitations was two weeks from running out in that case, it was December was less time to try to get anybody to do anything in December, let alone pay you 20 grand they didn’t have to pay settle that out. I mean, the team has coached everything, it’s, actually kind of fun. I love that, that three to five seconds is a long time in silence, especially looking at somebody either over the phone or eyeball to eyeball that that time is is when you’re not used to it. And it’s the same with mirroring and labeling when you’re not used to it. It gets uncomfortable. Yeah, but the more that you use it to your advantage, the more comfortable you’re going to get. And the better you’re going to get at it. Yeah. And how do you get comfortable with it in your small stakes negotiations. You know, practice with your Starbucks coffee, barista, or whatever they call those people. You know, your Lyft driver with your checkout clerk at the grocery store, you’re not going to do a 45 second campout on dynamic silence.
In a negotiation, where you got a lot of skin in the game. No one tries a skill and executes successfully the first time in the championship event. No professional athlete who wins championships hasn’t practiced and rehearsed when it didn’t matter. Because that’s how you get better. Yeah, professional athletes, not just practice, but visualize what they’re doing. So the same is true with what you’re doing.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Right. critical, critical distinction. I know from the the way that you use the term, most people, you know, they reenact what happened and how it went down. Or if they reenact it in their head. They imagine themselves losing their cool, but a visualization is taking the same tape and editing it. So then instead of losing your cool or a mat remembering it, how it went down, you if you visualize yourself doing it right? Like in a conversation where you got mad and screamed at somebody. You go back and you envision yourself saying, Give me a day to think about this. And then that’s a rehearsal. So I’m really glad you brought that
Nick Glimsdahl 30:00
That visualization is a key skill for of champions. Yeah. So a couple people asked me to ask you one of some of my listeners I so I got a couple questions from the listeners though. One of them is, Chris Voss uses negotiation tactics when he has something they want. So helicopter cash, a getaway car, sweet interest intrinsically has something that they want or need. I’ve struggled with his tactic in a setting where I don’t have something someone needs, but they have something I want resources, budget, etc. So I’ve always been curious about his thoughts in those situations where things are lopsided, lopsided, no term for leverage, leverage, like beauties in the eye of the beholder.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
It’s remarkable people will will do for you, if they feel like, you know, we got to say, never be mean to someone who could hurt you by doing nothing. Well, that’s almost everybody I talked to, or the very circumstance where you got you think you have nothing to give, and they got something you want? Well, the flip side have never been mean to somebody could hurt you by doing nothing is pretty much anybody can help you if they felt like so how do you get them to feel like, again, the question, really counterintuitive, it’s going to be deactivating the negatives. Give you an example. I’m on a first date with a young lady just a couple of weeks ago, reservation, a nice nice Steakhouse in walking us in, they walk us right past the table I want to sit in, and they walk us to the back room. That’s like isolated, no windows storage room, that, you know, mediocre tables. And I know, you know, there’s social distancing, I’d never been in there before the saving of primetime tables for their favorite customers. But I want a great table. My reservation is not putting me there. Plus, I don’t want the waitress going back to the maitre D and getting shot down. So we walk up to this table and I look at this young lady and I go, I am going to be the worst customer that you have tonight. Late Night FM DJ voice there with the delay Heard that? Yeah. And then dynamic silence. Because I gotta let this baby sink in. I gotta let her amygdala kick in. And, you know, bad customer. I mean, she’s thinking about the people that, you know, they want to they want to sit there and eat barefoot. Or maybe they want to stick their face in their plate. Or, you know, what, what, what’s the range of bad behavior that qualifies, she got a vision, all this stuff in a split second. I know it’s gonna happen. Because I want my ask to seem like a relief seem easy. If your ask is a relief, and fulfilling it is going to make him feel good. So she just she just felt crestfallen in front of me. And I go, I want to sit at that table over there. And she goes, Oh, oh, course. Of course. She walks us right over, I get the best seat in the house, we set right down. And my date is impressed.
She’s like, I don’t know what this guy just did, but it worked.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Yeah, yeah. So you know, asymmetric situation, and I get nothing. You know, you could say, well, yeah, you know, tips.
You gotta pay this, you gotta be that, like, you can imagine all sorts of reasons where you got a disadvantage. If you’re in a conversation with them, you have the opportunity to create a better outcome and make them feel great about collaborating with you. I remember hearing his say, saying, you know, in a book about men being more appealing to women, you know, how to be more of a gentleman.
And the saying was, you know, never let a woman leave your presence, without having been made to feel better about herself as a result of the interaction. And I know sort of butchered that. But you know, if they interacted with you, she should feel better about herself. You know, point of fact, no human should ever leave your presence, without having been made to feel better about themselves in the interaction. And with that being the case, the humans are your waiters, your waitresses, your Lyft drivers, your Starbucks coffee, the barista is the person behind the counter at the airline. And then and then that becomes part of your mo and your world becomes a different place. It just becomes a more pleasant place to be in.
Yeah, I would say the same is true in customer service. Nobody’s going to bring a problem and leave their life behind. They’re bringing their problem and frustration. I need my oil change. Somebody just hit me. I need gas. My kids got f grades. They come in, they’re coming to the situation. How do you provide that? That same experience where they left that situation better than they arrived and I love that how you brought that to the relationship with we’re on the dating site. But you know, when it comes to the contact center, like I said, at the very beginning, most people don’t call into the contact center happy. I always joke that they listen to the rocky music, the soundtrack, but either they’re 10-15 push-ups, and they get ready to fire it out right there. So what tactics do you recommend using when customers are ready outside of and maybe there’s a blend of all of these? But is it? Is it just listening is a tactical empathy? Is it mirroring? Is it labeling? Or is it something else, if I’m working on the receiving side of those calls, I’m going to start out by labeling the emotion that I hear, and, and being willing to make it sound like, I’m partially comfortable, because they think you are.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
So I would probably start with it, it sounds like what we did has really upset you. Now, that’s not saying that you actually it sounds like what we did is upset you that’s empathy.
Now, there’s something that I hear constantly that I understand why it’s being used, and I, I utterly despise it. And I know the customer service reps are trained to say, I’m sorry, that happened to you.
Sort of an apology, I knew that was coming. Everybody does it. Now. And first of all, you say it because you’re trained, and one in three people. Hearing the words, I’m sorry, is almost life changing for them. And those stick out in your brain, the fact that the other person detests it, two out of three times, is lost on you, because they probably don’t immediately scream at you for it, I can tell you that I feel like screaming at the person. I don’t. Because what I feel like when somebody says that, to me is I’m talking to an idiot, and screaming at an idiot never helped me. So I know you’re trained to do that. And I know in one in three times, it’s a life changing moment for the other person. And you remember that and you value that because if you’re working customer service, you probably actually care about the people that are calling in. You know, and not everybody customer service does. But you probably actually care. And to have that kind of a positive effect on someone is genuinely meaningful for you. And you don’t realize that agree that the other two out of three detested because they don’t give you that strong of a reaction. But you know, I got I got really solid reason Black Swan group we have tested literally in excess of 20,000 people for their conflict type Thomas Killman conflict mode instrument is a testing tool that we used to use, we’ve now adapted for all purposes. We believe the world splits evenly into three types, fight, flight, make friends. And we got no shortage of data that makes us very confident in that assessment. And it doesn’t matter if you’re Chinese, or Latino or African or Western European, or vegan, it doesn’t make any difference. The world splits very evenly into thirds. We’ve pulled globally everybody people in every country, we get solid data, fight, flight, make friends evenly into thirds. The make friends person lives for the apology, and apologies are transformative for them and cannot be transformed. until they’ve heard it. The other two out of the three all say the same thing. It’s a cheap currency. You didn’t change my problem by apologizing. I still got the same problem. It was there before you apologize, and it’s thereafter. But the customer service people are trained to apologize. And they have some very solid feedback that encourages.
Yeah, I mean, even on the opposite side as a consumer, if somebody says I’m sorry, I should just label or mirror it. Say I’m sorry. And hear back what they what they’re going to say. I always try to think of it from the consumer side too. So, Chris, I wrap up every podcast with two questions. Super easy. What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year, so parameters. And then if you can leave a note to all customer service professionals, it’s gonna hit everybody’s desk Monday at 8am so they can acknowledge and understand to do something about it past 11 they’re toast. What would it say?
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
All right, the book in the last year probably taken for a ride by bog Oh no, no, the ride of a lifetime by Bob Iger, former CEO of Disney, relentless in his understanding and application of empathy throughout his career. Got written off time after time. I was in college
company after company that was bought by other companies, what normally happens when the company you’re in is purchased. Shortly thereafter, you’re shown the door or you get out, he rose to the top every time, every time ended up in charge of Disney not only end up in charge at Disney, but was told explicitly when he was the number two in Disney. And he was up for the number one job. The board was against them. Because they saw him as another version of the former CEO who’d been booted and forced out. But his applicate Not only did he get the job, but he’s stayed in a job for like 15 years. So the ride of a lifetime Bob Bob Iger great book, interesting dude, well written, a lot of times books that are they’re bad grade stories and not that well written, I find this one to be very well written. Alright, second question, that note I put on people’s desk, take the time to actually hear people out, you’re going to get basically a seven to one rate of return on your time, because people are going to continue to come back to you until they feel heard out. And if you hear him out in the first meeting, it doesn’t take that long, very short period of time. You know, show them demonstrate your understanding, get it That’s right out of them, you got to do once, they’re gonna keep coming back to you on bad implementation, misunderstanding of ideas, and that resistance to what you wanted, Time after time after time, until they feel heard out. Or until you fire them will they quit or everybody moved on, or the project got implemented? horribly, the rate of return on hearing people out is easily seven to one. Every every every 10 minutes spent hearing somebody out is going to save you 70 minutes trying to fix things that have been going bad. So hear people out, demonstrate your understanding. You’re going to add time back into your life, you’re not going to know where it came from. And then so how can a black swan group meet you where you are? my listeners are all yours. First of all, subscribe to the newsletter. You want to learn the Black Swan method you want to be a black swan. The text message you send is Black Swan method three award spaces in between that cap sensitive text to the number 33 triple seven, again, Black Swan method 233 777 you get a response back to sign you up for the newsletter, which is actionable. I mean, it’s free. But that’s not what makes it valuable. It’s concise and it’s actionable. It’s the gateway to our website, Black Swan, Ltd, calm on that website. We have training for you, wherever you are, we’ve got a real basic training, then nine to give you some skills to get you started. I think it’s a 90 minute session, relatively speaking, it’s low priced, we got some high dollar training that is gonna do you no good if that’s not where you are in your journey. It doesn’t make any difference whether you’re a man or a woman, it doesn’t make any difference. If your coach is a man or woman, we got some female coaches, we will meet you where you are. Come to the Black Swan group will help you move into a more enjoyable life.
I wouldn’t highly recommend it. I am on your guys’ email list. And it’s a ton of valuable information is not just it’s not just about the tactical empathy. It’s not just about learning about the FBI tactics that you’ve been going through, but it’s everyday life. Like there’s a ton of things that you could just go through and listen in on and use and try to practice and like you said, start with the barista. Start with what you say in the book about buying your Toyota pickup truck. Right and just sitting there and waiting and having the sales guy scramble and go through that process. So highly recommend checking it out. buy the book, never split the difference negotiation if your life depends on it, and sign up for everything they have to offer. But start with where you’re at today. Chris, thank you so much, man. I appreciate it. It’s been a blast. I really really really enjoyed it got a lot of value it and I’m sure my listeners did as well.
Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference
Thanks, Nick. Pleasure being on
The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.
Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:
- Customer service & customer experience leaders
- A hostage negotiator
- Award-winning authors
- Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
- Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
- Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:
- What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
- If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?
You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.
If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.
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