Chris Voss’ Never Split the Difference has some thrilling stories and a stream of tricks to help you hard negotiate. Yes, to negotiate as if your life depended on it.
That hostage negotiation book is a good read for professionals in marketing and sales to close more deals on their terms. Check out my Never Split the Difference summary
And these Never Split the Difference tips for negotiation could be effective in many situations, not just closing deals. Consultants and freelancers can get better at business with the insights.
Here, this article compiles the best quotes from Never Split the Difference. These are some of the key snippets.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Become the Smartest Person
1) Negotiating doesn’t mean browbeating or grinding someone down.
2) Everyone wants to be understood and accepted.
3) Ask open-ended questions. It gives the other party the illusion of control.
Quickly Establish Rapport
4) The language of negotiation is a language of conversation and rapport.
5) We engage in selective listening, hearing only what we want to hear.
6) Negotiation is an act to extract and uncover as much information as possible.
7) Keep your sole focus on the other person and what they have to say.
8) Being right isn’t the key to a successful negotiation – having the right mindset is.
9) Your most powerful tool in any verbal communication is your voice.
10) Mirroring (imitating) encourages the other side to empathise and bond with you, keep them talking, or buy some time.
11) For a mirror to be effective, you’ve got to let it sit there and do its work. It needs a bit of silence.
Create Trust with Tactical Empathy
12) Creating an empathetic relationship is the basis of healthy human interaction.
13) Good negotiators identify and influence emotions instead of denying or ignoring them.
14) There isn’t a thing more frustrating than getting the feeling you aren’t being listened to.
Also read: 87 Inspirational Quotes for Startup Founders
15) Empathy is paying attention to another human being. One step beyond is tactical empathy.
16) Emotions aren’t the obstacles; they’re the means.
17) Label the emotions, give it a name, and you show you identify with how that person feels.
18) The trick to spotting feelings is to pay close attention to changes people undergo.
19) Once you’ve thrown out a label, be quiet and listen.
20) Consciously label each negative feeling and replace it with positive and compassionate thoughts.
Generate Momentum and Reveal the Real Stakes
21) Good negotiators know that their job is to gently guide their counterpart to discover their (negotiators’) goal as their own.
22) “Yes” and “Maybe” are often worthless. But “No” always alters the conversation. “No” starts conversations and helps you get to the final “Yes” of commitment.
23) Break the habit of attempting to get people to say “Yes.” Aim for a “No.”
Gain the Permission to Persuade
24) In the high-stakes world of negotiation, active listening is the key to success.
25) Use a summary to trigger a “That’s right.” It’s better than a “Yes.” Strive for it.
26) Silence is powerful.
Shape What is Fair
27) We all have irrational blind spots, hidden needs and undeveloped notions.
28) We compromise because it’s easy. At best, it satisfies neither side.
29) Give them deadlines. Deadlines often make people say and do impulsive things that are against their best interests.
30) What’s important is engaging in the process. People comply with agreements if they feel they’ve been treated fairly and lash out if they don’t.
31) To get real leverage, you have to persuade people that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through. Bend their reality.
Also read: You Have More Time than You Think
32) Pivoting to nonmonetary terms is one of the easiest ways to bend your counterpart’s reality to your point of view.
33) People take more risks to avoid a loss than to realise a gain.
Transform Conflict into Collaboration
34) Successful negotiation involves getting your counterpart to do the work and suggest your solution themselves.
35) The idea of negotiation is to introduce ideas and requests without sounding pushy.
36) Ask calibrated questions that start with “How” or “What.” to give your counterpart an illusion of control.
37) Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or minimally.
Ensure Follow Through from Everyone
38) Your job isn’t just to get to an agreement. It’s getting to one that can be implemented and ensuring that happens.
39) While an agreement is nice, a contract is better. A signed check is the best.
40) You must be aware of “behind the table” players.
41) Body language and tone of voice – not words – are our most powerful assessment tools.
42) If you hear a lot of “I,” “me,” and “my,” the real power to decide probably lies elsewhere.
43) Get the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation.
44) The art of closing a deal is to stay focused to the very end.
Reveal the Unknown Unknowns
45) What you don’t know can kill your deal. But to find it out is incredibly difficult.
46) The conventional questioning and techniques are designed to confirm known knowns and reduce uncertainty. They don’t dig into the unknowns – the Black Swans.
47) Sometimes, bits and pieces don’t add up. Look for what doesn’t make sense.
48) Your counterpart might not even know how vital a piece of information is or even that they shouldn’t reveal it. So, keep pushing, probing, and gathering information.
49) People are more apt to concede to someone they share a cultural similarity with.
50) It’s difficult to find Black Swans via email. Get face-time.
51) The minutes before and after the actual business often tell you more about the other side.
Get Your Price
52) To be good, you have to learn to be yourself at the bargaining table. To be great, you have to add to your strengths, not replace them.
53) By recognising who you are and who you’re dealing with, you can identify the negotiating strengths and weaknesses.
54) Don’t treat others the way you want to be treated; treat them the way they need to be treated.
55) Once you’re clear on your target price, be willing to walk away. Never be needy for a deal.
56) Your response must always be expressed in the form of strong yet empathic, limit-setting boundaries. It means: showing tough love, not hatred or violence.
OK, those were all the best Never Split the Difference quotes I could pull out from the book.
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