Welcome to Episode 83 of Suncast!

Did you check out last weeks episode with Ed Feo? If not, Listen to it here!

Today we're going to drill down on the ways that you have been losing in your negotiations, in business and life, and the subtle ways you can fix it, and stop missing out on the spoils of your labor.

There's no formal guest today, but instead, we get a virtual guest by the name of Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference – possibly one of the best books I've read in a decade. I've personally used the tools I've learned from it to negotiate a 150% fee increase in a contract negotiation, more than once.

It's the single most recommended book, by me, to all my business colleagues as well as family & friends, and for good reason. It's changed how I do business and has materially changed my life, and I've been waiting for a good time to share it with you because YOU deserve to have this information in your hands!  

After we've studied this material together, you'll know:

  • The keys to spotting liars and decision makers
  • The power of No
  • The three types of Yes's
  • A self-effacing strategy that works every time
  • And the 2 magic words you need to hear in every negotiation (That's right, the magic words) 

Before we dive into today's conversation:

I've had many many of you email, text, WhatsApp and even come up in person and congratulate or encourage me for SunCast, and the most common refrain is, "Nico, don't stop, what you're doing is great, and it's important." And that encouragement and feedback have been a major reason why I've persevered with this passion project over the last 2.5 yrs and 82 episodes. 

But, real costs... each month, I spend over $1100 to make sure that the episode is the highest quality it can be, often times flying or driving to interview guests in person.  

I'm announcing here for the first time that next week I'll be launching a funding campaign for SunCast. The details will be laid out in an upcoming email to my email subscribers

I look forward to sharing more, so join the mailing list now so you don't miss the announcement in the next couple of episodes.

Join the mailing list here and receive a free cheat sheet to own your next negotiation.


Chris Voss was the FBI’s lead international hostage negotiator and he’s the author of an excellent new book: Never Split The Difference

Think you know what really influences people? Maybe you’ve even read other books on the subject before? Well, you’re probably making a lot of mistakes. Chris has some of the most counterintuitive — and effective — techniques you’ve never heard about. 


Don’t Try To Get Them To Say “Yes”

People are reluctant to say “yes” because it makes them commit to something. It makes them defensive.

When people say “no”, they feel they’ve protected themselves. “No” is protection. “Yes” is commitment. People worry about what have I just committed to by saying yes. But when you say “no”, you don’t commit to anything. Since you just protected yourself, you have a tendency to relax. People actually become a lot more open if they feel they’ve protected themselves. 

“Start with NO”  

A lot of people think you get people to say easy “yes”-es so that when the situation gets more difficult, they are more primed to say “Yes”. 

“Not true,” said Chris. “People are too primed now to say ‘yes’. They know what you are up to. Get them to say ‘No’ first. That’s the starting point.” 

Ok, well How can I do that? 

“Ask them a question like, ‘Do you want this project to fail?’ or ‘Is this situation not going to work out for either side.’ ” 

They don’t want to fail, so they will say “No”. Now you can start to find common ground.

“How Am I Supposed To Do That?” 

Playing dumb works. In fact, being helpless works too. Asking “How am I supposed to do that?” is deceptively powerful. 

It gets them to solve your problems for you and in a way they deem acceptable.  

Calibrated “How” questions are a surefire way to keep negotiations going. They put pressure on your counterpart to come up with answers, and to contemplate your problems when making their demands… The trick to “How” questions, is that correctly used, they are gentle and graceful ways to say “No” and guide your counterpart to develop a better solution — your solution. 

By getting the other side to think about your situation it very often gets them to grant concessions. And they’re concessions that they’re okay with and will likely stick to because it was their idea to offer them.  

Preparation is Key

List your negatives down on a piece of paper. Figure out your terms and conditions in advance. 

Do some basic work so when you come up with specific numbers you can back it up. 

Make a preparation sheet. 

You Need To Do An “Accusation Audit” 

If it’s an argument with a loved one or a business negotiation that’s headed south, the other side probably has made some accusations about you. “You don’t listen” or “You’re being unfair.” 

And the common response is to start your reply with “I’m not ____.” You deny their feelings. Boom — you just lost the patient, doctor. They now assume you’re not on the same page. That they can’t trust you. 

So what does Chris say to do instead? List every terrible thing they could say about you. 

The fastest and most effective means of establishing a quick working relationship is to acknowledge the negative and defuse it. 

This is beating your counterpart to the punch on something they will likely use as an attack or counterargument. 

The Two Magic Words They Need To Say 

“That’s right.” When they say that, you know they feel you understand them. That’s rapport. Now emotions are on your side. Now you’re collaborators trying to solve a problem, not warring tribes.

Getting them to say That’s Right is a really powerful connection to be able to establish. They’re telling you they feel connected to you, and they feel a great rapport with you. If there’s anything that’s going to move them in your direction swiftly it’s when they say, “That’s right.” 


Chris Voss' book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

Check out James Altucher's interview with Chris Voss

Visit The Black Swan Group to find out more about Chris Voss

Find Chris Voss on Twitter

Take 90 seconds to see how Alion Energy's novel A-frame plus ballasted tracker design can elevate your solar construction game and speed your cash cycles. Check out their new video at www.mysuncast.com/alion 

About the Host of SunCast:

Nico Johnson is the creator and host of SunCast, a regular conversation with Solar Industry professionals who are leading in emerging solar markets. The content of the show is geared towards listeners looking for insights on where the markets are headed, how to position themselves or their companies, and what today's market leaders do to stay ahead of the pack.

Nico is a 10-year veteran of the solar industry, having led development in the US and Latin America for global companies like Trina Solar and Conergy.  He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and is considered one of the market's leading experts on solar PV expansion in the region.

Nico can be reached on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickalus

or by email nico@mysuncast.com