121: Chris Voss Interview: How applying proven hostage negotiating skills can double your business, at a minimum. 



May 16, 2019

Today I am talking to Chris Voss, not a real estate agent. He is the author of the renowned, best seller, Never Split the Difference. Chris isn’t just the author of a best seller, he is the Former Chief International Hostage and Kidnapping Negotiator for the FBI. Most of you know and have heard about Chris, his book, and probably his company Black Swan Group. They have taken these life saving skills in Chris’s book and help people learn and apply them to their businesses. Black Swan Group clients find that when these skills are applied, it’s not uncommon or unusual for their business to double or better. Before this interview, to bring it home, I have a list not shared often enough. It is a summary of Chris’s experience and career accomplishments. Chris Voss was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force from 1986 to 2000. He was involved in the monitoring of tear stop bombers after spending 3 years investigating the first bombing at the World Trade Center. He was the co-case agent during the investigation of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 explosion. He spent 24 years working in the FBI Crisis Negotiating Unit and was the FBI’s Chief International Hostage and Kidnapping Negotiator from 2003 -2007. In 2006 he was the lead negotiator on the Jill Carol case in Iraq as well as the Steve Centanni case in the Gaza Strip. Voss also supervised additional hostage situations in the Philippines, Columbia, and Haiti. After working on more than 150 hostage cases, he retired from the FBI in 2007 and founded the Black Swan Group. In 2016, Voss co-authored the book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As if Your Life Depended On It. Today, Chris and I talk about how applying proven hostage negotiating skills can double your business at a minimum.

  • Chris’s introduction. (1:07)
  • Chris shares his negotiating advice to real estate agents. (05:15)
  • Chris tells what he believes is the biggest mistake real estate agents make during negotiation. (10:02)
  • Chris shares about different types of yeses. (15:57)
  • Chris discusses the different types of negotiators and what is important to each. (18:47)
  • Chris talks bout how analytical and assertive negotiators can work with each other. (27:20)
  • Chris shares his advice to accomodators. (33:36)
  • Chris talks about how we need elements of all three negotiators. (36:26)
  • Chris recommends why realtors read his book. (40:10)
  • Chris shares what made him so different and how he figured out his methods. (44:29)
  • Chris talks about why a workable deal is more important than achieving yes, yes, yes. (46:20)
  • Chris tells how to get what you want without asking for it. (49:39)
  • Chris shares how you can begin working on your negotiating skills using his negotiating methods. (53:41)
  • Chris shares his “one thing.” (55:24)

Resources / People Mentioned

Books Mentioned

Take Away

“Experiment with hearing the other side out first. Just hear them out. See what happens.”

“You’ve got to practice small stakes. You’re not going to drop your negotiations skills in the middle of a seller transaction where your livelihood is on the line. Practice with your Uber driver and get a ‘that’s right’ out of them.”

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