How to Negotiate like a Pro — Jolt Business Podcast #6

Lior Frenkel, CPO & Partner at Jolt
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August 29, 2019

The episode's transcription:

Max: And, so, what we're gonna go through today, guys, is why you need a well-defined framework, how to apply the Six-Step-Neg-Method, and this is the thing that I love as well, when you finish a negotiation, you guys are gonna be able to look back and say to yourself, well you're going to be able to evaluate. You're going to be able to look back and say to yourself, "Did I do well?" And you'll know how to measure "well." Now when I say how well you did, I'm not just talking about price here, the price you got, that's important, getting yourself a really good price, but at this stage I want you guys to focus on how well did you execute the technique. Yeah, how well did you, how much more confident were you delivering than you were last time? 'Cause remember, every time you should be able to get better and more confident. Okay, so, Step One guys, Breaking the Ice. I want you to just quickly think about how much time do you spend on softening up the customer when they first come to you?

Soji: One minute. One minute, to just ask them just to find any common stuff between me and him,

Max:Yeah.

Soji: And to feel connected with him.

Max:Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's searching for common ground, and, one thing that I do, that I teach, is a concept called the "plus-one," okay? "Plus-one," write that down guys, "plus-one." Now, a "plus one," believe it or not, is what we call a nugget of information that you can always use when you are speaking with that customer. 

So, for example, let's think of... Ben. And if I'm having a chat with you and I first meet you as a customer, I know that you're a lawyer. For example, yeah?

Ben: Yeah.

Max: I know that you're a laywer. Ben, do you watch "Suits?"

Ben:Probably, yes.

Max:Yeah, do you know "Suits" on TV, do you ever watch that?

Ben:Yeah, I'm not really wearing suits but no, I watch , I watch I watched, yes, I watched, yes.

Max:Great, okay, that's common ground, bang, right there! Yeah? So, I'm just like, I will use that. If I know Ben's a lawyer, and I can think of something to do with law, I will use that as much as I can whenever we're speaking.

Ben:Alright.

Max:That's a "plus-one" that's something that is a, it's an emotional connection. Another fantastic "plus-one," and most people don't do this but I would recommend you do it. The family. The family, oh! The family. 

Okay, so, if I'm having a chat with someone and I work out that they have kids, or they've just gotten married, or they've got pets, I mean I've got two cats myself, so I can then get into something about pets. 

Now, most people won't spend the time to do that sort of thing, but I will. Because I know, if I can find common ground, or like, I know you have a German Shepherd that you love. If we've got any pet owners in the room you know the feeling.

Max: Yeah. Yeah, you know, like I will start a conversation on that. And, it's weird, but how many times a day does someone stop and ask you about yourself? It doesn't really happen. 

You know, like, it just doesn't happen.

And guess what, when someone takes the time to stop and ask me questions and listen, I look at that person completely differently, and it's one of those biological things. I stop and I think to myself, "This person's different." And, guys, the funny thing is, this doesn't really happen at a conscious level, it's unconscious. 

Do you reckon Donald Trump knows what to do if he's dealing with one of your customers?

Soji: No.

Max:Yes! A skilled negotiator knows what they're doing with this sort of situation. And, I'm gonna show you in a second, don't let the customer force the situation. They're just gonna try. You've got to think of a different way of doing things.

Soji: Okay.

Max: Yeah? That's why this stuff is going to be really useful for you. Get them talking about themselves, you know? Like, give them a sweet , Give them something, so it shuts them up. You know? 

And then say to them, "Okay, so, why, tell me why you've decided video's gonna be very effective for your business in the next 18 months?" Yeah? What value have you given to them? That's another thing, What value have you given to them before they can ask you that first question? i.e. For example, I know that when you're looking at the trends in business and digital media, video is the most important thing now, isn't it? It's the most important thing, so, I would be asking the customer, "What do you know about video?" And, "What do you know about how video can increase your return on investment going forward?" "Do you know how important video is going to be to your business?" "Do you understand?" Break it down from that perspective. Break it down emotionally before you do rationally. Okay? 

So I imagine, you could be falling into the trap of when you are asking questions, you could be asking what questions, when questions, and who. Those questions are gonna give you closed answers. "Who else have you looked at?" "ABC Videos." You know? That's the answer. ABC Videos and... Topify Videos. Don't focus on closed questions, focus on asking questions that start with where, why, and how, at the very start. Okay? 

Next guys, the other thing I want you to bear in mind, which is mega mega important, mega important. It's probably, in this first step, it probably makes up about 80% of how effective you're doing something, but you have verbal... non-verbal communication.

I want you to stop and think about this. How are you saying what you're saying? How-

Soji: You start to do-

Max: Sorry?

Soji: You start to do like this, you're thinking. You start to, when person, when I think, when a customer start to do like that, he start to think about what you say, he start to listen to you. It's difficult to him to say yes or not.

Max: Yes.

Soji: Whereas, push him into it, this is my way.

Max: Yeah, yeah, well... Yes, using force, with some people it's going to work, it won't work with everyone. If you're dealing, let's say you get into a negotiation with, like, an MD at a big company, like a huge company. Force probably isn't really going to cut it. 

But what I want you to bear in mind is, with these big companies and these big wheeler-dealers, the best way to sell to these big companies is, can you get them out of their comfort zone? Can you take them out to lunch? Honestly, can you take them out to lunch? Can you take them to the golf course? You know? Can you get them in a completely different situation where they can relax and have fun? Do you know how many deals get done at the country club? You know? And at the most expensive restaurants? Do you know? It's crazy. 

That's where all the high-level deals are happening. You need to get yourself in those places, speaking to those sorts of people, and negotiating with them, in that sort of environment. 

If you're just, if they walk into your store, or it's over the phone, it's less, it's less, you can't connect as well, can you? But if you're in that sort of environment, you're both relaxed, you're eating, eating, statistically, it's like families, families connect over eating, yeah? It's tapping into that. So if you're trying to pursue someone to do a big deal with them, invite them out to lunch. Something like that, like, invite them out to play a game of golf, even if you're bad at it, or what about tennis, or badminton? You know?

Max: Yeah.

Soji: Too competitive, no?

Max: Well like, again, if you can get into competitive situations, these people love that. And even if you're bad, even if you're terrible, tell them first, and then say, "Look, but I'm still going to try and beat you," They love that. You know? They love that, they love to see a bit of... And then, once you've opened them up and you've made them, you've sort of established a connection, that's when you then start going into the business stuff. But get them to like you first. Guys, verbal affirmations. When that person is speaking to you, what's really interesting is this. 

If you can show that you are listening, and it's very difficult to show that you're listening, but if you're using these techniques like saying, "I see what you're talking about," "I really understand, I get you," "I know what you mean, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you mean, I know what you mean, I'm listening, I hear what you're talking about."

Nodding and saying, "Sure, sure, sure, I get it, I understand. I understand that one." You're displaying that you are genuinely listening. Again, when you're dealing with people during the day, how many times do you see someone using these? Not often. And that's because people aren't really listening to you. But if you can demonstrate that you are doing this, and you are a listener, you put yourself in a completely different category to most other people. 

And guys, what I also want you to bear in mind, what you're trying to do in stage one and stage two of this framework, you are trying to impress your customer. You're trying to impress them, and you've also got to express, you've got to show them, by expression, show by expression that you are different, that you're not the normal business owner, you're not just here to take their money. You care.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?
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I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.

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"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

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