Keith DeBoer

Never Split The Difference: An Interview with FBI Negotiator Chris Voss

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By Keith DeBoer, Dec 15, 2016
  1. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer BrandBucket Brand Ambassador Business Account VIP

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    Life is a series of negotiations: whether you’re buying a car, asking for a raise at work or selling a domain name. So I picked up the book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It figuring I could learn something.

    The book outlined some eye opening negotiation principles from the co-author, Chris Voss, based on his career as an FBI hostage negotiator and award-winning teacher at prestigious business schools. Currently Chris is CEO of the Black Swan Group in Los Angeles.

    Since reading the book I’ve applied some of Chris’ principles in various aspects of my personal life as well as in my domaining business. I’ve been amazed at how well they work.

    After writing about the book in my blog post at DNgeek, I decided to ask for an interview. Chris was generous enough to give his time exclusively for NamePros readers. I tried to draw out information that applied to the unique circumstances of domain sales. Many of his responses surprised me.

    Here’s what Chris had to say to my questions:

    In your book you say that everything we’ve previously been taught about negotiation is wrong. That we are not rational negotiators and that compromise is the worst thing we can do. You say the real art of negotiation lies in mastering the intricacies of No, not Yes. That’s pretty revolutionary. To begin with, let me ask you why emotional intelligence is a better approach than the usual methods involving logic and reason?

    And one of the things we deeply care about in a negotiation is money, right?

    What kind of information do we want to acquire during the negotiation process?

    How do we obtain information about the client’s wants or needs when we’re communicating via email?

    So your advice is to slow the process down and move one step at a time?

    So instead of laying out the “seven chess moves” in one email what would you say to the client?

    How can we get information about the customer’s wants and needs when we’re dealing with a broker?

    Why is straightforward and honest the best approach in a negotiation?

    Then how do we respond truthfully when someone asks “what’s the lowest amount you would accept?”

    How do we respond when someone says “I think my offer is fair”?

    Do you think President-elect Trump uses emotional intelligence to his advantage?
     
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  4. Keith DeBoer

    About The Author — Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer is a part-time, domain investor with an emphasis on brandable domains. He's a domain industry writer with published content at DNgeek, BrandBucket, DomainShane and NamePros. By day he's a communications and Internet consultant and a brand ambassador for BrandBucket.

    This is Keith DeBoer's 7th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
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  5. Comments (39)

  6. Dineshkp

    Dineshkp Active Member VIP

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  7. pokainc

    pokainc BRANDABLE DOMAINS NamePros Supporter VIP

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    wowww. what a coincidence, I watched his video 2 days ago randomly haha
     
  8. WGS_Thunder

    WGS_Thunder certified domainiac VIP

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  9. Beezy

    Beezy bobby.tv VIP

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    Interesting i dropped a link to the book in the chat the other day. Best book and good job getting that interview.
     
  10. Domain Shane

    Domain Shane Active Member PRO DomainShane Staff VIP

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    This is my favorite post of the year. Looking forward to reading the book
     
  11. Beezy

    Beezy bobby.tv VIP

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    "So my first recommendation is to make one move at a time in an email."

    This is something i can build from

    Great job Keith. Losing my mind over this.
     
  12. deez007

    deez007 Active Member VIP

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    Thanks a stack for doing this exclusive interview for us NPers @Keith DeBoer much appreciated....
     
  13. shampooisbetter

    shampooisbetter Established Member

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  14. ramkumaritrvs

    ramkumaritrvs TayWolt.COM VIP

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    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Trusted Blogger Business Account VIP

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  16. Perceptron

    Perceptron "What you seek, is seeking you!" VIP

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    Thanks Keith, for bring it to us.
     
  17. wesley sweatman

    wesley sweatman durfer

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  18. wwwweb

    wwwweb Active Member VIP

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    Get this question every week... as do many.
    As for splitting the difference in the domain biz many times it helps to get deals done. I don't know what his response to that was?
     
  19. wwwweb

    wwwweb Active Member VIP

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    Ok, I see what you are saying, the scaled down step, then at the end splitting the difference which does work for sure.
     
  20. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer BrandBucket Brand Ambassador Business Account VIP

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    I wrote a bit about that in my blog at DN Geek. You can see it here.
     
  21. ctmixing

    ctmixing Business Account Business Account

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    I wouldnt reccomend asking a buyer these questions. Sounds very interogating.

    Nice article!

    "I would send an email that says: What is the immortality here? What are you trying to accomplish? What would owning this domain name do for you? That would be a great email, those three questions. They are all driving at exactly the same point."
     
  22. Doughmange

    Doughmange Established Member

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    Nice article @Keith DeBoer .

    As for the author; these are similar strategies called "needs assessment" that I have seen packaged differently over time. I like his spin on things, but he is reinventing the wheel for profit (smart).

    The title, "never split the difference" is a bit misleading.

    I would consider it a win if If I use a litany of strategies and now have a buyer that is willing to pay a huge sum and then I split the difference to close at my target sales point.

    Good negotiations are a slow patient process, which is completely counter intuitive to the 'get rich quick' story that most domainers are fed. This is why good negotiations and domaining don't go hand-in-hand often.
     
  23. Silentptnr

    Silentptnr PRYCR.COM Business Account VIP

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    Good read...but...

    One size does not fit all. Some have it...some don't. I get the picture, but I can tell you first hand that every interaction is similar yet different. In my part of the world we call this a "closer". The best closers have a tremendous ability to read others and capitalize. (even through email)
    :)
     
  24. Sulabh Sharma

    Sulabh Sharma Established Member

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  25. Silentptnr

    Silentptnr PRYCR.COM Business Account VIP

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    Thanks Keith! And congrats! I think i read an annoucement about you and bb. If it was you, congrats!
     
  26. Ab Peter

    Ab Peter Active Member VIP

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  27. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer BrandBucket Brand Ambassador Business Account VIP

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    Hey everyone! Thanks for the great comments! I'm glad people are finding the interview interesting, compelling and thought provoking. Even if you disagree with Chris' strategies.

    Regarding the book title: Never Split The Difference. Agree or not, Chris Voss feels that this is a lazy, predictable style of negotiating that favors that leaves money on the table. You can read more about it in his book. I generally don't like non-fiction but Voss' book is an easy read as he wraps each lesson in real life experiences from International hostage negotiations.

    Either way I'm deeply appreciative of the support from the NP community!

    Happy Holidays To Everyone!!
     
  28. pokainc

    pokainc BRANDABLE DOMAINS NamePros Supporter VIP

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    Great interview Keith.
    A quick mention which is important to note:
    >>> In another interview, he clearly does mention that even though he doesn't believe in leaving money on the table for the most part by doing a "fair" or "win/win" types of deals, he clearly does mention that if you are a very tough negotiator and milk the deal every time, people will no longer want to deal with you as they think they will always be on the losing end and be ridiculed by others. He gives examples of CEOs which found themselves in those type of situations
     
  29. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer BrandBucket Brand Ambassador Business Account VIP

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    Yes, that is exactly the point he was making about Donald Trump. He has burned his bridges by bargaining too aggressively.

    The beauty of Voss' approach is that there are often other ways to make the other party feel happy and satisfied while simultaneously getting the best possible terms for the deal. Too often we assume we know what the other party wants so we don't ask. Instead we focus solely on price. Voss says there are many terms at play and our traditional approach is one dimensional.

    In his book he gives examples of deals he and his students have negotiated when buying a shirt, asking for a raise, a reduction on rent or buying out a small business partner. In every case they got they terms they wanted by moving the discussion away from the price and focusing instead on the emotional needs of the other party in a non-threatening way.

    For example, I'm sure there have been times in your life when you sold something for much less than you know you could have gotten for it. Simply because you felt like you were helping someone or doing the right thing etc. You didn't feel bullied or ripped off. You felt good about the deal. That is the kind of emotional negotiation that Voss advocates. It's an approach we resist because its non-traditional and illogical but in my experience (and others) it really yields profound results.
     
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