A few weeks ago, my partner Matt Plociak and I got together with two of our former Netlan employees, Rick Freedman and Charles Bernard who respectively for many years are very successful business owners and consultants in technology and sales.
Of course, it was great to see them, and since we share so many similar beliefs about marketing, sales, consulting, entrepreneurship, and business, we started to talk about the books that have inspired us, and lo and behold, we each had a reading list and assignments for our next get together.
First on my list was “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It” by Chris Voss. Chris is a former FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator and is the CEO and Founder of the Black Swan Group, a consultancy that brings the lessons learned in hostage negotiation to business people who need to negotiate, persuade, or influence, which sounds like just about everyone.
I’m finding the book a fascinating and very informative read, and most recently I read A Black Swan Group blog entry by Derek Gaunt, on “Why It’s Important to Embrace No’”.
As a Sandler Sales disciple, I am very familiar with “Going for the No”, and I use it as a technique quite often in my approach to sales. I was very impressed to learn that “Going for the No” is actually used in hostage negotiation as well.
Derek’s point is that although No in any difficult conversation may be interpreted as an insurmountable obstacle, it is in fact the first step towards, collaboration, compliance or acceptance.
The folks at the Black Swan group believe that No is used for protection, or rejection, and it usually represents confusion and fear on some level. “Another interesting psychological aspect of accepting the No, is that it triggers reciprocity. Once people feel that they have protected themselves, they are often more willing to listen. They are not worried about what they have exposed themselves to by making an unintended commitment in saying Yes.”
So if hostage negotiators have no fear of No, and actually embrace it as a means to get to Yes, one can only wonder how effective it might be in the worlds of sales and business. I know it works, do you?