066 – Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It | Chris Voss

066 – Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It | Chris Voss

Chris Voss, (@VossNegotiation) is a negotiation expert, author of the National Bestseller, Never Split The Difference and CEO at The Black Swan Group. Chris served as the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI as well as the hostage negotiation representative to the National Security Council.

His unique combination of negotiations skills, developed from the teachings at Harvard Law School, Scotland Yard, and the FBI will help you navigate your sales conversations. In Chris’ words, a hostage negotiator is the ultimate cold caller.

One the biggest problems salespeople have is they focus more on where they’re getting as opposed to the first four seconds of the call. Start the call like Chris would in a hostage negotiator situation, share your first name and express concern to create a personal bond. By staying genuinely curious, you’ll be able to listen in depth to identify how much is actually on the table.

Chris says your first impression may not be as important as your last. No matter what happens, your lasting impression should be a positive one.


  1. Empathy Saves Time: I know it sounds counterintuitive, but slowing down a sales process can often times speed up the deal. If you lean into your prospect and get a good emotional intelligence read, the empathy you show gets them to open up about their actual concerns.
  2. Get to “No”: When you are leading your prospect to say “yes,” they get worried about what they are committing to and anxiety creates confusion. But, when you get them to say “no,” they feel protected and they have the illusion of control. Once a person says “no,” they’ll likely give you implementable context to move the deal forward.
  3. There’s Always a Favorite and a Fool: If you can’t get the scope of your prospects problem, you need to realize they never envisioned you in that solution. In every deal, there’s a favorite and a fool. The fool is often used to drive down the price on the favorite and expose their weaknesses. Thus, you should be looking for proof of life in every opportunity.

Book Recommendation


  • CostelloWhat if every sales rep inherited the habits of your best rep? With Costello, they do.
  • The pipeline-centric system is strategically built on a proven selling methodology that keeps teams focused on the only thing they can control in sales – actions that push deals to close.

Subscribe to SalesTuners