Chris Voss is a retired FBI negotiator, author and business owner. In his book “Never Split the Difference,” he breaks down the secrets to win almost any negotiation.
According to Voss, you do not need to be aggressive to get what you want. Being nice gives you an advantage. The nicer you are, the more movable you can be. Let the other side go first. They have rehearsed their arguments over and over. They may not listen to a word you say until they get it out.
If your opposition has not thought everything out, they can be difficult to negotiate with. They are not focused, and their demands tend to wander. In these cases, the most important issues may never get talked about. A good negotiator will help them understand what is important, and then start the negotiation process.
Getting the right information is more important than asking the right questions. Never underestimate your opponent’s desire to correct you. It gives them the illusion of being in control, powerful and smart. When they correct you, they may unknowingly give you the information you need. They will feel good about giving it, too.
To trigger this response, make a statement that needs correcting. For example, imagine you are buying a commercial building and want to know the seller’s motivation. Their realtor normally will not disclose this information. Try making a statement like “I imagine your client is going to cash out so they can go travel the world.” Instinctively, the realtor may say something like “actually, they are upside down on two other buildings and need to sell this one to pay them off.”