How Not to Get Paid

How Not to Get Paid

Let’s pause for a minute here, because there’s one vitally
important thing you have a remember when you enter a
negotiation armed with your list of calibrated questions. That
is, all of this is great, but there’s rub: without self-control and
emotional regulation, it doesn’t work.
The very first thing I talk about when I’m training new
negotiators is the critical importance of self-control. If you
can’t control your own emotions, how can you expect to
influence the emotions of another party?
To show you what I mean, let me tell you a story.
Not long ago, a freelance marketing strategist came to
me with a problem. One of her clients had hired a new CEO, a
penny pincher whose strategy was to cut costs by offshoring
everything he could. He was also a male chauvinist who
didn’t like the assertive style in which the strategist, a
woman, conducted herself.
Immediately my client and the CEO started to go at each
other on conference calls in that passive-aggressive way that
is ever present in corporate America. After a few weeks of
this, my client decided she’d had enough and invoiced the
CEO for the last bit of work she’s done (about $7,000) and
politely said that the arrangement wasn’t working out. The
CEO answered by saying the bill was too high, that he’d pay
half of it and that they would talk about the rest.
After that, he stopped answering her cells.

The underlying dynamic was that this guy didn’t like being
questioned by anyone, especially a woman. So she and I
developed a strategy that showed him she understood where
she went wrong and acknowledged his power, while at the
same time directing his energy toward solving her problem.
The Script we came up with hit all the best practices of
negotiation we’ve talked about so far. Here it is by steps:

  1. A “No”-oriented email question to reinitiate contact:
    “Have you given up on settling this amicably?”
  2. A statement that leaves only the answer of “That’s
    right” to form a dynamic of agreement: “It seems that
    you feel my bill is not justified.”
  3. Calibrated questions about the problem to get him to
    reveal his thinking: “How does this bill violate our
  4. More “No”-oriented questions to remove unspoken
    barriers: “Are you saying I misled you?” “Are you saying I
    didn’t do as you asked?” “Are you saying I reneged on
    our agreement?” or “Are you saying I failed you?”
  5. Labeling and mirroring the essence of his answers if they
    are not acceptable so he has to consider them again: “It
    seems like you feel my work was subpar.” Or “…my work
    was subpar?”
  6. A calibrated question in reply to any offer other than full
    payment, in order to get him to offer a solution: “How
    am I supposed to accept that?”
  7. If none of this gets an offer of full payment, a label that
    flatters his sense of control and power: “It seems like

you are the type of person who prides himself on the
way he does business-rightfully so—and has a knack for
not only expanding the pie put making the ship run
more efficiently.”

  1. A long pause and then one more “No” –oriented
    question: “Do you want to be known as someone who
    doesn’t fulfil agreements?”
    From my long experience in negotiation, scripts like this have
    a 90 percent success rate. That is, if the negotiator stays clam
    and rational.
    This Article is taken from Never Split the Difference
    Written by Arshad. A

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