Chris Voss

Lesson time 13:24 min

Hard bargaining doesn’t have to mean taking a sledgehammer approach. Chris teaches you how to bargain with skill, diplomacy, and tact.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Ackerman System • Pivot to Non-Monetary Terms • Provide a Range • Anchor Emotions, Not Dollars


- All right. So in reality, I shouldn't even be teaching a chapter on bargaining because if you listen to everything else, you've negotiated great, and you're not going to need to bargain. The deal will have made itself. In those instances, we do need to get down to brass tacks bargaining. Here's some techniques. [MUSIC PLAYING] The Ackerman System is a bargaining model attributed to a gentleman named Mike Ackerman. I was taught this bargaining model when I was doing kidnapping negotiations with the FBI. And they laid out basically, you have a target price you want to come to. Once you've picked out your target price, you're going to come in at 65% of that price. You're going to plan on making three raises to get to the price that you wanted. And the first raise is going to be 20% raise, the next raise is going to be 10%, the last raise is going to be 5%. Each one of your raises are decreasing increments by half. And then when you get to the very last number, you make sure you throw out an odd number, and you also throw in some non-monetary object that you know the other side doesn't want, but it makes them feel like they've really tapped you out. They've taken every last dime. You know, they've fought you tooth and nail. They've felt the decreases in increments. They still feel like they're winning. You come in with the last number. It's an odd number. It seems like that you scratched for every penny. And consequently, they worked so hard to get there that they want to cut the deal. They're not going to renege. All right, so I'm trying to buy a coffee table for $100. And that's what I want to pay. They're asking $150, they're asking $200. They might be asking $250. It doesn't matter. I'm going to see what their reaction is when I throw out my initial price. So I'm going to come in at 65% of where I want to end up. So I'm going to say, look, you know, I got a price. I'll give you the price, but you're not going to like it. I mean, it's going to be low. It's really going to be low. And I got a feeling that when I give you this price, it's going to make you really angry, and the last thing I want to do is offend you. So I'm scared to give you the price. Well, you're getting their permission, you know. You're giving them some emotional anchoring. What they're thinking, like, this guy wants a coffee table for nothing? What's he going to give me, $5.00 for the coffee table? They're going to imagine something that's worse than what you would ever throw out. So you finally give me permission to give you the price. And I say, no, it's going to make you angry. You know, I'm scared. I'm afraid to give you this number. And they'll almost beg you to give them the number. And then very apologetically, you gotta say, $65.00. Now they're not going to be happy with that price, but they asked you for it. They're not going to get angry because you told them they were going to get angry, and that diffused it. And you were deferential the...

About the Instructor

As an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss persuaded terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers to see things his way. Now he’s teaching you his field-tested strategies to help you in everyday negotiations, whether you’re aiming to improve your salary, the service you receive, or your relationships. Get stronger communication skills, game-changing insights into human nature, and more of what you want out of life.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Chris Voss

Former FBI lead hostage negotiator Chris Voss teaches you communication skills and strategies to help you get more of what you want every day.

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