Book Review – Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Author: Chris Voss

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 head tilts



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This isn’t just a good sales book.  It is, in my opinion, the best damn sales book ever written!  It was, after all, written by a former FBI hostage negotiator.  Think he might have a few good tips for your negotiating skills?  He doesn’t overcomplicate the process.  He keeps it simple.  So simple, that during the emotional pressure of a sales process you can stay calm and cool.  FBI hostage negotiator cool.

10 Chapters – 9 Simple tactics for negotiating – 1 each chapter starting on 2.  It’s that clean and simple.

Plus, the book has some damn interesting stories.  It’s one of those books that is educational, but yet so wildly entertaining because you’re hearing stories about the author negotiating for people’s lives.  It has a way of putting in perspective what it is that we as normal business people are negotiating for.  For me to list the highlights of this book would print a major portion of the book.  I counted 82 highlights in this book that knocked my socks off.  This is one of those books you’ll want to ready 3 or 4 times over.   Some of the gems in this book that hit me the most were:

“The less important he makes himself, the more important he probably is (and vice versa).”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this in my sales meetings.  Someone comes in and brags about how successful they are how they’ve got their shit together tend to be the least likely to have the funds or the open-mindedness to enter a contract.  But the wealthiest, and most successful people I meet with tend to beat themselves up in the meeting and criticize themselves more than anyone.  They are also the first to sign up for a contract.

Before reading this book, I just thought that was my arrogance shining through so I’d spend time with the braggarts.  I’d give them equal time thinking that they might just sign up.  After reading this and getting confirmation my theory was right, when someone comes in for a sales conversation and starts bragging about how successful they are, I just say, “Well, I probably don’t have any value to add.  Thank you for coming in, and keep doing what you’re doing.  You don’t need me.”  And I end the sales meeting early.  It feels great.


“There are three kinds of “Yes”: Counterfeit, Confirmation, and Commitment.”

This was a powerful reminder not to be seduced by the counterfeit yes that most people throw out like feed to pigeons in a sales conversation.  Now, if all I’m getting is affirmation from someone in a meeting, I pause, and ask myself why they haven’t pushed back on anything.  Because as he later goes to say, if you don’t get some “no”s from your prospect, you’ll likely never get a committed yes.  Or as he states it, “No ‘no’ means no go.”

“The ‘wimp-win’ negotiator focuses on his or her bottom line, and that’s where they end up.”

Loved loved loved! His attitude about having a ‘minimum acceptable bid’ being a strategy to lose.  Because when someone knows what their bottom line is they subconsciously move their prospect to that exact line.  Know your worth, and make THAT your bottom line.

Overall impression?  If you’re in sales, or if you manage sales team, this could very well become your favorite book of your professional career.  Don’t hesitate, don’t procrastinate.  Get the book today!  Oh, and one more thing.  Get on this guys mailing list so you can get his updates on his blogs.  It’s a great follow up support system to integrate the tactics.


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