Mastering the Art of Negotiation: Insights on Removing Emotion from the Process

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In this episode, our hosts, David Fastuca and Luigi Prestinenzi, sit down with negotiation expert Brian Will to discuss the art of negotiation.

Brian shares valuable insights on removing emotion from the negotiation process, the importance of understanding the psychology of negotiation, and the significance of thorough research and preparation before entering a negotiation.

He also emphasizes the value of building a strong sales pipeline to be confident to walk away from a deal.

Join us as we uncover key takeaways that will empower you to negotiate more effectively and confidently close deals.

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Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:00]:
In this episode, you're gonna learn how to be more confident when you negotiate, why negotiation is not a closing technique, and how to remove the emotion from the process. Welcome back to another episode of the how to sell podcast. I'm your host, Luigi Prestinenzi. And as always, I'm grateful that you've decided to show up for what will be a very interesting episode because we're gonna be talking about the tactic of negotiation. But before we jump in, just wanna say, if you're a longtime listener, thank you very much for showing up and being part of our community. We value having you part of our community, and if you're a first time listener, thank you. We hope you wait take away some tactical insight that'll help you sell more. And this week, we have a really interesting episode.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:48]:
As I said, we are gonna be talking about the art of negotiation, and Maybe during this episode, Dave, our hosts can help me negotiate getting you off the podcast so I can take this podcast back.

David Fastuca [00:01:00]:
One, I am, appalled that you said that, Louis. It's, the 2 if you're listening to this, The podcast, you know how much of a a hole Luigi. So this is probably no shock to you, but let me talk to you. And he couldn't bring up about, Chelsea because we won, And we're in, the finals. So, Louis,

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:21]:
thanks, mate. Guys actually win a game? That's fantastic. So Well, it's

David Fastuca [00:01:24]:
not about you and It's not about you and I. We've got Brian on the call, so let's, let's bring in Brian, shall we?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:31]:
Yeah. Well, welcome, Brian, to the How to Sell podcast. We're really excited to have you on.

Brian Will [00:01:35]:
David and Luigi, I appreciate you having me. This is gonna be fun. How to sales podcasts. I saw this title when I saw it come across my desk. I was like, now that's a cool podcast. I like that name. And by the way, Luigi, you know, you can do amazing things with technology. David would not even know he wasn't just like just click a button And

David Fastuca [00:01:52]:
And double sales. Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:57]:
Well, we're we're pumped to have you. I mean, you're on the the Forbes Business Counsel, you've written a number of books. You've been around. You live in the great state where our good friend, Victor Antonio and I'm gonna make sure You and Victor get to talk because we love Victor and everything that he's about. But, yeah, look, we're really excited to have you on because I think that the negotiation topic is one which is often misunderstood and, you know, I think sometimes people think that negotiation is about I need to win, you need to lose. But, you know, having been in sales my whole career, I find that it's not a good feeling when, you know, I've been on the receiving end of Somebody's won I've lost or I I walk away feeling a bit, you know what? I don't I'm not feeling good about what's just happened. So you know, really happy really excited to jump into this topic. So, Brian, can you just maybe, before we jump into it, just give us a bit of a an understanding of Why negotiation? Like, what's motivated you and prompted you to focus on the psychology of negotiation?

Brian Will [00:03:04]:
You know, it's interesting. There's an old adage. You've probably heard this, but when a man with experience meets a man with money, The man with money will get an experience, a man with the experience will probably end up with the money. Right? And I tell people all the time And when you're learning sales and negotiation, that you need to get good at it if you're gonna be in business or in sales. Because if you're not and you come up against somebody who is good at sales and negotiation, They're gonna give you an experience. They're they're gonna take you for a ride, and they're gonna feel just like you told me that, you know, you don't feel good about it because somebody was better at it than you. This is why I tell people. Either learn how to do it, learn how to get good at it, or bring somebody else in to your organization who is good at it, who can help you before somebody takes advantage of So it's it's of critical I wish I heard

David Fastuca [00:03:49]:
that, saying about 10 years ago because literally been through something exactly what you just said then, Brian. So, I just had a flashback and a bit of cold jewels when you mentioned that. Like, oh, that's so true.

Brian Will [00:04:03]:
Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:05]:
And, you know, I think what's interesting, right, is and I'd love to get your input on this, the emotion side of things, because I think sometimes you go into a negotiation with a particular view or an objective, but then as you enter that, All of a sudden, the emotion starts to drive the way you behave in the process. And and then some point, I know that I've been there, where I've gone in expecting one thing. Emotion has driven me to do certain things or say certain things, and then I Finish the process and think to myself, why did I go down that path? And then I'm a bit regretful for some of the actions that I took.

Brian Will [00:04:45]:
This is human psychology, and it's so funny. And this is why auctions work so well. Right? They say in an auction, people will tend to bid 10 to 20% more than something's worth Because of the emotion involved in trying to beat somebody else out to get something that you may or not even want, but you're gonna be you're willing to pay more for it just because of the emotion of being in the in the in the moment. And we call this the fear of missing out or the fear of loss. Yep. Right? And that fear of loss can be used aggressively as, or defensively in any negotiation. And that's why I tell people, you gotta keep your emotions in check whenever you're In a negotiation, environment. Because if you don't, that emotion will drive you to either pay more than you should Mhmm.

Brian Will [00:05:27]:
Or take less than you could.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:05:29]:
Yeah.

Brian Will [00:05:29]:
Right. So one one of the other examples I use is and I got this off of a Richard Branson book. He he always says, hey. If your first offer doesn't insult them, you've offered too much. And the genesis of that statement is that any good negotiator is more than likely gonna say no to the first thing you offer. Think about any negotiation you've ever been in. If it's a negotiation by nature, you are negotiating. Right?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:05:53]:
Yeah.

Brian Will [00:05:53]:
So your 1st shot across the bow is gonna be a no. Well, if the 1st shot across the bow is gonna get a no from the other side, then you either need to offer less if you're selling or ask for more if you're buying because we know we're in this negotiation

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:06:06]:
Yeah.

Brian Will [00:06:07]:
Environment. And then you have to keep your emotion out of it and and not have that fear of loss. Always be willing to walk away. Always be willing to to Find another deal. I I always say deals are a dime a dozen. If this one doesn't work, that's fine with me. I'll find another one that's just as good or better down the road. It's people that get too wrapped up in that that emotion and that fear of loss, and this is the only deal out there.

Brian Will [00:06:27]:
I'm so in love with it. I have to have it. Those are the people that either get taken advantage of or, you know

David Fastuca [00:06:33]:
Yeah.

Brian Will [00:06:33]:
Sell things for less than they could because, you know, they just wanna bail out.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:06:37]:
So is that is that the core of the of the the negotiation process? Is that The fear of missing out is what drives people during that process.

Brian Will [00:06:49]:
The fear of missing out will drive people to either get something they don't necessarily need or sell something for less than they could get it for. Now I always when I when I talk negotiation, I'm always big on background research, knowing everything about the product, and even more so about the buyer Or the sales, so that I know what leverage I've got in that negotiation. And the same applies to the other side. They should be Finding out everything they can about me on whatever side of the negotiation I'm on. And and an easy example I use is a guy that was Selling a restaurant 6 or 7 years ago, and he offered the restaurant for $100,000. Right? And I went into this negotiation. And in Doing my due diligence, I found out that he had taken a job, and he was moving in a month. And I also found out that he had to resign a new lease for this space In 30 days or he was gonna lose the space.

Brian Will [00:07:44]:
I also found out the franchisor needed him to sign a new agreement. Well, when I knew all 3 of those Pieces of information combined, I knew that if he didn't sell it to me, he was gonna get nothing because he only had 30 days to do a deal, and he was gone. Mhmm. So when we went to the final negotiating table, I mean, I hate to bring this back up, Luigi, but I went from a 100,000 to 0 and offered him nothing Because I knew he was in a position where he didn't have any other choice.

David Fastuca [00:08:09]:
Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:08:09]:
At the

Brian Will [00:08:10]:
end of the day, I ended up buying it for $10,000 Plus inventory and and and whatnot, his his lease his deposit. Because I knew if he didn't do it for me, he wouldn't even get the 10,000. He wouldn't get his lease money back, and he wouldn't get Pause it. Right. So negotiation is all about understanding who you're dealing with, staying out of the emotional environment, doing all your background research, and then coming in Strong. So I'd

David Fastuca [00:08:32]:
like to ask there, Brian, about, like, the emotion part because it's easy to say, hard to hard to do. No. What, Mhmm. Do you have any sort of Fastuca, advice on how to remove the emotion From negotiation, especially because it could be quite a personal one. It could be a life changing you know, you're doing an exit within a business, which, you know, you've experienced three, yourself? So any tactics you can share there?

Brian Will [00:09:03]:
So and I'm a give you a quick example again. Our 2nd company we sold, they offered us $50,000,000. We went up to Boston, sat at their conference room table for this PE Forum, and at the last minute, they David, we're only gonna give you 40,000,000. Now they expected these couple of hicks down here from Alpharetta, Georgia to take the 40,000,000 because that's a ton of money. Right? But at in that moment, I was sitting with my partner, and I looked at him, and I said, no. We're not gonna take that. And they were stunned, and they spent 30 minutes trying to talk us into taking The 40,000,000 instead of the 50 they'd originally offered us. And when we left, my partner was like, I can't believe you turned down $40,000,000.

Brian Will [00:09:37]:
And I said, don't worry about it. They've already done all the research. They've done all the search. They've done all the due diligence. We have all the information. We'll just go shop it to somebody else. Our worst case scenario, worst case, We can go back to them in a month, and they'll give us 40,000,000. Our best case is we can take this someplace else and get a better deal.

Brian Will [00:09:53]:
6 weeks later, we sold it for 8%.

David Fastuca [00:09:54]:
Oh, wow.

Brian Will [00:09:55]:
So we got 40,000,000 more on the deal. Now, I say that because people either think emotionally or they think intellectually all the time. Right. Every decision you make is either emotional or intellectual. And sometimes when you're in those situations, you have to stop and ask yourself this question, and this is the big one right here. If you can stop and ask your question before you're about to pull the trigger, is this an emotional decision or an intellectual decision, And stop yourself from making the emotional decision, then you'll be better off the majority of the time. Right? Because how many times do you make a decision, when you could have said, wait a minute. Does this really make sense? Intellectually, this doesn't make sense.

Brian Will [00:10:32]:
I shouldn't do this, and you walk away.

David Fastuca [00:10:34]:
That's so true. It's almost like when you're angry not to respond Immediately. Yeah. Sleep on that email. Yes. Exactly. Think about it a little bit more. In the heat of the moment, though, when it's live

Brian Will [00:10:44]:
Because it's a mushroom. You're in

David Fastuca [00:10:45]:
a boardroom, Yeah. You got a lot of money and life changing money. You

Brian Will [00:10:48]:
just went straight.

David Fastuca [00:10:49]:
That's right. Yeah. Yeah. But that I'm not sure

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:10:52]:
if you just come with

David Fastuca [00:10:52]:
a lot of practice, right, to just be cognitive to say, Hang on a second. No. I'm not accepting this. And then your cofounder stressing you probably lost a few hairs as As soon as you said that and trying to remain calm and keep a straight face and then freaking out as you left the room, 2 two opposites. Yeah? So you're very yin and yang.

Brian Will [00:11:14]:
So it's funny. We we went back to the other the VC company 6 weeks sales, and we sat at their table. And and they said, well, what is it gonna take? And I said, well, we had an offer of 50. We turned down 40. So we're not taking less than that Forum sure. In fact, we think it's worth more. And they said, well, what if we give you 50 plus 30 on the back end? And I was like,

David Fastuca [00:11:32]:
there you go.

Brian Will [00:11:33]:
And we left that, and my my partner never says anything in the meetings. We get in the cab, and we're driving to the airport. He looks over, and he goes, well, that worked. I told you.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:11:42]:
But what are they you know, the the the thing that I love, you know, when it comes to that emotion component is around that 92% of decisions are made with emotion and then we justify with logic. Right? So I think what I'm what I'm taking away from what you shared is try to really disconnect the emotion from the logical side of things and do it quite quickly so that you're not Making decisions in that emotional state. But, Brian, I just wanna go back a step right to that to that negotiation of the restaurant. How did he react when you offered 0?

Brian Will [00:12:16]:
Well, he was shocked. Yep. Of course. Right. So I knew I held all the cards. He was sitting across from me. The broker was sitting to my right. Yep.

Brian Will [00:12:23]:
And I said, I gotta be honest. I'm not gonna give you a $100,000. My offer is 0. I'll give you your deposit back, and I'll buy your inventory. And then as we As we all should know in negotiation, once you've thrown the gauntlet down, the next person to talk loses.

David Fastuca [00:12:37]:
Mhmm.

Brian Will [00:12:38]:
And so we just sat there and stared at each other. And after about a minute, he goes, well, I can't take 0. And as soon as he said that, I was like, I I I own this car.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:12:48]:
Yeah.

Brian Will [00:12:49]:
And I said, okay. Well, I can't offer you a 100. So to be honest with you, let's settle on, like, 10. And then We ended up talk for 20 more minutes, and he settled on 10 because I knew he had no place else to go.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:13:01]:
So could I provide an intro different perspective? What if you're sitting here listening and thinking, hey, Brian, that's super ruthless. Right? Why can't there be a situation where he wins and you win because he's obviously put some sweat, Effort, time into his business. You know, why couldn't there be a time where he gets a bit more?

Brian Will [00:13:28]:
So in my scenario, he did win. Okay. He got out of a franchise agreement that would lock him in for 10 years. Yeah. He got out of a lease that had a 5 year personal guarantee. He got out of a business with Essentially about $35,000 of cash that he wasn't gonna get otherwise. If he did not do the deal with me, there was no time left. That business would have completely folded Yeah.

Brian Will [00:13:46]:
And he would have got nothing, and he woulda had to clean up the scraps at the end of the day. So from that perspective, he did Get something out of it. Yeah. But from my perspective, I mean, very honestly, if it comes down to my family or his, my family's gonna take precedence on that. Yeah. And I did the best deal that I could get for my family and didn't completely kill him on the way out.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:05]:
I love that. And I I'll tell you why I love that. Because at first, You know, I'm thinking, man, Brian, you're you're you're brutal. Right? But then now that you've now that you've actually mentioned that, you are right. You are absolutely right. Those the perspective from from his side of what is actually because you you know, you are right. When it comes to franchise agreements, when it comes to all those things, a lot of and the fact that he was able to walk away without any of that stress, that in itself has a value to it. Right? So I love the way that you've just explained that because now I'm seeing it personally from a different perspective.

Brian Will [00:14:44]:
And by the way, he he he's still my friend.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:46]:
Yeah.

Brian Will [00:14:46]:
Like, somebody the other day told me, yeah. I was having lunch with Mike, and this was, like, I don't know. 6, 7, 8 years ago, and he was talking about what a great businessperson you are and how, you know, how that deal so, you know, He's still my friend. Yeah. So that that that tells you sounds great.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:15:02]:
Fantastic. So if we can just jump from your book, right, what's probably and we'll make sure that we put the link to your book in our show notes for our audience. What's, you know, one of the key takeaways that will help our audience negotiate, like, more effectively.

Brian Will [00:15:23]:
So I talk about in my book, and and the title is The Psychology of Sales and Negotiation. Right? Because sales and negotiation is really all about the psychology of What the other person is thinking

David Fastuca [00:15:33]:
Mhmm.

Brian Will [00:15:34]:
And how the other person is reacting to the things you're saying and the things you're doing. And if you understand how they're thinking and how they're reacting, it allows you to be a better negotiator on your side. And the argument, I always use is, if you were doing or saying to you what you're doing or saying to them, how would you react? And if you know how you would react and if it's negative, then the next thing you need to figure out is, how do I overcome My own negative reaction. Because if I can overcome my own negative reaction, then I can figure out how to overcome their negative reaction Yeah. To move the deal forward. So this is all about what everybody else is everybody's thinking, what they're thinking, what I'm thinking, what I'm doing, how they're reacting. And we call this we call this overcoming objections Forum, Before the person has them. If I can overcome your objection before you have it, and I do this through Talking and questions and background information.

Brian Will [00:16:31]:
If I can overcome your objections before you have them, then I don't have to deal with them later on in the sales process. And that is really the key to master sales.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:16:39]:
That's awesome. So what you're doing is you're essentially preparing beforehand To understand what are the barriers that could come up, and then you're tailoring your position or your pitch or your, You know, your deal based on those barriers so that you're removing the barrier before they come up, before that tension rises.

Brian Will [00:17:07]:
Yep. No matter what you sell in any company, I I I could interview your Salesforce, and I will find out that there are probably 5 objections, give or take, that are the same objections you get every time. So when I work with organizations, We build sales scripts and processes around whatever those 5 objections are. Yep. Every single time. And we deal with them upfront in a Non, nonaggressive manner

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:17:31]:
Yep.

Brian Will [00:17:31]:
So that I can overcome them later or you don't even have the opportunity to say them later. Like, Quick example. Well, I'm just shopping right now. Okay? And that's why I don't wanna close a deal with you today. Well, When we very get when we get the the sales process very started, at the very beginning, I say, hey. Why are you doing this, and when are you looking to do it? And And so I want them to tell me why they're looking. That gives me a a a an a, something to use later on when they say they're not ready, and I ask them when they're looking to do it, so they can't tell later that you're shopping. Now if they tell me they're just shopping up front, I'll say, well, then why are you doing this? I mean, how many people get out of bed, Put their clothes on and drive down to a car lot to shop for cars they're not looking for.

Brian Will [00:18:15]:
How many people, you know, get dressed and go out and go shopping for things that they're not actually looking That just it's it's very rare. So we know Yeah. If somebody's talking to you, they have an interest. It's just a matter of you figuring out the why and the when. Yep. Figuring out what the objections would be, overcoming them, and then leading them where they wanna go. Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:18:34]:
So so what I'm hearing is, from a negotiation perspective, It's about first understanding intent early in the process, understanding the motivation, and then removing as many Potential objections as possible so that during the negotiation phase, you can move forward Because you've addressed all their concerns earlier in the process.

Brian Will [00:18:58]:
Yes. And it's all about the questions. Right? The fact finding the questions. I ask questions until There's nothing left to ask. Yeah. And that's how I build my case. I I I tell people there really isn't a close. If you do a proper Fact mindset.

Brian Will [00:19:10]:
You do pause for effect. You do check ins. You get your positive affirmations. You make sure they understand, and they have you have addressed every single issue that you have found that they have. There is no real close because at the end, I say, well, based on what we talked about, this looks like what you're looking for. It's in the price range you want. It it does what you want it to do. Yeah.

Brian Will [00:19:29]:
I mean, we might as well go ahead and get this done for you. I mean, that's it's not a big close.

David Fastuca [00:19:33]:
Yeah. Absolutely. Because you've you've

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:19:35]:
done the process. Right? You're not having to use any manipulative Close techniques Forum the Benjamin Franklin close and

David Fastuca [00:19:41]:
Pardon the interruption, but is your sales team not performing? You have leads, but your team struggles to close them. Well, we'll train you or your team on how to fill their own sales pipeline We're ready to buy opportunities in under 60 days, guaranteed. Now you're probably thinking, how does this work? Well, Luigi and I own a business called Growforum dot I o. We're the fastest growing sales and coaching and training company in the b to b space. We work with b to b businesses that sell products or services, for example, Stripe, HubSpot, Growth Thornton, and BlueRock are just a few of our clients. We work with your team, Train them to self generate their own qualified deals and keep them accountable with weekly sales coaching. Then we help you systemize your sales management So it runs on semi autopilot. Keep in mind, we're not one of those expensive outsourced sales agencies.

David Fastuca [00:20:38]:
We're helping your team in your business so that you have total control. Visit growth Forum dot and schedule your free sales strategy review with us today.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:20:50]:
Now back to the show. Brian, this It's been great. I mean, look, for I I I I would love to continue and go, you know, deep into this, but, obviously, we've got a We've got a time frame we've got to cover. But, Brian, I really enjoyed this episode. I don't know about you, Dave, but I think there's some really key takeaways here. Firstly, I wanna go and look for businesses that Brian bought in that in that manner, and let's go and buy some businesses like that, David, because That's awesome. But, look, Brian, thank you very much for coming on as a guest on the How to Sell podcast. For our audience, make sure you click that link so that you can purchase the book, because, you know, knowledge is power, and in 2024, Your keys to success is building your capability around every aspect of the sales process and, know, negotiation is a key part.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:21:45]:
Right? And as as Brian said, you don't have to get to a point where you're using hardcore closing techniques if you facilitate the right process early?

Brian Will [00:21:55]:
That's exactly right. David and Luigi, I appreciate you having me today. This was fun.

David Fastuca [00:21:58]:
Thank you, Brian. Well, Louie, that was an awesome chat with Brian. He just brought some real gold To the table, Ryan. So as we do, let's let's flip it back. How would you apply this in the selling process?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:22:10]:
Well, look. I think the first thing is, the big takeaway from that episode, Dave, and how can we apply this in the sales process is The negotiation part doesn't occur during the conversation. It actually starts before you enter the conversation. And if you take His story about buying the restaurant, which I absolutely loved. His research enabled him to really understand what was the best position that he could go into. Right? And I think for many sellers, we can sometimes we sometimes skip that research phase, and then when we get to the point of negotiating or we get to that point of, you know, discussing the deal parameters, We are are not presenting the best sort of scenario, right, because we haven't done our research. So first thing, Before moving into any sales process, any negotiation process, do your research so that you've got a clear understanding of the state of play. Second thing, which is key, right, remove that emotion.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:23:15]:
Now, I loved what he shared because If you have a skinny pipeline, if you don't have many deals in the pipeline, you're gonna try to hold on to every deal that you've got. Right? And you are gonna be emotional because you're gonna be like, no, I can't lose this, and this is where desperation comes into it. And you give up anything to get that deal. And we see it all the time. We See, you know, I'll I'll discount. I'll discount to get the deal done. Right? But like Brian said, be prepared to walk away, but You can only be prepared to walk away if you've got other deals sitting behind. Yeah? And have confidence knowing that you've got other deals sitting behind that deal.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:23:55]:
And, you know, we've all been there. I've been there where I didn't have many deals and I'm like, I really, really need this one to close. And, You know, regardless, maybe I in my eyes, I didn't show that I was feeling like I needed it, but There is always that feeling that it's there. You're like, you behave differently. Yeah? So I think the key to this as well, the other key takeaway is Build yourself a strong pipeline so that you can you can walk away. And, you know, it's really interesting because that fear of missing out that he spoke about, and I've been there before as well, where I've had a deal. They haven't been responding. They've been ghosting me, and I've gone back to them and said, hey.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:24:33]:
Sounds like now is not a good time. I've got other projects. Thanks very much for your time. You know, if anything changes, let me know. And that has triggered an immediate response from the prospect who was ghosting me. Yeah? So, Yeah. They call it a takeaway close, but sometimes the best way to take action is to walk away from a deal.