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BTM 68: The Art Of Deal Making With Ex-FBI Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss
13th August 2018 • Before the Millions • Daray Olaleye: Real Estate Investor and Business Coach
00:00:00 00:51:43

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Chris Voss is the CEO & Founder of the Black Swan Group Ltd and author of Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. He has used his many years of experience in international crisis and high-stakes negotiations to develop a unique program and team that applies these globally proven techniques to the business world.


Prior to 2008, Chris was the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group. During Chris’s 24 year tenure in the Bureau, he was trained in the art of negotiation by not only the FBI but Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. He is also a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and the FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.


Chris has taught business negotiation in the MBA program as an adjunct professor at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He has taught business negotiation at Harvard University, guest lectured at The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, The IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland and The Goethe School of Business in Frankfurt, Germany.


On today’s episode, we talk to Chris Voss about his journey and what inspired him to get into entrepreneurship. Growing up, Chris would always find different ways to make money from selling Christmas cards, cold drinks in front of the house, and more. He shares with us how watching “The Super Cops” movie inspired him to pursue a career in law enforcement. You’ll hear stories from when Chris was a FBI hostage negotiator and lessons learned you can use in when negotiating in business and life.


Chris also shares with us one of his favorite negotiation deals and what he learned from that experience that any aspiring entrepreneur can use to take their deals. Lastly, we wrap up the episode with some great action steps you can do today to become a better negotiator. Chris shares a neuroscience fact about having gratitude and a positive frame of mind can help you become smarter when making decisions in business and life.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Chris takes us back to his early days and how he learn the value of working hard and figuring things out from watching his father in business
  • How Chris began his career in law enforcement and how an injury in martial arts ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to Chris’ career
  • Chris’ experience of working 5 months in a suicide hotline opened to door for him to start his career in hostage negotiation
  • The differences between terrorist/hostage vs. business negotiation 
  • Chris’ story of a 8-million deal and how you can leverage emotional intelligence when negotiating deals
  • The importance of diffusing negatives people have by observation (Did you know? 70% deals are made not to accomplish gains but to avoid losses which is effectively to solve problems)
  • How talking about “the elephant in the room” can help you build rapport and trust immediately (The story of Chris’ experience with middle eastern muslim hostages and witnesses)
  • How you can build better relationships with people if you show them that you understand who they are and what their fears and needs are
  • Examples of hostages experiences a 10 million random deal (being opening to coaching was key to success and The birth of “that’s right” movement (when you summarize something from their perspective not from a neutral or your perspective and get the person to say that’s right)
  • Key Things To Practice When Negotiation (set the intention by putting the person’s best interest first → building rapport by being relatable → uncover the person’s problem and the costs of staying in this problem → decide if you can offer a solution or provide an alternative option for the person or outcome
  • Chris’ transition to hostage negotiation to helping other business professionals win at making deals
  • Why every negotiation is an opportunity and it’s up to you to learn how to leverage this moment in time
  • What is the objective of a negotiation: You need to focus on information gathering (find the best deal possible) and relationship building (building rapport with the person)
  • What to pay attention to when negotiating with someone (gestures, movement, voice, etc.) and how you need to approach them to get the results you want


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode

Chris’ Website:

Chris’ Book: Never Split The Difference

TED Talk: The science of happiness

Chris’ Favorite Book: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Chris’ Favorite Lifestyle Design App: Instagram- A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family.


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