On this episode of the Million Dollar Mortgage Experience, Jon Maddux, CEO of FundLoans, speaks with Brandon Voss, Director of Training & Operations at The Black Swan Group, about how you can use FBI negotiation techniques in your day-to-day business! Si
"Learn How To Negotiate Like An FBI Hostage Negotiator" With Jerry Brandon Voss, Secrets from Non-QM's Top Underwriting Manager, As Featured On FundLoans' Vlog "The Million Dollar Mortgage Experience.
Here's The Full Transcription
John Maddux: 00:00:01 On this episode I speak with Brandon Voss. Brandon is the director of training and operations at Black Swan Limited, a company founded by his father, Chris Voss. Chris is a former FBI, high stakes negotiator who, much like the movies, has had to negotiate with bank robbers, terrorists, and kidnappers in life or death situations. As you can imagine, there are many techniques that can also be used in business deals and negotiating with clients.
John Maddux: 00:00:27 Brandon and I speak about how to get people to respond quickly to your emails, how to make your borrowers feel safe enough to move forward, and why starting from a place of know is actually a good thing. Listen close as Brandon reveals proven hostage negotiation techniques to help you succeed in your day to day business.
Speaker 2: 00:00:45 Welcome to The Million Dollar Mortgage Experience podcast. Listen in as CEO, John Maddux of FundLoans reveals tips, secrets, and origination ideas to fill your pipeline with the million dollar opportunities.
John Maddux: 00:01:01 All right, Brandon, thanks for coming on the show. How are you doing today?
Brandon Voss: 00:01:05 I'm doing well. I'm doing well. I'm excited to be with you today. I think this is going to be a cool thing. But yeah, I'm happy to be here, man. I'm happy to talk about some of this stuff.
John Maddux: 00:01:15 That's great. So, your company is Black Swan. Tell us a little bit about what you guys are about.
Brandon Voss: 00:01:24 So we like to think of ourselves as a strategic business advisory firm that really focuses on negotiation and the negotiation that the foundation and where it comes from is from the hostage negotiation world.
John Maddux: 00:01:43 That's great. So I'm hostage negotiations, that's something you see on TV, in movies, typically. How does that relate, would you say, to business? Because I know it does, right? Because your dad, Chris, he's taught at Harvard and things like that, correct? As a professor?
Brandon Voss: 00:02:03 Yeah, he has. He's taught at Harvard, he's taught at Georgetown, he's taught at USC. And yeah, he's got a lot of experience both in the academic world and then in the business world, private sector and hostage negotiation world. So yeah, he's been all over.
John Maddux: 00:02:23 So how does that relate to business, would you say? You imagine like a scene from a movie, like a bunch of hostages, guys with guns and maybe masks, and they're holding some people and they want something, there are hostage negotiators. So how does that relate, you would say, to, like a business negotiation?
Brandon Voss: 00:02:43 Well, first, to address the movie aspect of it, as my father and his comrades like to put it, the one thing that they always get right in those movies is the equipment. And then as far as the communication goes, it's never anything like that. It's all drama and it's made for TV. But how it relates to the private sector, and what's the translation, first of all, coming from this idea of no compromise. We talk about in the book, my father never had the opportunity to go in and say, "You got four hostages. Give me two, you keep two and then everybody goes home. Win-win; we each got something we wanted. You have to build rapport very quickly, you've got to establish a relationship, you've got to establish boundaries, and then you've got to walk out with everything that you need or you fail.
Brandon Voss: 00:03:47 And so in business, how does that translate? Number one, people start to compromise themselves before they get to the table sometimes. If you're in negotiations, you're in communication at all and you start to think about what we're going to say going in, the thought of, "We can't ask them that, right? Because they're going to say this." And we start to compromise our position before we even get there. And so a big part of it is getting out of that mindset and going in with information gathering. Drop the value proposition, drop the data. As tough as that is, drop those things and go in, really, with the intention of navigating the information that you can only get when you're talking to the counterpart.
John Maddux: 00:04:32 That's an interesting side. I think of it like... When it relates to mortgages and when it relates to dealing with the borrower, we don't always know what's in their head. Like for instance, we may have a picture on our end of what they want or what's going to drive them to want to take this loan, but we don't always know... Like for instance, I've had loan officers tell me before, like, "Oh, they're not going to take that deal." But then I say like, "Hey, well, just pitch it to them. You don't know what they're going to say. Let them say no, don't be the one to say no for them."
John Maddux: 00:05:09 And then they'll pitch the deal and then come to find out their motivation was totally different than what they thought it was. It wasn't that maybe the interest rate's only slightly better. But what they didn't know, or the piece of information that we didn't have was that they have to get this loan out of someone else's name or they have some other event that's coming up where maybe that mortgage is due in a month and they got to pay the whole thing in full.
John Maddux: 00:05:38 So they're not really concerned about necessarily dropping their rates so much, it's just about... There's another motive. I'm sure there's something in... kind of can connect to what you guys do to find a motive or to find more information and really get the whole story. How does that resonate with what you guys do?
Brandon Voss: 00:05:57 Well, I think that's exactly it. There's information and so... Well, let me start like this. You know that there is no way for you to have complete information when you get to the table. So, if you come to the table, having decided on an outcome, knowing that there's holes in your information, what have you done to yourself? There's always other terms other than price that make up any given deal. And then what emotions are tied to what they're trying to do, what they want to accomplish, that's exactly... There's always things that they're dealing with that only they can see. And so how does that affect what you're trying to accomplish?
John Maddux: 00:06:47 Cool. Now, being the son of a hostage negotiator and FBI agent, you got to have a story, you got to you got to tell us. I don't know if there's any stories that normally tell, but is there anything you can share with our audience? I think that's... I'm sure there's something that's exciting that we'd love to hear. I know it's not like the movies, like you said, but certainly, I imagine there's got to be something that you share with us that has to do with the hostage negotiations, like a true story.
Brandon Voss: 00:07:17 Well-
John Maddux: 00:07:18 You don't have to [crosstalk 00:07:18] names or say names.
Brandon Voss: 00:07:20 ... cool is... And I think it's in regards to the Jeff Schilling case. And the Jeff Schilling case is in the book, and they have a splitting difference. And so they're trying to get across to the hostage taker that Jeffery, the person they're holding, is a real person, and don't hurt him, and it's happening to be taken place in an area that was a Muslim country and mothers are important in that country. And so in an effort to endear the hostage to the hostage taker and also show him as a human being, and then also use the media...
Brandon Voss: 00:08:06 These guys watch TV too, they read the papers, they hear what's happening. And in order to use and also use the media as a place of influence, they had Jeff's mother on TV, on the news, basically just saying, "Don't hurt my son. Please don't hurt my son." And they had a conversation with the hostage taker over it, and the hostage taker said, "His mother knows about this? You tell his mother he's okay." And being able to watch the newsfeed and see the mother on TV and know he was behind the scenes and knowing all that was going on, that was a cool thing.
John Maddux: 00:08:52 They showed their cards right there. Yeah? They were basically saying, in different words, that they're not going to kill them or they're not going to harm him necessarily. Right?
Brandon Voss: 00:09:02 That's it. That's it. They found that, interesting thing, if they could get the hostage taker to use the name of the hostage, of the person or people they had captive, the chances of them actually hurting those individuals dropped drastically.
John Maddux: 00:09:19 Oh wow. So when they actually asked the-
Brandon Voss: 00:09:21 [crosstalk 00:09:21]. I want to say by like 800%. It's something ridiculous.
John Maddux: 00:09:25 So would they ask the hostage taker to like... So what's the name of the... They intentionally do that, what's the name of the person you've got held there? They try to get them to say the name and stuff, is that a tactic?
Brandon Voss: 00:09:41 Well, there's a lot of different ways that they do it. And they talk about those things in the book, which is cool. There's a negotiation nine list for a reason. So many different ways to approach the circumstance, and your circumstance really dictates your strategy.
John Maddux: 00:09:57 So growing up, did you ever... As all teenagers do, they negotiate with their parents. Did you ever have... Was it difficult to ever negotiate with your dad on things? Like, "Can I stay out late?" Do you have any stories like that?
Brandon Voss: 00:10:10 Well, the one thing he likes to make note of is... In his job, they had to learn to talk through deadlines. And it's interesting, we can talk about how that relates to business moving forward, but this whole idea of talking through deadlines and making sure that hostages didn't get killed on deadline and what that took. And when I had a curfew, when I moved in and started living with him in my senior year of high school in the DC area and I had a curfew, he was always impressed at the way that I would try to talk through the deadline of my curfew and based on the way... where I was located at the time. I knew if I could have him on the phone, and I was close, I wasn't actually there. Things were probably going to be okay, as opposed to me losing the car keys for three months or something like that.
John Maddux: 00:11:06 That's cool. I could see where that would relate to say like a borrower, they're expecting to close on a certain time. And I think the worst thing that mortgage brokers can do is to not communicate and just to go dark or silent. And then obviously, you think the worst; you think the worst is happening, like, "Oh, my loan's never going to close." And so being able to be on the phone with them at that time when they're supposed to be closing, even though you're not closing, it probably softens the blow, because that happens quite a bit in this business. I don't know if you've ever bought a house or not, but there's some times when things get delayed and it's out of your control.
Brandon Voss: 00:11:46 Yeah. Well, those things happen. And it's interesting that this relates back to the hostage thing too. And when he was dealing with a family and his team was dealing with a family, they'd have check-in days. And even if they were calling just to tell them that there was no new update, just to get them on the phone and it took 15 seconds, "Hey, reaching out, daily call, no new news today." Just having that interaction on a daily basis, and what they did for the family emotionally and being able to keep themselves in control during the process, I think that relates very specifically. All the emotions that are involved, and even talk about people going dark, and depending on negotiate or type or where they're at or what side of the table you're sitting on, how people react to silence. And so people imagine the worst. Especially when emotions are high, they have a tendency to imagine the worst.
John Maddux: 00:12:45 That's right. One thing that I heard from your dad from his speaking to Google was something about yes as a commitment and no as protection. And to start with no, can you tell us about that?
Brandon Voss: 00:13:02 Sure. Yeah. First of all, you never say yes to one thing. There's always multiple questions in your mind. And when people say yes, they're not always sure what they're saying yes to. And then simple example we talk about in the book, when people make phone calls and they call someone up and they say, "Do you have a few minutes?" Or, "Can we talk?" And you're looking for the yes answer. "Yes, I do have a few minutes." And really, what's going on in that moment is, the person you're reaching out to, they actually have to answer four questions in their mind in order to say yes to that.
John Maddux: 00:13:42 That's true. Good point.
Brandon Voss: 00:13:44 The fist question is, "Do I actually have a few minutes?" If I do have a few minutes, do I want to talk to you? If I do have a few minutes and I want to talk to you, do I want to talk about what you want to talk about? And then if I have all those three of those things reign true, how do I get off the phone? Because we all know people where they call us up and they say, "Do you have a few minutes?" And it's 45. It's at least a half an hour.
John Maddux: 00:14:20 It's never a few minutes. Right.
Brandon Voss: 00:14:22 Yeah. And so we don't realize our intention is not... That from our end, that's not what we intend. But that doesn't matter because that's what's being interpreted on the other side. That's what's ringing in their head. And so when you go in and you change simple questions where you're looking for a yes to looking for no, it shuts that other voice in their head that's going, it shuts that voice. There's something about the ability to say no to something that just makes people... because it also... It protects your own autonomy.
John Maddux: 00:15:00 It's kind of empowering.
Brandon Voss: 00:15:03 Yeah, that's a good way to put it. It's empowering. When people can say no, when they can turn things down, they protect their autonomy and it's empowering. Yes.
John Maddux: 00:15:10 So no is a good way to start a conversation. I know that's part of the book too. It's, no is not the end of the conversation, no is how to start a conversation kind of thing. Right?
Brandon Voss: 00:15:22 Well that's part of it. That's part of it, right? It's-
John Maddux: 00:15:26 I think I took a leap from what we were talking about into a whole nother thing. So let's back up a little bit, because I want to unpack that other thing you just said about... So give us a specific way to make a phone call using that technique that you just... Like, how do you start a conversation?
Brandon Voss: 00:15:43 Oh, it would be simply... A simple change would be, is now a bad time?
John Maddux: 00:15:49 That's a lot better, because they can say, "Oh no, no, no, no. Not a bad time to talk. I can talk." It's almost like doing a takeaway psychologically?
Brandon Voss: 00:15:59 Well, it depends on what you're aiming at. We talk about creating emotional moments in negotiation. And so when you're talking about taking something away, what exactly are you looking to take away? Are you trying to take away a negative feeling, or are you trying to take away the little voice, or are you trying to take away the heightened emotion?
John Maddux: 00:16:19 Let me take away all the-
Brandon Voss: 00:16:21 What are you aiming at?
John Maddux: 00:16:22 ... take away all the uncertainty about... You said there's four things that they had to decide. So you're taking away all of that, you're making it easy for them to say that they can talk when... Let me give you an example; one of the things that I would do as loan officer when I would send out an email is I always teach... And I always this because it works, is I always like to end the email with the question mark, and I like it to be short and sweet. And sometimes I like to say something that gives them a chance to say no.
John Maddux: 00:16:55 So let me give you that example. So I owned a website called theafterforeclosure.com, and people would go into that website, they'd fill out a form saying, "Hey, I want to I want to buy a house, After Foreclosure." And one of the things that I'd do is when I get that email from them, I'd reply back and I'd say, "Are you locked?" Like, I'd ask them like, "Thanks for doing the inquiry. Looks like we might be able to help you." Like, just a real quick three sentences.
John Maddux: 00:17:21 And then the last thing I would say was, "Are you presently locked in a lease?" And when I say that takeaway, is like... I know you could maybe unpack that better, but what I felt like was a way for them to say, "No, I'm not locked in the lease." Because if you say, "Are you locked in a lease?" You're almost saying like, "Oh, you may..." It's more like a disqualifier. Like, maybe you're not... It's an easy way for someone to say, "Yes, I am qualified because I'm not locked in a lease." You know what I mean? Does that make sense?
Brandon Voss: 00:17:51 Yeah, it does. It does. And one thing, one great point about email that I think you mentioned, especially in this day and age, there's so much communication through email, and more negotiation takes place through email them we probably wish would or actually should in the long run. But that said, keeping things short. Less is more in an email. Everyone's probably been guilty of writing a long email, but you would be hard pressed to find somebody that really liked reading a long email. Everybody's written one, but find somebody who likes reading it.
Brandon Voss: 00:18:27 And then getting right to the point. And so I like that, because you're... You are looking for a no. The thing there is that, that's your intention. And so this whole idea of, again, empathy and creating emotional moments, your intention of the question is felt by the other side. But then understanding how they interpret that feeling is where you got to navigate the situation. It's dangerous when we start to assume things based on what we think to be true.
John Maddux: 00:19:04 So, by saying, "Is now a bad time to talk," what does that do to the mind? You were talking about emotional empathy; what does that do to the mind when you say, "Is now a bad time to talk?"
Brandon Voss: 00:19:20 It's interesting. In this day and age, it's great that we have all these brain studies and all this technology; we can actually like stick rods in people's brains and measure what's happening when they see pictures or when they say things while they're talking. And so we know that dopamine and serotonin are naturally occurring chemicals in the body, and we talk about ways to actually affect those chemical dumps through your communication, whether it'd be your tone of voice or managing that emotion.
Brandon Voss: 00:19:52 And so I think when someone is looking to say no, if you're going to break it down from that side, there's probably some sort of a serotonin dump, a mood regulating drug. It's being dumped in because they can turn you down. The sense that they're turning something down. [crosstalk 00:20:13].
John Maddux: 00:20:12 You just gave them power.
Brandon Voss: 00:20:14 They're not tied to anything when they say no, no matter what it is they're saying no to. And it's just how you frame your question.
John Maddux: 00:20:22 That's very interesting. I love the way that that works. So after you say, "Is now a bad time," and they said, "No," is there a follow up to that, or you just get right into it? What do you usually teach?
Brandon Voss: 00:20:35 Well, if you're scripting it out, depending on how you're looking at things and what your prep time is, all that comes into consideration, how much time we actually have. But the next step would probably be to stay to timeframe. It's impossible to take 15 minutes out of your day, but then also be conscious of... especially if you're on the phone, have a timer next to you and make sure that you keep that 15 minute mark and at 13:58, you're interrupting the conversation no matter what they say. "Hey, I want to make sure we keep this to 15 minutes. We got about a minute left." Last point, agree to meet again and then get them off the phone.
Brandon Voss: 00:21:18 Because at the very least... We also talk about impressions in negotiation, and so we all have heard how important first impressions are. Well, what's more important than the first impression? It's the last impression. [inaudible 00:21:32] you don't want to talk about movies. On Broadway and in the movie business, they've known for a long time. You give them a big finish, they'll forgive you for anything. Right? So-
John Maddux: 00:21:40 Correct.
Brandon Voss: 00:21:41 ... understanding how last impressions affect people, managing the end of your conversation so that at the very least they walk away and go, "You know what, when I talk to them, they never waste my time."
John Maddux: 00:21:54 That's cool.
Brandon Voss: 00:21:54 I get daily updates from them, even if they got no new news. And then if they got something important they got to talk about, it's never going to take more than 20 minutes.
John Maddux: 00:22:02 Right. Well, someone's long winded and they're sitting there blabbing on the phone, you better believe the next time they see your number and your name coming on their phone, they're not going to answer it. Right?
Brandon Voss: 00:22:13 There's already an emotion, there's already some chemical dump going in and maybe it's adrenaline, maybe it's dopamine, who knows? But there's a... Manage your last impression.
John Maddux: 00:22:23 Yeah. I have a quick story on... When the crash happened and I didn't really know what to do with my life because I've been in the mortgage business for so long, I picked up my music again and I started working on songwriting and stuff like that. And so I had a manager at the time, and we would go and take meetings because I was trying to get a publishing deal, which is what songwriters do to make a living. So, one of the things that he taught me was, when you go to these meetings, the first thing you do is before it's time for them to say bye or for them to shoe you out, he said, "Stand up and thank them for the meeting and start pretending like you're going to walk out," because something about that...
John Maddux: 00:23:10 And I didn't really get the psychology at the time back then, but it made sense because they'd all be going, "No, no, sit back down. We want to talk more." And so they would kind of like... I think it has to do with this whole no thing that you're talking about. Is that something-
Brandon Voss: 00:23:24 Yeah, it's a big part of it. That specific walk away at the table, that creates an emotional moment. And how do you manage it? And one of the things I like about your description is, he's not slamming his hands down on the table and going, "You're unreasonable. We can't agree to terms." But kindly thank them for the meeting. If you get Chris on here, have him tell you the story about his friend, Ned Colletti, and that name may ring some bells in some people's minds, but he's got a famous story doing basically the same thing and completely changing the interaction because he thanked them kindly and started quietly packing up his stuff and slowly heading for the door. And wait [inaudible 00:24:09] wait. We're still talking here. How do you manage that moment?
John Maddux: 00:24:15 Right. That's interesting. So I wanted to continue talking about how no is not the end of the conversation. Like in the mortgage business, you're talking to someone on the phone about a loan and you're giving them a pitch, you're pitching them like, "Okay, so here's what your payment's going to be. Here's this, here's that." And if they said no, that's not necessarily the end of the conversation. You go, "Okay, all right. Well, thanks for your time. Bye." In this situation, you don't do the walk away thing. But how would no be a start of a conversation? Because I know that Chris has talked about that in the past.
Brandon Voss: 00:24:55 Right. Right. Again, going back to the whole, right, we're hit with no when we're trying to push value and don't get frustrated by that; stay in the fight. This is just the beginning. Your first no is just their first trail to your next yes. Right?
John Maddux: 00:25:14 Right.
Brandon Voss: 00:25:15 All those things. And you got to be fixed skin. Essentially, that's what that boils down to. Boil that down to, plain and simply, you got to be thick skinned. And really, we kind of turn that on its head a little bit because we're looking for a no, we're trying to make them say no. It's not about getting a rejection and figuring out how to bounce back, it's leaning the conversation to make them say no. So going back to our example before, is now bad time? Is it going to ruin your day if I soak up the next 15 minutes?
John Maddux: 00:25:54 Got you.
Brandon Voss: 00:25:55 Two nos in a row, bang, bang. And now you've got them locked in for 15 minutes. And so at this point, you've probably got their full and undivided attention for maybe 15 seconds. And so, are you going to waste that on accidentally running over and talking for two minutes, or you're going to throw a something like a label at them like we talk about in the book?
John Maddux: 00:26:20 Tell us about that.
Brandon Voss: 00:26:21 Open up the flood gate with someone... And one of the real estate courses I know my father is doing referred to as opening up the flood gates of truth telling. So what are you going to do with your 15 seconds? You're going to open the flood gates, or you're going to risk talking about something that they have no interest in?
John Maddux: 00:26:39 Hmm. So what do you do? I think maybe getting... I think hostage negotiations, from what I understand, is... I understand very little about it, but what I understand is you got to try to get personal. I think in hostage negotiations and sales, you want to get personal in some ways. Do you use that 15 seconds to get personal? Like to ask them to talk about something that they like to trigger some of those dopamines or those emotions?
Brandon Voss: 00:27:12 Rapport building is a quintessential part of communication as long as human beings are involved, and there's just no way around that. We talk about negotiator type, I don't want to go too far down a rabbit hole here, but talking about negotiator type, which just really boils down to fight, flight or make friends. And so what's the process for rapport building with each one of those times? Because it's going to be a little bit different. Everyone knows relationships are important, everyone values them at a different level.
Brandon Voss: 00:27:52 Again, understanding your counterpart, and a lot of that's going to come from them doing the talking. And I think if consider yourself in sales or in a negotiation capacity of any type, we're not learning when we're the ones that are doing the talking. And so how do you make yourself smarter in every interaction? And not every deal is made. We say negotiation is about making deals, but if you didn't make a deal, did you still negotiate?
John Maddux: 00:28:26 Yeah.
Brandon Voss: 00:28:26 Did you get smarter along the way? And that's part of closing the deals that nobody else can close, because you discovered the information nobody else can find.
John Maddux: 00:28:34 That's good. So, you're not going to... Once they say no, it's not going to ruin my day.
Brandon Voss: 00:28:41 Yeah.
John Maddux: 00:28:42 Great. And if you've never talked to a person before, you're not going to go and just say, like, "Hey, how's your family?" You won't do that, it's awkward. So I think, I guess, the next thing is you are stating what your purpose of your call is, or if you already know what that purpose is, then you just get into it. But I like when you're talking about if you're talking, you're not learning. And the whole goal in negotiation is you want to learn as much as you can about that other side and what their motive and their goals are in order for you to formulate a strategic and a smart way of getting to that finish line. Is that right?
Brandon Voss: 00:29:21 Yeah. Yeah. That's it. That's exactly it. And even just to add more to what you said, because that's a huge part of it, when we make the mistake of assuming that we're talking to the entire decision making party. And that said, you always got to be aware. It doesn't matter what level of negotiation you're at, there's always people that are not at the table that whoever you're talking to uses to make decisions; whether it's a wife or board of directors or another high level executive or whoever, there's other people away from the table that helps them manage their decisions. And so how are you effecting those conversations as well? Those conversations as well, that's always something you got to consider.
John Maddux: 00:30:13 That's good. That's good. So, I know you have a story about the words, "that's right." Some kind of football story and how the words, "that's right." If you can get them to say, that's right, there's a power to that. Will you tell us about that?
Brandon Voss: 00:30:33 Yeah. There is a lot of power to it. And the best comparison, especially in this day and age, that I can make is a political one. And again, we're not going down a rabbit hole, but-
John Maddux: 00:30:46 Sure. There's a negotiation happening right now as we all know, at the government shutdown.
Brandon Voss: 00:30:52 Exactly right. But that said, when you see... It doesn't matter who you support, what it is, you're still a human being. When you're watching TV and you see a politician you support and they say something that you agree with, you look at the TV and you go, "That's right. That's right."
John Maddux: 00:31:11 Absolutely.
Brandon Voss: 00:31:12 And so think about what emotion has taken place at that time and how much you whole heartedly agree with what this person is saying. And so how do you create that emotional moment in negotiation? You get them to say, that's right, what are you getting to say, that's right, to? And then of course, circumstance defined strategy. So going to your football story, I was being moved from a lineman to linebacker, never played linebacker before. And it's a completely different position.
Brandon Voss: 00:31:51 As a lineman, for those of you who are not familiar with American football, you're right on top of where the football is, which is where the line is, the imaginary line that divides the offense in defenses, the guys that have their hands on the ground; those are linemen. And then the guy standing right behind them on the defensive side, those are linebackers. And the responsibilities are very different. And one of the big differences is linemen hit each other. You come out of your stance and you hit the man in front of you, that's what you do.
Brandon Voss: 00:32:26 Linebackers don't do that; their job is to get to the ball. If there's people in the way, you're not necessarily supposed to make contact with them. There's a swim move, there's a root move, there's all these things that you learn that your coaches teach you in practice. But don't get caught up in contact, because you got to make a tackle, you got to make a play. And so when I moved to linebacker, my first thought was, when someone was trying to hit me, if I got out of the way, I was the chicken, because there's also a sense of pride on the line of scrimmage between that battle of men, as it were.
John Maddux: 00:33:11 Sure.
Brandon Voss: 00:33:11 It does come down to pride, and you're going to get beat up or you're not. And I had taken [inaudible 00:33:18] added to the linebacker, where if someone was trying to block me, I didn't want to get out of the way, I wanted to knock them down. I want to knock them down. I want them to know that if you're going to tangle with me, it's going to hurt every time.
John Maddux: 00:33:32 Sure.
Brandon Voss: 00:33:33 And so it's much more of a subconscious thing as I'm playing the position, because we'd be in a game and I'd knock down four, five people, and someone else would make a tackle and I wouldn't even make the play, but I would because havoc. And the coach was trying to tell me, "Don't do that. Dodge the blocks." And my father was telling me the same thing. And knowing me and knowing the circumstances, he wanted to best right out of me. And he pulled me aside and said, "When someone's trying to hit you, you don't want to get out of the way because it makes you feel like less of a man. It hurts your pride and your ego if someone's trying to hit you and you try to get out of their way and try to dodge them as if-"
John Maddux: 00:34:16 You're like backing down or something. Right?
Brandon Voss: 00:34:19 Exactly. Because you're backing down. And I looked at him, and I said, "That's right." And so what's interesting about this from my point of view was the very next game that we played, and unfortunately, it happened to be a game I got hurt in that year, but the first linemen I dodged, we locked eyes, and it was full intention; this is going to happen. This is a battle. It's about to be a train wreck. And I hit him with a nice little swim move. We ended up talking about it after the game, and he fell flat on his face and in the middle of the field, and I made the tackle in the hole.
Brandon Voss: 00:35:01 And the first thought in my mind was, "You wuss!" In my head, that's what told myself-
John Maddux: 00:35:09 You dodged the opportunity to-
Brandon Voss: 00:35:14 [crosstalk 00:35:14] because internally, I was something. I had to fight that. And so it completely changed my behavior once that was brought out into the light. And he [inaudible 00:35:21] to what we refer to as the summary. And so how do you change behavior of a counterpart you're dealing with and if you're a broker and you're trying to get a borrower, how do you change their behavior by summarizing what they see so succinctly that all they can say is, "That's right." Like, "You got it."
John Maddux: 00:35:40 That's good.
Brandon Voss: 00:35:40 "You totally understand me. I trust you more now, because I can feel that you understand what I'm seeing."
John Maddux: 00:35:48 So that's good. There's a good point there. If you understand what the borrower wants and what they want to accomplish and then you reiterate that, or you say that back to them, there's a power in that, because they really, truly feel that you understand them and you know... then they can trust you, because then they know, "Okay, wow, he knows what's in my head." Or, "She knows what's in my head." So that they can move forward and accomplish that. I guess they probably can then have less stress about the deal, less fear, I guess.
Brandon Voss: 00:36:29 And it's not even just in this business, it's a human nature concept. But people trust and feel more comfortable around those they feel understood by.
John Maddux: 00:36:41 Interesting.
Brandon Voss: 00:36:42 That's why people who smoke make friends, people who go to the bar and make friends, that's why people do business with each other; they trust those they feel understood by.
John Maddux: 00:36:56 That's a good point, a very good point. I know you guys also talk about emotional intelligence. Can you share about that?
Brandon Voss: 00:37:06 Sure. The whole EQ versus IQ argument and which is more important and which is more closely ties into success. And there's more and more studies coming out these days that shows EQ is much more closely tied to success [inaudible 00:37:24] guys like Richard Branson and the Tony Robbins are so popular. And guys like Samuel Jackson is in all movies and shows, because they're easy to get along with, people like guys like Mark Walberg. We'll throw him in every movie. This emotional intelligence thing being being tied to success.
Brandon Voss: 00:37:45 And IQ is defined at a young age. You're 10, 11, 12 years old, that's your IQ. It's never going to change. No matter what you do, it's pretty much a set marker. EQ is something you can continue to improve until your late 80s.
John Maddux: 00:38:04 What is it? I mean-
Brandon Voss: 00:38:05 There's guys out there, there's some married guys, I'm a recently married guy myself, we can continue to get smarter. The arguments with the wife might actually get easier as time goes on as we forget this emotional intelligence thing. But yeah, it's an action. I think that's what's really missing and what we don't understand. And that's why we related so close to what we call tactical empathy. It's an actionable item. And so how do we put the words together to take action?
John Maddux: 00:38:35 Interesting. So, it's something that you can learn, you can evolve, you can get better at. It's something that really relates to how much effort you want to put into it to get back. Is that right?
Brandon Voss: 00:38:51 It is. It is. Not to be confused with sympathy. And I think that's where sometimes we get tripped up. And emotional intelligence, there's a two part definition of it; the first part is simply being aware of your own emotions and being able to keep them under control. And the second part of that is being very acutely aware of your counterpart's emotions and then being able to influence those emotions. Being able to recognize them, see that they are there, understand their existence, and then influence how those things affect their decision making.
Brandon Voss: 00:39:29 So it doesn't include agreement, it doesn't include feeling it's yourself. What it really boils down to is acknowledgement. And that's, I think, where we stand out in a lot of ways is we help people actually put the words together. What do the phrases look like? Why do we have this negotiation nine list and these other tools, and then how do you put them together?
John Maddux: 00:40:00 That's good. And I could see where listening is a big part of that. Listening and listening with intent, not just listening. There's two different ways of listening, you can... Because some people listen just so they can say the next thing, versus listening and trying to understand what someone... where they're coming from. And I think a lot of problems can be fixed by taking even one minute or 15 seconds to really listen.
Brandon Voss: 00:40:28 Yeah. That's it. Stephen Covey is really put it out in the world in a big way in just what he described as, seek first to understand before being understood. And that's a great way to look at it. I think what we feel in a lot of holes is that, how do you do that? What does it look like? What's the sequencing? What's the process? And to even add more to it, seek first to understand in order to be understood.
John Maddux: 00:41:07 That's good.
Brandon Voss: 00:41:09 In order for them to then see your point of view. That's what we talk about in the book, this whole idea of forced empathy, when you want them to see what you're looking at. And then is how you sequence it out. I think it's not so much that it... It's not that it doesn't have its place, it's where does it go? And the thing is, it can't go first.
John Maddux: 00:41:31 Interesting.
Brandon Voss: 00:41:32 What's great that is if you do everything else right, you can discover those black swans, you build that trust and rapport quickly because you display the understanding, that they don't even need to hear your side to agree to what you want. It's amazing what those emotions then create. It eliminates that need [inaudible 00:41:51]. Like, Hey, let's do business.
John Maddux: 00:41:52 Right. It goes back to what you were saying like, people want to do business with people they trust, people want to do business with people that they have something in common with. Like the smoking thing, you're right, you always see people packed together, whether it's they're into football or whether they're into... Whatever it is that they like to hang out. And so having that connection... I think that with sales too.
John Maddux: 00:42:13 It reminds me of a book I read a long time ago. I remember early on, when I first got into sales, my first loan officer job, I went to Barnes & Noble. I don't know if anyone remembers that store, but I went to Barnes & Nobles, and there was a self help books section, and I saw this book. And that it's a bunch of different books, but one that stood out was... the title was, How to Get Anyone to Do Anything. And I looked at that book and I was like, "Whoa, that seems kind of powerful. That seems cool." So I read a couple things like, "Okay, I'll buy that book."
John Maddux: 00:42:46 And I just never forget when I went to the checkout, and I had, I think, two books, this elderly lady looks at the book and she reads it, and then she looks up at me and then she looks back down at the book, reads it again, looks back up. She looks at me and she goes, "You be very careful with this book, young man." And I just remember the book had all kinds things about that.
John Maddux: 00:43:13 One of the questions that I wanted to ask you is like, if you learn the ability to negotiate and you learn all these tricks, do you ever feel like you have kind of like a superpower? Is there a moment when you realize, "Wow." And not to... you want to be a manipulator. That could backfire and become the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish. But there is something to it that I think is rewarding, knowing that you can somewhat... It's almost like a chess player; you know what's going to happen if you do things right. Is there something to that?
Brandon Voss: 00:43:48 Yeah. There's so many elements to that question that I feel like I could come at that from. And so please help me redirect if I get too far off topic here, because-
John Maddux: 00:43:59 Sure.
Brandon Voss: 00:43:59 ... I just got to bounce around it, because I think that's a great question. But first of all, I think one of the problems with negotiation, or what scares people is the undertone that one side is going to get taken advantage of. And then also, there's this thought of, in negotiation, there's a silver bullet. If I say the exact right thing, it'd be like I sprinkled fairy dust on them and they just agree to what I wanted, and that whole thing. And at the end of day, people make deals because they feel like it.
Brandon Voss: 00:44:34 And they feel like it because they're under tremendous amounts of pressure from you or what they're feeling on their side or the threat of loss or whatever it is. All those negative things. Or they feel like doing it because they got trust and rapport and they feel understood. And so the skills are designed to create a collaborative environment where both sides make a lot of money, we're making good agreements. We don't want agreements that end up hurting me this side. And so what does that look like?
Brandon Voss: 00:45:14 I think when you go in with the intention of navigating and understanding, then it changes your perspective a little bit as far as trying to pitch value or show them the way, because there's all kinds of buyers that are out there anyway. The buyers [inaudible 00:45:34] statistics; up to 70% of their mind is made up before we even speak. And so nobody's close rate is 70%.
John Maddux: 00:45:45 Sure.
Brandon Voss: 00:45:45 Think about that, it's like, well, if we're on the phone and we want to assume they have an open mind and 70% made up, why don't we close at 70%? And so the misconception, again, that they do have an open mind. When they've got a 70% mine made up, then it's just whether or not they made up their mind about you or they've made up their mind about something else and they're just wasting your time. So there's a lot of elements, and it's just how you approach the conversation from trying to understand.
Brandon Voss: 00:46:15 And also what that does for you is you don't got to do a lot of work. It alleviates your side if you go in with the intention of, we're going to see what they have to say and then we're going to agree to meet again. In the first couple of stages in negotiation, that takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of you. I know that was long winded. I kind of-
John Maddux: 00:46:37 That was goo.
Brandon Voss: 00:46:38 ... jumped way all over the place, but... Does that add to the conversation or? Is it ridiculous to say that that added to the conversation at least the little?
John Maddux: 00:46:49 Right, right. There's so many ways and there's so many books. One of the things that people say is, the power of yes... So when we first started talking about this no thing, it's like, well, what about yes, you want them to get them to say yes, yes, yes, so then they say yes to the deal? So it's like, where do you cross from no to yes. I know there's probably a tactic in there somewhere.
Brandon Voss: 00:47:19 I don't like to refer to necessarily as training wheels, but that's one way to look at it. And so how do you start... How do you start the momentum to get a good no question started or get a good label started where you're not necessarily going for that yes, that close ended. One of the ones we talk about in the book is, have you given up on? And when we talk about that in the context of, through email, you haven't heard from somebody in a while you don't know what's going on with the deal. Have you given up on X? Put in the subject line and shoot it out there.
John Maddux: 00:47:57 That's good.
Brandon Voss: 00:47:58 So the other thing about the emotional moment we just created there is nobody likes to give up.
John Maddux: 00:48:04 Yeah, it's true.
Brandon Voss: 00:48:05 To be [inaudible 00:48:05] and that's human nature. And so structure it in there and that sort of way. And then of course, putting the subject line, nothing in the email body. We know human nature is people scan their subject lines when they read their email.
John Maddux: 00:48:18 Yeah.
Brandon Voss: 00:48:19 [inaudible 00:48:19] mentally the levels of importance, and then some people get responded to and not everybody does right away. And so understanding that as well, right in the subject line, front center, and now you're sparking a new conversation.
John Maddux: 00:48:34 That's a great tool because I've never heard anyone tell me what should I put in the subject line. That is a great... That, I'm going to add to my... End to an email with the question mark because I always like to do that if I want a response. And I like to keep it really short, but also to put that in the subject line. That's huge. Now, imagine that works. Have you ever seen... Do you have any statistics or do you have anything where like you've talked to someone and given a couple of tips like this, business wise, and they're like, "Wow man, that changed the responses." Anything like that?
Brandon Voss: 00:49:12 Well, a couple of things. One more just to add to emails. And in your emails, how does this sound? That's a bad way to end an email.
John Maddux: 00:49:22 You don't want to use that.
Brandon Voss: 00:49:24 But yeah, it's... I'm sorry, what was the original question? Because now I've lost my thought.
John Maddux: 00:49:30 No, no. So, don't end with, how does this sound?
Brandon Voss: 00:49:34 No, how does this sound? Yeah. Then with that, use that-
John Maddux: 00:49:37 End with that? Got you. I was thinking you were saying don't end with that. I was like, "Whoa. We end with that a lot." That's good. [crosstalk 00:49:45]. How does it sound?
Brandon Voss: 00:49:45 I took on a little tangent there before I answered your original question there [inaudible 00:49:51].
John Maddux: 00:49:51 No, no. I was saying, do you have any examples of people who've come back to you and said, after you've given them these tips... What has been the percentage of response rate going up or the... Because I know, there's a lot of people out there that are doing a lot of marketing and they're not getting a response. So if you do these things, if you add that subject line thing or if you end a sentence, a short sentence, like, how does that sound? What has been the response from your clients? Because you do business to business, right? You're teaching people. So what have they said to you about like, "Wow, that's changed my business," or "That's improved my responses from my clients." What do they say?
Brandon Voss: 00:50:39 Yeah. So a couple of different things. So the longest that we know of as a response time to a no oriented question through email with the subject line is 24 hours, and it happened to my dad and it's because the receiver was on the other side of the world, a way different time zone. And other than that, what we're hearing from our fan base, from our subscribers, from people that come to our one day seminars and the people we coach, never more than two hours. pretty typical, you're going to get a response in under 20 minutes.
John Maddux: 00:51:20 That's huge.
Brandon Voss: 00:51:21 The other part of that too is... And that's specific to the [inaudible 00:51:24] question. How does this sound? This is a different thing. We're talking a little bit different context as opposed to no message body at all, and you're just using the subject line. And so along with that, you got to be ready for your followup. So we've all heard the phrase, the strategy you're using is designed to give you the result that you have. Damn, I'm probably really butchering that cliche, but [inaudible 00:51:50] you got to change your strategy. You want to change your result, you got to change your strategy, the whole-
John Maddux: 00:51:54 Right. You don't want to be insane.
Brandon Voss: 00:51:56 ... against the wall and expecting a change is not going to happen. And we're expecting it not to hurt if that's not going to change. So changing your approach... And so when they re-engage you after the no answer question, you've got to have some follow up ready to go, you've got to have what we like to refer to as calibrated questions, you're probably going to want to have some pocket labels that you're ready to hit them with because you got a strategy on where you want to end that conversation and what you're trying to get out of them.
Brandon Voss: 00:52:25 Funny story with in regards to when Tall was helping us write the book and... And he's a great writer, man. I tell you, great guy, extremely intelligent. One of the cool things he figured, he had to read every negotiation book that was ever written when he was going to work with us. But he's got a sister dealing with a boss or dealing with a... She's self employed and dealing with a client and having problems and not getting engagement. Things are falling apart, she doesn't know what to do.
Brandon Voss: 00:52:59 So we talked to him. He lays it out for us, we talk to him about this know oriented strategy and then specific calibrated questions. They have a swallow up. He explains it to his sister and [inaudible 00:53:11]. She's like, "I haven't spoken to this guy. He's not going to respond. There's no way. It doesn't matter." Just takes them for granted and just... She takes a little no oriented question piece, doesn't prepare any of her calibrated questions, sends the email and the guy calls her six minutes later.
John Maddux: 00:53:28 Wow.
Brandon Voss: 00:53:28 Calls her phone direct.
John Maddux: 00:53:29 She didn't know what to say.
Brandon Voss: 00:53:31 [crosstalk 00:53:31]. We say in preparation, you fall to your highest level of prep. If you don't rise to the occasion, you fall to your highest level of prep. So in that moment, she didn't rise to the occasion, she fell back to the same exact behavior that she's been doing that caused this in the first place. She didn't get to where she wanted to go.
John Maddux: 00:53:51 Interesting.
Brandon Voss: 00:53:51 She got the engagement. And then it's just a matter of, what strategy do you use to move forward?
John Maddux: 00:53:57 Right, right. You got to be ready for that, because it's going to work.
Brandon Voss: 00:54:01 Yeah. It's cool. And it's fun to have tall and different people. And I wish we had more time. There's so many stories from different fans and things. And then it makes you smarter. Right?
John Maddux: 00:54:12 Yeah.
Brandon Voss: 00:54:13 Speaking of books, there's a book... And I'm looking, because I got it behind me here, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. And he talks about-
John Maddux: 00:54:20 The Talent Code?
Brandon Voss: 00:54:21 ... learning and what it takes. And you got screw things up in order to learn it fast.
John Maddux: 00:54:26 Right, right. Yeah. So the last question I want to ask you is something I like to ask people. You said when you screw something up, you learn fast, so what is your favorite failure? What is something you can share with us that's been like a failure you've learned from, but it's a good failure? May have been a bad failure, but something that stands out that you could really share with us that might relate.
Brandon Voss: 00:54:50 I think it'd be fun to refer to a father-son, parent-child thing. And a failure over and over that I think all... If you've ever had parents or you've ever had a guardian or someone that's looked after you and you were a kid growing up in that household and you never asked the question, "Mom, can I? Dad, can I? Grandma, can I? Auntie, can I?" And it's a yes thing. We want to get a yes. There's something that we want from them. And that puts a lot of stress on them, because it's like, "Well, what are you thinking, you little-"
John Maddux: 00:55:31 Leave me alone. Go back to your homework.
Brandon Voss: 00:55:34 What's really going on in this kid's head? Your parent knows you're up to no good. And I did that too with my dad. And he talks about... When we teach together, he loves to talk about that. And he says... I'd always shut him down. Before he even finished, I'd be like, "No, no." Before he even got a chance to ask me what it was. But then, once I was able to say no to them, then five minutes later... All parents do that. "No. Right." They know their kids are going to ask them something they don't want. But then a couple of minutes later, you find yourself going, "What was it? What were you asking me? What was that thing... The other day, you asked me..." Even if it's a couple days. Their thought process and what that does, and even hearing him talk about it as a parent and seeing it as, it's true to human nature, I think parents do it all the time.
John Maddux: 00:56:27 I do it all the time. [crosstalk 00:56:28]. I have twins that are 13 and-
Brandon Voss: 00:56:30 Keen with other people in a stressful negotiation environment.
John Maddux: 00:56:35 Right. So what's the answer?
Brandon Voss: 00:56:40 Well, the answer is getting people to say no. It makes them feel protected. They're going right there [crosstalk 00:56:45] original idea. And then it makes it easier for them to trust you, because you're not trying to pin them down to anything. It's another small building block towards rapport, you're crossing several bridges at the same time.
John Maddux: 00:57:00 Is there something in real estate?
Brandon Voss: 00:57:02 [inaudible 00:57:02] owe me anything. I'm sorry, go ahead. What was that?
John Maddux: 00:57:07 Sorry to cut you off, is there something in real estate that is relatable to the know? Like a question that you've seen common that to get someone in like... maybe it could relate in mortgages or it could relate in real estate. Like what's a good opening question that you'd want them to get to say no to? I say like, "Are you locked in a lease?" That's what my question is like, are you locked in a lease and you can't buy a house?
Brandon Voss: 00:57:31 That's a good question. And please forgive me, I didn't shed any light on that earlier. I do like that question. It gets right to the point. And again, you're aiming for that no and you're trying to keep your communication short in that regard. So that's not a bad one. And I think emotionally, especially when it comes to residential real estate, commercial real estate, even applies to a certain degree because it can be so big and how people are tied to the business. But especially in residential, it's... people are making... they're moving their lives around. There's a direct connection to how they live their life, especially in regards to a home. They're either renting it out or they're living in it or it's somewhere they go in the summer or it's getting foreclosed on and now they've got to pick up and move their life somewhere else.
John Maddux: 00:58:23 Sure.
Brandon Voss: 00:58:24 There's a direct connection to the basic Maslow's hierarchy of needs when it comes to shelter that are affected in human beings, so being able to manage that. And so easy ways to use a no oriented question is, I said, is it ridiculous? Right?
John Maddux: 00:58:43 Sure.
Brandon Voss: 00:58:43 That's the one we like. Is it ridiculous? Would it be out of line? Would I be wasting your time? Would you disagree?
John Maddux: 00:58:52 I'm writing these down. These are good things. So what about like, [crosstalk 00:58:56]is your payment low enough?
Brandon Voss: 00:58:57 We're going to book two weeks and we talk about them in our training, but those are just a few.
John Maddux: 00:59:02 Yeah. I can think of something like, is your payment low enough? Is your mortgage payment low enough? No, it's not low enough.
Brandon Voss: 00:59:09 [inaudible 00:59:09].
John Maddux: 00:59:14 Like, do you have enough money? Like, no, I don't have enough. Most people want a little bit more money. Or, do you have a vacation? Other things that people need to spend money on. They want to remodel their kitchen, they want to pay for their kids' schools, for college, they want to pay for a wedding, they want to pay for... There's all kinds of events that you could work that no around. I think that's good.
Brandon Voss: 00:59:39 That's it, man. Yeah.
John Maddux: 00:59:42 That's cool. Well, I appreciate you coming on, Brandon. This has been really good. Where can my followers and viewers find you and find more information?
Brandon Voss: 00:59:51 All right. So a couple things; first, our website is blackswanltd.com. So black, like the color, swan, like the bird, with one n, LTD, like limited, dot com. And then also, if you want to sign up, we got a weekly blog, comes out Tuesday mornings, and it's designed to drop in your inbox about 9:00 AM your local time, wherever you're at in the world. And if you text the words FBI empathy, all capital letters to 28228, you can text it to that and it'll prompt her for an automatic signup.
Brandon Voss: 01:00:38 I've heard some people have had some issues with the iPhone, just kind of heads up there. And you can also sign up on our website, we got a little box on the right there. But those are the two best ways. And our newsletter has a lot of updates on what the company's doing, any marketing that we put out, or sessions we're doing, it hits our blog before it even hits the website.
John Maddux: 01:00:59 Very cool. All right, Brandon, appreciate you coming on. Thanks so much.
Brandon Voss: 01:01:03 I had a blast, man. This was cool. Thank you for the time.
Speaker 2: 01:01:06 Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you guys are looking for more content like this, we have a FundLoan's YouTube channel where we give away more tips, secrets, and origination ideas. You can also email us at email@example.com. And if you've made it this far, I think it's safe to say you like our content, so please subscribe, share, and send us your scenarios. Let's fund loans together.