The Black Swan Group’s Laws of Negotiation Gravity™ are negotiation laws we’ve proven true through trial and error and neuroscience.
Whenever we talk to groups of people, we ask them a simple question: What is gravity?
Although everyone can explain what gravity does, no one really can explain what gravity is. And that’s to be expected! Even Einstein struggled to define the term.
Even so, you don’t jump off a building to see whether gravity works. You might not know what it is, but you know it exists and trust it.
The Laws of Negotiation Gravity are the same thing. You trust gravity to the point you wouldn’t jump off a building. Trust that these laws are rooted in science and human nature and will hold true.
The First 10 Laws of Negotiation Gravity
1. The urge to correct is irresistible.
Are you worried you might say the wrong thing during a negotiation? Don’t be. People can’t wait to tell you how wrong you are when you slip up, and that’s perfectly fine! Don’t get defensive when someone corrects you because you’re getting more information—and potentially uncovering Black Swans.
2. The last impression is the lasting impression.
People remember two parts of an interaction: the most intense moment and the last thing that happens. If you’re in the middle of a negotiation and the deal falls apart, leave your counterpart with a good impression. That way, if the stars align in the future, you’ll still be able to do business.
3. Labeling™ the negatives defuses them.
If your counterpart harbors negative thoughts and you don’t point them out, it will be much harder—if not altogether impossible—to make a deal. They’ll be so preoccupied with those negative thoughts that they’ll be unable to hear what you’re saying. Use Labels™ to identify those unstated negative emotions. By addressing them, the other side will be able to let them go.
4. The fear of loss is the single biggest driver of human decision-making and behavior.
People are more likely to make a decision based on fear than on any other emotion. As the principle of loss aversion tells us, the pain of losing $20 is much greater than the happiness of finding the same amount on the street. In the world of negotiation, this means your counterpart would rather make a deal to avoid loss than to achieve an equivalent gain.
5. People are six times more likely to make a deal with someone they like.
If someone doesn’t like you, it’s much more difficult to make a deal. On the flip side, if your counterpart likes you, they’ll make a deal with you—sometimes it may be a worse deal than they could get with someone they dislike. Use Tactical Empathy to help yourself be more likable and increase your ability to make deals.
6. Your voice will induce emotional reactions in your counterpart.
When you use an assertive tone in a negotiation, your words resonate in your counterpart’s amygdala, triggering the fight-or-flight response. When this happens, the prefrontal cortex is knocked offline, meaning your counterpart won’t process anything you say. Conversely, when you use a calm voice, you’ll make your counterpart less emotional, increasing their ability to think rationally.
7. The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in.
How do you know whether you’re in a negotiation? If you want or need something from the other side—or vice versa—you’re negotiating. If you’re mean to a barista when ordering a latte, don’t be surprised if you end up walking out with decaf. As we say, never be mean to someone who can hurt you by doing nothing.
8. There is always a group of deal-killers on the other side.
People tend to think they need to speak with decision-makers to make a deal. But if you constantly push your counterpart to give you access to their boss, you’ve created a deal-killer. Instead, treat the point of contact as if they are the decision maker. That way, you encourage them to advocate for you rather than root for your failure.
9. Negative emotions and dynamics impede cognitive abilities.
The human brain works 31 percent better when an individual is in a positive frame of mind. If you want to make a deal, you need to put your counterpart in a positive state. One way to do this is by kicking the conversation off with an Accusation Audit™. When you clear the negatives, you open up space in your counterpart’s brain, thereby allowing them to hear what you have to say.
10. Vision drives decision.
Whenever you’re in a negotiation, your counterpart has an ideal vision in their head. If that vision includes you, the deal is on track. If it doesn’t, you’re not in a good spot. Ask your counterpart what their vision is. If they don’t see you in it, you may be the fool, and in that situation your chances of getting a deal drop exponentially.
Now that you understand the Laws of Negotiation Gravity, it’s time to learn about the core skills we teach: The Black Swan Group’s Negotiation 9™.