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Money FM 89.3 Your Money with Michelle Martin: How to negotiate so you get an upgrade on a plane and

Listen to the podcast episode here or see my conversation with Michelle Martin of Money FM 89.3 below.

Michelle: He was a professional negotiator at age 23 and within 12 months was single-handedly negotiating $1,000,000 deals. We're talking about the ideas in his book “The Art of Negotiation.” He's just launched another book in September called “Be The Lion” is a great pleasure to welcome to money and me, Tim Castle. How are you Tim?

Tim: I am very well. Thank you so much Michelle. It's an absolute privilege to speak to you today.

Michelle: It's such a pleasure this is one of my favorite topics and I know it is for you as well negotiation because we all need to do it right.

Tim: It's a massive life skill and I'm truly passionate about negotiation.

Michelle: Fantastic. So by the end of today's show you should have enough in your two blogs to ask for that pay raise or get those big-ticket items at home that you saw in Lazada or Shopee or Alibaba yesterday and didn't buy. Because you thought no, no worth the battle. Here we go. Tim, the subtitle of your book is The Art of Negotiation How To Get What You Want Every Time? Do you believe that is possible?

Tim: Every time. Yes, my mother is believing it is possible. So I’ve had this mantra. Every day I walk out the door I say this mantra. I've seen examples of this in my life that have changed how I have negotiated through life.

Michelle: Really? Can you share an example?

Tim: Yes, age 19 and I negotiated my way into university in England which Michelle that is a hard thing to do without an application in two days before the course started and the course was oversubscribed. So there were six people over subscribed. It was Psychology. Everyone was doing Psychology in 2005 and I decided I wanted to go to University and it had to be the University of London Goldsmith's and I did that decision two days before and that changed my life like doing that negotiation and hearing “no” time and time again and in two days being able to negotiate my way in without an application and hear that rejection and be able to change a “no” to a “yes” that's what taught me the power of believing it is possible and having that growth mindset.

Michelle: Oh! My goodness, that's a great example and I started the show saying that you know you learned... You are a professional negotiator at age 23. What are you doing at 23?

Tim: At 23 I took negotiation to the next level, like once I did the thing with the university. I was doing it for friends. I was calling up telco companies and getting the fees reversed. I never paid credit card fees. I just call them up and to be honest, it became a real passion for me. So I knew that I was on to something with negotiation and I joined the corporate barter firm, the largest in the UK and I was on the phones, in person, and on email negotiating day-in day-out and again facing that rejection. But learning the mechanics of how negotiation works and how it can open up your life's possibilities. I was calling up clients like Jaguar and Mercedes, the big dogs in the industry and brokering deals that allow them to part pay using their cars for media space and so these would be like negotiations with huge publishers, huge digital publishers on the one hand. So obviously it's a high-pressure and high stakes when you're doing a 1 million plus dollar negotiations. But when you break down the soft skills and really find out and uncover what's going on, the conversation below the conversation, that's where you can start to actually move the needle and get that “yes” from a “no” and I would say that “no” is a good place to start.

Michelle: That's a great way to look at a “no.”

Tim: It’s actually a “maybe” that you don't want or “yes”. They're flaky. They're just telling you “yes” until you leave and then actually they'll renege on the deal later. No is a great place to start, because then you can start asking, why?

Michelle: Ok I love that. Tim Castle drawing ideas from his book, The Art of Negotiation. We're going to dive deep and we'll take your questions as well. You can WhatsApp me your questions and we'll put them to Tim joining the conversation why not if you have a you know something that you're struggling with and you know hey you've got a professional negotiator here who could help you out.

Okay Tim you say that certain key words or phrases people need to keep in mind when negotiating?

Tim: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the biggest when it comes to linguistics is open questions. So questions like how can we make this happen? That starts to plant the seed of imagination. So you get the other side imagining it how that could happen rather than just saying no. So how can it happen. That's a great response to a no. The second part of this is when someone says to you “no, that's not possible.” If you mirror back to them the last three words of that phrase “not possible” that will encourage them to then start speaking again which is what you want. Because the more the other side is speaking. They're availing key parts of information that you can then use to your advantage and also create a deal of collaboration and Trust. So mirroring is a technique that we use in linguistics to be able to uncover more information.

Michelle: To uncover more information! You see what I did there.

Tim: That's it and then I keep speaking because you just throwing that back on to me.

Michelle: I love that. Also I want to pick up on where you first started with and that is you know the open-ended question which I use a lot as an interviewer as well. Because I think it provides a space for people to come forward in a conversation and also I think it's important in negotiation, because people don't like being prescribed to. A lot of people don't want to do what they think you want them to do. You need to override that side of the persona or the psyche or the personality and the open-ended question allows for that I think.

Tim: Absolutely I think it's when something feels forced or someone feels like they're made to do something. That's where you get resistance. The art of the deal and the art of negotiation is all about unblocking that. So if you feel if you go into negotiation in you feel there's a negative emotion or there's an elephant in the room my suggestion would be to call that out call out up front get it on the table and say right I can sense that there's anguish or stress around this right. That's going to start to defuse that problem and then we can move forward and actually when people actually speak about the problem, they start realizing it's probably not as big a deal as they made it in their head and that's where the two of you can start working together to go right okay at the moment this is off the table. But what else can we do. So another open question what else is there.

Michelle: Love this. Love this. So in your book you also talk about the gut instinct which is great in a book about negotiation that even talks about the business world. So can you explain a little bit about you know using feelings to help inform a decision.

Tim: Absolutely I think we're all born in to some pathway of negotiation. It's just about finding our own gut instinct and tap it. Knowing when to tap into that and a good example was with WHSmiths. I went into WHSmiths, because I was sitting in the airport and I had a copy of The Art of Negotiation and so something in my gut told me that if I set myself the challenge to go in there and put the book on the bestseller list just take a picture put the book up there and then go to the front of the queue and talk to them about trying to get my book into WHSmiths. Something in there told me that I could handle that negotiation and move that for is this about setting your vision and then being able to take the necessary action. So following your gut instinct all the way through. So actually just see where that goes and uncover that massive opportunity. Because they're all around us. I would say there are so many negotiations in everyday life that we just we skip by. We don't see them things like getting an upgrade on an airline. It's totally possible that there's a way to do that.

Michelle: Which we will cover in just a while. I hear people on the other side of the screen. We know we must talk about upgrading. Michelle our air ticket and while everything from getting a job to you know getting what you want or even you know just negotiating at the workplace. So that workflows are tailored to what you need for example and the art of negotiation is all about changing minds to some extent and you started by saying when you were 19 and you were faced with the daunting task of trying to get to a university in two days which you did. You had to face a lot of rejection right and people stopped, when the rejection comes their way. What advice do you have on dealing with rejection?

Tim: Great question. I would say firstly get on to a TED Talk by Jia Jiang. He did a hundred days of rejection right. So as a kid, they set this task for kids to go up and give compliments and collect a present and he was left in the class with one of three students that didn't get caught up. Because no one had anything nice to say about him and that felt bad for him. When he grew older he realized that rejection had stayed with him and he was actually scared of rejection like truly scared. So he set himself the task and said for a hundred days I'm going to go out into the world and I'm going to get rejected. So he would do things like walk up to a complete stranger and say can you lend me $100. You know that that's a scary thing to do and over time every day he started doing. He realised, if he just stayed in that place of rejection. So he went into Krispy Kreme and said can you make me the five Olympic rings I have Krispy Kreme and he didn't walk away and guess what happened the owner of Krispy Kreme came out and they started working with him to try and build the donuts in the Rings and so over time he was really touched by that. But he realised over the 100 days there's a great TED talk I recommend.

Michelle: What's the name again Jay Chung?

Tim: Jia Jiang and it's a hundred days of rejection. It's just it really showcases how you can practice negotiation and the skill of being okay with rejection. Being okay with it.

Michelle: You can't be a great negotiator, if you're not okay with rejection.

Tim: Rejection is the starting point and it's a great starting point. Ill comeback to that point about being “no” is real. “No” is something tangible you can work with and so using silence being okay and being comfortable in that silence and letting the other side just sit with that for a moment. That's also another really big part for getting. Don't just walk away just because you see the rejection.

Michelle: Okay let's talk about the out of silence. Because people think negotiating is all about rhetoric you know and I might not be the best speaker. Might be a very internal person. So what about the nonlinguistic factors that are important in negotiation.

Tim: I think a lot of what you say is all about your nonverbal and being able to use silence in a way that you can allow the other person the space to really consider what you're saying and allow that seed that you've planted to flourish. So remember we're planting the seed of possibility and then we're using science. We're not trying to convince them by talking-talking-talking. We're using silence as a tool to then move conversation forward and you might have placed some anchors or some labels in there. So these are other tools that we can use and we can go into more detail about those in a minute. To then really resonate in their head and because people aren't comfortable with the silence and they don't necessarily expect it. It starts to get you drilling down into the point of the negotiation that we should be focusing on. So silence is definitely it. So I did that a lot when I negotiated with the University. So I was talking to the gatekeeper. So the ladies on the reception. They were straight away “no” it's not possible. The lecturer that you need to speak to the decision-makers off sick never going to happen. We've never seen this happen before. Never seen it before never and then they continue and they talk and I say okay what does need to happen to make this possible and then they start doing and then not over talking on that. First I started talking yeah filling in the gaps. I would fill in the gaps wrong. So it's really important that you get the information of someone and to do that open questions, silence, hold the silence it can be from two minutes especially when it's a big deal. Just hold that silence.

Michelle: Oh! That’s uncomfortable. How do you get used to that? Just develop a thick skin?

Tim: You do it every day. That's it. Like daily habits with negotiation. Set yourself the task of going into a coffee shop. This is what I did and I had a baby two and half years ago.

Michelle: Congratulations.

Tim: I think it's fun to negotiate. So I was going out and saying look cute baby discount every shot we went into. It would be cute baby discount. Coffee's, closing, Prime's having a baby is expensive. So you got to use what you've got to make it happen.

Michelle: You got to use everything. It sounds like you can use everything. I want to talk a little bit about anchors and labels. A good friend of mine Vicky Kong Kell is also have a terrific book about how you can make anything irresistible basically okay and she cites an example of a line of people at a photocopying machine and how if people just uses one word when they tried to cut the line you know try to get in front of somebody, it worked every time. But if they just communicate it without using this one word they weren't able to get into the line and the word was “because”. So if somebody tried to cut the line in front of you and say can I just come in can I just stand in front of you, I'm late. Nobody would let that person in. But if somebody said can I stand in front of you because I’ve got a class coming up in 40 seconds. People assume that that because there's a reason, it's reasonable to let you in. So because became a key part of the conversation of moving people to doing what you want them to do. What is your take on anchors and labels?

Tim: Yeah, that's a great example and I think it becomes down to relatability. People can understand things better when they see in you what they would do right. So once you give the full context of the situation, it starts again to be okay if I was in that scenario I can see why you'd be doing that and anchors are brought in when you want to influence in a kind of a sneaky way. What you're doing is you're putting the anchor out there, it could be in a salary negotiation. You could be saying the figure that you would you would hope to get. That's an anchor. You could be saying we like customers and clients do this all the time when they say we never give more than a 10% discount. 10% discount is an anchor. Because they're setting your mind to think, okay 10% thats the limit. 10%, it never happens. That's just an anchor just because someone said it. Doesn't mean it actually is true or doesn't mean it's not possible to push past that.

Michelle: Great, great. Okay we started by telling people we're going to help them with some real-world examples. So people want to get an upgrade in their plane.

Tim: I'm sure they do. I'm sure they do. So the best way and I would say this has worked on 75% to 80% of the times I attempted and being me I attempt at most times I kind of play because I fly a lot for work. But the best way to get yourself in a position to potentially get an upgrade on a flight is when you talk to that attendant at the check-in desk is to a finally you've got to consider their side of it right. That check-in desk person has probably been screamed out, has probably had rude customer, has probably had a day filled with problems. So going into that situation especially if you see someone who's been shouting at them previously and you are the next in line. Don't take that as a bad sign empathise with them and go into it with that energy of empathy and understanding of the other person's shoes. Once you do that, you change the dialogue completely. So you're starting to bring them on your journey. Now this again your request is to get an up upgrade on a plane and it is very important about when you say that. So when they start tapping on the key keyboard. You're using silence. You're not, you know, over talking. You just say, are there any good seats left on the plane or is it possible to get an upgrade to business, I have got a big day tomorrow? Really simple. Really clean, and the key timing is when they're when they're head down and because you've empathised, because you've had that pre-conversation and you haven't just come into it, going this is what I want, I'm going to stress out like I'm a loyal customer. I've been on this flight a million times and I’ve got all these air miles. You should upgrade me. That's not the way to approach it. That's the way most people approach it. The way to approach it is to show understanding empathy for their situation and then that person will probably nine times out of ten do what they can within their power to make your day a bit better and the final point I want to make on that is if they say “no” don't get annoyed. I've had it so many times that when I just politely accept the “no” and move along. When I get to actually get to the gate and low and behold a seat has become available and that person because of the nice conversation we've had, because of the empathy has actually chosen to upgrade me to business and that's happened numerous times. So that would be my biggest lesson to everybody's. Spread the love.

Michelle: And when was the last time you had an upgrade Tim?

Every flight coming and going?

Tim: Every flight. And when we talked about upgrades, it can also just be two exit rows or premium to make your life more pleasant.

Michelle: I think a key point there that I want to pick up on as well is, you don't have to practice your negotiation skills every time you go to the airport. You don't have to keep badgering a person because you think well Tim told me that I could have my way every time with negotiation, but timing is so important. When to listen when to stay silent were to accept that “no”.

Tim: Absolutely, and becoming a person of possibility. I think it's when you exist in that world where you know what's possible and you just you're not hyper focused on that one deal right, closing that airline, “I must get that airline seat upgrade else I'm not a good negotiator”. That's not it. It's becoming a person that spots the opportunity and makes the request at the appropriate time with the exchange of fair value.

Michelle: That is so fascinating. Okay so help us out in the world of business and people want to get a pay raise people listening in. Yes, me too.

Tim: Yes, so salary negotiations pay rises are a massive opportunity. Especially the salary negotiation point, if you've gone to a job interview, you're getting an offer, you've got this opportunity to, you're getting asked what do you want to get paid right. So key thing, have your ideal salary in your head. That's the first thing. Secondly stay arranged. So when you state arrange you again make yourself more flexible. Start with your ideal salary. So for easy numbers. Let's just say your salary you wanted your ideal salary $100,000. Add 20% so $100,000-$120,000 is the range. By doing that again we're saying the anchor. So two anchors there. The next thing I would say is don't use round numbers. I mean I just done that for ease. But use well-thought-out numbers. So it could be a $101,981 to $113,569. That is much more prescribed and shows that depth of thought. Someone's less likely to challenge that than $100,000 it just sounds like you've thrown it out there. I want a hundred thousand. You know that's not a number. There's too many zeros and it can easily be rolled over. It's just bypassed. There's a number that's got not round numbers in it. It's much harder to kind of go she ate with that. Because it's thought in there and then the likelihood is you start getting offers around that range and even if they comment under say they come in at $95k you’re 5% off your ideal which is a massive win and then you can start to play with the mechanics of the deal. So ok I’ll accept the lower salary, but can I agree that we have a pay review to whatever your ideal salary would be in six months and from there you can start to, so there's two parts that's how you structure the deal.

The second part which probably relates more to getting a salary and a pay rise when you're in a job, is really how do you uncover what is motivating your boss. So that's the key part to getting a pay rise is make yourself indispensable. Deliver more value than you are currently getting paid for and that can be things like it's not just doing your job well right. That can be things like bringing new clients are a completely new area to a business. It can be things like developing new revenue streams. Going above and beyond to become indispensable and give that value. The second part of that is having a conversation around what you think a fair deal is with your boss and when you do that, it's important to frame it from the perspective of how can I help you. How can we so once you can uncover the emotion behind it, so he or she your boss what's motivating them right. Because eventually you'll find a point in that conversation that if you do (X) they would happily pay you more. It's just you need to uncover what is actually driving that conversation and once you get to that plane, that's where you can start having a sensible time-bound conversation about value and the final point on this piece is, if they then re-neg, if you deliver this value, out of the world value, and you've done all this stuff, just think of the person that you would have become to have gone and done that, you'll have built your own career even better and you'll have clients knocking down the door to employ you. So that's a great story to take to your next employer. If they come and beat down the door and when you've got multiple offers, oh again we've got leverage and so the conversation continues, so it just really thinking about it from the different perspective of adding value and also firmly stating a clear plan to get what you want.

Michelle: Well, you're a gifted negotiator, speaking with Tim Castle, author of “The Art of Negotiation”. He's got another book out called “Be The Lion”. But Tim in his day job is in advertising. I can see why. Very persuasive. I want to ask you what are your final words of advice for us before we tackle our next negotiation Tim? Something that you've learnt along the way they didn't occur to you at 19, but that you've really sharpened your focus on with the art of negotiation.

Tim: Yeah, I think it's about becoming more human. We're all humans and we’ve all been in different situations and when you can humanize, you can start to feel that deals go a lot quicker. So before when I was 19, I think I did lean towards the tactic of strong-arming. I was learning on the job. I was using leverage and I was using all of these things and there’s a way to do it that actually it builds both parties. You still get what you want and I'm not saying that you should become weak around what you want or change or agree with the other side's position. But I do think when you humanize it and you tell the story and you also hear their story through active listening, that's a game changer.

Michelle: Well you know I’ve talked with people who work on negotiating in peace processes and I think anytime that we discuss this topic, it comes down to empathy and a very important role that empathy plays in making things happen in the real world and its key to being a great negotiator right.

Tim: It's the glue that holds everything together. Empathy is that the bridge that you can walk across to connect the two pieces between making and negotiating a deal. You're absolutely right.

Michelle: Yeah and we can all become more empathetic. Even if we doubt our ability to negotiate. You know we can all...

Tim: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and then be the person that you would want on the other end of the deal and believe me that's when you transition to that collaboration, that trust and things start to flow and become attracted to you. You start to magnetize those opportunities for negotiation.

Michelle: Well I hope we helped you out with that upgrade the plane and that salary negotiation things to think about before entering the room. Tim thank you so much for being with us.

Tim: Thank you so much.

Michelle: He's Tim Castle, author of “The Art of Negotiation.” This has been Money and Me. I'm Michele Martin.

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