Chris Voss Quotes

Who is Chris Voss?

Chris Voss is an American former FBI hostage negotiator. He later became an entrepreneur, speaker and author. Voss is best known for his instant classic 'Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It'.

Born November 28, 1957

Books by Chris Voss


Best 30 Quotes by Chris Voss

Never Split the Difference Quotes

“1.​ Set your target price (your goal).
2. ​Set your first offer at 65 percent of your target price.
3. ​Calculate three raises of decreasing increments (to 85, 95, and 100 percent).
4. ​Use lots of empathy and different ways of saying 'No' to get the other side to counter before you increase your offer.
5. ​When calculating the final amount, use precise, non-round numbers like, say, $37,893 rather than $38,000. It gives the number credibility and weight.
6.​ On your final number, throw in a non-monetary item (that they probably don’t want) to show you’re at your limit. The genius of this system is that it incorporates the psychological tactics we’ve discussed – reciprocity, extreme anchors, loss aversion, and so on – without you needing to think about them.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“A deal is nothing without good implementation. Poor implementation is the cancer that eats your profits.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“A successful hostage negotiator has to get everything he asks for, without giving anything back of substance, and do so in a way that leaves the adversaries feeling as if they have a great relationship. His work is emotional intelligence on steroids.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“A surprisingly high percentage of negotiations hinge on something outside dollars and cents, often having more to do with self-esteem, status, and other non-financial needs.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“A trap into which many fall is to take what other people say literally. I started to see that while people played the game of conversation, it was in the game beneath the game, where few played, that all the leverage lived.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“A woman wants her husband to wear black shoes with his suit. But her husband doesn’t want to; he prefers brown shoes. So what do they do? They compromise, they meet halfway. And, you guessed it, he wears one black and one brown shoe. Is this the best outcome? No! In fact, that’s the worst possible outcome. Either of the two other outcomes — black or brown — would be better than the compromise. Next time you want to compromise, remind yourself of those mismatched shoes.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“After all, kidnappers are just businessmen trying to get the best price.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

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“Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“All negotiations are defined by a network of subterranean desires and needs. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the surface. Once you know that the Haitian kidnappers just want party money, you will be miles better prepared.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Analysts are methodical and diligent. They are not in a big rush. Instead, they believe that as long as they are working toward the best result in a thorough and systematic way, time is of little consequence. Their self-image is linked to minimizing mistakes. Their motto: As much time as it takes to get it right.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Analysts hate surprises.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“As a negotiator you should always be aware of which side, at any given moment, feels they have the most to lose if negotiations collapse.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Ask calibrated questions that start with the words 'How' or 'What'. By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.

​Don’t ask questions that start with 'Why' unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. 'Why' is always an accusation, in any language.

​Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Approaching deadlines entice people to rush the negotiating process and do impulsive things that are against their best interests.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

Products by Chris Voss

“People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees that there is something to lose by inaction.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Splitting the difference is wearing one black and one brown shoe, so don’t compromise. Meeting halfway often leads to bad deals for both sides.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

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More quotes by Russell Brunson

“The F-word — 'Fair' — is an emotional term people usually exploit to put the other side on the defensive and gain concessions. When your counterpart drops the F-bomb, don’t get suckered into a concession. Instead, ask them to explain how you’re mistreating them.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“You can bend your counterpart’s reality by anchoring his starting point. Before you make an offer, emotionally anchor them by saying how bad it will be. When you get to numbers, set an extreme anchor to make your 'real' offer seem reasonable, or use a range to seem less aggressive. The real value of anything depends on what vantage point you’re looking at it from.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Being right isn’t the key to a successful negotiation – having the right mindset is.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Bite your tongue. When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Black Swan theory tells us that things happen that were previously thought to be impossible – or never thought of at all.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Minimal Encouragers: Besides silence, we instructed using simple phrases, such as 'Yes', 'OK', 'Uh-huh', or 'I see'.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“No communication is always a bad sign.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Once I’d anchored their emotions in a minefield of low expectations, I played on their loss aversion.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“The key to getting people to see things your way is not to confront them on their ideas ('You can’t leave') but to acknowledge their ideas openly ('I understand why you’re pissed off') and then guide them toward solving the problem ('What do you hope to accomplish by leaving?').”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“The secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“The sweetest two words in any negotiation are actually: That’s right.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“They discovered that people who paid the most attention — good listeners — could actually anticipate what the speaker was about to say before he said it.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

Products by Chris Voss

“When you are verbally assaulted, do not counterattack. Instead, disarm your counterpart by asking a calibrated question.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

“Whether it’s in the office or around the family dinner table, don’t avoid honest, clear conflict. It will get you the best car price, the higher salary, and the largest donation. It will also save your marriage, your friendship, and your family.”

Chris Voss
Never Split the Difference

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