Brandon Voss

Brandon Voss
Brandon Voss is the President of The Black Swan Group. Brandon has been instrumental in adapting the FBI’s hostage negotiation techniques to the business world. In addition to training clients, Brandon has guest lectured at USC Marshall School of Business and Georgetown McDonough School of Business.
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Recent Posts

5 Steps to Negotiate Through the Sales Process

By Brandon Voss | December 14, 2020

If you read my previous post, “Why the Traditional Sales Process Is Wrong,” you know that we’re not big fans of the traditional sales process here at The Black Swan Group. Not only does the traditional approach take way too much time, but it also comes with a number of other downsides, such as:

  • Wasting your counterpart’s time
  • Duplicating work
  • Taking longer to get paid
  • Spending more time tracking customer interactions
  • Preventing your business from reaching its full potential
  • Frustrating your team

We advocate for doing everything you can to accelerate your sales process. If you can talk today and get paid tomorrow, well, is the status quo going to stop you from cashing that check?

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Why the Traditional Sales Process Is Wrong

By Brandon Voss | December 07, 2020

I struggle with the whole idea of the sales process in general. Granted, I haven’t worked in every industry on the planet. But even though I’ve worked for companies that have had long sales processes, I’ve never been part of a long process myself. 

To me, sales is just two things: the conversation and signing on the dotted line. I’ve always wondered why organizations need all of these different stages of the sales process if we can just get the other side on the phone and sell to them.

Why waste your time when you can just sell?

Mapping out a long sales process guarantees one thing: It’ll take much longer than needed to close. I’ve just never understood why many companies decide to go this route. Why map out an eight-month process for a sale when you can talk today and get the money tomorrow?

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How to Prepare for a Virtual Job Interview

By Brandon Voss | November 30, 2020

If we’ve learned one thing during COVID-19, it’s that it’s not that hard to maintain already-established relationships virtually. But what about establishing brand-new relationships in virtual environments? In short, it’s a much bigger challenge.

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Negotiation Training: How To Make A Counter-Proposal?

By Brandon Voss | October 15, 2020

This blog was originally published on 5/28/2018 and updated on 9/10/2020.

When you’re responding to a counterproposal, you need to make sure you don’t get sucked into a game of sequential moves. When such a game is played between evenly matched players and you go second, you can only tie or lose. 

Are you interested in playing a more complicated game of tic-tac-toe?

In the following post, we’ll walk you through three things to keep in mind when you’re responding to a counterproposal:

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3 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Your Communication Success

By Brandon Voss | September 10, 2020

This blog was originally published on 11/23/2015 and updated on 9/10/2020.

Everyone is always looking to increase their chances of success. It’s simply human nature to want to do everything you can to avoid failure.

At The Black Swan Group, we help people like you get better outcomes by learning how to communicate more effectively.

With that in mind, let’s explore three different ways you can improve your communication skills—and increase the chances you succeed.

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Negotiation Skills Training: The Key to Disarming The Attack

By Brandon Voss | September 03, 2020

This blog was originally published on 7/23/2018 and updated on 9/3/2020.

When you go into a negotiation that is likely to be combative, there are strategies you can adopt to overcome those points of contention.

Most of these strategies involve ignoring your natural inclinations to right the wrongs, explain the why, and promise to make sure your counterpart won’t have to experience the irritation ever again.

Keep reading to learn five strategies you can use to disarm the attack.

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How to Be More Persuasive Over Email

By Brandon Voss | August 20, 2020

This blog was originally published on 10/29/2018 and updated on 8/20/2020.

Most people have mixed feelings about email. 

On one hand, email allows us to instantly communicate with people around the world much more efficiently than sending a carrier pigeon. On the other, email can be incredibly overwhelming. One recent study, for example, found that the average U.S. worker spends nearly six hours each day checking their email.

Six hours!

(To be fair, that breaks down to 209 minutes on work email and 143 minutes on personal email. It turns out we’re not always focused on our responsibilities when we’re in the office. Who knew?)

The fact that email is a text-based form of communication is both its biggest asset and its greatest drawback. Unlike having a face-to-face conversation with an in-person human being, email is a blank slate. Though we can get our words across, it’s harder to convey our tone of voice and the nonverbal cues that are a critical component of constructive communication.

This makes email a very efficient communications tool—but also one that leaves a minefield of potential miscommunications.

In business, most emails are a form of negotiation. We ask someone to read our message and respond in a certain way or take a certain action within a specific time frame. 

To help you get better results, here are six tips that can help you be more persuasive over email.

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How to Develop Your Mindset Before a Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | August 10, 2020

In a previous post, we outlined the important role mindset—the set of attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions that governs your behavior—plays in negotiation.

When you head into a negotiation expecting that there won’t be any issues, you’ll be knocked off balance when issues invariably rear their ugly head.

On the other hand, when you head into a negotiation expecting that there will be issues, you’ve come in with the proper mindset for navigating whatever obstacles arise with agility and dexterity.

Understanding the importance of mindset is one thing. Knowing how to develop your mindset before a negotiation is quite another. With that in mind, here are four steps that can help you get into the right frame of mind before you sit down at the table.

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How Your Mindset Affects Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | August 03, 2020

Your mindset affects everything in a negotiation. It governs how you act, how you speak, and how you react to what the other side says. That’s why it’s so important to have the right mindset whenever you sit down at the table.

If you go into a negotiation determined to make the communication about them, you’re going to crush it. If you go in with the mentality that you’re going to be happy no matter what, you won’t be depressed regardless of what happens.

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How Little Can You Give and Still Get What You Want?

By Brandon Voss | July 27, 2020

Most people head into a negotiation figuring out what they need to compromise on. They do their best to try and determine what little material thing they need to give up in order to get what they want.

That approach is based on compromising your position—selling out in the moment to get some sort of short or long-term gain.

Contrary to what many people think, the fact of the matter is that you don’t have to give up much of anything to get what you want in a negotiation. And what you do have to give up is something intangible, which comes in the form of empathy.

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