You are currently viewing Acquiring the Psychological Edge in Negotiation with Al McBride on Trish Tagle’s Optimal Instinct Podcast

Acquiring the Psychological Edge in Negotiation with Al McBride on Trish Tagle’s Optimal Instinct Podcast

Recently I appeared as a guest on Trish Tagle’s fantastic Optimal Instinct Podcast, “Acquiring the Psychological Edge in Negotiation with Al McBride”.

It was a great conversation and my thanks to Trish as a super host.

Why you have to check out today’s podcast:

  • Discover how to uncover the hidden value that lurks untapped in every deal and the importance of having clarity behind what do you want and why do you want it?
  • Learn how you can make win-win deals with less compromise and not fall to the trap of feeling that you are collaborating, where in fact you are compromising too early
  • Find-out what you need to lay in the negotiating table to gain strength and agility in your deals to avoid the pitfall of compromised deals



Al McBride 0:00
Don’t be focused on what you want so much that you won’t take something better.

Trish Tagle 0:11
Hi, I’m Trish Tagle and this is optimal instinct, the podcast. I am a business consultant that works with organizations that sell services, organizations that want clients to stay longer, be more open to upsell and refer often.

Trish Tagle 0:27
Why am I different? Unlike other consultants, I get you to your action plan in a day, what’s your time worth?

Trish Tagle 0:34
Today in our podcast we have as our guest, Al McBride, who was a coach facilitator and trainer for over 10 years who has started numerous small businesses since he was 21. He’s a regular guest lecturer and facilitator at multiple universities in Ireland, on topics such as cognitive behavioral coaching, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Trish Tagle 0:57
He coaches executives and business owners across an array of industries, including software law, aviation, telecoms, and corporate finance to name a few. Over the past few years, he’s been giving his clients the psychological edge in negotiation, and helping them perform under pressure. He is the creator of the Goliath negotiation method. Some little known facts about our most don’t know, he’s an international cat sitter. And he started his first business, which was a walking tour of the streets of Florence in Italy. Hi Al.

Al McBride 1:37
Hi, Trish. Thank you for having me on great to see you

Trish Tagle 1:41
We finally get to connect. So what is the Goliath negotiation method? Tell us tell us a little bit about it?

Al McBride 1:49
Well, the Goliath negotiation method, it’s for business leaders, with skin in the game, who want to feel unshakable uncover hidden value, and generally increase profits and sales.

Al McBride 2:04
So an awful lot of these people, they are forced into having to negotiate as part of their work or the part of their job or part of their role. And it might not be their main skill set. Often they don’t particularly enjoy it.

Al McBride 2:18
But it’s one of those areas where even a small improvement can make a lasting or much larger effect. So when they actually focus on that, even as I said, a small little gains can really magnify and compound.

Trish Tagle 2:36
And is there a little example you can give like, something that you have worked with out with a client?

Al McBride 2:45
Yeah, just one particular business owner, an awful lot of what I do about First of all, is in Yes, it’s in cross table negotiation. But there’s a lot more in the preparation for those negotiations. So I as I said, one of them is one big part is getting, you might say psychologically ready, so they are not, you’re not emotionally over invested.

Al McBride 3:07
So you’re not emotionally fragile, as if that’s the part of the one client said, I really felt unshakable afterwards that I could be fully present fully engaged right there with the other side. But I wasn’t compromised by I did, I knew there needed to feel like I was bullying anyone.

Al McBride 3:24
But I could, I could be very authentically myself, and that a lot of people get a huge amount of confidence from that. But the other part of that is that in that preparation, they also get much greater clarity about exactly what they want, and why they want it.

Al McBride 3:39
That gives a huge amount, huge amount of extra confidence in one way, but in a broader impact on their business. An awful lot of people then see well, or they see gems and opportunity, even within their business, in the preparation for some of their big negotiations with some of their main clients or main suppliers. Yeah.

Trish Tagle 3:59
So before they hire you, what do you think, what can you say are the common mistakes that people make when they’re trying to negotiate something?

Al McBride 4:06
Well, there’s a lot. There’s a lot and I was thinking about this, what are the common mistakes, and I think you can distill it down to maybe a mindset approach that is a general problem, then loads of little problems spring out from that.

Al McBride 4:23
The first one is that they mix up compromising with collaborating. So and what that means as an example is compromising is that there’s this immediate feel and acceptance of loss, like haggling at a market or something, you know. That you’re immediately compromising and just like they think that’s negotiation, that they give away too many things way too soon.

Al McBride 4:48
Before they actually have more exploratory discovery type conversations to try and see exactly what the other side needs and how that fits in with their needs. Rather than just Way too soon to price price is something that you want to do at the very, very last stage.

Al McBride 5:05
When you’ve worked at, if you’re a good fit to work together in the first place, and then other potential opportunities for getting value with each other things that only you can deliver to each other, which also, you know, makes, then the deal that you make far more robust.

Al McBride 5:19
Because it’s way way far out of just being a commodity transaction, I give you a service, you give me cash, or the other way around, you know, and it takes away out of that. But as I said, it’s that mindset that they jump way too early to bargaining talk of price.

Al McBride 5:36
And then there’s that mindset as well, that they may plan in some ways, maybe in more traditional negotiation, ways of knowing your price and your margin and this sort of thing, but they don’t plan then in more in that sort of psychological preparation of, well, if I offer this, what’s the likelihood of the other side?

Al McBride 5:55
What are they? What are they actually likely as humans to say, and you can usually split that into sort of, you know, the charming camp, or the more aggressive camp. And that way, you’re more, as I say, emotionally prepared.

Al McBride 6:07
So when they say, that’s not really good enough, you’re gonna have to do better or whatever, maybe slightly more aggressive tactics, that kind of thing. That you’re emotionally prepared for that so that you can you can play that game, you know, rather than being Oh, new, they’ve rejected my, my first opening offer, they don’t like me and all these sort of things.

Al McBride 6:26
Whereas as I said, when you’re better prepared, you can really roll with a lot of that and you can enjoy it, you can enjoy the process a bit more, be more adaptive, basically more adaptable.

Trish Tagle 6:38
Do you find that? Okay, this is a little bit of a different question. But do you find that people who negotiate does experience count into this is basically the question I’m asking you if you negotiate

Al McBride 6:59
the answer, but that works in the inverted U. So like, it’s not just like, the more experience, the better, it’s like, experience will help you like if you’ve never negotiated before, okay, maybe have some level of naivety and Beginner’s Luck type thing.

Al McBride 7:12
But generally, people who are used to interacting in those business situations, whether it’s direct sales, or whether it’s just talking to clients, or customers, maybe in their earlier work capacities, you know, they’ll have a bit of confidence there.

Al McBride 7:27
But then, as I said, you know, we can have super experienced negotiators, who can still get stuck, I mean, a lot of my clients about 60, maybe 80% of my clients are what I like to call nice, but nervous. So, so they’re very good at what they do whatever that service might be, or that skill set that they started a business around.

Al McBride 7:47
But then this negotiation, it’s a bit like having the network or having to do accounts, you know, you’re hoping you can outsource most of it to someone who does a better but, but negotiation, they really do have to be at the helm. You know, so I helped them as I said, the nice bit nervous people, they can make a lot of ground really rather quickly.

Al McBride 8:06
But the other problem, as I said, they nice nervous people, they don’t usually like the negotiation they want to done as soon as possible, they find it awkward, they find it very uncomfortable, they don’t thrive in it. And often they feel like they kind of left a lot of money, a lot of opportunity on the table.

Al McBride 8:24
Sometimes they even feel like they were a bit bullied, they were a bit screwed over. And and that’s often when the deals don’t really last when they end up having to renege on the deal or come back to them. And it’s all just really unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions around the whole transaction.

Al McBride 8:41
Which doesn’t make for a very good working relationship with, as I said, whether it’s a client or indeed a supplier or something like that. But the other type of person who would work with a good bit less would be what we call the natural negotiator.

Al McBride 8:54
These are people. You’re a natural negotiator, church of senior and action, you’re you’re highly adept, and very natural in negotiating. But often I found that an offer is not natural negotiator. And whether I’ve worked with some of them in corporate finance, some of them in litigation, some of them are in huge deals, and they’re very good at what they do.

Al McBride 9:14
But there’s a similar problem that, like the nice but nervous, they actually only have a very limited range of being of the role that they adopt when they go into the negotiation room. And that that limits them because it works maybe 80% of the time, maybe 90% of the time.

Al McBride 9:30
But then there’s this deal every now and again, but regularly where the other side just do not like them. Whatever used to work doesn’t work. And the deal completely falls flat or falls through and they don’t know why and they don’t know what to do about it.

Al McBride 9:45
Those are the people that I can usually give that other ways of being expanded out so I wouldn’t hold back any skill set they have or experienced to have, but just sort of fill it out and more in more directions and and more opportunity.

Al McBride 10:01
This has been a huge help, particularly with a litigation lawyer, friend, friend and client. And this was huge for him was like, Oh, I have these other modes that I can jump into, you know, when he had the label for like, then he could think very strategically.

Al McBride 10:16
Go, oh, okay, I overplayed that had a very bad reaction on the other side, whereas sometimes it flies, like, okay, now it can be more in a different mode of being to bring them back on side, whereas before maybe just the whole thing fell through. And it was very, very aggressive or very, a lot of friction going on, you know? So, so I’m not sure I hope that answers your question. Yes,

Trish Tagle 10:38
it absolutely does. It absolutely. Does a fascinating, actually. So is there a tip that you could give our listeners to help them maybe with their slight or?

Al McBride 10:51
Yeah, I mean, as I said, it’s, it’s that planning is a good start. And you don’t need I mean, I have, I have methods of planning that I can direct to as a free resource that later on, but even just having a think just getting crystal clear.

Al McBride 11:05
What do I want? Why do I want it? And now you would sounds ridiculously simple. Well, you know, often the simple things, people don’t really go deep on us, they don’t really go. And this by the way, this refers to one of those great phrases in negotiation, which is; don’t be focused on what you want, so much that you won’t take something better.

Al McBride 11:29
It is amazing how many people when you I’ve had this in loads of deals, in my own experience, where you say, yes, but the thing I’m offering does what you want and more for better price. I’m like, Oh, no, this is the thing I want.

Al McBride 11:41
Because that’s what they have clear in their head concrete on us like no, but you know, you’re fine. When you know the purpose the deal has to fulfill, then, then you have that lovely flexibility and ability to adapt on the fly.

Al McBride 11:54
When the other side offer knowingly or not, they offer a potential solution that hits what you need, even better than you thought was on the table. Or maybe it’s a very different mode of doing it, but you’re able to spot it immediately. Again, one of those things that you think everyone would be, it would be obvious.

Al McBride 12:11
But it’s not, particularly when there’s high emotions, emotions of either, you know, oh, I nearly have them where I want them type of thing or emotions on the more as you said, the more vulnerable side, or Oh, I really want this to be over just yeah, just get it done, you know.

Al McBride 12:24
So that, that that’s the initial mindset. And it’s super simple. But from that grows, all the other things like, as I said, the discovery and creative thinking element where it’s kind of okay, so you come in with, with a hypothesis of what the other side wants need, which the difference between assumption or hypothesis and assumption is a dangerous certainty to it.

Al McBride 12:46
Whereas yours, you’re more like a scientist for your listening to updation, refresh that hypothesis. So that when you make an offer, so that when you pitch your suggestion, or your offer, whatever that might be, that you’re able to reframe it into, much closer to the frame of reference that the other side have.

Al McBride 13:05
How they see things, how they see their needs to use, how they see you potentially solving those needs those problems, so that it’s much likely to be a much closer fit. But the other is also then this idea that, how would you put it that it’s this idea of keeping your emotions as your ally.

Al McBride 13:25
You want to be able to get into a certain level of flow in your negotiations, an awful lot of people as I said, they’re not in an emotional state to. And that’s a reflection said earlier that when you are well prepared, when you’re able to spot what the other side are doing, whether they’re playing little games, or whether they’re being particularly aggressive or particularly charming, that’s the thing.

Al McBride 13:47
Usually, we spot near the aggressive negotiators very easily, you know, when you’re able to sort of push back a bit or move to the side, whatever. But it’s often the charming negotiators are far more successful, because people are so charming, so pleasant is so nice. And yet, you’ve given away a load of your concessions with very little in return, you know, this, this kind of thing.

Al McBride 14:07
So it’s being able to have that little little arm’s length removal, arm’s distance, nearly, like kind of how mindfulness about it, they were able to see it from that external perspective. And, and that’s what I do with a lot of people because there’s a lot of echoes to that with how I used to train coaches on how to coach.

Al McBride 14:25
I realized when I was when I was working with negotiators was I was actually training them how to, for want of a better phrase, how to coach themselves and the other side to a more beneficial outcome. Right, but you need that I call it you know, think like a shrink you need to be, as I said earlier, to be fully present.

Trish Tagle 14:43

Al McBride 14:45
But still be able to see things at arm’s length that you’re emotionally nonreactive Yes. So that you can play the game. You don’t need to dictate. You can just direct. so a lot of people think The person who does the most talking in a negotiation is, is the leader.

Al McBride 15:05
But in actual fact, they’re the ones who are giving all that information to the other side. Now, it can still be highly mutually beneficial thing for you want to be able to open up that other side and open up that other that other person by staying in with their emotional thing.

Al McBride 15:19
Not necessarily whacking them back, although some people need that. It’s like certain people who’s like, Oh, I like feisty people who can push back and stand up for themselves like that.

Al McBride 15:29
That’s one way of being able to judge with some accuracy of what what that other person needs to be able to move through and gain that trust. With the trust. You know, there’s amazing stats and some of the research on trusts that, you know, virtually, like 80% of negotiation, people want more trust.

Al McBride 15:48
But they don’t assume trust. They don’t go in going, oh, we’re going to get along great. Right. So that’s one end of the spectrum. Here we go, we’re gonna get along great. It’s like, no, most people go and go, Oh, this guy is going to try and screw me up.

Al McBride 16:04
Really, but the other side is they the other side, then is some people give too much trust too early. That’s where they give away too many of their concessions. So it’s this idea that you want, again, a coaching principle that you want to assume positive intent.

Al McBride 16:20
But yet it’s it’s a balanced thing, there’s step by step one side, the other one side to the other. So there’s this lovely balance being built of a trust relationship, slowly. So a win win, as I say to a lot of clients is the destination, but it’s not the starting point per se.

Al McBride 16:38
You know, because an awful lot of very seasoned negotiators go, Oh, yeah, win win. Yeah, you have to show me more faith here. We need this win win. And that’s often the problem with an awful lot of negotiation is that’s how you get screwed over is that people playing the win win too early.

Trish Tagle 16:55
Yeah, showing too much of their cards

Al McBride 16:56
step by step, you know? Well, of course, you know, I’ve shown you some good faith. Now you show me some good faith. And that’s how you build real trust, a little bit more slowly to you said, you start slowly to then move quickly. Once some of that base is established. And that’s one of those, those key tips. So hopefully, I’ve given you a few.

Trish Tagle 17:16
Yeah, know, what you’ve been saying is really, like, it’s really, really good. That’s why I’m here listening, or I would have cut you off.

Al McBride 17:25
talking too much.

Trish Tagle 17:26
No, no, no, no, what you’re saying is very interesting, because it, you know, it applies to everybody. Everybody who was in business does negotiate at some point, you can’t get away from it.

Trish Tagle 17:38
Okay? Unless you have, you have a lot of minions and you can basically offload this task to them and just sit back, but at some point, everybody has to go through this, even in daily life. Absolutely. We have we negotiate. So this is invaluable information that you’re providing, and you didn’t mention a free resource that you will be providing to our audience.

Al McBride 18:04
That’s right, yeah, I have this, I have two things. Actually. It’s a double header you get at the same time, which is at, and it’s a little five day mini email course to gain the psychological edge of negotiation.

Al McBride 18:22
There’s a few interesting stories and approaches that you can take there get you thinking in that more psychologically aware direction towards integrating that into your into your negotiations or sales conversations, or, as you say, even just, you know, some difficult conversations that you have.

Al McBride 18:42
One thing I hear from clients quite a lot is that you know, it is in a business context, but all of a sudden, you know, your relationships with some of your friends, or some of your family or siblings or spouses or kids or whatever, suddenly.

Al McBride 18:55
So I use that technique that you told me and it actually worked really well. And it’s like, oh, showing that you’re listening is really effective. Who knew you know this thing. But as I said, this this email mini course how my product calm slash mini course.

Al McBride 19:10
And with that also comes a negotiation preparation cheat sheet. It’s part of a larger preparation document that I have. But it gives some of the things that we’re talking about really clarifying the why and the heart with some examples.

Al McBride 19:26
Then also be doing a creative thinking, doing that as what we call non cash items. Yeah, or what they call intangibles. And that helps you flesh out some of those some of those extra value things you can add to the table from your side. And indeed, what the other side might be able to give you that really sweeten the deal. So yeah,

Trish Tagle 19:47
everybody, make sure you head on over to our site. It’s and pick that up. I actually did and I did do the mini course.

Al McBride 19:58
Oh, I don’t know. How’d you like it?

Trish Tagle 20:01
I loved it. I actually did it every day. So what is the question that I should have asked you that I did not?

Al McBride 20:15
Well, I’m sure there are lots of questions you should have asked me. I suppose one of the ones I do get quite a bit and it is related to a question you asked me earlier, but it’s a slightly different angle is our great negotiators born or made?

Al McBride 20:31
So and that that’s always an interesting question. Not so much just for the question. But what’s behind the question, which is, can I really learn this stuff? Or is it kind of was things that were either have or we don’t have, ultimately? And I don’t know, I mean, what do you think you’re in sales for years? Trish? Are great salespeople foreign are made? Because I have an opinion?

Trish Tagle 20:56
Yes. Okay. So, for me, okay, because I work with leadership, right. So we can we can interchange those terms. Are they born? Or are they made? I think it depends on the person.

Al McBride 21:12
case by case basis. It is but I do think most people can but I think there’s there’s that sort of fixed mindset for growth mindset at work there behind the question number one.

Al McBride 21:22
The other thing is this assumption, and it is the thing when people see a lot of natural negotiators as described earlier. Who are really like Wheeler Dealer types able to get these flashy deals.

Al McBride 21:32
That they think oh, that’s not that must be how people need to be in a negotiation. And it’s not it’s not the case at all. It’s like different leadership styles is a huge array of different leadership styles, which can be perfectly, perfectly authentic and successful.

Al McBride 21:48
And I would say the same with negotiators, particularly around that area where with salespeople, a lot of non sales or non experienced sales, people think that Oh, salesperson has to be high extrovert.

Al McBride 22:00
Yet you see that actually, it’s the ones it’s on an introvert extrovert, one to five scale, and it’s normally the threes that do the best, because they’re confident enough to engage in conversation to push back a little to ask maybe a more probing question, that kind of thing.

Al McBride 22:15
But they’re also introverted enough to listen, to really hear the answers and to let the other side speak when they’re giving them gold, you know, whereas often you find that more extroverted, more aggressive types will do an awful lot of assumptions from just a few words from a few sentences in our overaggressive client. Or indeed, the other negotiation partner doesn’t feel heard. And they can often sour a lot of relationships that otherwise could be very healthy. So my answer for that is, yeah, you can everyone can improve their negotiation persuasion skills. Absolutely.

Trish Tagle 22:49
Precisely, it goes back to what you said about mindset. And that’s, you know, it’s the same for me with leadership. But what’s you know, talking about negotiator. I mean, if you have somebody who was a role model, and you’re not an especially good negotiator, then you can observe their behavior, and then start learning from there.

Trish Tagle 23:09
So that’s, that’s one of the ways, but I also believe that people have to be willing to learn. It goes back to mindset. So what are they made? It depends. What do you want to be?

Al McBride 23:25
As long as you have a growth mindset, then yeah, you can improve those skills and the results that you get from

Trish Tagle 23:32
Exactly. And if you don’t, then no.

Trish Tagle 23:40
On that note, thank you very much out. This was great.

Al McBride 23:45
Thank you very much for coming on the show Trish.

Trish Tagle 23:47
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll have you back again. And we’ll have Al’s URL in the show notes. And thank you very much for being on optimal instinct, the podcast. Again, I’m Trish tangling and we’ll see you again next time. Bye.

Trish Tagle 24:06
Thank you very much for joining us on optimal instinct with Trish. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, head on over to iTunes, subscribe. And if you really enjoy the content, leave us a well appreciated review. If you’re looking to create an environment that partners your desire for more profitable, more productive and greater refer ability in client relationships, combined with sustained team around, then I suggest you head over to client value to learn more about the C’s value model talk soon

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