Sean Callagy’s Strategy: Find the Pain Point to Get a Yes

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Sean Callagy has developed a four-part communication strategy to go from “hello” to “yes” in a negotiation. One of the steps involves finding your counterpart’s pain point and understanding it at a deeper level. Why is finding someone’s pain point so important?

People make decisions because they’re in pain and they want to get out of it. They want to avoid it—period. Sean points out that “People don’t get into better shape until they’re in pain… People don’t make more money until there’s pain. They don’t create more time freedom. They don’t commit and make a decision in a situation. Nothing happens without pain being present.”

Decisions are not made on logic

People will say that they’re a “logical decision-maker.” How do you debunk that? Sean has an easy strategy: Ask the most logical decision-maker you know that has children if they think they make logical decisions. If they say yes, you can quickly point out that having a child is the most illogical thing they could’ve done. They’re expensive. They’re complicated. They cause problems. Why would you have a child?! Emotional fulfillment. Sean emphasizes that it all comes down to emotions.

People make decisions—including having relationships and having children—because the pain of not taking the action exceeds the pain of taking the action. You have to put something at stake. You have to have somebody present to the reality of something different than what they’re concerned about: that you’re going to take advantage of them and harm them. That’s why people sit at “no.”

So after emotional rapport is built, you have to defeat someone’s default no. You need to try to take them to the yes—but they need to get there on their own. When that happens, they are aware of the pain of not going there.

How do you develop that emotional state?

There is pain associated with not getting to yes. How do you develop that emotional state? How do you help formulate the idea in people’s minds? Sean shares the 5 components of building rapport to answer this question:

  • Where have you been?
  • Where are you?
  • Where are you going?
  • What’s working?
  • What are the challenges?

You build emotional rapport one-on-one following that concept of conversation. People talk that way every time. Step two is restating what they’re saying. Sean shares an example of my mission for the Negotiations Ninja podcast:

“I’m hearing that your mission and vision is to bring negotiating skill sets to the world so people don’t sit in ignorance and are empowered to bring about ethical, phenomenal, integrous results, for themselves and the people that they love and care about and represent. Is that what I’m hearing you say?”

You have to get the person you’re communicating with to understand how much it matters to them. Many people have dreams and visions—but how much do they matter? If you didn’t grow, would it matter? It’s digging deep into the emotion. It explores what’s at stake for you. It brings you present to the pain. If you’re not present to something being at stake, you’re receiving the information in a completely different way.

Behavioral economics and the fear of loss

Behavioral economics theory suggests that we are two times more emotionally driven to make a decision based on a fear of loss rather than the opportunity of gain. If you tell someone they’ll get $200,000 if they do something, it’s great. But if you tell them if they don’t do something they won’t get $200,000 the emotion is the fear of missing out. The emotion is significantly higher.

Sean points out that’s why litigation is so expensive. Everyone is fighting to not lose something. Think of what people will do to protect their wallets or the purse of someone they love if a pickpocket or thief tries to steal them? People reflexively react and do something and it’s crazy. The very same people take so little action to improve their relationships, to improve their finances, to improve their happiness, and to improve their health.

To learn more about finding the pain point, listen to episode 178 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast. He walks through developing emotional rapport, how to develop a congruent unique identity, and how to get to agreement formation. Do not miss it!