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Greg Williams: Legendary Leader Interview with Harvey Mackay

Cliff Jones: Hello ladies and gentlemen, I’m Cliff Jones, cofounder and managing partner of Harvey Mackay Academy. And if you’re watching this on youtube or catching it on the street smarts podcast or in the Harvey Mackay street smarts podcast, we always appreciate subscribing and giving us a little love and in terms of following us and liking us. So thank you. We’ve got a fantastic program. Harvey Mackay, founder and Chairman of Hundred Million Dollar MackayMitchell Envelope Company, began at age 27 buying a failing manufacturer company and transforming it into what it is today. One of the leaders in this industry written seven street New York Times bestselling books, three of which hit number one, including Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. Sold over 10 million books in 46 language 80 countries and two of Harvey’s books were recently named by The New York Times as two of the most among the most 15 inspirational books of all time.

Cliff Jones: Harvey’s also a national nationally syndicated columnists with weekly articles appearing in a hundred newspapers, uh, with circulation and more than 10 million. And we also have with us today, Greg Williams, the master negotiator and body language expert, professional speaker, member of National Speakers Association, successful negotiation coach for more than 30 years. Also, Greg is an author of the bestselling book, Negotiate Afraid No More. Greg, you’ve got a highly came acclaimed audio series entitled how to Negotiate Your Way to success and a new book with a forward from Harvey Mackay himself. Negotiating with a bully. Gentlemen, welcome and I want to start with Harvey Mackay. Harvey Mackay, you’re, you are a master under yourself when it comes to negotiation. Let’s start with one particular street smart that you would suggest for our viewers and listeners when it comes to learning to be a master of the negotiation.

Harvey Mackay: Well, first of all, good morning. Nice to see you Greg. Also, thank you very much Cliff and I’ve been looking forward to this eagerly. Looking forward to this. An answer to your question, what if I told you I have six, seven, eight number ones I’ll give you. I’ll give him maybe my favorite number one and that would be, it’s very simple, very effective. They don’t pay off on effort, they pay off on results. And this is what we’ll get to results. The single biggest tool in any negotiation is the ability to get up and walk away from the table without a deal. Now, uh, if you do that, you better know what you’re doing and how to walk away from the table. Otherwise you better be a doggone good swimmer. But what, what’s really important here is when you say no, and when you leave the table or hang up the phone again, you don’t kick the tires.

Harvey Mackay: You don’t insult the person who negotiated with you, never tell a mother that her baby is ugly. You just say in all this is, I can’t afford this. This is the reason why it looks like it won’t work out. Whatever it is, myriad of reasons why you can use to walk away. But I will tell you over my hundred years of experience on this earth, really, the telephone rings, all right? Many, many more times than it doesn’t, right? So if it isn’t an absolute unequivocal must that you have this particular win in this negotiation, you get up and walk away.

Cliff Jones: Great. Let’s take it back to you and what, what would you say about the ability for negotiator to walk away from the table?

Greg Williams: Well, Harvey’s 1000% correct because unless you can walk away from a deal, you will position yourself such that you might accept a lower deal or a less than stellar deal than you otherwise could have achieved. Plus that to add onto what Harvey said a moment ago, walking away in the correct manner leaves the door open for the possibility of the negotiation to continue and thus you do not insult the person, oh my gosh, I would never negotiate with you and give it a life. I don’t know why your mother even had you, Yada Yada Yada. Because as you know, my model is you’re always negotiating that what you do today sets the scene, that table as it were for future negotiations. So you always had to be very cognizant of how you exit any negotiation. And no for the moment is just that it doesn’t mean no permanently.

Cliff Jones: Well, there’s a certain element when it, when it comes to being authentic, you, we hear a lot of sales trainers preaching the takeaway, and I think it’s fair to say a lot of younger salespeople learning the art of negotiation come across as inauthentic. And to your point, Greg, in being inauthentic, they’re unable to keep that door open. So Harvey, let’s take it back to you and talk about a couple of your other more powerful street smarts or insights that our viewers and listeners can apply today.

Harvey Mackay: In other words, you want add another number one, right? Number one, and I should have said at the outset, my, I couldn’t be more sincere when I say this to you, Greg, congratulations on a brilliant career. I mean, you’ve been my guest speaker at one of my academies. Uh, obviously I’m familiar with your work and I salute and applaud again, your concepts and philosophies and in the real world, which I would call street smarts, they do work. Okay, back to, uh, back to number one, another number one. Uh, this one, of course I’ve used all my life and all the listeners out there can use this tomorrow morning, even this afternoon and here it is, if you can afford to buy your way out of a problem, you don’t have a problem. So as you go through life, all you do is, is say, every time a problem comes up, can I afford to buy my way out of this problem?

Harvey Mackay: And if you can, of course you don’t have a problem, I could sit here and use the whole program again, Plethora of ideas and results that I’ve gotten on that. But it really truly does work one very, very quick example. A, I’m sure people will remember the miracle on ice, a Herbie Brooks and the U.S. team, when they beat the Russians, I had a special customer was told I had good seats. What happened to me? I get in there and I’m all the way up in the nosebleed section. I’m embarrassed my customer, I don’t know what to do. I said, wait here. I rushed down to the first five rows down on the ice. I saw two kids in high school talking to each other, sitting in great seats. I told him, look, I’ve got a little bit of a problem. My seats are up there. Okay, might you want to change and I will sit in your seats. I have very important customer and then I pull out a $100 bill done deal. They were happy, I was happy and the Americans won the game.

Cliff Jones: Greg, you want to talk a little bit about helping get both parties, what they want in a way that the negotiation successful for everybody?

Greg Williams: Yes, I definitely do. And first of all, Harvey, I want to thank you for those very kind words that you said a moment ago about me, my career. And you are sir, a great part of the inspiration that has allowed me to actually fostering, create the type of career that I’ve been able to, uh, amass. Because I have literally modeled you to what degree going all the way back to the 80s when you first wrote, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. Though the McKay 66, as an example, is an excellent way to gather background information on someone with whom you’ll even be negotiating with. So I say all of that to simply say, I thank you very much, sir. The giving that you have, uh, stowed upon the world is something that is definitely a benefit to everyone throughout the world. And I thank you very much for that. Now, Cliff, um, please, I have to say that, paraphrase your question for me.

Cliff Jones: So when Harvey was just describing is, uh, you know, being, being, uh, uh, the miracle on ice, that, that when the, when the U.S. Beat the Russians and having, having this expectation for himself in his customer, uh, to have the, some of the best seats in the house, which is typical of Harvey. And, uh, didn’t work out that way. So Harvey was very innovative and creative. Another one of his, uh, skills. And, and in the end the customer was happy and Harvey, uh, I’m, uh, I’m presuming the negotiation and winning that customer was successful. So Greg, talk a lot, a little bit about, um, how negotiation and negotiators can be good for both parties.

Greg Williams: Well, first of all, you should always seek a win-win outcome. Win-win in this particular situation is whatever that person that you’re negotiating with sees as a victory for him or herself too. And the case of Harvey’s a moment ago with the client at the a hockey game, uh, think about this, had Harvey had not had a hundred dollar bill in his pocket, he would not have been able to negotiate as effectively with the kids that he actually said, hey, you know, I’ll give you a hundred dollar bill. Therein lies where as a negotiator, you always have to be prepared for any situation that will come your way. Had Harvey had credit cards, he could have said, well look, I’ll give you a tab. I’ll put it on my tab or something like that. It would have been less likely to induce those people to actually move to a higher seat and does, not only do you have to be prepared as a negotiator for what comes your way, but you always have to create situations whereby you have the outcome that someone expects to receive at your best interest. Now that’s not to say you have to subjugate your interests to theirs, but you have to make sure they’re satisfied with the deal when negotiating such that they don’t walk away from whatever it is that the two of you agree with. Harvey, is it, I I shallowly borrow the title from Harvey, the master negotiator. I have a lot of good negotiation skills, but my gosh, people get to learn so much more about negotiations from Mr. Harvey Mackay for sure. Definitely.

Cliff Jones: Well back to your point on the Mackay 66 in Harvey’s creative ability to pay attention to the interests and and family members, all the attributes of a prospective customer or existing customer that allows Harvey to follow up on an ongoing basis. Because I think we’d all agree that the art of negotiation is not a onetime process, especially when it comes to keeping happy customers. So Harvey, is there one other particular street smart that you would highlight for our viewers and listeners as it relates to being a better negotiator?

Harvey Mackay: Surely. Let me, uh, if I may put it in reverse just for a moment or two and say to our listeners, which I should have said maybe at the outset of the program. And that is as follows, every single solitary person listening again to this broadcast to this video, uh, has to know one thing. We’re all salespersons, every single one of us. And I don’t care if you’re in human resource engineer, teacher, doctor, lawyer, doesn’t matter what, okay, whatever your endeavor has, you’re a salesperson. Why do I say that? Because from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to bed, what are you doing? You’re negotiating, you’re communicating, you’re persuading, you’re influencing, you’re selling ideas. Now, if that’s not a salesperson, I don’t know who else or what is. So on all those people that keep this negotiating in its proper perspective, which is right at the top of the charts, every single solitary day.

Harvey Mackay: Now back to a, uh, another one of my favorite negotiating skills, and I don’t know where to start. I could I consider a 24/7 around the clock and keep coming up with these aphorisms that I’ve made up a over a period of a lifetime. But I would say another key one is as follows. All right? You can never, never negotiate anything unless you know what the market is. And let me just give you a perfect example. Hypothetically, let’s just say that Greg, okay, is my father and I’m a superstar basketball, NBA futurist. And all of a sudden I graduated college and now the pros are after me and, and there’s tens and tens of millions of dollars being thrown away. Now let’s just say that Greg happens to be his life’s work or course is a negotiator. All right, fine. Now he can save. If I sign a $40 million contract, he can, uh, we can save of the two of us, 5% of 40 million. Hey, that’s, that’s a lot of dollars. Okay, so why should we go hire an agent and pay him or her, you know, you know, 5% well, I’ll tell you why. Because Greg’s been working on a different kinds of negotiation for 10 20, 30 years where the agents go to work every day and they’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of contracts. So you won’t be able to recognize the good deal, right? When you see one, if you don’t know what the marketplace is. Very key, very important, very critical,

Cliff Jones: phenomenal. Hey Greg, in in your 30 years of coaching and speaking and helping people become better negotiated into Harvey’s point on everybody being in sales, really a negotiating whether we know it or not. Is there a particular kind of professional or person that you’ve found has a particular issue or obstacles with learning to practice the art of negotiation at the level you guys do?

Greg Williams: Well, it actually, I would say more than a particular individual, it stretches across, I would say societies. Some societies just don’t negotiate as part of the norm of that particular society. And thus people will just readily accept whatever someone says as the bottom line is, I have to, this is my best offer. Or some won’t even challenge on negotiation, uh, effort at all. They’ll just accept whatever’s thrown at them. And to Harvey’s point about salespeople, not only salespeople being uh, negotiators, but everyone being a negotiator, that’s how people would need to start looking at themselves. And again, to the point that Harvey just made a moment ago, that specificities that some folks have when it comes to negotiations that others don’t. And thus you cannot link everyone in the same realm of, oh, well he negotiates a, she negotiate. So they both must be good negotiators or whatever. Whenever you’re looking for a negotiator, you need to look for specificity because people will always have greater insights about a particular discipline than another. And that’s one thing that you need to understand and not only about negotiating more, but also how to negotiate better. When you’re in any negotiation with someone that’s lending assistance.

Cliff Jones: I’d have to say the curiosity and the courage to ask questions, uh, that. And, and that’s, that’s developed over time through practice and training and coaching, that curiosity and that confidence to ask questions. I can tell you, if I were a shopkeeper in some corner of the world where negotiation, culturally is expected. I would not want to be up against Harvey Mackay. What do you say about, you know, the, the ability to, to, to negotiate in a successful way no matter what the transaction or is because you have some phenomenal stories you’ve told over the years that I’ve heard.

Harvey Mackay: Well, uh, we were talking just moments ago, uh, uh, Greg had mentioned that the 66 question customer profile and that of course if I can explain to the audience, because I guess that’s kind of my whole life and it has been ever since age 21 and I, I entered the workforce as an envelope salesperson and that is as follows. And my father got ahold of me age 21 and he said, every person you meet the rest of your life, okay, it goes into a Rolodex file, little bit of bottom on the back of the card. And now here’s the key, find the creative way to keep in touch. So I just finalize that in the 66 questions I wanted to know about every account, every purchasing manager, he or she that I’d be calling on. I was calling on 300 accounts and therefore I had 300 people in my rolodex file.

Harvey Mackay: Well. Then I carry that forward to negotiations and every part of my life, if a Cliff, I, I don’t know you and I want to buy your company or your, I’m going to sell my company to you. I will go out of my way to what I called dig your well before you’re thirsty, which is one of the titles of one of my seven books. And I will try to find out everything I can about you. I want to know 66 things about you if you’re a customer. So every time I call on you, I add to that list. But first negotiation, I don’t know you, I’ve got to find out things. I want to know where you went to school and I’ll do my best, want to know if you’re married, if you have children on the, what’s your political persuasion is on the, where you take your vacations on, know how many jobs you’ve had, all of these things I can find out, which is a totally different subject than what we’re talking on right now.

Harvey Mackay: So that’s 66 question, customer profile carries over to negotiations. Very importantly. And the moment I walk out of any negotiation, I don’t start my car. I start dictating into my iPhone. Every single thing I read the desk, I read the walls. I remember what the reception’s told me after I was asking questions. Everything you forget, 50% of what you hear in four hours. So you have to know that pale ink. Sorry, but I talk it aphorisms till I write. It’s how I live. My life. pale ink is better than the most retentive memory, which of course means write it down. So you want to record, and I’m sure Greg a agrees with me. Once you walk out, you debrief yourself of every single negotiation immediately.

Cliff Jones: Greg, let’s take that a little bit further. When we talk about the Mackay 66, which is probably the number one resource Harvey Mackay Academy members choose to download and apply to their life. How does doing your homework and your research in advance of a particular negotiation make a difference for the negotiator?

Greg Williams: Well as an example. Some of the components of that 66 lists, uh, consist of knowing who the friends of the individual with whom you’re negotiating knowing what it is that they do, knowing what is that they go knowing more about that particular individual than almost individual knows about himself because we forget some of the things that have occurred in our life. And that becomes information that you can use as leverage in the negotiation. Now I’m not necessarily saying it has to be used in a negative manner, but the more information and insight you have about an individual, the greater the opportunity you have to bond with that individual and or use those that individual looks up to, to support you and your efforts. So again, more the more insights you have, the greater the opportunity to come to a win-win negotiation situation. And by doing that, you’re not only allow the deal to have a greater chance of staying closed, but at the same time you have a greater chance of prolonging, extending the relationship that you established with that individual. Because as I always say, you’re always negotiating.

Cliff Jones: Alright Harvey, let’s take it back to you. Is there another particular, uh, street smarter insight relative to helping our, our viewers and listeners become more confident, effective negotiators, whether sales people or people from any walk of life?

Harvey Mackay: Well, surely I remember, uh, talking about this and I like to make up all my own aphorisms and, and then I guess you don’t see what’s the small print under the small print in the aphorism and then put it to work. So I sent on our fraternity floor once again a hundred years ago when I was joined a fraternity. I said the following, which applied to the subject we’re talking about when a person with money meets a person with experience, one repeat that when a person with money meets a person with experience, here’s what happens. The person with the experience winds up with the money and the person with the money winds up with the experience. And so what I’m saying is you can’t start at the top and work up cream doesn’t rise to the top. It works its way up. And so boy, look out when you’re in your first negotiation and you’re going up against them. Old Grizzly, okay. That, uh, that might have been around for 10, 20, 30, 40 years negotiating things. You have to just be aware of that. And that’s the real world.

Cliff Jones: Greg, I want to talk a little bit about your new book, Negotiating with a Bully. We’ve all run up against bullies in school, in business as all walks of life. So is there one or was there one or two particular things you’d like to highlight when it comes to negotiating with someone who’s particularly tough? Maybe even a little bullying. Bullying Ish.

Greg Williams: Yes. Yes there is. And it goes right back to the Mackay 66 list. Again, understanding through the gathering of background information, what is the source of motivation that’s causing that individual to behave in the manner that he behaves? And if you understand what his source of motivation is, you know, at least how you can then go about trying to alter his perspective. Is he acting out simply because he wants to impress someone else? Well, if that’s the case, how might you solicit that entities support to help you negotiate with this particular individual? But what might you do to actually what the bullies efforts and what happens if you stand up to the bully at a particular point in time versus another. So the timing of when you choose to move on that person or not move on. That person is a valid insight. And I talk about all of that and the book. And by the way, I want everyone to know that Harvard Mckay was the one that forwarded this book for me. And the good, my goodness, I just, uh, you see me beaming because, uh, I don’t want to be overly abusive, but, uh, I’m just so grateful for all the insights that Harvey has going to be throughout the years.

Cliff Jones: Well, thank you for that, Greg. You’re very generous, very kind. And, uh, Harvey, let’s, let’s talk in the context of, you know, whether you’re a school kid face in a bullying in the school yard or you’re in the workplace, wherever you are, how do you deal with the toughest of negotiators to get what you want?

Harvey Mackay: Well, let’s go back to a, another philosophy. Make decisions with your heart and you’ll wind up with heart disease. And so emotion is so, and I’m, I’m sure Greg, it gruesomely emotion plays such a strong part and role in any tough negotiation. And you have to not only of course, control your own emotions, but more importantly, study the emotions of the person across the table from you and then apply whatever you learned. And also you can’t learn anything when you’re talking. So you have to be a fabulous listener in negotiation. So I’m sure Greg will absolutely agree with me. You apply the emotion, emotional intelligence, if you want to call that whatever. And, and you apply the 66, you apply. Don’t let you know, don’t make the decision with your heart, then you’re prepared to really stand up and do all the other things we’ve been talking about. Like maybe, walk away from the table.

Cliff Jones: Well, Harvey, I think one of the best kept secrets when it comes to negotiation. Sales, leadership, overall leadership company culture is MackayMitchell Envelope Company. I think you guys are selling 25 million envelopes a day. 100 million in sales. You bought the company when you were really just a young, very young man today as chairman of the board at MackayMitchell, how do you inject your, uh, and teach your, especially your new salespeople, the art of negotiation because they keep setting records in an industry that seems to be declining. So how do you, how do you really affect that at Mackay, Mitchell?

Harvey Mackay: Well, we start out to buy, a lot of companies have meetings to see if they should have meetings. That’s not, that’s not the way to win. We have a very aggressive agenda. It doesn’t last very long and it’s almost every week. And then we have real live in negotiations when we lose an account. Now when we went in account, when we lose an account, I want my sales force to know what happened, not only what happened, but prioritize and now tell us what are you going to do about it. Also, when you win an order, when a contract, we want that person to share with all our other salespeople what they did prepare to win. All right? How they got the results. And then so everyone’s learning from real live examples. Uh, I think that’s a very practical way to keep our people. Again, one step ahead.

Cliff Jones: Wonderful. Greg, let’s talk about you and the context of helping sales professionals, younger people build that confidence, build that experience and, and integrate body language because I know you’re studying both of us right now. Uh, body language plays a big part when we’re sitting either in a meeting or on a virtual meeting like this. So what would you suggest to people as they’re learning the art of negotiation relative to body language?

Greg Williams: One way to distinguish as to which personality type you are negotiating with is to observe the body language. For example, right now I just leaned back and I am saying what? That body language gesture. Okay, I’m comfortable right now. I’m at ease as opposed to me getting literally in your face indicating possibly that I am trying to intimidate you. Now through body language and body language signals and signs, one can also use what’s known as seven micro expressions to genuinely validate to what degree is someones posture is faked or it’s real. There are seven emotional album, seven strategies or I should say a micro expressions that are unique to everyone on the face of the planet. Fear, anger, disgust, surprise, contempt, sadness, and happiness. If I were to scream right now, more than likely you would jump. You wouldn’t think for a moment, oh wait a minute, I’m in a safe environment, Yada, Yada, Yada.

Greg Williams: Your reptilian brain would just go into a mindset of, oh, that was something that I should react to. Those are the types of signals that you off deserve when you’re actually in a negotiation or a face to face or if you’re listening to someone per the nonverbal signals, how fast do they speak? What words do they use to represent the thoughts? All of that data is input per what’s really going on in that person’s mind. To what degree do they tilt their head when they tilt their head? Okay, now I’m in thought mode. That’s what that indicates. Multitude of signals and signs you can pick up from when you’re negotiating. Salespeople should be extremely astute of not only observing those signals, but as Harvey alluded to earlier, what’s in that person’s environment, what’s in that person’s environment is what is important to that person. You pick up on those clues and you can definitely help that person sign the sales that you put in front of him.

Cliff Jones: Well, ladies and gentleman, we’re coming to the end of of our time with you today for this interview on the art of negotiation. We’ve got the master negotiator and body language expert, Greg Williams. Of course, we’re with the legendary leader Harvey Mackay, or if you want to want to kind of wind this down with you and follow up on Greg’s point, body language, reading people being across from the desk and a prospect or customer’s office. Is there one particular insight you’d like to leave our audience and listeners with as we wrap up?

Harvey Mackay: Sure. I’ll give you what the first body language ever learned was many, many decades ago. I’ll never forget actually was my father in law who said talking about negotiations, he said though, when he’s negotiating, and this is in the olden days, of course he said when his opponent, you know, other side of the table, if you want to call them a but would light up a cigarette. That was a good sign that he was winning, that I had to settle down their nervous. This, I dunno if you’ve ever heard of that before Greg, but uh, let me leave you then with one final thought and that is as follows. Okay. I don’t know which one I’m thinking about four or five that are mixing in my head. Let’s just, let’s talk about, uh, this one. People go on all their life and they say, what should I buy? What should I sell. That’s the wrong, that’s the wrong question. When should I buy and when should I sell? Timing in life is everything. Write it down. Don’t forget it. Use it in the real world.

Cliff Jones: That’s wonderful. Greg, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t connected with Greg Williams, the master negotiator and body language expert, you can do so at www.themasternegotiator.com. Greg, did I get that right?

Greg Williams: Yes, you did, and there’s one more thing that I just want to put out there as it were per salespeople were any discipline. That’s a red and it’s my favorite quote by Mr. Harvey Mackay. I keep it literally right at my desk. It says, “believe in yourself even when no one else does.” Those are words to live by. Those are definitely for it’s to live.

Cliff Jones: You’re believing in yourself. Life is a game of confidence. Everything’s a game of confidence. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for being with us today. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re not a current member of Harvey Mackay Academy, you can get a free membership at harveymackayacademy.com if you’re listening to this on the Harvey Mackay Street smarts podcast, please leave us a five star rating. And if you’re watching this on youtube, subscribe to our channel. Share the message with your family and friends because these are the kinds of leaders that we bring to you at harveymackayacademy.com. Gentlemen, thanks for being with us today.

Greg Williams: Thank you very much to both you and Harvey.

About the Author Harvey Mackay, Founder & CEO

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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