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How to Negotiate Using Likability

Interview with Jon Carpenter

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Today you’re going to learn how to create your own superhero power. Forget about Batman and Superman, you’re going to learn a super human skill on negotiation and how to do it the likable way. We’re going to jump into an interview I did with Jon Carpenter. Most people disengage and are unhappy with work and he’s dedicated himself to helping make sure you’re not one of those people. He has three pillars of infinite growth trajectory and he’s going to talk about some really interesting subjects. He has spent a lot of time in career tech, he’s coached and worked with people to get them jobs at places like Google and he’s founded a group called Tech Career Company to help people eliminate career ruts no matter what their background is. He contributes to career sites like the Muse and he helps entrepreneurs from his alma mater Georgetown University.

Where to start: 

 We negotiate all day, every day. The idea that some people are negotiators and some people aren’t is flawed. We have this image of the hard charging Ari Gold characters who are screaming and banging the table and we think that’s what negotiation is because that’s what the media celebrates. But in reality a negotiation is anytime two parties come together for a mutual commitment.

The Starbucks Test: 

The concept is to go to Starbucks, get in line, get the coffee you normally get and then ask for 10 percent off with very little reason behind it. When they ask why say “because I’m a good guy” or “it’s a beautiful day outside” or another reason that isn’t particularly relevant. This is an important principal of negotiation. Just having a reason at all for why you want something, unrelated to whether or not it has any logical basis, adds to your fire power a little. Be friendly, build a rapport and make sure you smile. Even if they say no you will have built your negotiation muscles.

Raise in 90 days: 

Sit down with the boss, ask him or her to describe their ideal employee, take notes and then just do that. So often we make things so much more difficult than it needs to be. That’s a great place to start to establish your traction a little bit and to show you’re serious about delivering your boss and maybe his boss as much value as possible. Not all companies are in a position to give raises but a top performer should never have a problem finding another opportunity.

The Bachelor: 

At the beginning there is one bachelor and around 20 girls trying to make the best impression possible. As time goes on the bachelor eliminates more and more until he finds the one he proposes to. There is a leverage game that happens between the remaining girls and the bachelor. At first the bachelor has very little to lose but the girls have a lot to lose because nobody wants to be sent home first. It continues this way until it gets down to three girls and he meets their families. All of a sudden there is a significant shift in leverage because he has to be on his best behavior and sell himself to their fathers. Then it’s time for the proposal. If the girl he chooses says no he will find himself dumped on national television.


Competitive: Ari Gold is the classic competitive negotiator. You think of him or Donald Trump. These are the stereotypical characters who are always yelling. They are the noisiest so they get the most attention. That doesn’t mean it’s the most effective archetype. In fact a lot of studies have shown that archetype is not very effective.

Accommodating: This is the opposite. When faced with someone demanding they try not to rock the boat too much while still trying to hold on to the things that are most important to them.

Avoiding:  This is someone that hates negotiating.

Collaborating: They don’t necessarily put all their cards on the table but will say “let’s work on a solution that works for both of us”.

Compromising: The boss might say “I can’t give you a $20,000 raise but I can give you $10,000”. A compromiser might say “Why don’t we do the $10,000 plus two weeks of vacation”

Arms Technique

  • A: Agree
  • R: Reframe
  • M: Make your case
  • S: Shut up

Jon’s Tech Career Company can be found at He tends to work with people who want to transition into roles in tech. He has a guide that breaks down the day to day life of what it means to be a product manager versus a project manager or other roles in tech. Jon offers a risk free consultation for anyone interested in learning more.