Become a Master Influencer Using This 2,000 Year Old Negotiation Principle

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We negotiate every day of our lives: We negotiate with our spouses and friends. We negotiate with our bosses and coworkers. We negotiate with everyone — why? Simple — to get what we want!

Everyone negotiates for everything all of the time; however, most fail to get anything most of the time. Does this sound like you?

Well, if it does, there are some very good reasons for this, and while this article will require you to extrapolate unsaid meaning and read between the lines — cause Josh doesn’t pay me enough to chew it up and put it in your mouth — you should glean some crucial information underlying the art of negotiation, understanding which will undoubtedly help you in your endeavors.

Basic Principles of Negotiation

Negotiation really has not changed very much since the days of Aristotle, that amazing Greek philosopher and logician who is generally credited with doing the most for the establishment of Western logic.

Let’s cover the basics of Greek thinking in broad strokes:

Syllogism: 3 Part Presentation of Argument Based in Fact

Syllogism is a logical structure of an argument which is comprised of 3 elements, namely the Major Premise, Minor Premise, and Conclusion. The basic layout of syllogism is:

If A = B, and B = C, then A = C

Where A is the Major Premise, B is the Minor Premise, and C is Conclusion. The function of the Major Premise is to establish a common foundation and a rapport between the audience and the orator by bringing into focus an idea that everyone agrees with and no one would argue — a fact of truth.

This, in turn, is followed by the Minor Premise, which outlines the actual argument of which the orator is trying to convince the audience. And the reason the audience can arrive at an agreement with the orator is because the Minor Premise (B) is tied to the unarguable truth Major Premise (A = B), leaving the audience no choice but to connect the dots.


Syllogism: (A) Dogs bark – (B) Sladky is my dog – (C) Therefore, Sladky barks!

C is true because C = B, and B = A…  Equating C to A proves C.

In the above, the Major Premise is: Dogs bark. Everyone knows that dogs indeed bark, and my Major Premise is therefore received as a statement of truth. Therefore, in order to prove that Sladky barks, all I’ve got to do is prove that he is a dog, and to do that I’ll just show you this picture:

photo (1)






Since we know that all dogs bark, and since Sladky is very obviously a dog, that means that Sladky barks. BAM!

Next Step

The next step is to realize that most arguments are not based in fact, but are rather opinions, or perceptions of fact. Therefore, we have to somehow bridge the gap between facts and perceptions, and the way we do that is with something Aristotle termed “Enthymeme.”

Enthymeme: 3 Part Presentation of Argument Based in Perception of Fact

Enthymeme is nothing more than a syllogism which uses perception of fact as the Major Premise in lieu of an actual provable scientific fact.


My argument – this is the point I want to prove: Ben Leybovich is creative and knowledgeable!

Enthymeme: (B) Ben Leybovich has bought 7 multiplexes in 7 years, using no money down, and even with 100% financing, they are still cash flowing $4,000/month.

BAM – Done! You are all convinced the Ben Leybovich is creative and knowledgeable – just like that.

But… Where’s the Major Premise, and Where’s the Conclusion?

Seriously – my Enthymeme is supposed to consist of A, B, and C; the Major Premise, Minor Premise, and Conclusion. However, I only provided you with B, the Minor Premise… what gives?!

That’s the thing… we are dealing in perceived truths here. I know who my audience is made up of – real estate investors. Do I really need to convince real estate investors that buying cash flowing apartments under 100% financing requires brains and creativity? No, I do not; in fact, this is a point that doesn’t even need to be verbalized by me. It is engrained in your consciousness.

And as for the Conclusion, that’s simply a natural outflow of your perception of the Major Premise and my statement of the Minor Premise. In other words, your own belief system is your Major Premise, and having phrased my Minor Premise in a way that pins itself on a Major Premise commonly accepted by my audience, I created a logical path for you to arrive at a Conclusion that I wanted you to arrive at.

I played you like a fiddle, which is something I’m pretty good at in more ways than one…

Wrapping Up

Ok, I could tell you much more, but then you’d be dangerous. Besides, it’s almost 11:00 p.m. This is more than enough information to get you thinking in the right direction. This information is somewhat actionable, though in order to really understand how to get people to agree with you, which leads them to doing what you need them to do, you must read between the lines. 🙂

P.S. If you are wondering how come I can get 100+ comments on an article seemingly whenever I want to, there’s very little magic to it. I just gave you the answer…sorta

What do you think about this piece of Aristotle’s philosophy? How would you apply it to your real estate investing endeavors?

Let’s have some philosophical real estate debates below!

About Author

Ben Leybovich

Ben has been investing in multifamily residential real estate for over a decade. An expert in creative financing, he has been a guest on numerous real estate-related podcasts, including the BiggerPockets Podcast. He was also featured on the cover of REI Wealth Monthly and is a public speaker at events across the country. Most recently, he invested $20 million along with a partner into 215 units spread over two apartment communities in Phoenix. Ben is the creator of Cash Flow Freedom University and the author of House Hacking. Learn more about him at


  1. Brian Gibbons


    I minored in Philosophy, and majored in Psychology.

    I love my Greek philosophers!

    Decartes, Plato, Socrates.

    But NLP baby! Neuro Linguistic Programming…

    Appeal to a Higher Authority. A distant decision maker seems only to receive concessions, not give them. Car salespeople love this tactic. I use it for my “business partner”.

    Ex) ….Let me just throw this idea out you, Mr and Mrs Seller, and if you absolutely hate it (negative phrasing) but what if I could get you a payment, I dont know, like approximately your PITI payment, and this payment would be like 24 to 60 payments, then whatever the balance was on your mortgage, that would be paid off down the road, and seriously I’d need to get my business partner to approve it, he’s the numbers guy, (appeal to a higher authority) but WHAT IF I got that approved for you guys within 72 hours, would that be something to even talk about, or maybe not?

    Good Cop / Bad Cop. Prior to negotiation, designate the good cop and the bad cop, and remember your roles (and remember to have fun with your roles).

    Silence. Silences can be unnerving. You can use silence to make the other side uneasy, and thereby draw out more information and concessions.

    Stalemate — Set Aside. When faced with a stalemate, put the issue aside (table it) for later.

    Split the Difference. Never take or offer this ploy.

    Fait Accompli. Document your proposal thoroughly so that it is easy for the other party to accept (with all needed documents completed and ready to sign).

    Offer Withdrawn. Use as a last resort, especially if you are being nibbled upon. Here you just walk away. Let them chase you as you pack up and shake your head.

    For newbies – always be the “reluctant buyer” of what they are selling. If you are “eager” you are not doing it right and paying too much.

    Ben you are a sly fox! 🙂

    • Ben Leybovich

      Hah… Mark, it’s not a technique – it’s a perspective and a way of doing business. Everyone I talked to and everything i say is a function of these basic principles. Recognition that in RE I deal with people tees everything up!

    • Frankie Woods

      Haha! I was thinking the same thing! I think this goes back to the old adage “know your audience.” That simple fact will allow you to position your argument in such a fashion as to virtually guarantee you get a positive result. Good stuff!

  2. Aaron Mazzrillo

    As it stands, this is incorrect. It needs to state “All” dogs bark.

    Syllogism: (A) Dogs bark – (B) Sladky is my dog – (C) Therefore, Sladky barks!

    C is true because C = B, and B = A… Equating C to A proves C.

    Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

  3. Wait, so is this just a fancy, socially acceptable way of saying; “Ask a good question and then stfu and listen to the answer”? 😉

    In a former life people actually paid me $$ to make them do things (C) they didn’t want/like to do. That works. For about a month. It took me far too long to figure out that the best way to get them to do C (happily without objections/whining/complaining) was to figure out what their A was. To do that I had to ask a bunch of questions and do some digging for info, aka communicating. I had to remove the obstacle/objection to C which was almost always a direct result of me trying to use a B that worked for my A, not their A.

    Perception IS reality/truth….to the person doing the perceiving. Therefore, reality/fact does not equal universal truth.

    When you can view things from another’s perspective (A) then you probably know, or can figure out what evidence (B) is required in order to prove C. The trick is to figure out what their A is…..hmmm sorta/kinda like algebra. (I’m surely about to offend math geeks…my apologies).


    C=10 (desired outcome)
    B=Evidence/Proof/Reasoning etc

    If we know A then it’s super simple to solve for B. If we don’t know A (and often we don’t we only think we do), we can only come up with a range of values for B that will work.

    To illustrate (sorta), I’m very new to RE period, much less investing. When I read the statement, “Done! You are all convinced the Ben Leybovich is creative and knowledgeable – just like that.”, I thought to myself, “Uhm, no not exactly, he could have just gotten a good deal, right?”

    Ben’s minor premise (B) can’t be used on me because my major premise (A) does not match the assumed fact that I’m experienced and “its ingrained into your consciousness.” I may very well be delusional but if he wants me to buy his C he’s gotta give me a B that makes sense to my however misinformed A.

    • Ben Leybovich

      Dalek – you are sharp! And, you know how to read between the lines to boot.

      Being a violinist, I am used to being on stage. One of the pre-conditions of communication in this environment is that I at once speak to each and everyone and no one. I am not looking for complete agreement from everyone – only the majority, where my assumptions work 🙂

      You said something very, very, very insightful – “If we know A then it’s super simple to solve for B. If we don’t know A (and often we don’t we only think we do), we can only come up with a range of values for B that will work.” The A is key. B fits into A, and C is natural outcome. A is key!

      Look me up on BP. Would love to connect!

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