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Flip The Script Book Summary – Oren Klaff

What you will learn from reading Flip the Script:

– How to get people to believe your idea is their own idea.

– How to understand status in any social situation and how to use to get what you want.

– Practical sales tools to boost your performance immediately.

Flip the Script Book Summary:

Flip the script explores a new approach to persuasion. An approach based on a simple insight: everyone trusts their own ideas.

Instead of pushing your idea on your buyer, guide them to discover it on their own and they will get excited about it. In doing so they will feel good about the chance to work with you.

Read on if you’re interested in this level of persuasive ability.


Using the Human Brain to your advantage:

The human brain is thus wired by evolution to distrust any information from the outside world and to greatly favor that which originates inside us.

Inception: Have you ever seen a sign that reads ONE PER CUSTOMER and immediately thought, “I’m going to figure out how to get two”? 

You simply forbid an action in order to encourage it, creating a kind of universal — Do Not Push button that everyone wants to press. The reason? None of us want to be told what to do.


Use selective evidence to get someone to piece the puzzle together:

Think about crime programmes. You feel a rush of excitement when you identify the culprit before the big reveal happens on-screen, but that was always the writers’ plan. You’re meant to discover the answer on your own and feel good about it.

Even if you don’t watch crime procedurals, you’ve probably experienced a moment like this, when a solution to the problem you’re working on suddenly materialises in your mind.

The same is true with an idea. Make people feel like the idea is coming from them and they will place more value on it, believe it more deeply, adopt it more quickly, and remember it more easily.


What’s in it for them:

You may listen to someone who’s trying to sell you but the situation is always finely balanced. This is because the moment you realise this person is not going to be able to help you, they become irrelevant.

Make sure that you are always focused on the problem that the other person has and positioning yourself as the solution to that problem.


Social Hierarchy and Status Alignment:

Today, a mix of subtle visual and verbal cues help you instantly recognise the social status of people around you.

When you learn to recognise and control these words and symbols, you can change your position in the social layer cake at will.


Words are a secret status code:

Use words like a secret code to let me people know that you are on a completely different and higher level of the social layer cake than people expect. When someone is high status or an expert in their field, use their own language against them. That way the see you as on par.

Influence, and particularly Inception, is most effective when the person you are speaking to feels like he or she is on the same level of the hierarchy as you.

Before you can implant an idea in someone else’s mind, you need to create a feeling of Status Alignment.

Another status alignment tip is to understand your counterpart on a cultural level and show that you understand them culturally.


How To Create Status Alignment:

It works perfectly every time when you follow a specific pattern using a three-sentence phrase called a Status Tip-Off. A status tip-off is where you tip-off your expertise or status to the receiver of your message.

The best way to find a Status Tip-Off is to interview three people who are the same level as the person you are trying to influence.

What would they say to each other, to catch up on each other’s business, peer-to-peer?

Three key elements that make up a successful Tip-Off: 

1. Use Specific Industry Lingo 

2. Describe a Recent Action You Have Taken 

3. Mention a Real Situation Everyone in the Industry Cares About


The Transactional Puzzle:

This is the classic transactional puzzle: 

In a given deal, how much financial risk should you accept? 

How much risk should you expect the other party to accept?

What’s happening below the surface is that you and the architect are both seeking enough certainty to go ahead with the deal. You each want the sense of control—that you’re not at the mercy of the other party.

When a buyer says, “I need to think about it,” at the end of a presentation (a common response), it means they don’t have enough certainty and confidence to move forward.


The Certainty Gap:

The goal of every sales presentation is to reduce the Certainty Gap in the buyer’s mind—improving the chance of getting to yes.

With Alignment, your goal is to show the buyer you’re similar to them and make them instantly feel like you “get” them.

To instill certainty, on the other hand, you need to prove that you are a complete, absolute, undisputed authority in your field.

Funny analogy (not really relevant): They were two hundred miles from the nearest banking exchange and were operating without a banking compliance rating—that’s like trying to get into an exclusive New York City nightclub with a note from your mom.


How to create certainty: The Flash roll:

This is a classic Flash Roll—a linguistic fireworks display of pure technical mastery over a complex subject.

A good Flash Roll must locate a problem; it should take a point of view and it should arrive at a deductive conclusion about how to solve a problem. You need a Flash Roll with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

You start a Flash Roll by making the problem seem simple, routine, or trivial—to you, it’s something so basic, you hardly think about it.

To write your Flash Roll, describe the problem being faced, your assessment of it, your proposed solution, and the economics (how long it would take and what the results would be, or were the last time you did it).

You absolutely cannot be seeking validation or opinion of the buyer. You are the expert, not he.

Instead, it should seem like it’s mundane and uninteresting to you—not a big deal at all; like if I asked you about it in a few hours you might forget you even said it.

To end the Flash Roll, you can just shrug and say something like, “Anyway, based on what I’m seeing here… you should…

Look to provide context for what is happening in the industry—the specific undercover forces that most people didn’t know much about—that way you can further cement your status as an industry thought leader.

It’s best not to tell people how you ‘know’ the industry or list your extensive credentials. You should show them what you’ve achieved.


If you’re not technical, watch out for technical questions:

Rapid-fire, penetrating questions like this are always bad news.

The problem is, we didn’t want to answer, because answering technical questions is an inefficient way to close the Certainty Gap and rarely works with sophisticated buyers.


Idea Receptors:

If your brain doesn’t have receptors for information, the information is meaningless.

Your brain has three areas of particular importance for what it pays attention too. Here they are in order of importance: threats, rewards, and fairness.


Threatening social ranking:

You’ll be surprised how effective this can be to get someone’s attention: arousing their curiosity by threatening their social ranking and then offering a valuable secret.

When you imply that someone’s position in the dominance hierarchy and social order is changing, they snap to attention.

Talking about someones future pessimistically can rattle someone so that you get their attention quickly.



Can be simplified to what’s in it for them. The reward has to be more enticing than the status quo and worth changing for.



Fairness often relates to a fair deal. No one likes to be taken advantage of, and we are very sensitive to integrity, equality, and fairness. 


The three combined:

WHY SHOULD I CARE? (What new threats and dangers are out there?)  

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? (How can I get a better-than-average reward?) 

WHY YOU? (How can I trust you to give me a fair deal?)


Positioning yourself as the Saviour:

Tell your listeners that everything they rely on to thrive today will soon be gone—and it’s happening faster than they think.

Say that the industry as we know it is transforming, and you know how to operate successfully in this new playing field.

Make it obvious your buyer is going to get at least twice the results in some area with your idea, product, or service—hence 2x the reward. (makes them want to change)

Investors want to know that the CEO of the company is not going to give up and quit when things get hard—and things always get hard.

Using a Skin in the Game script, a quick story that shows how you are financially, physically, or contractually committed to this opportunity—maybe even more than you are asking them to be.

It’s not simply that you’ll feel bad or look bad if something goes wrong; it’s that you’ll lose something important to you.


Challenging the Status Quo Bias:

Expert Technique – Plain Vanilla:

When push came to shove people would rather stick with the tried-and-true. 

You need to make the novel (and expensive) features seem normal.

In other words, why are people seemingly preprogrammed to present their ideas as new and different? Because new and different things attract immediate attention.

But this rise is temporary, and when the exhilaration of new and different wears off, the desire for tried-and-true takes over, and it is surprisingly difficult to get people to actually change their behaviour.

Rule of Thumb – The more important a decision is, the more likely it is to be made based on conservative criteria.


Novelty Chunking:

The trick is to use a technique called Novelty Chunking to make it seem like your deal is different from “normal” in just one key way, while everything else about the deal is completely Plain Vanilla.

1 – Chunk the Novelty into one category:

Grouping everything new and potentially scary about your deal into a single category and then telling the buyer that your deal is just like every other deal in your industry, except for one key aspect that’s totally new.

2 – Define the normal:

Then you show the buyer that what’s normal is shifting, and the one key, different thing is really popular today. There is a new normal.

Status quo is great and works just fine. Acknowledge that they probably aren’t looking for a replacement.

3 – Introduce the one way your idea is novel and show why this novelty is good:

And how it’s the same thing nearly everyone is doing (collaborating on projects in the cloud is the new normal).


Pessimism as a tool:

Let me flip the script for you: It’s pessimism, not optimism, that is the formula for success in sales.

What pessimism actually does is provide an alternative point of view, and it’s one the buyer has to consider before making a purchase decision that sticks and doesn’t result in buyer’s remorse.

Give a buyer permission to start questioning you and your deal, but first teach them exactly what to question about it.

Pessimism + Autonomy + Expertise = Inception

After you grant the buyer full autonomy to think, do, and say anything that comes to mind, you can no longer control him. The solution is to set up invisible boundaries ahead of time and get your buyer to accept them.

Humans are generally slow to question boundaries if we don’t notice them being set.

When boundaries are already in place ahead of time, or explained as the industry norm, we don’t question them.

To start, I’ll say something like, “I deal with this kind of thing all the time. Let me try and help.”


Providing Value in the pitch:

  • Outline Obvious Ways to Fail

  • Highlight Counterintuitive Ways to Fail

  • List Obvious Actions

  • Less Obvious “Hacks” Then move into the less obvious tips and insights, or the “hacks” (these are the things you would only figure out by doing it at least 100 times).

  • Hand Over Autonomy Finally, hand over autonomy with a shrug and a line that detaches you from the outcome, like, “Yeah, well, that’s just what I’d do, having done it at least a hundred times already.

  • Redirect to Keep the Buyer “In Bounds” From time to time the buyer will venture outside the boundaries you have set and ask about something that you already said was a rookie mistake in your Buyer’s Formula.


Next, start to create boundaries that your buyer will not venture outside of, by highlighting the obvious ways to fail.

“Most amateur athletes who are just getting into trail riding will assume price is a way to measure the quality of a bike. In reality, higher price just means it’s more specialized for ..

Once you’ve shown your buyer five or six things that can easily go wrong in his decision (starting with the obvious and moving to the less obvious), it’s time to shift into the positive actions he can take, so he feels he’s in control and is making informed choices.

Let the buyer fully object. Hear him out, then redirect firmly to stay within the boundaries you previously set. “People are always worried about that issue, and in the end, it’s never even an issue at all.”

This way the buyers have felt like they have been heard and their objections dealt with. The pessimism allows them to think they’ve thought rationally about something. 


Side Highlight – Oren’s Investor checklist:

Step 1: Speak with about ten potential buyers. 

Step 2: Tell them about the best features of the product. 

Step 3: Gauge interest. 

Step 4: Decide if there’s enough demand to keep going.