“We’re all professional negotiators. Most of us don’t think of ourselves that way, but we’re all trying to make agreements every day. We’re negotiating. Some of us do so haphazardly, maybe even lackadaisically, while some of us realize that since we’re always negotiating, the more skillfully we do so, the better off we’ll be.” – Jim Camp
Start with with No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know offers a contrarian, counterintuitive system for negotiating any kind of deal in any kind of situation—the purchase of a new house, a multimillion-dollar business deal, or where to take the kids for dinner.
Think a win-win solution is the best way to make the deal?
For years win-win has been the paradigm for business negotiation. But according to Jim Camp win-win is just the seductive mantra used by the toughest negotiators to get the other side to compromise unnecessarily, early, and often. Win-win negotiations play to your emotions and take advantage of your instinct and desire to make the deal.
Start with No introduces a system of decision-based negotiation that teaches you how to understand and control these emotions. It teaches you how to ignore the siren call of the final result, which you can’t really control, and how to focus instead on the activities and behavior that you can and must control in order to successfully negotiate with the pros.
The best negotiators:
* aren’t interested in “yes”—they prefer “no”
* never, ever rush to close, but always let the other side feel comfortable and secure
* are never needy; they take advantage of the other party’s neediness
* create a “blank slate” to ensure they ask questions and listen to the answers, to make sure they have no assumptions and expectations
* always have a mission and purpose that guides their decisions
* don’t send so much as an e-mail without an agenda for what they want to accomplish
* know the four “budgets” for themselves and for the other side: time, energy, money, and emotion
* never waste time with people who don’t really make the decision
Top 38 Quotes from START WITH NO
“In a negotiation, decisions are 100-percent emotional. Yes, 100-percent. Research psychologists have proved this beyond any doubt. Our so-called rational minds kick in only after we’ve made the decision, in order to justify it after the fact. Your job as a negotiator is to see emotions clearly and overcome them with precise decision making. Your job is even to use emotions to your advantage with precise decision making.” – Jim Camp
“I like to provoke new clients and folks in seminars and workshops by stating the best ‘yes’ in a negotiation is by way of ‘no’. The negotiation really does start with ‘no’ – not with ‘maybe’, definitely not with ‘yes’, but with a firm, clear ‘no’. In any negotiation, this is the key word I want to hear. Everything that precedes it is mere window dressing. How can this be? Because ‘no’ is a real decision that induces the party across the table into actually thinking about why they’ve just said ‘no’. The responsibility of making a clear decision helps the adversary focus on the real issues of the negotiation.” – Jim Camp
“I cannot emphasize this point too strongly: ‘Maybe’ is the kiss of death for a successful negotiation. If you can’t quickly get past ‘maybe’ – and it comes in infinite varieties, of course – start walking, because you’re wasting your time (especially when dealing with the Japanese, who will drive the untrained negotiator crazy with ‘maybe’).” – Jim Camp
“The trained negotiator is more than happy to let the adversary show off in almost any way he wants to, because the adversary’s greatest strength will eventually become his greatest weakness.” – Jim Camp
“The study and practice of negotiation is extraordinarily complicated. Every negotiation is different, and every human being is a handful, so to speak. How long before you feel a lot more comfortable about negotiating that you feel right now? It could be six months, it could be longer. It depends on your native talent and how hard you work. All I know is this: Every day, you’ll become a better negotiator than you were yesterday and one day you’ll start to achieve at a level approaching your potential.” – Jim Camp
The “budget” in any negotiation is more than just money. The real budget has three components: time-and-energy, money and emotional investment. And not all of these factors are of equal importance – if time has a value of x, then energy will be calculated as 2x, money as 3x and emotion as 4x. Your job as a negotiator is to be certain you know both your own real budget and that of the other party. – Jim Camp
Not only are the best negotiators good note takers, they also have a blank mental state. In other words, they consciously play a mind game to rid themselves of expectations, needs, fears and assumptions. They do this by visualizing a scene from nature that is inspiring – like a sunrise – or by reliving a pleasant experience from their past – like a sporting success while growing up. Revisiting those scenes mentally before a negotiation clears their minds, allowing them to treat the facts as they are presented rather than the way they hope to find them. Creating a blank mental state is a tremendous advantage for professional negotiators and it is something aspiring negotiators can work on. – Jim Camp
In-depth research of the facts can overcome the inherent problems with expectations and assumptions but most people aren’t in the habit of doing much basic research. With that in mind, a more accessible tool is to take great notes about what the other person says. This is very simple. As they say something, write it down in your notes. That alone will enhance your focus on what is being discussed. In any negotiation, the most successful negotiators block out their own thoughts and concentrate on what the other person has to say. Taking notes helps you do that. It also helps you make the distinction between what’s being said and what they mean. – Jim Camp
If I were a beginner in the study of decision-based negotiation (as opposed to emotion- and compromise-based negotiation), my initial goals would be to focus at all times on my mission and purpose, to control my neediness and never demonstrate neediness, to always allow my adversary to be okay, to have no fear of saying or hearing ‘no’. Right there you have four very straightforward, obtainable, valid goals that, if carefully followed, would make you an excellent negotiator relative to the field. But the real point I want to get across here is the distinction between a goal and a result (or an objective as it is commonly labeled). Goals you can control, objectives you cannot. By following your behavioral goals, you get to your objectives. – Jim Camp
Successful negotiators work hard to increase the amount of time spent on activities that relate directly to the negotiation at hand rather than administrative tasks that support those negotiations. They try and act as far as possible in a disciplined, systematic way rather than chasing vague dreams of huge deals. One effective way to become better at this is to keep a written daily record which identifies their strengths and highlights their weaknesses. This regular self-examination and assessment allows them to monitor their behavior and emotions, and to track their impact on the results they achieve. Weaknesses are pinpointed, strengths are identified for further work in the future and self-esteem grows as a rigorous daily record is kept. The discipline of doing this also encourages the person to think about how their time is used. – Jim Camp
Too many aspiring negotiators make the mistake of focusing on what they cannot control – the outcome of the negotiation – rather than what they can control – their own behavior and actions. Never fall into that trap. Set goals only in the one area you can have any lasting influence – how you as a negotiator act. – Jim Camp
A good negotiator understands the other party cannot reject them personally. The worst they can do is to say no to the proposed deal. Therefore, they don’t worry about being liked, thought of as smart or important. Instead, a good negotiator spends energy on the task at hand – putting together the best business deal possible. And if any particular deal doesn’t come together, a good negotiator doesn’t lose sleep over it. He or she knows there will be many more opportunities to put deals together with others in the future. – Jim Camp
Creating a blank mental state is a tremendous advantage for professional negotiators and it is something aspiring negotiators can work on. – Jim Camp
By taking notes: You end up doing less talking – which is good.
You are forced to listen to what the other person has to say – which is what you want.
You relax a little more – which helps you make less emotional and more rational decisions.
You have a permanent record of the key points agreed to.
There is less chance you’ll blurt out something useless – like a price concession.
You will have less opportunity to spill the beans – about your internal cost structure.
You become less likely to fall for traps – like promises of future global alliances or huge pending purchases. – Jim Camp
“Think behavior, forget results.” – Jim Camp
“Winning isn’t everything, but the will to prepare to win is everything.”– Vince Lombardi
Your adversary in any negotiation must have vision before they will ever take action. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: no vision, no action. No vision, no decision. No vision, no deal that sticks. This is Human Nature 101.” – Jim Camp
In a negotiation, decisions are 100-percent emotional. Yes, 100-percent. Research psychologists have proved this beyond any doubt. Our so-called rational minds kick in only after we’ve made the decision, in order to justify it after the fact. Your job as a negotiator is to see emotions clearly and overcome them with precise decision making. Your job is even to use emotions to your advantage with precise decision making. – Jim Camp
Small businesses always tend to feel like they are needier than large corporations who can pull off large mega-deals. Negotiators use this perceived imbalance to extract more and more concessions from the small business, more than they need to give. – Jim Camp
In essence, when you think win-win, you set yourself up to make compromises before it is certain they are needed. You enter into a negotiation with a defeatist mind-set which states before this deal can be completed, you’ll have to make numerous concessions. And thus, you’ll most often find what you had hoped will be a win-win agreement ends up becoming win-lose with you on the wrong side of the equation. – Jim Camp
Your greatest weakness, when negotiating, is how much you need to do a deal. The more you need to get the deal done, the weaker your negotiating position is. And conversely, the less any specific deal means to you, the better you’ll be positioned to negotiate a deal which is in your favor. Thus, the first rule in becoming a better negotiator is to overcome your neediness. – Jim Camp
With that in mind, the way to become better at negotiating is to distinguish between what you can control and what you can’t. Win-win is an outcome, and the outcome is beyond your direct control for a host of various reasons. In any negotiation, the only thing you can control is the means by which the outcome is decided. So focus on your behavior and actions, and let the end result take care of itself instead of endlessly obsessing over win-win scenarios. – Jim Camp
In summary, when negotiating, it’s good to be a little less okay than your adversary. Put them in the position of power. Give them every opportunity to say no. Display a little ineptness. You’ll be amazed at how much better the negotiation will flow when the other party feels superior to you. – Jim Camp
But what happens if the other party in a negotiation are simply using our desire to think win-win to get us to agree to unnecessary compromises? – Jim Camp
For example, you might say: “OK folks, now I ask you to be a little patient with me here. Maybe I misunderstand the situation, and everything I say may be wide of the mark, but with your permission, I’d like to tell you what I see here. Maybe by working together, we can come up with something that makes sense.” – Jim Camp
Feed the blocker’s ego– by telling him you’re happy to get his okay first before making a presentation to the key decision makers so long as you make that presentation to the key decision makers in person. Then go ahead and make your full presentation. Sell the blocker on the idea first, and enlist the blocker as your ally in figuring out how to sell the real decision makers.
Coach the blocker– by telling him the points he needs to present to the key decision maker for them to understand the proposal. Offer to wait in the hall or in their office while he or she makes the presentation in case there are questions that arise. This option gives you a chance to build the blocker’s role in the entire process so if the decision works out well, they will be positioned to take all the credit. – Jim Camp
Most people like to appear smart, and the best way to look smart is to answer the questions other people ask. Good negotiators, by contrast, ask good questions so as to learn about the world where the other person lives.
Serve as a catalyst– encouraging the other person to think about their own vision and to make a decision.
Are short– no more than nine or ten words.
Come one at a time– so each point discussed can be absorbed and considered. – Jim Camp
Along the way, you’ll come across “blockers” – people in the other organization who specialize in telling you they are the decision makers when in reality they have nothing to do with it. – Jim Camp
JAs a rule-of-thumb, there will generally be multiple decision makers. Your job will be to unearth them and negotiate with each and every one of them. You never know who will hold the veto power. – Jim Camp
It’s critically important that you know who’s actually calling the shots and making a decision for the other party in any negotiation. – Jim Camp
Whoever manages to keep their emotional budget in control is positioned to extract a better deal from the other party in the negotiation. – Jim Camp
Two things that can stop negotiations dead in their tracks are expectations and assumptions. Successful negotiators avoid both – by creating a mental “blank state”. Doing this consistently enables the negotiator to learn what’s really going on in this negotiation – what’s holding things up. – Jim Camp
By avoiding the temptation to burn bridges behind you, you avoid showing any neediness to do the deal. – Jim Camp
if you’re into the win-win thing, you very likely end up making a classic win-win mistake: the unnecessary compromise in the course of chasing an invalid goal. – Jim Camp
The worst possible outcome for any negotiation is to end up with “maybe” – Jim Camp
What does it mean to pay-forward? This simply involves doing good things for others without any likelihood of them being able to reciprocate. It means contributing to society. It means doing what you can to make the world a better place. – Jim Camp
To succeed long-term as a negotiator, you need to have high self-esteem. There is always a direct link between your self-image and how you perform. And the best way to generate and sustain high levels of self-esteem is to regularly pay-forward to others. Consistently search out opportunities to do good things for other people and not only will you be a better negotiator but a better human being as well. – Jim Camp
To deal with blockers:
Try starting at the top – and approach the CEO. If he has the time to talk with you, the usual blockers will respect that and do likewise.
Feed the blocker’s ego – by telling him you’re happy to get his okay first before making a presentation to the key decision makers so long as you make that presentation to the key decision makers in person. Then go ahead and make your full presentation. Sell the blocker on the idea first, and enlist the blocker as your ally in figuring out how to sell the real decision makers.
Coach the blocker – by telling him the points he needs to present to the key decision maker for them to understand the proposal. Offer to wait in the hall or in their office while he or she makes the presentation in case there are questions that arise. This option gives you a chance to build the blocker’s role in the entire process so if the decision works out well, they will be positioned to take all the credit. – Jim Camp
About the Author
JIM CAMP is the founder of Coach2100 Inc., a coaching clinic for senior business managers and teams. He currently serves as a negotiation coach and runs negotiating clinics and group coaching sessions for more than 150 corporations. Mr. Camp has experience in negotiation strategies in a wide variety of industries and government administration.