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Start with NO: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

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Start with NO offers a contrarian, counterintuitive system for negotiating any kind of deal in any kind of situation. Things like: the purchase of a new house, a multimillion-dollar business

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Start with NO offers a contrarian, counterintuitive system for negotiating any kind of deal in any kind of situation. Things like: the purchase of a new house, a multimillion-dollar business deal, or where to take the kids for dinner.

Start with NO: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

Think a win-win solution is the best way to make the deal? Think again.

For years now, win-win has been the paradigm for business negotiation. But today, 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

Start with No is full of dozens of business as well as personal stories illustrating each point of the system. It will change your life as a negotiator. If you put to good use the principles and practices revealed here, you will become an immeasurably better negotiator.

Start with NO Uses the Win-Win Approach

Start with NO, by negotiation coach Jim Camp, is a tenacious contrarian guide to the art and science of give-and-take that proposes a viable alternative for today’s prevailing “win-win” approach.

Beginning with an inverse premise–that having the right to say “no” and veto any agreement is actually the key to favorably concluding the various deals and transactions we face every day–Camp’s procedure counters the common emotion-based urge to compromise (“a defeatist mindset from the first handshake”) with a series of less intuitive decision-oriented actions.

“My system teaches you how to control what you can control in a negotiation,” Camp writes. “When you do so, you can and will succeed (understanding that success sometimes means walking away with a polite good-bye).”

Emphasizing the importance of this underlying attitude, his method combines related steps like defining a mission, understanding the adversary, assessing fiscal and emotional investments, preparing an agenda, and tracking behavior.

Each is fully explained, as are associated skills such as how to structure a question to elicit a truly helpful response (e.g., “What else do you need?” vs. “Is there anything else you need?”). Despite its unorthodox manner, if diligently applied, the route that Camp details here may indeed produce winning results. –Howard Rothman

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