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Start with No

A negotiating coach says going for a win-win solution is often ineffective -- and disastrous. Read the introduction of his book.

This article accompanies Strategic Resolve.

Monday, July 11, 2011
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Introduction from Start With No: The Negotiating Tools That the Pros Don't Want You to Know

Win-Win Will Kill Your Deal

How often over the past couple of decades have we read or heard the phrase "win-win"? Thousands, I guess. Enough, I know. The term has become a cliché in our culture, the only acceptable paradigm for personal interaction of any sort. In business, its appeal rests on the proposition that no company has the right to plunder a market just because it enjoys a position of strength and dominance. We believe that a shared prosperity -- a win-win prosperity -- is the sustainable one.

It all sounds so good, what stick-in-the-mud could possibly disagree that win-win is the model to use in negotiation? Well, I disagree. Based on my nearly twenty years of experience as a negotiation coach, I believe win-win is hopelessly misguided as a basis for good negotiating, in business or in your personal life or anywhere else. This book and my system should be viewed as a rejection of win-win and all its kind. Of the various ideas in my system that I could have chosen as my title, I selected Start with No expressly to emphasize my profound disagreement with win-win, which implicitly urges you to get to yes as quickly as possible, by almost any means necessary. Such negotiating is the worst possible way to get the best possible deal. In fact, it will get you killed.

Maybe you work for one of the many companies around the world that proudly display those shiny win-win trophies presented to the sales team by their largest customers. That's right, actual trophies, each and every one of which is testimony to a failed negotiation. Testimony to a negotiation conducted without discipline and without a system. Testimony to a negotiation conducted by naïve amateurs, to be perfectly blunt. I think it's great that eight-year-old girls and boys receive trophies in their baseball and soccer leagues regardless of whether they were the champions that season. I think it's astonishing that top executives don't understand that it is precisely the win-win negotiations that are grinding their businesses into the ground. But this is often the case. I know, because many times I've walked right past the win-win trophy case on my way to meet the executives who want to hire me as a negotiation coach because things have gotten so bad.

"But so many deals have been negotiated on the basis of win-win! So many headlines, articles, books! It must work!" My answer is simple: The fact that a given deal was negotiated and signed tells me nothing at all. Who said this was a good deal, much less the best one? Just as the fact that the Cleveland Indians scored eight runs tells me something, but not enough, because the Yankees may have scored nine, so I need to know the final score in these so-called win-win deals.

And I do. I know that a certain worldwide delivery company became an industry juggernaut by negotiating deals with hundreds of small vendors across America that the company then abrogated in order to obtain leverage for a better deal -- better for the delivery company, that is. Were those first deals good for the vendors? Just ask them. What about the second deals? Ask the vendors about these, too. I know that certain clothing retailers have made a specialty of squeezing vendors into signing pie-in-the-sky deals with production targets they cannot possibly meet. When they don't come through, the companies enforce the letter of the law, nullify the contracts, and then return in a month or so to renegotiate at the proverbial dime-on-the-dollar, because they now have all the leverage. Were those first or second deals good for the vendors? Just ask them.

When I became a full-time negotiating coach in the 1980s, after years of more informal tutoring, I didn't just say to myself, "Jim, there's always a niche for the contrarian in any field, so why don't you go challenge the win-win paradigm?" Nor am I a go-for-the-jugular tough guy who enjoys bullying people, as if this were the only alternative to win-win. The business world is certainly full of such individuals, and we will meet some of them in these pages, but I'm not one of them. No, I began to challenge win-win because I quickly learned that it's all too often win-lose. Make no mistake about it: a simply terrible but supposedly win-win deal is signed every minute in this country. The promise is just manipulation. It's all double-talk.

Think about the situation this way: If a company with a good product or service and with adequate resources goes bankrupt, which happens daily, what is likely to be more responsible for this fatality than poor negotiating with suppliers, customers, employees, someone? But even as the number of win-win losers grows and grows, the unwary are still legion. If I accomplish nothing in this book beyond alerting businesspeople to the dangers of win-win, I will have performed a valuable public service. I feel so strongly on this subject I'm now going to devote a couple more pages to it.

Some readers -- I'm among them -- tend to skim or even skip book introductions. Please don't do so this time. In order to understand my system, you must understand the dangers inherent in win-win.

They're Lying in Wait

I am not the first professional negotiator to understand the inherent weakness of the reigning philosophy. Not at all. Many, many corporate opportunists and shrewd negotiators in every field understand that a gung ho, win-win negotiator on the other side of the table is a sitting duck. In fact, one increasingly popular, high-level corporate strategy in negotiation commonly known in the business world by the acronym PICOS was developed for the sole purpose of defeating weak win-win negotiators.

This an instructive story, which I'll pick up in the early 1990s, when a man named Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriotua was a main player in the procurement department for General Motors. (Many readers will remember Lopez for his subsequent highly publicized defection to Volkswagen in 1992 amid charges that he stole GM secrets. The federal government has indicted him for industrial espionage, but he's fighting extradition from Spain.) Lopez and his cohort at GM developed PICOS, or Program for the Improvement and Cost Optimization of Suppliers. (I've also seen it spelled out as Purchased Input Cost Optimization, so take your pick.) The advertised idea of this "costing method" was to help suppliers hold down their own costs in the design and production stage of the products they sold to GM. By holding down suppliers' costs, GM held down suppliers' prices and thereby GM's own costs.

So what could be wrong with helping suppliers hold down their own costs? That's win-win, isn't it? It sure was -- for GM, because when the rhetoric was stripped away, "cost optimization" was a politically correct euphemism for bludgeoning suppliers into submission. It was nothing more or less than a diligent, sustained, extremely effective way for the giant automaker to drive down costs by putting the squeeze on its thousands of suppliers, no matter the result to them. If a supplier went belly-up or couldn't deliver under the negotiated terms, there was always another supplier who believed that it could somehow live with these prices. PICOS and its win-win rhetoric sounded good in theory, but it was and is devastating in practice for many businesses.

Today, several major business schools have developed similar programs for cost optimization or "supply systems management," as they are also labeled, and I imagine many others will follow suit, because GM and other large corporations have had great success with them. The business school that teaches the win-win mantra in a course on negotiation might also teach, right across the hall, a course in "supply system management" that's expressly designed to destroy the win-win model! Mind-boggling.

Just a couple of weeks before writing this book I happened across an interview on one of Northwest Airline's audio channels with the CEO of a new company that develops software for "interactive electronic commerce." This CEO was boasting about how the company's procurement software helps their clients "dominate their suppliers." That's the quote, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Net will facilitate the growth of huge buying cooperatives, multibillion-dollar initiatives that will allow competitors to combine their buying power in order to drive down suppliers' prices and add another tool to their cost optimization arsenal: "If your terms aren't good enough, we'll put it up for bid on the Net." I have no idea how this will all shake out in the years ahead, but I do know it represents more leverage for the big boys.

The Invitation to Unnecessary Compromise

What is the poison that resides at the heart of the big lie that is win-win? You've heard of the deadly stuff. It's called compromise. Many negotiators play the win-win game with an implicit invitation to debilitating early compromise on the part of their unwary adversaries, who are, in turn, almost programmed into this fatal mistake by the mantra of win-win. Those smooth-talking negotiators don't compromise, but they demand that you do. (In the case of corporate purchasing departments, I guess their compromise is that they're buying from you instead of from someone else.) And all the while, they put the happy face on their negotiations. GM acquired the deserved reputation of being a bully, so it and all the other big purchasing companies learned to be even more diligent in their use of win-win rhetoric, playing on our old-fashioned, all-American, Dale Carnegie instinct to win friends and influence people. They say, "Let's team up on this, partner." They play on the time-honored American tradition of collective bargaining. In fact, almost every recent book on negotiation -- many dozens, if not hundreds, including academic texts and popular paperbacks alike -- structure their wisdom and advice around legally mandated collective bargaining in labor relations (the National Labor Relations Act of 1935): negotiating in good faith, give-and-take, compromise. In collective bargaining, a negotiator can be sent to jail for failing to bargain in good faith -- for rejecting win-win, in effect. It should be no surprise that many win-win gurus in this country were educated and trained in this field.

In and of itself, tightly regulated collective bargaining is fine. So is generic "bargaining in good faith." Of course you want to bargain and negotiate in good faith. I insist on it with my clients. But when the tiger across the table says, "Now, Denise, Tom, you have to consider our legitimate interests here. We have to have a little good faith here, a little win-win," what is Denise and Tom's first thought? It's probably that they have to give up something if they need to sign this deal -- and of course they do need to sign this deal, it's such a big one for their company. They have allowed themselves to be subtly manipulated into feeling responsible for the results reported to his boss by their adversary. They're nice people, so they compromise in order to help their adversary become a winner, too, though they have no idea what makes him a winner. When naïve, eager-to-earn Denise and Tom are negotiating with a cunning tiger who has also read the win-win books, they are in terrible jeopardy.

Please remember this: The negotiators for many of the dominant multinationals are tigers. Most if not all of the great businessmen and businesswomen are tigers. I dare you to walk into the negotiating cage with them or their colleagues or a team of cost optimization negotiators while using one of the win-win textbooks as your bible. If you don't believe me, please check with suppliers for a certain worldwide delivery company and for certain retail clothing companies. Please check with smaller companies who deal daily with the giants of the Brave New Economy out on the West Coast. And I can assure you that negotiators in Saudi Arabia and Japan don't know about our American tradition of collective bargaining -- or if they do, it's in order to take advantage of the negotiator who comes to their table with that mind-set. Was Ho Chi Minh playing win-win games in those fateful negotiations over Vietnam? I don't think so. But Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and their team were.

The furthest thought from Ho's shrewd mind was negotiating a "wise agreement," as defined in Getting to Yes, the leading win-win book on the market today. A quick look at that definition will be highly instructive. It reads: "A wise agreement can be defined as one that meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible, resolves conflicting interests fairly, is durable, and takes community interests into account."

Sounds nice enough, but exactly who decides which interests are "legitimate"? In whose eyes are conflicting interests "fairly" resolved? And what does "to the extent possible" mean? And what does "durable" mean -- that the agreement lasts a month, a year, or for the ages? And which "community interests" are we talking about? There are many of them, often in competition, one with the other (schools, labor, management, the environment, city hall -- just for starters).

One more time: "A wise agreement can be defined as one that meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible, resolves conflicting interests fairly, is durable, and takes community interests into account." In a perfect world, maybe, but in this one I hear "Taps" playing in the background. Compromise is implicit -- almost explicit -- within this definition. Of course, our hypothetical negotiators Denise and Tom do have to consider their adversary's "legitimate interests," once they figure out what they are, but this does not necessarily mean they need to give up a single dime.

Why in the world compromise before you're certain you have to? Sometimes you do, and that's fine, but often you don't, and that's better. The key point is that with the win-win mind-set, you'll never know which it is. Think carefully about this for a moment: Win-win and compromise are a defeatist mind-set from the first handshake. Negotiating under the banner of win-win, you'll have no way of knowing if you've made good and necessary decisions leading up to the compromise.

Maybe some readers are already thinking, "This Jim Camp approach sounds too cold-blooded for me. I like the idea of win-win. I believe it makes for a better, fairer world." Now I hear "Taps" playing not quietly in the background, but loud and clear. Let me illustrate with a quick, true story. Imagine that you are one of a small crew of young software hotshots in Silicon Valley and a Japanese firm offered to license your state-of-the-art technology for $400,000. You need some capital, and here's some nice capital. You guys and gals live on practically nothing, and this money might get you over the hump, and these investors are smart enough to think highly of your work and kind enough to go out on a limb for you. It's a good win-win deal, right? So this team thought. They were tempted to accept the initial offer before they were introduced to me, and I suggested a different approach because I found out that this Japanese firm that had pretended for six months that this $400,000 offer was all they could afford was actually a subterfuge group working on behalf of a major Japanese car manufacturer to buy American technology as cheaply as possible. Such "hit squads," as they're known, are notorious in Silicon Valley, and their equivalents operate in every field of business, large and small, and usually under the humanitarian guise of win-win. The final negotiated fee for that crew's technology was $8 million. Why? Because that's what it was worth. Win-win would never have netted what that technology was worth.

Maybe some readers are also already thinking, "But what about that word 'adversary' you used earlier, Camp? I don't like that. Negotiation isn't a war." No, it's not a war, and while I realize that the word "adversary" may carry confrontational connotations, I define it as "respected opponent." You are negotiating with a respected opponent. I employ the word "adversary" mainly to counter the mushy idea that the folks on the other side want to be your friend, and may even pretend to be your friend.

Sure win-win sounds good! That's exactly why it's so dangerous and why you have to be so careful. When negotiating over the fence with your neighbor about what time you should fire up the coals for the big barbecue, you might well get by with win-win, but not against the tough, seasoned negotiators in the outside world.

Emotion-Based versus Decision-Based Negotiation

It's crazy out there. In many, many corporations, the sales force adheres to the win-win paradigm and therefore compromises at every opportunity in its desperation to "get the business," while the various purchasing agents and departments are well skilled in one of the theories of supply systems management that are designed to take advantage of win-win vendors. Do the chief executive officers understand the contradiction here, the absurdity, and do they understand that both the win-win and the PICOS paradigms are self-defeating? I wonder.

Here's a true story that perfectly proves my point. On one side of the negotiating table was a medium-sized company that sells a product vital to the high-tech world. I'll call this company Euphoric, Inc. On the other side of the table was a division of a giant multinational that supplies a chemical vital to Euphoric's product. I'll call this supplier Worldwide, Inc. In this negotiation, Worldwide approached Euphoric and requested a renegotiation of the contract for their patented chemical, which is petroleum based and therefore had become much more expensive to produce, given a worldwide increase in oil prices. Euphoric refused to renegotiate the contract. A deal is a deal, they said. In reply, Worldwide slowed down it's shipment of the chemical, and without this chemical, Euphoric would have to shut down its line.

How much would Worldwide's request have added to Euphoric's unit cost? About fifteen cents. How much did Euphoric retain this unit for? A little over $2,000.

Those numbers are not typos. The battle was raging over a fifteen-cent increase in cost for at $2,000 product. What in the world could account for such blindness? It's very simple. Worldwide, like vendors everywhere, was so used to compromising at every opportunity in the name of win-win that they were afraid to insist on the justified premium for their patented product. Meanwhile, the purchasing folks at Euphoric were risking tens of millions of dollars in business because they, like purchasing departments everywhere, were blindly committed to taking advantage of win-win adversaries at every opportunity. Both sides were in an emotional box, committed to abstract theories of negotiation, and neither side made good decisions. In the end, Worldwide got its premium, because it was the best decision for both companies, but the negotiation was ridiculously long and involved and expensive.

This book is a refutation of all such emotion-based negotiating. As an alternative, I present for your consideration decision-based negotiating. In the end, I believe you'll agree with me that the difference between the two is clear and that the choice between the two is easy.

When I was in the air force, I learned, first in the classroom and then by practice in the cockpit, decision after decision, mistake after mistake, that I could not directly control the actions and decisions of my adversary, but I could, through trained habits, better manage my assessment of my adversary and make certain that it was accurate. With good decision-making skills, I had a chance at maintaining control of the situation and thereby achieving a beneficial outcome. Likewise, I couldn't absolutely control my emotions -- no one can -- but I could keep them under check, I could keep them from overly influencing my actions, with carefully constructed behavioral habits. This is precisely how the surgeon or any other practitioner learns his or her craft: through practice, study, making good and bad decisions, correcting the bad ones, more practice, more study, more decisions, more corrections.

I focused on what I could control -- the means -- not what I could not control -- the end. The focus of this book is teaching you how to do the same during negotiation, because too many negotiators do just the opposite. They focus on what they cannot control -- the end -- while losing sight of what they can control -- the means.

I like this analogy with baseball. Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa cannot control whether they hit a home run. After all, Bernie Williams may climb the wall and take it away, or the long fly may confront a jet stream that keeps the ball on the warning track. A lot of things can happen in the end, so Bonds and Sosa can only focus on the means to the end: putting a pure, sweet swing on the ball. They think only in terms of maintaining power and leverage in the process of the swing. If they think in terms of homers, they lose power and leverage by overswinging and lunging at bad pitches.

The analogy with a business negotiation is direct, which I realized almost from the first day I thought seriously about the subject, when helping a friend in California work out a small business deal. You cannot control the other party's actions and decisions -- not directly -- but you can control your assessment of your adversary's situation, and you can, with a great deal of work and discipline, control your own actions and decisions, and you can keep your emotions under check. My system teaches you how to control what you can control in a negotiation. When you do so, you can and will succeed (understanding that success sometimes means walking away with a polite good-bye).

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My principle (and title), "Start with No," is based on the understanding that "no" is a decision. An early "yes" is probably a trick, and "maybe" is just that, maybe, and gets you nowhere. But "no" is a decision that gives everyone something to talk about, that helps you maintain control, as I'll explain in detail in chapter 3.

Another rule is "No Closing." But this is absurd, you may think. After all, "How to Close" is a more or less mandatory section of almost every negotiation book, so it has to be important. But I'm not playing games. Large deals, and even smaller ones, don't "close" in the usual sense of the term. They come together, through vision and decision, over weeks and months and maybe years. Moreover, if closing this deal is your goal, your preoccupation, maybe even your life's dream, then you're concentrating on what you cannot control and forgetting about what you can control. When negotiating with real pros, you'll pay the price in the end for this misguided behavior. In my system, you forget about winning and concentrate on the fundamentals of sound decision making.

At first encounter, some people -- many, to be frank -- are skeptical of these and other rules I use in my work, because they seem to fly in the face of conventional business wisdom. Some new clients have even been actively resistant, but after closer consideration, certainly after one trial negotiation, the great majority of these men and women are converted, because inviting the adversary to say "no" simply works. The "No Closing" rule simply works. Concentrating on what you can actually control in a negotiation -- the means, not the end -- simply works.

The so-called contrarian suddenly becomes common sense.

The Camp System

To repeat: Win-win is often win-lose because it invites unnecessary compromise, because it is emotion-based, not decision-based, and because it plays to the heart, not to the head. And one more thing: Win-win is not based on definitive principles; it's based on mush like the definition of a "wise agreement" I've already cited.

A win-win negotiation is not controlled in a clear, step-by-step way. That's just one reason win-win gets slaughtered in the real business world, again and again and again. I know CEOs who are proud of their deal making, but they have no discipline, no real basis for making their decisions. They're shooting from the hip under the assumption that everyone else is shooting from the hip. But some of their adversaries aren't. Some are shooting with a telescopic lens and the unwary win-win adversary is the target. It's not a fair fight.

Many readers will have heard Ross Perot's often-told story about the American who wants to buy a camel, pulls up at a tent with half a dozen camels staked in front, and asks the owner about one particular animal. The bedouin replies, "Oh, that's my son's camel, his pet. I couldn't sell that one." The American looks nonplussed, gets back into his Range Rover, and starts to drive off. The bedouin runs after him, shouting, "I thought you wanted to buy my camel!"

I agree with Ross Perot: Americans don't know how to negotiate! Okay, you ask me and Perot, how did these CEOs get to the top if they're such incompetent negotiators? Since win-win isn't a system and offers no real basis for judging those who "use" it, mediocrity flourishes without being detected. We all know there's a fair amount of mediocrity in American business, and I believe the win-win paradigm is partially responsible. So what if the negotiator settled for offering a 27 percent volume discount, while his bosses were hoping he'd only have to offer 24. He tried, and it's only a 3 percent difference, and it was win-win, so break out the bubbly. No one has any idea how much, if any, volume discount should have been offered and would have been accepted. Or change the perspective: The buyer was hoping to get a 27 percent discount but only got 24, and under win-win who knows how much she could have gotten with better negotiating? So break out the bubbly on the other side of the table.

My book introduces a system. With it, you do know how much discount should have been offered, and you do not offer one dime more. With my system, you focus on goals and behavior you can control and ignore results you cannot control. The system is pretty simple to understand, I believe, in its basics, but it does take strict discipline and a great deal of practice to employ successfully, whether you're negotiating the price of a Pokemon card, a new house, or a multimillion-dollar deal for, or with, a multinational. This discipline and practice have changed the lives of my clients -- not only because they're bringing home a lot more money than in the past, but in the broader context of a life lived with boss, coworkers, teammates, spouse, children, friends. No matter your walk in life, if you sat down and calculated the number of negotiations you handle in a busy week, the answer would astound you. I did this once for myself and got up to one hundred before deciding that enough was enough. Your answer will be in the same range because, if your family is anything like mine was some years ago, which restaurant to go to with the kids is one negotiation, which table you take is a second one, what dishes they order is yet a third, and what they actually eat is yet a fourth. You get the picture. In New York City, which route the cabby takes from La Guardia to midtown Manhattan is a negotiation. What time you meet with your negotiating adversaries at the hotel may well be a negotiation. The list is endless, and the principles and system I introduce in this book apply to all of them.

The content of this book is contrarian, but the structure couldn't be more straightforward: fourteen chapters that introduce, one by one, the principles and practices of my system. They progress from the more general principles that are really about preparing yourself for negotiation -- neediness, being not okay -- to principles that are still about preparing yourself, but also take you into the realm of actual negotiations. These chapters will also be new to you, even when dealing with tried-and-true business ideas like mission and purpose, which, in my system, is completely different from any M&P statement you've ever prepared. The last chapters then take us into the nitty-gritty practices we'll use to negotiate actual deals. You will learn how to rigorously structure the negotiating process from A to Z with agendas and budgets and other good things -- none of them being the usual practices of the business world.

A Bio and a Guarantee

This system first began to take shape in the air force, then during my career as a commercial pilot, and then in the business arena as I made the transition to negotiating coach. I am not a consultant. I'm a coach, and there's a huge difference: Consultants are much less hands-on than coaches, and they take no responsibility for their work. There are hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of consultants who include negotiations as a featured service. There are very few coaches who do what I do, working with my clients on every aspect of the negotiation.

For the past dozen years, since I founded the Negotiator Coaching Series in the Bay Area, and then Camptraining, I have trained and coached negotiation teams here and abroad, on every continent. I hold Negotiator Coach Symposiums every year in major venues across the continent. Harvard University, Ohio State University, and the University of San Francisco have sent participants to my lectures and symposiums. Inc. magazine has featured me in its annual Growing the Company conference. All in all, I've introduced my ideas and my system to about fifteen thousand individuals. I've worked with about 150 corporations on literally thousands of negotiations. In the last decade, men and women in many different fields have used my system to negotiate transactions worth more than $4 billion.

I've coached individuals and teams at such companies as Motorola, Texas Instruments, Merrill Lynch, IBM, and Prudential Insurance. I also work with many medium-sized and small companies. At any given time I'm working with about thirty companies, conducting seminars and/or one-to-one coaching with, on average, about 130 individuals in each company. I'm involved in about 750 negotiations a year. I also coach some individual proprietors. And then there's the interactive website, Camptraining.com.

I'm not claiming that this book will accomplish for the reader what I accomplish with my workshops and hands-on and website coaching, because I work with my clients for hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades, in certain instances. I'm inclined to give credence to the theories of learning that suggest we humans need about eight hundred hours to truly master a complex concept and the habits necessary for its application. But I have no doubt this book alone will be a revelation to readers, just as the material in its more hands-on form is a revelation to my clients. Think of me as a patient, supportive, enthusiastic coach in absentia, or at a distance. Reading this book will not necessarily prepare you for negotiating a $2 million deal with Humongous, Inc., whose negotiators may be the most tenacious of them all, but if you apply the principles I introduce here and if you develop the proper habits, you will be close to this goal than you ever imagined.

Obviously, there are thousands of articles, books, college courses, and websites dealing with the art and the science of negotiating. Plenty of good deals were signed in this world before I showed up on the scene, and plenty have been accomplished by negotiators who have never heard of me. But many, many bad ones have also been signed. This is my promise to the reader: You might pull off a successful negotiation -- or at least obtain a serendipitous result -- without the Camp System, but you will negotiate many more good deals with this system, and you will not get bogged down or suckered into a single bad negotiation with this system.

No one hires, or should hire, a negotiating trainer or coach based on an advertisement. Every new client I have is a referral from another client. In the early days of my work as a coach I offered every new client a written guarantee. If it were possible to publish a book with the same guarantee, I'd do so without qualms. If you work hard to understand and put to good use the principles and practices revealed in this short book, you will become an immeasurably better negotiator. That's a fact.

Whether we like it or not, it really is a jungle out there in the world of business, and it's crawling with predators. In my work I often use the image "dance with the tiger," because the tiger is viewed or even worshipped around the world as the ultimate predator. To dance well -- to negotiate well -- we must hear the music, we must feel the music, we must be tuned in to our partner ?our "adversary" -- at all times, we must follow carefully established steps with discipline. This book provides such a discipline and such a system. This is not a lot of theory that was dreamed up in an ivory tower and looks pretty good on paper but doesn't pass the smell test. My system was developed in the real world of business and is used with tremendous success in this real world every day. I've spent a good deal of time in the ivory tower, reading about the great decision makers, but I've never lived or worked there.

This is nuts-and-bolts material that you will immediately be able to apply in your business negotiations as well as in all other aspects of your life. You will learn how to lay out a negotiation on paper and control it step-by-step, how to react effectively to anything that happens at the negotiating table, how never to be caught flat-footed, even how to walk away with a smile, if need be. You will close this book feeling, "I can do this. What's more, I already have a pretty good idea how to do this."

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