The book “Start with NO” by Jim Camp is a bible of negotiator, even if you do not negotiate at work. It’s very difficult to describe the entire method, while each Camp’s idea is a topic for a separate article. Therefore, in this article, we will talk about the devastating impact of need and the word “no”, the world of the client and correct issues in the negotiations. The rest can be read in his book.


When we have a need, we are vulnerable to any competent negotiator. The need closes minds and forces to make bad decisions.

A young specialist is in need to find a job as soon as possible, so he agrees to the first offer of the employer. And it doesn’t matter for him thsat others may be interesting.

The need makes us vulnerable because it makes us choose the first appropriate opportunity. Seeing the need of his opponent, an experienced negotiator will do his best to benefit from it:

Knowing that the company will be saved by the contract, the client will demand a ten percent discount. And then fifteen. And so on.

What to do

Stop feeling the need. Replace “need” with “want”. Realize that nothing bad will happen if something you want is not fulfilled. Understand that there always will be another job interview, another company, and another customer. And it will be even better.

If you stop feeling the need, you stop being afraid of refusal: to fail to conclude a contract, to be fired from a job. You are not afraid of someone’s refusal. Therefore you are no longer dependent on anyone.

When you cease to be afraid of refusal, the probability of getting it magically reduces. Your behavior is dictated by the normal customer objectives and not the fear to receive less money.

Say “NO”

Camp teaches not only to be ready to hear the word “no”, but to tell it to the opponent. Just like this:

I’m glad you decided to contact me with this task. I am ready to work with you for the amount of one and a half times more. If it doesn’t suit you, tell me without offense. Perhaps would be able to agree on another format of cooperation.

With such an answer we respectfully refuse the opponent, give him an opportunity to refuse our offer and offer other solutions. These are good negotiations.

“NO” and emotions

The word “no” has an unexpected effect. It turns the emotions off and turns the head-on.

Any negotiations are inevitably filled with emotions. It is our nature. Especially when we deal with money. This generates the need. It is time to turn your head-on by the powerful therapeutic “no”.

I do not want to rush into this decision. And I do not want you to make this decision just because you like our presentation. We will be shipping your goods during a year. Let’s consider the problems that may occur.

Provoke “no”. Think over the bad scenario. Since you do not need a contract, you have no reason to accept the unfavorable terms. You can not be afraid that you will be deceived, you just do not agree if you are not satisfied. You do not need to agree. In any case, a transaction will be profitable.

Jim Camp insists that you do not need customers who will feel cheated. One satisfied customer will stay with you forever and bring his friends. One disappointed customer will start a war against you.

To get a satisfied customer, stop feeling need at the start saying “NO”.

Why are you here? Pain and mission

Before the first meeting with the client, answer the following two questions:

  1. Why did they invite me to a meeting?
  2. How can I help them?

The answer to the first question is an attempt to understand the pain of the client. What’s his problem? Why does he need your product or service? What motivates him? Pain is tied to basic things: money, power, health, love, and security.

Camp calls the second question a mission. The mission states how can you be useful to the client.

The mission of negotiations must be compatible with the pain. If you know the client’s pain, you understand what will be useful for him.

The customers don’t always share their true pain. They often don’t understand it. The task of an experienced negotiator is to find out the real pain of the client. If it turns out that the true customer’s pain isn’t in your competence, it is better to say about it. Since you do not need to conclude a contract, you won’t suffer from a refusal.

What to do at the meeting

It is believed that we discuss the terms of a transaction during negotiations. Actually, no. First, we need to find out the problem of the client and his real pain. The only way to find it out is to ask.

An experienced negotiator listens and asks questions. An inexperienced one, on the contrary, promotes himself, and this is a fatal mistake: instead of finding out if he can help the client, he tries to convince him in it. And he never finds out what the customer really needs.

How to ask

There are two types of questions: closed and open.

Closed questions require “yes” or “no” answers:

Are you ready to sign the agreement?
Do you need our product?
Are you sure that our product is right for you?

The problem of closed questions is that the answers do not require the work of the mind. They do not push the client to serious reflection on the transaction.

Open questions begin with the words “how”, “why”, “what”, “where” and so on. They require detailed answers.

The right questions

What do you consider the benefit of our product?
Let’s think about the difficulties that may arise while shipping the goods.
Why do you want to get a discount?
How does this relate to the original problem?

Such questions contain the real pain of the client.

Golden Rule of the negotiator – shut up

When you speak, you don’t hear the customer and can’t find out his pain. Make it a rule not to make any fundamental suggestions until you understand the problem of the client. Anything you say can be used against you.