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Start With No

Jim Camp

Think a win-win solution is the best way to make the deal? Think again. Start with No 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.


The Bottom Line

A negotiating coach upends traditional advice to go for the “win-win” while offering other counterintuitive techniques for deal-making success.

I. Introduction

If you think about it, we face a series of negotiations in any given week — whether that’s hashing out a business deal or deciding where to go for dinner. And popular wisdom teaches us to aim for a win-win, or an outcome where everyone walks away happy. Think again, says negotiation coach Jim Camp, because win-win is little more than a cliché that plays to our emotions and works to your disadvantage.

True win-win deals only happen when both parties are equal, which is rare because one party almost always has more at stake. Finding a win-win requires compromise, which ultimately leads to a win-lose.

Instead, Camp recommends taking a decision-based approach that he honed while serving in the Air Force. As a pilot, he quickly learned that he couldn’t control the actions and decisions of adversaries, but he could control how he assessed the other side and the decisions he made as a result.

When striving for a win-win, writes Camp, you are trying to control the outcome, but neither party to a negotiation controls the outcome. What you can control is your own actions and decisions.

In place of a win-win mentality, the author proposes a negotiation technique called the “Camp System,” which frees you from the urge to compromise and focus instead on what you can and must control to reach a winning result.

II. Don’t Be Needy

III. Just Say No

IV. Uncover and Empathize With Their Pain

V. Keep Your Budget Low While Upping Theirs

VI. Negotiate With the Real Decision-Makers

VII. Let Go of the Outcome

The Takeaway


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