Never Appear Needy. They can’t reject you if you don’t need them.

Today I wanted to post on “Start with No…” by James R. Camp.

I’ll be the first to say, some of these suggestions are hard to stomach.

I say that because some of these tactics seem a little nefarious at first. But after a few days of considering the things the author is requesting of us, it’s just that I feel a little uncomfortable doing them.

This reminds me of rejection therapy. Never heard of rejection therapy? Long story short, this guy had a hard time dealing with life. He’d stop himself from doing things because he was afraid of getting rejected. After reading about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, he decided to use the methods to rid himself of the fear of rejection. He set out to get rejected every single day to remove the sting that kept him immobile. Of course his method worked and he created a TED talk on Rejection Therapy to discuss it.

The main points of the book to negotiate involve the following 6 suggestions:

  • Never appear needy. They can’t reject you if you don’t need them.
  • Start with no. Win-win is actually lose lose.
  • The greatest presentation you’ll ever make is the one your client doesn’t see.
  • Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.
  • Don’t save the adversary. Don’t try to be friends. Your only goal is the be businesslike and effective.
  • Make sure your adversary is ok. I’m ok, you’re ok.

Never appear needy. They can’t reject you if you don’t need them.

“He needed to feel important. This is a common issue that hard-driving, alpha-male types have to deal with daily: They want to know it all, or, short of that, they want to be seen to know it all. The adrenaline kicks in, the neediness becomes a biochemical fact, then the neediness becomes a biochemical addiction. It’s true.” – Camp

Slow down so you don’t appear needy.

“If he’s not careful, he’ll lose discipline, start thinking about the payday, get excited, become needy. That’s when defeat may be snatched from the jaws of victory. Do yourself a favor: treat every warm call as though it’s the coldest one you ever made.” – Camp

This point is so important he keeps talking about it.

“When emotions run hot and heavy in negotiations, the high-pitched voice is a sure sign of need. The rushed delivery is another sure sign. While needy negotiators raise their voices, negotiators under control lower their voices. So lower your voice in times of inner turmoil. Slow down.” – Camp

Beware of projecting neediness. They can’t reject you if you don’t need them.

“Your adversaries in a negotiation cannot reject you. There’s nothing you need from them, so how can they reject you? It’s impossible. Never allow them to believe that they have the power to reject you.” – Camp

A rush to judgement projects neediness. Do not do this.

“Nothing, but nothing will blow a negotiation faster than such a rush to judgement. Why? You have a vision of neediness, which makes anyone feel uncomfortable emotionally, and which also serves as a warning to look closer at this deal.” – Camp

What happens when you appear needy?

“The moment we are needy we’ve lost control. We know in our head that this yes isn’t real and final , but the emotion in our heart surges nevertheless. And then, hours or days or weeks later, when this yes is followed by the adversary’s subtle if, but, however, when, or some other dangerous qualifier, we’ve lost our focus and become vulnerable to unnecessary compromise.” – Camp

Start with no. Win-win is actually lose lose.

It’s important to have the vocabulary to change your behaviors.

“Pete, I’m not sure that anything I do fits with you. I don’t know. So if this doesn’t make any sense, just tell me and I’ll get off the phone. Is that fair?” – Camp

What can I do with a “No”?

“Embrace no at every opportunity in a negotiation. Don’t fear the word, invite it. You do not take it as a personal rejection because you are not needy. You understand that every no is reversible.” – Camp

The greatest presentation you’ll ever make is the one your client doesn’t see.

“Present only the information that addresses your adversary’
s concern, the information that addresses the adversary’s pain – or what you know about it, which is probably not much, or you wouldn’t be presenting in the first place.” – Camp

It takes a lot of discipline to hold back in your presentations.

“He presented in the world of each specific coach, not his own world. He showed them what he had decided they wanted to see, not what he thought they should want to see, or what he wanted to see of himself. That approach took a lot of discipline and a lot of work.” – Camp

Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.

This one didn’t make sense to me the first time I read it. So read it again.

“Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness. The naturally glib negotiator talks too much. The brilliant negotiator tries to overpower his adversary with intelligence.” – Camp

Don’t save the adversary. Don’t try to be friends. Your only goal is the be businesslike and effective.

“One of the most dangerous mistakes you can make in a negotiation is trying to save the adversary. There can be no saving of the adversary emotionally, intellectually, financially, or on any level. No none. Never.” – Camp

I’m a huge fan of the underdog. Every single time. This can be used against you if you’re always looking to save the adversary in the negotiation. It’s not your job to save the friendship when the negotiation starts to tank. It’s not your job to save the adversary. Your need to help them save face will ruin your negotiation.

“Making decisions based on a sense that the adversary seeks your friendship is misguided. They would much prefer your effectiveness.” – Camp

Make sure your adversary is ok. I’m ok, you’re ok.

“The wise negotiator knows that only one person in a negotiation can feel okay, and that person is the adversary.” – Camp

No one sides with you and your views if you make them feel like they can’t say no.

“The next time you find yourself in a situation in which your adversary is maybe just a little standoffish or doubtful, try being a little less okay. Pretend your pen has run out of ink and ask to borrow one for a moment. Or search your pocket for your notepad and come up short and ask to borrow a slip of paper. Or pretend your Palm Pilot has run out of power – again. And then try to tell me you don’t notice an immediate, beneficial difference in the atmosphere of the negotiation.” – Camp

So here’s the list of 6 suggestions again:

  • Never appear needy. They can’t reject you if you don’t need them.
  • Start with no. Win-win is actually lose lose.
  • The greatest presentation you’ll ever make is the one your client doesn’t see.
  • Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.
  • Don’t save the adversary. Don’t try to be friends. Your only goal is the be businesslike and effective.
  • Make sure your adversary is ok. I’m ok, you’re ok.

I hope this blog post helped clarify some tactics for your next negotiation. Contact me if you have any questions!

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Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.