“NO” is a very powerful word in any negotiation. All by itself, saying just the word NO to a request or demand from other side seems to leave little doubt as to their intentions. As a sole response, NO feels like the end of the negotiation to most people. However, how do children respond when they are told NO? They ask again! They remain determined to get what they want. In fact, children may ask again several more times in spite of being told NO each time.
In business, great negotiators see the word NO as the start of negotiations, not the end. In fact, NO is simply the opening position on the other side’s “bracket”; the bracket being defined as one’s opening position, target, and bottom line.
In a negotiation, NO can be communicated in several different ways as follows:
The explanatory No
“No, I cannot lower my price. We know the market and we know the competition; the price is competitive considering the value we bring.”
“No, I cannot reduce my price for the reasons I just explained, but I could agree to extend the payment terms by 15 days.”
“No, I cannot reduce my price any further, but I will agree to your payment terms if you will agree to a long-term commitment.”
So make the word NO part of your negotiating vocabulary. In addition, don’t stop asking when the other side says NO; consider it the start of negotiating, not the end.