When Negotiating, Look For Constructive "No"s On Your Way to a "Yes"
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
Good summary of Eric Barker's article by Eric Ravenscraft:
When you’re negotiating with someone, you’re probably trying to work your way towards a “Yes.” However, getting a “No” can be just as helpful if you’re asking the right questions.
As former FBI hostage negotiater Chris Voss explains, people are often hesitant to say yes because it feels like a commitment. They withhold the yes in order to maintain some leverage in the negotiation. However, you can build towards an agreeable conclusion with a targeted “No.”
People will do things that aren’t in their best interest, just to prove to you that they have autonomy. If you make it clear to them that it’s okay to say “no”, then you help them feel autonomous which makes them more collaborative. You call somebody up on the phone and say, “Have you got a few minutes to talk?” That will make anybody tighten up. Immediately they want to say “no” to that, because they know if they say “yes”, they’re going to get hooked in and be kept on the phone. The opposite is to say, “Is now a bad time to talk?”
By coming at your negotiation from a different angle, you can change the shape of the discussion. For example, you may not be able to get someone to agree to buy a new big screen TV up front, but you can ask “Do you like the size of your current TV?” You might get a no, which you can build on. In other words, don’t be afraid of a “No.” Just use it as a guide on where to steer the conversation.