How To Say “No” and Help Your Finances in 2012

just say no

By Jim Camp

Do you believe compromise is the best way to get what you want? There’s a better way, and it’s based on a word young children understand even better than adults: “No!” If you’d like to boost your finances in 2012, then learning to say no, invite no, and be comfortable hearing no is the best way to get started.

Learning how to negotiate effectively with creditors, salespeople, the IRS, bosses, clients, your cable and Internet company — in short, anyone who influences how much you make and spend — is a skill that anyone can master with practice. The secret is to stop saying yes or maybe, and use the power of no to get what you want.

The negotiation model I practice, coach, and teach will help you get better deals on purchases, negotiate down fees such as interest rates, land more lucrative contracts, get a raise, and reach your financial goals in 2012.

Here are 10 ways to use the Power of No approach to get on better financial footing this year:

Start with no

Do you want to get the other person to really listen to your proposal — a salesman, a client, your boss? Start by inviting that person to say “no” to your proposal before you even tell them what it is. Watch how relaxed, open, and willing to listen they become.

Nix assumptions

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m not going to suggest XYZ because I already know what they’re going to say”? That’s called a “fixed mindset,” and it keeps you from getting what you want. Instead, stop assuming and focus on finding out what you don’t know about this situation and what they may be thinking.

Know where you’re going

Before any negotiation, whether it’s haggling with a car salesman or asking for a raise, know your destination and keep it in mind at all times. In all cases, your goal should be one that’s beneficial to the other person. For example, instead of “My goal is to get a raise,” rethink it as, “My goal is to deliver more value to my company and coworkers, brighten the company’s prospects with new ideas, and be a model team member — and get the appropriate financial compensation for the benefits I deliver.”

Let them feel superior

The worst way to get what you want is to lecture, get on a grandstand, drop names, or try to impress the other person with your knowledge, connections, experience, or talents. The more humble you are, the more overconfident the other person will become. If the other person feels superior to you, that’s even better, because they will say too much, drop clues, and hand you valuable information that you can use to build their vision for them.

Be a detective

The best way to get what you want is to find out what the other party wants. While the other person is busy making assumptions about you, you’re gathering information about their problems, needs, wants, and objectives. You’ll use this valuable intel to eventually create a story for them showing that your destination, the one you created in number 3, above, offers the best solution to the specific problems they’ve revealed.

Neutralize your emotions; stimulate theirs

Keep your own emotions neutral. Stay calm, cool, and collected and speak slowly, in a low tone of voice. Tell yourself that you both have the right to say no at any time. “No” is okay. This will keep you from feeling or acting needy. On the other hand, you want them to get emotional about the vision you’re soon going to hand to them, the one that solves their problems and the one you helped them build.

Move around blocks

They may use a classic block such as, “This is my final price/decision/offer and I’m not going to budge.” How do you get around such a barrier? You tell them they have a right to say no, and you have no problem with that. But then steer them right back on track with a question starting with “what” or “how.” “What is biggest problem you foresee with my price/solution/offer?” “How do you see this situation going forward?” This gets them disclosing more information you can use to your advantage.

Don’t fall prey to negativity

Sometimes, the other person will be extremely negative to you: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” You can neutralize their negativity by being even more negative: “You don’t know the half of it. I’m an absolute ignoramus when it comes to XYZ. That’s why I’m hoping you can help me understand.” This knocks them off balance and turns the dialogue around to a more even keel, similar to number 4, above.

Stick to your principles, not your tactics

Don’t worry about using clever tactics. You don’t need them. You have a principle, and that trumps tactics every time. You have a destination programmed in already that can’t steer you wrong, because you created it to be beneficial to the other party if they agree.

Build their vision for them

Finally, based on everything you’ve learned about their challenges and problems and goals, create a scenario that presents you and your proposal as their best solution. In helping the other person see exactly what they will gain from your proposal, you will achieve what you want every time.

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Jim Camp is president and CEO of The Camp Negotiation Institute and a renowned negotiation coach to businesses and governments worldwide. He is author of The Power of NO, a 6-CD audio program produced by Nightingale-Conant, the top publisher of leadership development products. His two best-selling books, Start with No and NO: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work or Home, have been translated into 12 languages. Find out more at Start With No.

(Photo courtesy of marc falardeau)

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