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Negotiating can be a challenging and very stressful process for some. Whether you're negotiating, a business sale, salary, or even deciding what movie to watch with your partner it can be tough to find a mutually agreed outcome. There’s one simple tool that can make the process much easier: saying "no."

Saying "no" is a powerful negotiation tool because it sets clear boundaries and establishes your position.

When you say "no," especially early on in the process, you're communicating that you have a limit and that you won't compromise beyond that limit. This can help prevent the negotiation from dragging on and on (and on and on and on) indefinitely.

Often negotiation can be about fair compromise between two parties, which means both of them have to be prepared to say “yes”, and possibly stretch their boundaries beyond their purpose or design. We see many deals close this way, and compromising fairly has its time and place.

Saying "no" early on can also help you gain leverage in a negotiation. If the other party knows that you're willing to walk away from the negotiation, they may be more willing to make concessions and meet your requirements.

This can help you get a better deal overall and can help you build a more mutually beneficial relationship with the other party.

Of course, saying "no" doesn't mean being an a**hole. It's important to be respectful and professional in all negotiations, even when you're declining an offer. Try to frame your "no" as a constructive refusal, clearly explaining your position. Offering alternatives can also help keep the negotiation moving forward and maintain a positive relationship with the other party.

Saying "no" is an essential negotiation tool that can help you set boundaries, establish your position, gain leverage, and ultimately reach the best outcome. So the next time you're negotiating, don't be afraid to say "no" and see how it can work in your favour.

At VBA we pride ourselves on being expert negotiators. We like to say “no” early on the process, and leave the “yes’s” for more trivial fringe issues later down the track after the foundations of the relationships are established and the boundaries are set. Good luck in your negotiating and remember – don’t be the a**hole.


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