Seattle Residential: I Do That: Start With No

Start With No

Start With No Start With No by Jim Camp begins with a challenging proposition, one that most real estate agents will back off from. The author "explains why win-win is an ineffective, often disastrous strategy" and I'll add that he does so quite effectively.

I read this book with a closed mind and the fixed concept, that in real estate, negotiating to compromise is what gets most sales to the closing table. But soon I was confused. As I moved through the book I started to find nuggets that would be helpful in improving my skills as a negotiator. The final chapter consists of 33 "rules" that one should practice everyday to become and efficient fiduciary for their client.

I know the arguments for the win-win theory of negotiating. I know sales scripts and closing techniques. And yet I knew that some of what I had just read would be very helpful to me.

The only thing I could do was to read the book again, and this time with an open mind. Here a a few pithy statements of mine to help sum up the contents of this amazing book.

  • Do not be needy.
  • It's okay to be unokay...let the adversary bloom with confidence.
  • Yes and Maybe are responses that don't forward the negotiation. No tells you what aspects and conditions need to be discussed and resolved.
  • For every negotiation you must have a Mission and a Purpose.
  • You can't control the outcome, but you can control your behavior.
  • Never close.
  • Ask interrogative questions and then listen.
  • Know your adversary's pain.
  • Know your's okay to say No.
  • Know the adversary's budget.
  • Have an agenda before you start any conversation.

Would you like to be a better negotiator? Can you open your mind to something a little different than anything you've heard lately? Jim Camp's book, Start With No, has been an eye-opener for me. Usually I send my just read real estate books out to anyone who asks for them, but this one I want to keep and reread as I try to put into action the 33 rules to become a successful negotiator. It's okay for you to say "No". I'm good with that. Reading this book is not for everyone.

But I would like you to join the Active Rain Book Club and share with us some real estate specific books you've enjoyed lately.





Glenn Roberts



Comment balloon 55 commentsGlenn Roberts • June 17 2011 11:55AM


Glenn, must admit that I too would have to "open" up to the concept. I don't get a good feeling hearing that "no" is a good way to start a negotiation.  But, I may "kindle" the book and give it a whirl...any tool or strategy to help clients can valuable.  Have a good weekend.

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 9 years ago

I hope this book is available in an audio format so I can take it with me on those long drives. Henderson university I call it… 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) over 9 years ago


Thanks for the interesting review of a book that many real estate professionals could read with a raised eyebrow... because of potential high interest value to our colleagues, I'm "Suggesting" this post!


Hi Glen,

Thanks for sharing this. I'm going to look it up.  Would you be able to give some explantion to a couple of your points?

- It's okay to be unokay... Let your adversary bloom with confidence

- Never close

Bernice Dubon in Calgary, Alberta



Posted by Bernice Dubon, Calgary Alberta Realtor (RE/MAX First 403-607-9117) over 9 years ago

Hey Glen, I love sales books, even though I haven't read one in a while. I like the psyche behind what motivates and triggers response. NO question NO is powerful. In a sales seminar I was in, too many years ago to confess, they called something similar a negative close. Sometimes people don't want to be sold, they don't want to feel controlled or directed and when they feel this way they rebel (yes like a teenager) and do the opposite of what they want??? When you say NO or take something away then the desire is reignited (if it was truly to being with) that says I am losing this I better correct this path or it will be gone. And then the sale is made, both sides happy and a customer who likely will refer you for life as you "sold" them the way they wanted, their choice.

Anyway thanks for sharing this and once I finish a book I just ordered I may revisit this and give it a read too.

Have a good wkd 

Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) over 9 years ago

Interesting concept Glen.  I too probably would have passed reading it all together had you not made some intriguing points.  Enjoy your week-end.

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) over 9 years ago

Debb - It is worth a read...or two.

Paul - Henderson U sounds like it beats in clss or online study.

janeAnne - Thanks for hitting the button.

Bernice - The short version of it's okay to be uneasy is Lt. Columbo. The opposite of overconfident. No one likes to be closed on and with all of the phone and tv closes we are exposed to, anyone can see one a mile off. Just listen and the client will tell you their issues and then you can help solve them.

David - It is worth reading for sure.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

I haven't read anything lately, other than Readers Digest.  Sounds like a mind opening book.  I think I need to read it.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 9 years ago


I have heard about this book and actually have it scribbled in my notes to purchase.  After reading your blog, I'm off to the book store.  Sounds like a great book to read. (and re-read)

Posted by Cindy Edwards, CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677 (RE/MAX Checkmate) over 9 years ago

Thanks, Glenn - I haven't heard of this book before, but I'm going to read it - I like contrarian ideas and you did a good job presenting it as interesting and worthwhile.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 9 years ago

Glenn.  Very interesting idea.  I always remember being told that "You haven't started selling until you've heard the word NO".  Interesting choice of words about the negotiating counterpart - "adversary".  Is that the Jim Camp's choice of words?  It seems that sets a sort of negative tone, or is that just my closed mind talking?  I hit the suggest button too.

Posted by Mitch Gover ( over 9 years ago

Pamela - I almost passed on it at the second hand book store, but there was nothing else interesting.

Virginia - Indulge yourself in the unabridged version.

Cindy - My sentiments exactly.

Dick - I think it will turn on another light bulb for you.

Mitch - Adversary might be my term, but I'm sure he used to describe the other side more than once.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Will look to see if I can download and read soon!  Thanks for the heads up - I actually really like the concept, just from what I have read here.  Thanks!

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 9 years ago

I liked those bullet points.  DO not be needy is critical....if you need ro want something so bad, you will cave to the others requests.  Alaways have and know what your back up options are.

Posted by Brad Yzermans, Temecula-Murrieta-Menifee FHA/VA Mortgage Lender (First Time Home Buyer & Down Payment Assistance Specialist in So Cal.) over 9 years ago

Susan - There are many tips in the book that help to keep principals focused on the ultimate goal.

Brad - Have a mission and purpose and direct all efforts toward that end.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

The title certainly caught my attention as I like to approach life from the positive vs. negative but reading further I realized the author has made some very intriguing points--I especially like you can't control the outcome but can control your behavior.  This is easy to forget in the heat of the moment!  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Judi Monday, CRS-Green Valley AZ Expert, Green Valley Arizona R (RE/MAX Valley Properties) over 9 years ago

I will have to get myself that book!    It sounds like it has some great ideas to "grow" with.   I love new things...

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Hi Glen, I think that it is admirable that you admitted to having a closed mind when you first read the book.  From what you shared it sounds interseting.  I'll have to join the Active Rain Book club you mentioned.  It sounds like my kind of thing.  Have a good weekend. 

Posted by Sondra Meyer:, See It. Experience It. Live It. (Star View Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Glenn, Thanks for this book  review. Reminds me of Tim Burrell's book Create A Great Deal. Enjoyed speaking with you.  Have a great weekend.


Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 9 years ago

In any negotiation, you must be willing to walk away, sometimes sooner than later. Win, win works when your adversary can compromise, sometimes, compromise isn't an option, so saying no could be temporary or permanent, couldn't it?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 9 years ago

Judi - At first I thought it was just going to be a hard nose lecture from a demanding type personality. Not so.

Dagny - It was published in 2002, so not so new, but maybe little known. I consider it a find.

Sondra - Welcome to the more ways than one.

Margaret - Your call today was a treat. I'll locate Create a great Deal soon.

Kimo - Camp makes a point of no not always being the end of the deal.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn I'll look for the book...I especially like pithy statements #1, #3 & last.  Thanks for sharing.

(Ruby- Nassau/Paradise Island - Bahamas)

Posted by Ruby Lee Sweeting, Your Bahamas Agent for Relocations & Second Homes (Darville Wong Associates Realty Bahamas) over 9 years ago


I love that you are inspiring us with some CHALLENGING material and asking real estate agents to be thinkers!

Posted by Anne Richards (Short Sale Buyers and Negotiators) over 9 years ago

I'll read it based on your recomendation.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 9 years ago

Ruby - You're welcome

Anne - I love a good challenge

Lyn - It will keep you up nights...well, maybe not.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glen this sounds like an interesting concept.  You can alway pick up a few nuggets even from somewhere unexpected.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 9 years ago

Sounds like an interesting book.  Win-win does work but it come down to how you define win-win!  In my previous training, you always came back with a counter - if you were willing to give up $15,000 and the client only requested $10,000 we would still counter back at $8,000.  The client often feels much happier getting the $8,000 rather than getting the $10,000 with no battle.  Somehow the "battle" or back and forth adds value.

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago

Jennifer - I found it to be so and think you might too.

Ann - Camp defines win-win as the other guy knows ahead of time that you are willing to give something up.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Sounds interesting Glenn. I'm a book lover so will have to check it out on Amazon and see what others have to say.  Love the AR Book Club group idea!

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 9 years ago

DeeDee - There is an Active Rain Library too, which i didn't know of until after I started the book club.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the book review.  Just ordered it from the Multnomah County Library, which is the best library system in the country.  This way I can read it and pass it back for someone else to read.  Trying to travel a little lighter these days and not accumulate any more stuff.  One of these days I would like to move :)

Posted by Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions, Listing and Buyer's Agent (Compass Realty Solutions) over 9 years ago

Susan - It's always a good idea to lighten your load. Enjoy the read.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

I think Win-win can be overrated, however, I also think that sometimes we miss opprotunities when we become to focused beating the other person instead of getting what we need.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 9 years ago

I'm not a real estate agent any more, so don't read books on how to negotiate. But this might be worth reading to apply to the other negotiations in life. 

I love your statements about having an open mind. Sometimes we do need to remind ourselves to unlock that door.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 9 years ago

This book definitely sounds like it's worth reading. I've got a couple of books lined up to finish before I move onto a new one but I'll put it on my list.  I'd love to find out if it's available in audio format as well.

Posted by Jenny Durling, For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758 (L.A. Property Solutions) over 9 years ago
Glenn I will definitely read this book. Thanks for the tip. I agree it's time to say "No." I've carried a lot of over priced listings, like most of us, and it just doesn't make sense to do so unless you're very straightforward up front about taking a price reduction in a month or less if there's no action. If sellers don't agree to that, then you dont take the listing. I just edited out the word "maybe" from that sentence based on your blog. I used to think, well if I don't take the listing, someone else will, but if it's really overpriced, you're probably better off waiting for the re-listing! I do find myself hammering away more regularly on pricing. Repetition works, especially when coupled with new facts each time. I always tell my clients that I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't tell them their price was too high for the market.
Posted by Barbara Furdyna, Diane Turton Realtors over 9 years ago

Glen - this book sound interesting and it's always wise to keep our minds open to new ideas. No is a word some of us need to use more often!

Posted by Kristine Ginsberg, NJ Home Stager (Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC) over 9 years ago

Gene - With all due respect, that was the attitude I had until I read this book. It may open your eyes, too.

Marte - A simple decision on where to go for dinner, if two people or more are involved, is a negotiation of sorts. We negotiate all day.

Jenny - I think you will find it one of the best books on the subject.

Barbara - Negotiating for the right price in listings makes sense. We run a business, not a casino. Listing should not be a gamble.

Kristine - And we need to give others the option to say no to us as well.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Hi Glenn,

 I spoke with you on the phone yesterday, no news yet from Nancy.  I love negotiations. I'll never forget the first book I read on negotiations.  Allen Cohen a master, the book was dated, but timeless.  Allen discussed how at the UN the Russian representative reached down and took his shoe and banged it on the table to demand what he wanted. He stunned everyone, but later a camera showed a bag and two shoes on his feet while he was banging away with the prop.  He got what he wanted alright, but even back then this was considered a one time negotiation that won't work for long term situations, nor if you plan to have some skill.  I go into negotiations for client, get to the agreement and then we work very hard to get to close. Only one deal has flipped in many years because the well had issues.  My list to sell ratio for Seller is around 95% and my List to sell price for buyers is around 60 percent of asking.  Those statistics do not lie, studying negotiation and how to do it well is key to our benefits to our clients.  I think the name of that book was the Art of Negotiating  and Allen Cohen is recognized with NAR articles on negotiating from time to time.  I can never learn enough so I will read this too.   A classic and a business school standard is "Influence". 

In our small area, we know the styles of the agents we work with, and one always wants to nibble, this book seems a great tool for nibblers and their nibbling ways.

Posted by Mary Lockman, Methow Valley Real Estate (Windermere Real Estate Methow Valley) over 9 years ago

Mary - Nancy sent me a thank you for the name, but I don't know much about her schedule. I'm read and reviewed Influencer a while back. Funny you should mention it.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

I am on the last chapter and LOVED it!  I've already been putting what I've learned to use with good results.  Highly recommended!!!

Posted by Rhonda Abbott, Wadsworth & Greater Akron, OH (Howard Hanna) over 9 years ago

Rhonda - Thanks for the verification.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the suggestion, I had not heard of this book before.  I'll add it to my list!

Posted by Steven Pahl, Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423 (Keller Williams Tampa Properties) over 9 years ago

Steven - I think you will find it enlightening.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Interesting take on the negotiating process. I have seen some of the same techniques by some other negotiators. Great post, looks like an interesting book.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) over 9 years ago

Dave - It's pretty hard to grasp a detailed system. One should build with techniques slowly so they become natural.

Gerard - Do read it. Eye-opening in spots.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

I haven't heard of this book or way of negotiating...a different way of seeing things for sure!

Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., ABR, GRI, SRES) over 9 years ago

Patricia - I think any summary of this book might lead to errant conclusions.  It's definitely worth a closer look.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

It's on my official list to read now.  I really agree 100% of everything you've written in your summary of the book.

Posted by Mike Henderson, HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848 (Your complete source for buying HUD homes) over 9 years ago

Mike - I'm sure you'll find some interesting information in there.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn, I think that book came out it the early 2000's.  When I first started real estate I was talking with an agent that's been in the business for awhile, he took me under his wing and had me read a few books.  I remember the book "Start With No" and he told me to stay away from it.  I have not seen him in a few years.  With your recommendations I am going to buy the book.  We all see things differently so I am curious to read the book.

Posted by Steve Warrene, Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists (Your Town Realty) over 9 years ago

Steve - That makes me think he didn't read it.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Sounds like an interesting concept, and a good book.  I will definitely add it to my list of "must reads".  Thanks for the recommendation!

Posted by Matt Robinson, (Professional Investors Guild) about 9 years ago
zqGMFk hdgyuezeanpd
Posted by wodaln over 8 years ago
fw9BOe ssglzxqkrnsg
Posted by boacxnxp over 8 years ago