Background reading is a great way to bolster competence and confidence in negotiation. There are a vast number of books available and below are our thoughts on some of them:
Getting to Yes: The Secret to Successful Negotiation
by Roger Fisher and William Ury
Probably regarded as the single most influential book written on negotiation. The main tenet of the book is to ensure that you focus on win win negotiation – primarily by trying to deal with people’s underlying interests rather than positions. They were the people that first coined the acronym BATNA. Our only issue with the book is that it does not really deal with the conflict that is all too frequent in negotiations with big customers. Essential reading for anyone who is serious about negotiation!
Influence: Science and Practice
by Robert B. Cialdini
If ever you have to persuade other people, you must read this book. Most other books on the subject pale into insignificance.
Negotiate to close
by Gary Karass
Written primarily for sales people, it’s easy to read, and although quite simplistic there were some great insights. Particularly useful was the section on how sellers’ assumptions compared with the reality of the situation.
by Neil Rackham
If you are serious about selling you must read this book. This is one of the best researched insights into sales behaviour, and clearly identifies what makes the best the best and how they go about closing major sales.
How to Negotiate Better Deals
by Jeremy Thorn
Although this book appears to be written for people without masses of negotiation experience, I think this is a great all round book. If you are looking for something to give you a grounding in many different aspects of negotiation, this is well worth reading. I would recommend this book irrespective of how experienced you are.
Legal Negotiation and Settlement
by Gerald Williams
Primarily based around lawyers, it gives a fantastic insight of how behaving aggressively affects outcomes. Reasonably easy to read, but as it is written by an academic, it’s not for the faint hearted!
by Gavin Kennedy
This is one of the first books I ever read on negotiation and made me a Kennedy fan. It is presented in alphabetical order and is a good book to pick up and put down. The section I found particularly interesting was on force projection – a ploy for altering the other party’s expectations. (He did this from both the buyer and seller perspective)
Negotiating the Best Deal – techniques that really work
by Gerald Atkinson
This is the single best book written about negotiation preparation. If you are in a situation where you have less power than the other party (or where you think you have less power than the other party) you can’t afford not to read this book.
The Truth About Negotiations
by Leigh Thompson
Yet another great book written by the author of the Mind and Heart of the Negotiator. It is very easy to read and she is one of the leading authorities in the field. Although it is easy to read there are some fantastic nuggets of research in there. One example is that when a team negotiates against a lone negotiator, the lone negotiator claimed about one third less than what the team is able to claim.
Cold Calling Techniques
by Stephen Schiffman
If you have to make appointments on the telephone and you only read one book it should be this one. Chapter 5 (turning around common responses) I thought was particularly helpful. It’s well written and easy to read with loads of tips and hints.
Secrets of Successful Telephone Selling
by Robert W Bly
This is well worth reading – it is particularly good at making subtle suggestions on how to overcome everyday issues. I found the section on Answer / Ask particularly helpful.
Negotiate anywhere – (How to succeed in international markets)
by Gavin Kennedy
Kennedy’s books are generally worth reading – and this is no exception. This is a very detailed book on how to negotiate in different countries and is well worth a read if you are about to start negotiating abroad. The other two books worth reading are: Negotiate anything with anyone anywhere in the world by Frank Acuff and Kiss Bow or Shake Hands. Make sure you test any assumptions you make – it’s dangerous to stereotype whole races!
Negotiation basics (Concepts Skills and Exercises)
by Ralph Johnson
This is a good book, well written and properly referenced. The one thing I particularly like in the book is the way that Johnson keeps asking you to reflect on situations that you have been in – and to consider positions and exercises. To get much out of the book you need to read it all the way through – you can’t really just dip in and out to review bits of interest.
by Dan Coen
Covers all the basics with tips easily highlighted through the book. The only negative I thought was it may be targeted too heavily in favour of business to consumer sales.
The Complete Negotiator
by Gerard Nierenberg
Widely respected as one of the definitive texts on negotiation. On page 202 he makes a great (but obvious) point: Many organisations feel that purchasing is merely an administrative function – other people have determined to buy the products and the purchaser’s role is purely perfunctory. This is true in a large number of organisations, and training for these people is usually a “quick win” for most large organisations.
The Perfect Negotiation
by Gavin Kennedy
If you’ve only got an hour to read about the principles of negotiation – read this!
by Gavin Kennedy
Well worth reading, particularly the section on ploys.
by James March
March (a pseudonym) is ex-SAS and the book is about his experiences in hostage kidnap negotiation. I don’t like biographies, and although this was a bit repetitive there were some fascinating insights into negotiating with hostage takers. If you want to read something a bit more off the wall about negotiation this is well worth reading.
The Power of Persuasion (how we’re bought and sold)
by Robert Levine
This book builds on, and frequently quotes, Cialdini. Well worth reading, particularly the chapter on experts, honesty and likeability.
How to Make Hot Cold Calls
by Steven Schwartz
Not a bad book – but spends too much time talking about the motivation side. When I bought the book, I was more interested in the technical aspects of making cold calls – on the basis that I think you’ll be very unlikely to alter your motivation primarily by reading a book!
Chess and the Art of Negotiation
by Anatoly Karpov and Jean-Francois Phelizon
This promised much but to my mind doesn’t really deliver. Karpov made the point that chess is not the same as negotiation because everyone starts off in the same power position. The book is really one guy (Kouatly) interviewing Karpov and Phelizon – who was the CEO of Saint Gobain. Shame really – I had high hopes!
Getting past No (Negotiating with difficult people)
by William Ury
A follow up to “Getting to Yes”. Promises more than it delivers. Sold well but not a “must read” in my view.
Secrets of the Power Negotiator
by Roger Dawson
This is one of the most disappointing books I have read. Like Tony Robbins, Dawson is a marketer par excellence. He fills auditoriums and runs a highly successful business! He spends a lot of time talking about gambits and tactics which is of some value. The two points I would particularly take issue with were: 1. “never name your price first” – although obviously there are circumstances when it works, most of the research suggests that this is just wrong. 2. His chapter about how to negotiate with the English recounts how most of us enjoy a long liquid lunch and are not interested in getting involved in any confrontation! Maybe 20 years ago this was partly true, but I think he is assuming that Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins was actually English! (The copy I purchased was reprinted in 2001 – it may have been updated since)
Escaping the Price Driven Sale
by Snyder and Kearns
This was very disappointing. If you have read “spin selling” this adds very little. The most interesting part in the book is the chapter entitled “because change is not an option”. Next time you have some time to kill at an airport, see if you can find a copy in a bookstore and just read that chapter!