One of my rules for startups is that you are always selling: to your prospects, existing customers, partners, investors, job candidates, prospective advisors, industry analysts, the media, and others. This applies to everyone in a startup, not just the CEO or VP of Sales – everyone needs to be selling either the company, the product or both, all the time.
The corollary to this rule is that a key part of selling is negotiating. And there is no better guide to how to negotiate than the classic work Getting to Yes by the late Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton. This book was published nearly thirty years ago and most recently updated in 2011, but it’s probably even more useful today than when it was written. It’s based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project.
I was so taken by this book that I attempted to secure the rights to it to develop an interactive learning product based upon it. However, despite many discussions, at the end of the day Roger Fisher decided he just wasn’t comfortable having a third party develop a product based on his work. (Though I had previously developed an interactive CD-ROM based on Harvard Business School professor Christopher Bartlett’s Managing Across Borders.)
Despite the turndown I appreciated meeting Professor Fisher’s associates and if anything I’ve become an even stronger advocate for Getting to Yes.
It’s a slim volume that won’t take you much time to read, but you’ll probably be rereading a few times over your career – it’s that valuable.