When it comes to negotiating, preparation is key. To get what you're after, you have to be ready to counter any and all possible rejections.
Photo by Vilmos Vincze.
According to Michael Wheeler, a Harvard Business School professor who teaches negotiation tactics, having prepared responses is just as important as having a decent proposal. Wheeler explains to Business Insider:
To get a yes, expect a no. List all the reasons -- both good and bad -- that your boss might have for turning down your request. Then prepare a solid -- but not contentious -- response for each.
The adage is useful for other scenarios beyond negotiations too. Like doing a premortem for your projects, expecting a no, or thinking about all the ways you can fail, gives you a road map for all the prep work you need to do in order to guarantee success. A good pitch is only as good as your ability to follow it up -- the game isn't over yet.