Excerpts from Phil Knight’s ‘A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike’
The key is not to be pushy.
Don’t come on like the typical American, the typical gaijin-rude, loud, aggressive, not taking no for an answer.
The Japanese don’t react well to the hard sell. Negotiations happen to be soft.
Look how long it took the Americans and Russians to coax Hirohito into surrendering in the 2nd world war.
And even when he did surrender, when his country was reduced to a heap of ashes, what did he tell his people? ‘The war situation hasn’t developed to Japan’s advantage.’
It’s a culture of indirection. No one turns you down flat. No one ever says straight out, no.
But they don’t say yes either.
They speak in circles, sentences with no clear subject or object. Don’t be discouraged, but don’t be cocky.
You might leave a man’s office thinking you’ve blown it, when in fact he’s ready to do the deal. You might leave thinking you’ve closed a deal, when in fact you’ve been rejected. You never know!
It’s like negotiating in some kind of a funhouse with trick mirrors.4 claps