Negotiate Anything!: Secrets to Make Businesses Treat You Fairly


Negotiate Anything! is the culmination of a 30 year longitudinal study of customer service - the first ever.

It has two audiences. For consumers, it presents secrets to make companies treat them fairly. For businesses, it teaches them how to pull ahead of the competition by providing excellent customer service.

It offers a concise and proven method for consumers to use to start getting their money's worth from companies when things go wrong. It...

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Negotiate Anything! is the culmination of a 30 year longitudinal study of customer service - the first ever.

It has two audiences. For consumers, it presents secrets to make companies treat them fairly. For businesses, it teaches them how to pull ahead of the competition by providing excellent customer service.

It offers a concise and proven method for consumers to use to start getting their money's worth from companies when things go wrong. It also lets you know the tricks some companies use to bamboozle you and keep you from getting the good service you deserve. The authors show how they have saved well over $30,000 themselves. They are so confident of their method, they provide a written 100% money back guarantee for consumers if they follow the process and don't save at least two times the cost of the book in the first year alone. It can be found on P261.

For businesses, Negotiate Anything! presents the 12 Success Criteria for creating, implementing and tracking a highly differentiated level of customer service designed to drive the top and bottom line. Business owners and leaders will learn how they torture customers and drive them into their competitors' hands.

The causes of deteriorating customer service are reviewed and a clear and pragmatic plan is presented that can be implemented by any size business or organization.

Through the example of their own start-up business, The CareGiver Partnership, we learn how a company that cares about its customers is winning with impeccable, personalized service such as answering all calls by the third ring, by a knowledgeable person - in the U.S.

This has resulted in over 90% of customers rating them a 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale. As a result of this service, their margins are 2 to 3 times greater than the big box stores.

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What People Are Saying

Steve Carlson
“As consumers become more conscious of their spending habits and look for increasing value for their money, they are demanding a higher quality level of service from the companies they purchase products from. ‘Negotiate Anything!’ is a well-timed book that provides consumers with clear, actionable steps to ensure they receive the level of service they deserve. It is unique in that it also challenges business owners to rethink the cost-savings strategies that have been driven by technology over the past two decades, and to instead focus on the increased profitability that comes from creating strong, loyal customers through ‘old-fashioned’ customer service.”--(Steve Carlson Former Senior Vice President, Marketing, HSBC Principal, Sung Carlson Associates: A management consulting firm specializing in increasing customer value.)
Brad Johnson
“Relief for the consumer! Knowing that you’re not alone in customer service purgatory and then getting a roadmap to satisfaction satisfies two needs in one book! Nice work Tom and Lynn – Negotiate Anything wins one for the consumer!"--(Brad Johnson President, Reynolds Consumer Products Former President, Elmer’s Products Inc. Former President & CEO Hunt Corporation)
Wayne R. Sanders
“The book is a great wake-up call for business and consumers. Business' focus for the last decade on cost and balance sheet management at the expense of giving better products and services to its customers has now created a great opportunity for those businesses that stick to the only tried and true recipe for success--delighting customers with their products and service.”--(Wayne R. Sanders Chairman, Dr. Pepper Snapple Former Chairman and CEO of Kimberly-Clark Corporation )
Jim Ebel
“Negotiate Anything!” reminds everyone of how it used to be and how it should be now. This book is filled with practical examples and anecdotes that illuminate how well and how poorly many companies treat their customers. It also lets you know the tricks some companies use to bamboozle you and keep you from getting the good service you deserve. Through the example of The CareGiver Partnership, we learn how a company that cares about its customers is winning with impeccable, personalized service. A must-read for consumers, and more importantly, for customer service managers and executives!”--(Jim Ebel Chief Marketing Officer, University of Mississippi Founder of CenterBrain Partners, Inc. and author of“CenterBrain Thinking”)
Richard Worick
“Finally … a common-sense approach to what should be innately simple, yet American companies are spending millions of dollars every year trying to figure it out! ‘Negotiate Anything!’ empowers the consumer with practical recommendations to resolve problems and ultimately get what they deserve. Better yet … a read that could serve as a textbook to customer experience executives, helping their companies avoid the pitfalls of poor customer service. Let the seller beware.”--(Richard Worick President/CEO, The MSR Group, a national market research firm specializing in the measurement and improvement of customer satisfaction and advocacy.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780984618507
  • Publisher: Saxony-Coburn
  • Publication date: 8/16/2010
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson, former global Sector President at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and his wife, Lynn, who has more than a decade of front-line customer service experience, are co-founders of The CareGiver Partnership.

They have collaborated to share 30 years of customer service learning, to benefit consumers and business leaders alike.

A single incident in 1977 sparked their passion for studying customer service. They began keeping notes they had with companies of all sizes - restaurants, home repair, auto manufacturers, furniture stores, cell phone providers, health care providers and even non-profit organizations.

Over a 30+ year period, they maintained detailed notes of interactions including correspondence to and from companies. They studied the root causes leading to poor and unacceptable service.

From this extensive research, they created a new company, The CareGiver Partnership, a national direct to consumer retailer of home health care products and supplies. All their key learning went into providing a new type of service they coined "Personalized Attention - 1950's style".

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Read an Excerpt

We have been asked many times, “Why did you write this book?” It was simple. In our personal lives, we’ve noticed a sharp deterioration of customer service. In the book, we explain why this has occurred. Tom is also a partner in one of the recognized best marketing consultancies: CenterBrain Partners, Inc., a 20-year-old practice that focuses on working with companies to help them position their products or services in the marketplace.

CenterBrain has interviewed tens of thousands of consumers in markets across the United States over this period, in one-on-one discussions and quantitative surveys. It has clearly seen how frustrated consumers have become because of poor customer service. From the 1976 movie “Network,” consumers are “mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.”

It would have been logical for a book about customer service to reflect a negative tone. We wanted the opposite — a positive message. A message that focuses on the solution, not the problem.

This book has two audiences. The first is for people like you and like us, everyday consumers who buy products and services as a matter of course in our daily lives and whose expectations are simply to receive what we were led to believe we should expect. We will share with you how to make your money work a lot harder by following simple steps to ensure that companies you do business with give you what they say they will.

This isn’t a book about developing negotiating skills, although you will learn some tips. It isn’t about becoming someone who rants, yells and complains — someone nobody wants to do business with. It’s about getting what you are promised, in an unemotional, process-oriented, fact-based manner.

You will learn the process, strategies, and steps we have developed and refined over the past 30 years. Throughout the book, we’ve included a number of actual examples we’ve had with all types of businesses. We’ve included some of the correspondence, such as letters and e-mails we’ve written, as well as some of the responses we’ve received. We did this because it is important to see firsthand the amount of follow-up and obsessive brute persistence that is required to Get Your Money’s Worth. Our correspondence provides a template for the type of information and the tone and manner in which you need to communicate in order to balance future outcomes in your favor.

The other audience for this book is business owners — from small shop owners to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and their deputies. This book will provide you with an idea of what your organization may be putting us consumers though. For you, we’ve developed a simple process that, if implemented, will give you an important and differential advantage vs. your competition. For some reason, organizations turn over every stone looking for a competitive edge, but most don’t consider, really consider, customer service as an option. Service is how IBM originally became successful.

In 2004, we identified a need to help caregivers and their loved ones provide home care. There was a large unmet need for access to resources, experts, and a place to find answers to caregiver questions relating to products and supplies used in a home care setting. We spent two years talking with caregivers throughout the United States about how we could best meet their needs, then formed The CareGiver Partnership, a national direct-to-consumer retailer of a broad range of products, services and resources.

We built The CareGiver Partnership with a singular focus on providing a whole new level of service to caregivers and their loved ones — what we coined as Personalized AttentionSM service — 1950s style. Research we conducted with caregivers (consumers) in cities across the United States clearly showed the majority were women, and they were upset about customer service calls being outsourced to countries where they couldn’t understand the person on the other end of the phone, then talking to someone who wasn’t knowledgeable. It annoyed them to push buttons, make choices, then wait on hold, listening to prerecorded messages about how important they are to a company. Caregivers are frustrated, frantic and frazzled.

With these insights in mind, we designed our service to make their lives a bit easier. We hired only women who had been, or were currently, caregivers to a family member or loved one. These are our Product Specialists, who work in our Wisconsin-based in-house call center. Our customers appreciate that our specialists speak clearly and slowly for those hard of hearing. Imagine an 80-year-old who is hard of hearing talking to someone in a foreign country who speaks in a low tone with a thick accent.

Most importantly, our caregivers want to speak to someone who is knowledgeable. That’s why each of our Product Specialists receives ongoing training on every product we offer. Training occurs via in-services from manufacturers’ reps who visit our training center, online and printed training aids, and teleconferences with manufacturers. Our team is given samples of many of the products so, when talking with a customer, they can speak from experience rather than relying on scripts, of which we have none.

We made a strategic decision to dismantle all the fancy features of our state-of-the-art phone system and simply answer all calls by the third ring — but usually the first or second. While making a presentation to an executive MBA class, a student said he ran a phone center for his company and that our operation could be more efficient if we forced people to wait on hold while our Product Specialists were busy with other customers. Our response was that our service is a key differentiator, and we are willing to invest in having sufficient staff available to answer customers’ calls right away.

We also use a returning customer’s first name in many cases when they call us. While on the phone with a customer, we write all orders on paper, rather typing them into the computer. This allows our Product Specialists to have a personalized and interactive discussion, and avoids the distracting background noise of a keyboard clicking and clacking. Our Product Specialists also sit in high-profile work spaces that are about three to four times larger than most call-center stations, to eliminate most distracting background noise, such as other conversations and ringing phones.

This book is not about The CareGiver Partnership, but you will learn how we have incorporated much of the learning from our personal customer service experience into crafting the company. At The CareGiver Partnership are so passionate about customer service, we wrote the book on it – literally.

With this in mind ...

Most consumers’ expectations are simple. For example, when a service organization says the repairperson will be at your home “in the morning,” to the average person this means before noon. How many times have you been frustrated that they can’t be more precise, such as say between 10 and 11 a.m.? This holds true for medical professionals as well.

Have you then waited around until 1 p.m. or so, then finally called, only to have a rude person tell you they must be running behind and should be there shortly? You wonder, with the number of cell phones in the United States today, doesn’t this repairperson have one? Or why doesn’t someone at the office call? Why? Because you are not that important to them.

The title of one of Bill O’Reilly’s books, “Who’s Looking Out For You?” is a good question to ask. It has to be you, because they aren’t. There was an example in the fall of 2007 where a woman could not get the “fantastic” service promised by her high-speed Internet and phone provider. When she went to the provider’s office to discuss, she was told to sit and wait for a manger to meet with her. A while later she was told he’d gone home. She came back the next day with a hammer. Needless to say, this isn’t a strategy we recommend, but it does illustrate how awful service has become and its effect on customers.

This book was a passion of ours, not intended to be a moneymaker. No one in their right minds would want to spend 30 years gathering information, not to mention the time spent organizing and writing the book. Especially when there are thousands of books for sale with the phrase “customer service” in the title. Here is a list of some of the biggest sellers and why this book is unique:

“Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach to Connecting With Your Customers”

“Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know”

“Call Center Success: Essential Skills for CSRs”

“The Big Book of Customer Service Training Games: Quick, Fun Activities for Training Customer Service Reps, Salespeople, and Anyone Else Who Deals With Customers”

As you can see from the titles above, most books about customer service are written as a how-to guide for businesses. What sets “Negotiate Anything!” apart is that it is that it is written for two audiences: consumers and business leaders. It is written to these two audiences in the hopes of improving the customer service process from end to end — from the interaction between the consumer and the company, during the shopping and purchase process, then between the company and consumer if an issue arises.

Consumers will be delighted, and businesses that begin to leverage customer service as a differentiator will thrive. Business leaders need to know what’s wrong and how to fix it. On the other hand, consumers need to apply pressure to help provide the incentive for businesses to improve their service. Otherwise it’s business as usual. You need to expect and demand more.

For consumers, we’ve provided time-tested strategies on how to interact with companies to significantly improve getting your money’s worth in the process.

For business leaders, we explain why customer service has seriously eroded and its causes. Then we present strategies to significantly improve sustainable business growth by transforming organizations toward becoming the best in the world at providing customer service within their industries.

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