Dealmaking

Dealmaking is defined as the art of crafting deals through negotiations focused on an integrative, or value-creating process, rather than through distributive bargaining, or a haggling process. Dealmaking includes the range of activities both at the bargaining table and away from it that seek to bring two or more parties together toward some common end, whether it is the sale of an asset, a vendor agreement, or a merger between corporations. The Program on Negotiation emphasizes integrative bargaining in its dealmaking literature and teaches methods and techniques from this school of thought in its executive education courses.

In corporate dealmaking, much of the action happens away from the negotiating table. Successful dealmakers understand that deal set-up and design greatly influence negotiation outcomes and successfully closing a deal. Other critical factors in successfully making deals include strategic behavior – the unwillingness of one or both sides to make a best offer – psychological factors, lack of a deadline, poorly-prepared formal documents and refusal to allow the other side to make a graceful exit, even when they’ve agreed to your demands.

Strategies for successful dealmaking include tactics such as creating more value by exploring hidden interests and adding issues that appeal to your bargaining opponent. Another tactic is recruiting a third party mediator when the dealmaking process is at an impasse. Sometimes, Harvard experts find, it pays to be the first person to make an offer, while at other times, it pays to wait.

Articles from the Program on Negotiation focus on a vast array of dealmaking strategies, and explore the latest concepts such as expanding the pie, “negotiauctions,” anchors in negotiation and bartering.

Lessons for Business Negotiators: Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy

Jeswald Salacuse   •  04/12/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Executives rarely view themselves as diplomats engaged in international diplomacy but business negotiators often find the two fields share negotiation skills and negotiation techniques. Rightly or wrongly, diplomacy evokes images of frivolity – days spent wandering exotic capitals, nights spent cruising embassy cocktail parties. … Read More 

How to Get a Great Deal When Trust is Low

PON Staff   •  04/01/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Negotiators from Western cultures, such as the United States, tend to be trusting. They’re often open to sharing information with counterparts, and expect ideas to flow freely. But in many other cultures, negotiators tend to be less trusting and more cautious about sharing information about their interests.

Of course, there are many ways to build trust … Read More 

When Negotiations is a Love Song

Katie Shonk   •  04/01/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

On Valentine’s Day, 1945, Matilda Genevieve Scaduto, the 20-year- old granddaughter of Sicilian immigrants, was working the elevator at a Milwaukee hotel when she met a traveling violinist named Boudleaux Bryant. He started calling her Felice, saying it suited her better than Matilda because she was happy all the time, according to American Songwriter magazine. … Read More 

What is Distributive Negotiation and Five Proven Strategies

Katie Shonk   •  03/08/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Most negotiations call for very different, even opposing, skills: collaboration and competition. To get a great deal, we typically must work with others to find new sources of value while also competing with them to claim as much of that value for ourselves. Before mastering the intricacies of value creation in negotiation, it helps to … Read More 

Negotiation Logistics: Best Practices for Better Deals

PON Staff   •  03/01/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Negotiators are often so intent on preparing for the substance of a negotiation—researching the other party, analyzing their alternatives, and so on—that they neglect to devote adequate time to critical negotiation logistics, such as where to negotiate, how formal or informal talks should be, and even the shape of the negotiating table.

Before the official start … Read More