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.

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Building Trust in Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  03/18/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

building trust in negotiations

Adapted from “Strike the Right Balance Between Trust and Cynicism,” by Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman, first published in the Negotiation Briefings newsletter.

 Negotiators often must choose between trusting their counterparts and being cynical of their motives. The consequences of such decisions can be serious in dealmaking: trust too much, and you’ll lose big; … Read More 

5 Dealmaking Tips for Closing the Deal

PON Staff   •  03/04/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

dealmaking

When you’ve made progress on certain issues but remain stymied on others in a negotiation, it’s time to take a hard look at what’s standing between you and a mutually acceptable deal. Professor Robert Mnookin of Harvard Law School and his colleagues at Stanford University have created a catalog of common dealmaking barriers to agreement, … Read More 

7 Tips for Closing the Deal in Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  02/21/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Closing the Deal

“ABC: Always Be Closing.” That’s the sales strategy that actor Alec Baldwin’s character Blake shared in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross as he tried to motivate a group of real estate salesmen. In his verbally abusive, profanity-laced speech, Blake presented a ruthless model of closing a business deal that ignores customers’ needs and cuts … Read More 

Writing the Negotiated Agreement

Guhan Subramanian   •  02/18/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

negotiated agreement

Some negotiations end with a negotiated agreement that is a plan of action rather than a signed contract – for example, a plumber agrees to fix the tile damage caused by his work. Other negotiations wouldn’t be appropriate to commemorate in writing, such as how you and your spouse decide to discipline your young … Read More 

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