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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What is Distributive Negotiation and Five Proven Strategies

Katie Shonk   •  05/14/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

distributive negotiation

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 

MESO Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques

PON Staff   •  05/06/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

meso negotiation

MESO negotiation techniques for negotiators include creating value at the bargaining table by identifying multiple proposals of equal value and presenting them to your counterpart simultaneously. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. But how can you be sure you’re making the right … Read More 

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 

Claiming Value in Negotiation: Do Extreme Requests Backfire?

Katie Shonk   •  02/11/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Claiming value in negotiation

Negotiators often wonder how they can get the biggest slice of the pie when claiming value in negotiation. Certain deal-making techniques can be useful, such as the well-known “foot in the door” technique, which is designed to get people to comply with a large request by securing their agreement to a smaller one first, and … Read More 

Case Study of Business Negotiations and Deal Making: Giving Voice to Negotiators Away from the Bargaining Table

PON Staff   •  02/07/2019   •  Filed in Dealmaking

negotiations

Sometimes negotiators focus too much on the bargaining session at hand, to the detriment of bargainers away from the negotiation table, a group whose concerns and input is just as valid as those of the negotiators themselves. Here are some negotiation tips to help make sure your bargaining strategies include the voices and concerns of … Read More 

Negotiation in the news: “Victim” of Banksy’s prank laughs all the way to the bank

PON Staff   •  12/31/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

They say negotiation is an art, and that certainly was the case on October 5, 2018, when the mysterious artist known as Banksy turned a Sotheby’s auction into a clever—and very expensive—piece of performance art.
Drawing a crowd
An anonymous and highly celebrated street artist, British-based Banksy is known for his subversive graffiti and cheeky pranks, such as … Read More 

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