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.

Dealmaking: Relationship Rules for Dealmakers

PON Staff   •  05/24/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

dealmaking

Here are some concrete guidelines for fostering a strong relationship between deal making partners, drawn from The Global Negotiator: Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the 21st Century, by Tufts University professor Jeswald W. Salacuse: … Read More 

Writing the Negotiated Agreement

Guhan Subramanian   •  05/04/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

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 

Dealmaking Secrets from Henry Kissinger

PON Staff   •  04/29/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

More than 1,600 international relations experts from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly rate Henry Kissinger, who served under former presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the most effective secretary of state of the last half-century. In their book, Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level (Harper, 2018), James K. Sebenius, R. Nicholas … Read More 

7 Tips for Closing the Deal in Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  04/26/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

“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 

Lessons for Business Negotiators: Negotiation Techniques from International Diplomacy

Jeswald Salacuse   •  04/22/2021   •  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 

Contract Negotiation Skills: Setting Yourself Up for Success

Katie Shonk   •  04/19/2021   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Business negotiators tend to focus on getting to the finish line, which is typically defined as a signed contract. The contract negotiation skills we need to get there—such as building trust, brainstorming issues, and negotiating a great price—are pivotal, yet we often overlook the importance of setting up our agreement for success during the implementation … 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