Creating and Claiming Value Through Haggling – Assess The Other Party’s BATNA in Dealmaking Negotiations

How bargaining skills like haggling can help negotiators forge closer business relationships

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Now it’s time to assess the best deal you might get. Figuring out the other party’s reservation price is the key to knowing how far you will be able to push him, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond (Bantam, 2007).


Discover how to unleash your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.


Start by considering the other party’s BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement: What will he do if he can’t close the sale with you?

BATNA and Haggling: Just Go Somewhere Else?

Like most retailers, he’ll simply have to wait for someone else to walk through the door. You may be able to judge how desperate a business is to make a deal by the amount of foot traffic in the store or by researching its financial standing. Generally, the worse the environment business is, the more willing an organization will be to haggle with you—and to give you a very good price.

Estimating Your BATNA and Target Price in Haggling Negotiations

To estimate just how low salesperson will go, you can do online research on the product, just as you would when buying a car.

Study store policies concerning discounting, returns, and warranties.

You can even do your research in the store; Consumer Reports notes that inventory tag soften indicate how long an item has been on the shelves.

Salespeople may be more willing to haggle over merchandise that has been sitting on the floor a long time.

Related Article: In Employment Contract Negotiation, “No Haggling” Isn’t the Answer – Why employees should bargain hard for their salary – and some negotiation skills that may help them do just that.

Master the Art and Science of Haggling for More Productive Business Negotiations – How negotiations involving haggling can not only improve your bottom line but also foster cooperative business relationships.

Creating and Claiming Value Through Haggling – Assess Their BATNA in Dealmaking Negotiations – How to use integrative negotiation skills and BATNA assessment to achieve your negotiation objectives.


Discover how to unleash your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.


Adapted from “Master the Art and Science of Haggling,” in the August 2009 issue of Negotiation.

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