Deal Negotiation and Dealmaking: What to Do On Your Own

Six Tips for More Effective Deal Negotiation

By — on / Dealmaking

Adapted from “What to Do On Your Own,” first published in the September 2009 issue of Negotiation.

Here’s a quick review of some of the pre-negotiation steps you can accomplish on your own or with the help of others in your organization:

1. Negotiation Goals

Think about your goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses in the upcoming negotiation.

For more articles about goals in negotiation, see also: Business Negotiations – Managers, Think Twice Before Setting Goals

2. Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement and Their BATNA

Assess your BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement—a strong source of power.

Think about your counterpart’s BATNA—what she’ll do if you don’t reach a deal—as well as her goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

For more information about the concept of a best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, see also: Is Negotiation Without a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) Possible?

3. Zone of Potential Agreement (ZOPA)

Analyze the ZOPA, or zone of possible agreement: the likely deal space in the negotiation.

For more information about the concept of zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA, see also: Dealmaking – Grappling with Anchors in Negotiation

4. Integrative Negotiators and Creating Value – How to Expand the Pie

List the tradeoffs you might be willing to make to expand the pie.

For more information on expanding the pie and integrative bargaining, see also: Negotiation Skills – Expanding the Pie – Integrative Bargaining versus Distributive Bargaining

5. Negotiate with Authority

Try to secure decision-making authority from your superiors or, failing that, plan how to get their approval later in the process.

For more information on authority at the bargaining table, see also: Business Negotiations – Have You Negotiated the Authority They Will Need?

6. Organize Your Negotiating Team According to Relative Strengths and Weaknesses

If necessary, put together a negotiating team and determine each person’s responsibilities.

For more information on organizing your negotiating team, see also: International Negotiations – The Surprising Benefits of Conflict in Negotiating Teams

Related Article: Negotiation Skills – Are You Really Ready to Negotiate?


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