Sometimes a negotiation is all about managing perceptions. As this story below shows, focusing a counterpart on his own BATNA can persuade him to reduce the intensity of his hard-bargaining tactics. Q: A customer is pressuring me to make a deal fast. I don’t want to be forced into a one-sided agreement and prefer to reach … Read More
Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
What are Bargaining Tactics?
Negotiating effectively requires bargaining tactics that give you the ability change the game – moving away from conflict and toward collaboration.
Whether you are behind the bargaining table with a client or across the table with an opposing party, you need bargaining tactics that maximize the value of your negotiation.
People often think that distributive bargaining tactics require adversarial bargaining, such as making tough demands, threats, or bluffs. But in fact, the most effective strategies do not require you to sacrifice your integrity or resort to dirty tricks. Rather, they require you to set aside plenty of time before your negotiation to engage in clear-eyed preparation.
Collaboration or integrating across multiple issues to create new sources of value is the key here. In other words, a mutual gains approach.
A mutual gains approach to the bargaining table can help you not only achieve a negotiated agreement with a difficult counterpart but also help a negotiator find ways to create value and expand the pie of resources. Bargaining tactics that take this path help the negotiation process become a value-creating, integrative situation in which each side gets a “fair share” of the pool of resources.
No matter how much you try, though, a deal won’t always work out. That’s why it’s important to have a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
When you are aware that you have an appealing alternative deal to the one you’re working on, you will be less tempted to accept an agreement that doesn’t meet your minimum requirements. A strong BATNA gives you the freedom to walk away from the table with no (or few) regrets.
To learn more bargaining tactics that can help you in business, download your FREE copy of Getting the Deal Done, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
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Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this first-of-its-kind program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience. By working closely with them, you will: … Read More
What’s the best way to claim more money in a negotiation? Many professional negotiators would recommend hard-bargaining tactics, such as asking the other party to disclose their bottom line, standing firm on price, and threatening to walk away. But truly great negotiators recognize that using haggling strategies alone may leave significant money on the table. … Read More
Course Dates: This course is closed Too many negotiators leave value on the table. They painfully divide a small pie after a costly battle while failing to capture offsetting opportunities for joint gain, or win the battle, but at the cost to relationships and reputation that limit long-term value. Reliably negotiating optimal outcomes requires a keen … Read More
In a negotiation scenario, you always have a best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Negotiation research and negotiation strategy helps negotiators find their BATNA, leverage it at the bargaining table, and illustrates the impact that knowing your BATNA has on a negotiation. … Read More
Course Dates: This course is closed Turn disputes into deals. Transform deals into better deals. Resolve intractable problems. Negotiating effectively requires the ability to change the game – moving away from conflict and toward collaboration. In this intensive, interactive program, you acquire a proven framework for maximizing the value of your negotiation. … Read More
The late Nelson Mandela will certainly be remembered as one of the best negotiators in history. He was clearly “the greatest negotiator of the twentieth century,” wrote Harvard Law School professor and Program on Negotiation Chairman Robert H. Mnookin in his seminal book, Bargaining with the Devil, When to Negotiate, When to Fight. … Read More
We tend to forget—at our peril—that not everyone at the bargaining table wants to close a deal and may be bargaining in bad faith. Consider the following negotiations:
A competitor approaches you about a potential partnership. After a series of meetings that seemed promising, however, your counterpart stops returning your calls. You are left with the nagging … Read More
When transferring property, sellers sometimes insist on real estate rights of first refusal – the chance to be first in line to repurchase the property if their buyer later decides to sell. … Read More
In their revolutionary book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 3rd edition, 2011), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced the world to the possibilities of mutual-gains negotiation, or integrative negotiation. The authors of Getting to Yes explained that negotiators don’t have to choose between either waging a strictly competitive, win-lose … Read More
A few characteristics of negotiation styles include hard bargaining tactics focused on claiming as much value as possible and integrative negotiation strategies such as value creation or win-win negotiation scenarios. What negotiation styles leads to optimal negotiated agreements and are suitable to win-win negotiations? One skill to cultivate that will have a positive impact on … Read More
Don’t be caught unprepared by hard bargainers, warn Robert Mnookin, Scott Peppet, and Andrew Tulumello in their book Beyond Winning. … Read More
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s indirect approach to diplomatic negotiations with the People’s Republic of China over political dissdent Chen Guangcheng demonstrates the power of adaptability at the bargaining table, especially when dealing with a counterpart from a different culture or who may speak a different language. … Read More
Have you ever negotiated with someone who seemed intent on sabotaging the negotiation or taking unfair advantage? If so, you would benefit from learning more about what it mean to negotiate in good faith. … Read More
How do you teach your students to identify and create value in real estate negotiations? Real estate negotiation can be difficult for both the buyer and the seller. Teaching real estate negotiation can involve value creation, distributive bargaining, as well as issue linkages. It is important for both buyers, sellers, and agents to identify ways to … Read More
Coke vs. Pepsi. Clinton vs. Trump. Apple vs. Samsung. The New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox. Whether we work in business, politics, sports, or another arena, our competitors sometimes turn into fierce rivals. In addition, many sales, legal, and financial firms structure jobs, incentives, and promotion systems in ways that pit employees against one … Read More
Amazon’s announcement on February 14 that it was backing out of a recent deal to build a major new campus in New York City was as bitter as a Valentine’s Day breakup could be. But the budding relationship between Amazon and New York didn’t have to end in acrimony and broken dreams, Harvard Business School … Read More
“It’s going to be so easy,” Donald Trump said this past October, referring to his plan to immediately repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if elected president. But, once in office, President Trump found healthcare reform to be much more difficult than he’d expected. … Read More
As a lifelong dealmaker, Donald J. Trump will enter the Oval Office with considerable bargaining experience in the business world. But his blank slate as an elected official combined with his fluctuating positions on key issues such as immigration and tax policy throughout the presidential race have left many wondering what kind of negotiator he … Read More
In business negotiations, we sometimes face the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to pick fights, hold offensive views, or rely on hard-bargaining tactics. Some of us naturally turn away from such difficult negotiations. Others choose to try to overlook or overcome the flaws they see in potential negotiating partners. … Read More
Start-ups and individual entrepreneurs often encounter roadblocks when negotiating with potential partners and investors. When you are trying to sell others on your big idea or venture, you face the daunting challenge of convincing them that it’s worth their time, money, and effort. And even as you’re drawing on all your powers of persuasion to … Read More
In negotiation, lightbulb moments—the kind that seem to magically dissolve disputes and create stellar contracts—can be few and far between. We might be lucky to have one such flash of insight over the course of a complicated dealmaking process. Recently, Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) New York Yankees were fortunate to experience a breakthrough that neatly … Read More
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car, or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, the art of haggling enables negotiators to make a strong claim for their share of the pie. Here are six tips from the Negotiation Briefings newsletter to help you start becoming a better at haggling in … Read More
Show me the money!” That refrain from the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, shouted by a football player to his agent, continues to echo through U.S. professional sports negotiations today. A public arena, enormous piles of cash, and even bigger egos combine to make sports negotiations a unique context. Yet anyone who has negotiated through agents, … Read More
In a recent article published in the Washington Post, Dr. William Ury, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, suggests that Republicans and Democrats hammering out a deal on the national debt ceiling could benefit from the experience of negotiators. Professional negotiators know that certain tactics can backfire in tense situations. Issuing ultimatums, publicly criticizing your counterpart, … Read More