Successful Preparation through a Change in Perspective!

Negotiation Tips

Jörg Köck | November 2020

Today we talk about how to specify your own interests in your negotiation preparations and how to anticipate those of your counterpart. We formulate three key points for both negotiation parties:

  • The goal of the negotiation,
  • The Least Acceptable Agreement (LAA) and
  • The Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).

You know the questions for these key points from every negotiation preparation, so that I do not need to explain here.

For me, it is important that you try to estimate the volume of these key points from your counterpart’s perspective and then assess how this will impact your own negotiation strategy. In order to do this, you need to identify indicators in your preparation that will help you determine what your counterpart’s goal, “pain threshold” or for an alternative to make a deal with you.

Let us assume you as a purchaser would like to achieve a price reduction by 3%. It would not be enough to assume that the aim of your negotiation partner would simply be not to agree to this reduction. This would not be very differentiated and could mask a number of strategical options.

For example, the first aim of your counterpart could be to simply stall for time. Indications for this could be a decline or postponing of first meetings. Another aim could be to fathom the negotiation position without coming to an agreement. Typical signs for this would be an early appointment without the actual decision makers. Maybe he would like this negotiation to bring his own demands forward which can often be associated with a confrontational appearance with the presence of a decision maker. Depending on the aims of your counterpart, you have a variety of possibilities and limits to help establish your own goals. Not co-ordinating this will bring low flexibility and lost chances.

Make justified assumptions for these key points on your side and on your counterpart’s side. Assess implications for your own goals, minimum goals and alternatives. And then act out these assumptions! Develop scenarios and recognize the most probable ones. From this you can derive various options for the negotiation. Further, you can try the different scenarios with different inner attitudes(serious vs. playful, solution-focused vs. probing etc.)

Try to find out which scenario you are in by using relevant questions. The more scenarios you acted through, the better you are prepared for (uncomfortable) surprises.

If you have any further questions, I am happy to support you. Simply call or write an e-mail. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Good luck!

Jörg Köck

... has been an independent management consultant, trainer and coach for almost 20 years and has been managing director of BETTER SOLUTIONS Coachingconsulting GmbH for six years. Before that he worked in specialist and management positions in the purchasing departments of mechanical engineering companies. His focus in training and consulting is on negotiating and establishing sustainable agreements – in management, purchasing and teambuilding.

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