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Negotiating Tips to Get the Best Deal Possible

Updated on June 18, 2012
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Definition of negotiation

A negotiation is a process involving different views in reaching an agreement

A negotiation is the process of meeting the needs of involved parties, ideally with neither parties losing sight of what they want. Negotiations take place on all different levels, up from politicians negotiating on behalf of the countries they represent at world conferences, down to a couple deciding what movie to watch at the movie theater. Of course when we negotiate, we want to get the best deal possible so let's take a look at the different techniques to do just that.

Below I will share with you tactics I learned for conducting successful negotiations at a class I took during my Master's program.

Cooperative negotiation

Cooperative negotiation is an approach to negotiating that is based on mutual gain for both parties - a win/win situation. In this type of approach, negotiators ask many questions and understand where the other one is coming from in order for everyone involved in the negotiation to feel like a winner when agreement is reached.

Competitive negotiation

A competitive negotiation is an approach to negotiating that is based on conflicting views - there's a winner and a loser. In this type of approach, one of the negotiators believes his point of view is better and tries to get the most possible concessions by using persuasion and even manipulation. People who use a competing negotiating style usually enjoy the opportunity to "win" something that it presents.

BATNA in negotiation

BATNA is the acronym for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement and refers to various alternatives. This refers to the walk-away alternatives for each party if a negotiation fails - essentially, it's Plan B. No negotiating party should accept any deal worse then the BATNA.

The concept of BATNA is derived from Roger Fisher's, "The 7 Elements of Negotiation" in the book, "Getting to Yes" and BATNA is one of the seven elements. The elements are:

  1. Alternatives - this is where BATNA comes into play
  2. Interests - this refers to what each party wants
  3. Options - this refers to various alternatives of the negotiation
  4. Legitimacy - this refers to fairness from both parties
  5. Commitment - this is an oral statement of what will or won't be done by each party
  6. Communication - this refers to each party being transparent about their goals
  7. Relationship - this refers to creating a win/win situation where neither parties feels like they were taken advantage of

Tips on negotiation

Before a negotiation

  • Define your negotiation parameters ahead of time - what is the minimum you're willing to offer, which will keep you both satisfied (Best Possible Agreement ((BPA)); as well as he maximum you're willing to offer and still be satisfied (Minimum Possible Agreement ((MPA)) or bottom line
  • Understand what the most likely scenario will result in your negotiation

During a negotiation

  • Engage the other person
  • Ask questions
  • Make the other person feel comfortable
  • Be flexible
  • Think of yourself as having equal power to whom you're negotiating with
  • Make specific proposals
  • Make sure nobody feels taken advantage of but that things are fair
  • Don't be the first to name a price
  • Create a win/win situation

Negotiation process

Stage
Details
I
Learn the other party's goals and make your own goals known
II
Understand the other party's needs
III
Reach a compromise

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    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 5 years ago

      Well written and I've never heard about BATNA and the 7 elements well explained :)

    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 5 years ago

      Great hub! I've never heard about BATNA and the 7 elements :)

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thank you, Brandon!

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Voted Up and Useful - Great tips and I learned something new - very good!

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thank you, lady - I'm glad to hear that!

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Great tips on the art of the negotiation! I like the "Don't be the first to name a price" - will have to keep that one in mind! Great job - voted up and useful!

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks, Alissa! The tip you mentioned is a really good one because whoever is the first to name a price, defines the entire negotiation. There's a saying that goes something like, "s/he who names the first price, loses".

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