Business negotiations should always start with a plan. Planning and preparation will help lead you to success. Before you choose any negotiation tactics or specifics, you must start with your negotiation strategy.

Planning your negotiation strategy should always come before selecting negotiating tactics. Your negotiation strategy serves as the foundation for the approach and techniques that you use to achieve your goals.

According to Dr. Chester L. Karrass, there are nine key building blocks of negotiation strategy:

  1. Power sources and limits
  2. Product and market strategy
  3. Both-win negotiation strategy
  4. Short- and long-term relationships
  5. Setting reachable targets
  6. Selecting the right negotiating team
  7. Motivation strategy
  8. Information gathering strategy
  9. Decision-making strategy

Your overall negotiation strategy is a product of an exploration of the areas listed above. You will want to tackle each area individually. Dr. Karrass’ book “In Business As In Life—You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate,” provides useful worksheets to help clarify each of these strategies.

Following are a few questions to help you get started in setting your negotiation targets:

  • What are the issues?
  • What are the “must,” “give” and “straw” issues?
  • What is our position on each issue?
  • What are our opening offers for each issue?
  • What is our guess as to what the other party will settle for and how can we test that?

When you work through each section, you will achieve real clarity on what your negotiation strategy will look like. You will be well prepared to select your tactics, and reach an agreement.

What helps you plan your negotiation strategy?

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