What b-school taught me about negotiationsIB
)on 8/6/12 at 2:30pm
Here's where that $250k notebook starts to earn its keep.
- Set standards up front: “No swearing, no walking out.” Write it down on the whiteboard so you can point to it if you need to.
- Small talk is big talk.
- Start with low-priority issues or compatible issues to build rapport.
- Never say the first number if you don’t know the bargaining range.
- Never make the first offer. If forced, make an absurd offer, then apologize for not knowing what’s realistic. Ask what would be more realistic. Or, “I see. You obviously had a number in mind; what is it?”
- As seller: “You’ve looked around; don’t you know what you want to spend?”
- As buyer: "Assuming I'm not the only person in the world who wants to buy this from you... what have other people offered you for it?" "Hmm, what I hear you saying is that I'm the only one interested in buying."
- Don’t make the other party’s arguments for them. Never negotiate against yourself.
- Never make two offers or say two numbers in a row. Once you move, wait until they move to move again.
- Find issues that are low-priority for one party and high-priority for the other. Trade them.
- Bundle issues -- negotiations (rather than emotional conflicts) are times when you want to talk about groups of issues at once, in which you trade things until the bundle is agreeable to both parties.
- Make a pair of bundled offers at once. “Here’s a choice: either A+B, or C+D. Which one of these packages is better for you?”
- To avoid getting stuck: “Let’s work on other things and come back to this issue later.”
- Use threats very sparingly. At the negotiation table, the whisper of a threat sounds like thunder.
- Nothing is settled until everything is settled. “We’re agreed on this, but we may come back.”
- Search for post-settlement settlement. “This will be our agreement unless we can find one that works better for both of us.”