The Negotiation Checklist - Simons and Tripp.pdf

2 what is the other sides batna what are your

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2. What is the other side’s BATNA ? What are your counterpart’s alternatives to doing business with you? How much do you think she or he values those alternatives? How badly does this company want to do business with you? Realize that the other party will probably accept an agreement only if it improves on her or his BATNA . The other side’s BATNA contains key information about how far you can push those negotiators before they walk away. If you are selling, the buyers’ BATNA should determine the maximum price they would be will- ing to pay for your services or prod- uct. If you are buying, it should de- termine the lowest price at which they will sell. If you are booking a hotel conference in Hawaii in De- cember, the hotel representative, who has a waiting list of customers, has a much stronger BATNA than the same representative has in July. If you are absolutely certain of the other side’s BATNA , and if you pro- pose an agreement that is just a little more attractive than the other side’s BATNA , then those negotiators might accept your proposal. 3. What is the other side’s resistance point, if any? Given your assessment of the other party’s BATNA , you can estimate the least favorable deal for which the other party might settle. We say “might” because the other party may not have considered his or her resistance point. We have found, though, that it is wise to assume the other party is well prepared. If you know the other party’s resistance point, as noted above, you can push for an agree- ment that barely exceeds it. This kind of low-ball deal is often better for you than an “equitable” deal, though not always. If you are the type of negotiator who prefers amiable negotiation tactics over low-balling, then you still may want to know the other side’s resistance point for two rea- sons. First, the other party may try to low-ball you. Knowing its resis- tance point will give you the infor- mation and confidence to counter a low-ball tactic. Second, many nego- tiators consider a fair deal to be one that falls halfway between the two parties’ resistance points. To find the halfway point, you need to know both resistance points. Since experi- enced negotiators consider their true resistance point to be confiden- tial information, you will most likely have to make a best-guess about how far you can push the other party before seriously risking im- passe or generating ill will. Openly asking for the other party’s resistance point carries risks. The other party might lie and there- after be forced to take an uncom- promising stance to avoid disclosing that misrepresentation. Or, if the other party honestly reveals his or her resistance point to you, that negotiator may expect you to reveal your resistance point, too. At this point, you have two choices. One, you reveal your resistance point and open yourself to being low-balled or, at best, to being offered an agree- ment that reaches no farther than the halfway point between the two resistance points. Two, if you don’t reveal your resistance point, you may violate the norm of reciprocity.
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