Before you sit down to negotiate a lease or purchase agreement, do you know your BATNA?
Do you even know what a BATNA is? The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is here to help.
In a nutshell: preparing for negotiations is not just about imagining the deal you’re after. In fact, if all you envision is the set of terms you’re seeking, you’re already at a disadvantage in negotiations.
You need to come up with a BATNA — a best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
BATNA is part negotiation skill and part negotiation strategy. It’s a means of understanding what your own — and sometimes, your negotiating opponent’s – best outcome is if the deal you’re working on can’t get done.
BATNA is like an anchor, defining your own “walk away” point, giving you an important context to your negotiations that might not be apparent without a BATNA. Without context, you can find yourself susceptible to your opposite’s context — and their hard bargaining techniques.
You don’t just dream up a BATNA – you translate it to the deal you’re working on.
You can learn about BATNA as well as negotiation more broadly at the Harvard Law Program on Negotiation (PON). A great deal of very valuable, free resources are at the program’s website including a blog I recommend as a regular read.
10 Hard Bargaining Negotiation Skills
This post featuring examples of ten hard bargaining skills and strategies alone is worth checking out if only to catalog hard bargaining techniques – and to know there’s a process to identify and to counter each one. The ten include take-it-or-leave-it, bluffing, and the all-important belittling your alternatives.
Treating negotiation as an art and science is a real conversation-starter – what are some of your favorite hard bargaining techniques and counters?