Tag Archives: communication skills

Create Great Aspirations in Your Next Negotiation

During a skillful negotiation, there are five interactive areas that make up the range: the Wish, the Aspiration, the Bottom Line, the BATNA, and the WATNA.  We wrote about the power of the Wish in our last blog and how it’s important to brainstorm a powerful wish as part of your preparation phase.  But what about setting your Aspiration? What does it mean and how does it apply to your negotiation?


Remember the Power of the WISH

As we wrote in an earlier blog, a range has a top and bottom to it. Many people on either side of the negotiation process start with a number that is too low.  Remember how we set a Wish when selling the family cottage – realizing that in our dream of dreams we would love to get $750,000 for its sale?  We concluded that the Wish helped prevent us from starting too low in our negotiations; and how we would never get $750,000 if we started at $670,000.


Leverage the Power of the Aspiration

When you brainstorm a big Wish, then your starting point will be bigger. In negotiations, the amount of money (and other concessions) left on the table because we start with a low number (for sales) or too high (buying) is incalculable. So dream big and create that Wish.

Next you need an Aspiration Point. The Aspiration Point represents the monetary equivalent of your ideal set of terms.  Setting a specific target point (rather than a range for your Aspiration) is important. For example if you tell someone you’ll take between $5 and $20 for an old toaster at a garage sale, they will probably offer you $5.00 – the bottom of the range – if you’re lucky.  So selecting a target number, rather than a range is critical here.  You might wonder how to go about determining your Aspiration. We recommend a four step process:

  1. Identify Your Goals
  2. Research Data & Comps
  3. Brainstorm Options
  4. Plan Your Moves

In negotiations, the Aspiration needs to be realistic.  Aim for the “biggest realistic” number that will fly without offending the other party. In the case of selling the family cottage, the seller’s Aspiration is $720,000.  They would really like to get $720,000 for the cottage and they go into the negotiations with that figure clearly in mind.  By preparing well in advance, following the four step process, and setting a value for your Aspiration you are well set up for a successful negotiation.

As you keep reading this blog you will find more articles on all five elements that help you make up your Range.  Use all of the negotiation tools and you will be much more successful in your next negotiation (while ensuring other parties are satisfied also).