For a negotiation to succeed, you must have a clear understanding of what you want the outcome to be. If you don’t have clearly defined goals beforehand, you are likely to end up with an undesirable outcome. Entering a negotiation with specific goals and a good understanding of what you want your takeaway to be, puts you in a stronger position.
Set Specific and Measurable Goals
The more specific you are about your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. For example, if you enter into a negotiation with the vague goal of getting your counterpart to lower their prices, a 1% price decrease would technically achieve that goal, but it might not be beneficial enough for your company. Rather, you need to enter the negotiation with a specific goal such as working toward a 5% decrease in price. Do some research beforehand to come up with goals that are both reasonable and measurable.
Prioritize Your Goals
Many negotiators will have more than one desired goal, but they might not be equivalent in importance. For example, your primary goal might be to reduce costs and other goals might include an extended contract, a different payment option, or increased responsiveness. Prioritizing your goals will give you and your counterpart a better idea of what you can compromise on and it will ensure you take away what is most important from the deal.
Understand Your Opponent’s Goals
Good negotiators focus on more than just their own goals. It is easier for you to find common ground when you can compromise in ways that help your opponent achieve their goals as well. Find out what is important to your opponent and try to come up with a win-win solution whenever possible.
Know Your BATNA
Every negotiator needs to be prepared with an alternative or BATNA. This allows you to work the deal in order to reach some of your desired outcomes. If your BATNA is strong, you can strike a good deal but if your BATNA is poor, you might have to accept some of your lower-priority goals to get the deal done.
Every negotiator needs to have a vision of where they want the negotiation to go and what they want to achieve. By identifying the most critical aspects of the deal, negotiators can focus on what is most important and close a better deal in their favor. Before any negotiation, it is important to write down your specific goals and how you plan to achieve them. This lays out the framework for the entire negotiation and helps ensure your takeaway is worthwhile.