FlashMBA.com: The Evolution of Professional Skills Training

Your Killer Negotiating Plan Part 3:  The Tactical Roadmap

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 10, 2017 9:18:21 PM
Negotiating Tactics require planning -- and sometimes it means planning defense

Every negotiator makes 3 sets of decisions about Strategy, Tactics, and Style/Relationship.If you are not making deliberate, analytic plans BEFORE you start negotiating, then you are putting yourself in a weak position – unnecessarily!

Your Tactical Roadmap

Last week we looked at strategic goal-setting,  where we set your ambitious upper limit and your rock-solid no-deal option. Now we will establish a tactical roadmap to reach those goals. Strategy is about limits – tactics are about methods.

While strategy is internal and confidential, tactical plans are outward looking and visible. If you are speaking, writing, proposing, or responding, then you are using tactics. Make sure you are using them to your advantage and defending against the other side’s tactics, with some solid analysis and planning.Negotiating tactical plans are roadmaps, not rule-books

Tactics are the give-and-take of a negotiation. You are proposing, maneuvering, responding, and countering. But whenever there is interaction across the table, there is potential for emotion over-reaction, misunderstanding, and conflict.

Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap

Your tactical plan should be flexible and responsive to the other side’s proposals and explanations. Never react emotionally – the other side would love to see you get angry, frustrated, and exhausted. It’s a great tactical approach – but you aren’t going to fall for it. You will keep your eyes on the prize – focused like a laser on your own strategic goals.

Good tactical negotiators know how to strike a balance between sticking to their strategic plans while still responding to the information that the counter-party is supplying (in the form of proposals and counter-proposals).

Strat-Tact.jpgThey key to building a killer tactical roadmap is working backwards from your ideal post-negotiating situation. Do you plan on a long-term strategic partnership? Then your tactics have to match your goals – collaborative, transparent, and trust-oriented. Do you want this to be a one-off transaction where you’ll never see the guy across the table again (or maybe you plan on competing with him when you get the chance)? Then you should focus on maximizing the value of this deal – and not pay extra (time, money, info, etc.) to win his good will.

You use tactics: He sees Behaviors

The tactics you choose must integrate with your strategic goals. If you start the negotiation with demands that he considers cutthroat, crazy, or clueless, then you may not ever get the opportunity to moderate your offer and appear like a more desirable partner.  Conversely, if you appear to be a pushover who will do anything for this deal, then there is a good chance he will be emboldened to press his advantage. You need a good plan, a level head, and the discipline to stay focused on your strategy. 


Watch the Video - What Are Tactics?




3 Steps to a Tactical Roadmap

  1. Convert strategic goal into a SMART proposal.
  2. Pick 3 – 5 variables or deal points
  3. Decide on the relationship you want to end up with.
  1. Prep your SMART proposal that describes what a win looks like.  Don’t leave anything to chance or make assumptions that you are both bargaining for the same thing.  Remember to make it SMART:
  •          Specific
  •          Measurable
  •          Attainable
  •          Realistic
  •          Timed

It doesn't matter whether you plan on making the first offer by Dropping Anchor   or letting him make the first offer , you still have to walk into the negotiation knowing what a WIN looks like to you.  

Setting the agenda is a key negotiating tactic, and often decides the outcome. If you allow the other side to set the negotiating agenda http://info.flashmba.com/what-is-your-negotiating-agenda, it will seriously weaken your position.

  1. Convert your “WANT” (i.e.: strategic goal) into an “ASK” (your ambitious proposal to the counterparty)
Negotiating tactics should be responsive - not reactiveDon't expect the other side to anticipate your needs or to understand your goals – even if you are planning on Win-Win collaboration.  Your goal for this negotiation may be to secure distribution in a new market or to get paid a premium price for your unique services, but unless you can quantify your requests/demands and validate them with objective benchmarks, then you are opening the door to misunderstanding and conflict.

Make sure that your variables capture your strategic goals, and quantify everything in a measurable way. Package your initial proposal so that it is addressing everything you care about – not just money and deadlines.

Make your opening proposal high enough to give you room to make concessions.   Be aware of “back-burner” tactics that the other side may use to delay or de-emphasis issues that he doesn’t want to discuss. http://info.flashmba.com/tactics-tuesday-back-burner

  1. What kind of negotiating styles should you use?  

Are you negotiating for a one-off transaction? Then it’s OK to be as competitive as possible. You should be as cordial and professional as is appropriate – but don’t pay extra for relationship, services, or future deals if that is not part of your agenda.

If your plan includes any kind of strategic partnership, post-deal service, or future deals, then you have to negotiate for the type of relationship that you need.

Negotiating tactics determine your style - and relationshipIt’s never too early to start negotiating for the relationship – particularly if you are negotiating across cultures. This is why one of your first tactical decisions is deciding who makes the first offer. If you Anchor then your job is to open high, set the agenda, and manage your downward concessions.  If you let him go first and Wait at the Altar then your job is to re-anchor, influence the agenda, and fight your way UP towards your goal.

Final Word:
You are using tactics and techniques that you feel will bring you to your goal – but he sees behaviors.   If you need a trust-based relationship, then aggressive tactics will make your job much harder. But if you are looking for a one-off transaction, then make sure you aren’t paying for relationship-oriented extras and services that you won’t use. 

Tactics are how you achieve your goals. They are the methods you use — and ultimately the kind of counterparty you choose to be. Plan for it.


Your Killer Negotiating Plan: 

Part 1: What is a negotiating plan?

Part 2: Your strategic goal: Mind the gap

Part 3:  Your tactical plan:  Roadmaps, not rulebooks

Part 4:  Your Negotiating Style:  Decision, not destiny


FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit


Written by Andrew Hupert

Got Tactics?

FlashMBA.com teaches cross-cultural negotiation

Fine tune your international business game at FlashMBA -- negotiation, communication, and management skills for the global businessperson.


Subscribe to Email Updates


Professional skills training delivered in a fast, flash-card format.

Online classes, slideshows, videos and articles focusing on soft-skills.

  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving

Manage your skills training like you manage your career.

FlashMBA presents: Introduction to Negotiation - Prep & Planning: FlashMBA GOBLINS Guide to Negotiation

Subscribe to Email Updates

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

Recent Posts

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all
Join the Managing Millennials Newletter

ChinaSolved: Business Solutions for International Negotiators

Share FlashMBA Articles


Follow Flash