Strategic Negotiation Planning: Mind the Gap
Negotiating strategy is about setting goals and limits, while negotiating tactics are your methods for reaching those goals.
Negotiating strategy is built around two things – your organization’s business goals and your best alternatives to not reaching that goal.
The difference between where you want to be and where you are now. We’ll be calling that the “strategic gap”.
3 Step Strategic Planning:
How you move from where you are to where you want to be?
- Set your goal
- (Where you want to be)
- (Where you are now)
- Select the right counter-parties
Every bargain you set out to make will bridge that gap – either entirely or in part.
Your strategic negotiating plan is going to be include 3 things:
- Your overall business goal. Where you want your organization to be.
- The parts of your goal that this negotiation is going to supply you with.
- Your “least worst” option, if there is no deal.
That sounds pretty simple – but the analysis driving each decision is extremely sophisticated. For now, let’s just treat the strategic plan as a range between your ambitious goal and your rock-solid no-deal option.
Strategy is an insider affair.
Strategic negotiation planning is internal. It is driven by your organization’s goals - which are integral to your competitive advantage. Never allow a counter-party to influence your goal system (though they will try). Your negotiating goal is an extension of your REAL business model. You (or your company) have a set of long-term goals - where you want to be and what you want to be doing. You will probably need to acquire resources, services, materials, and know-how from other firms to hit your targets. That’s where negotiation comes in.
Not everyone sets their own strategic plan – often it is given to you. Purchasing managers and salesmen at large firms are often given very specific parameters for prices, quality, and scheduling. When it comes to prep & planning for a negotiation, however, it really doesn’t matter. Your job is to understand your side's TRUE goal system and best alternative, and then build a plan to reach that goal and stay away from your bottom line.
Next: Building Your Tactical Roadmap