Nogotiation Blog

Insights on Business and Sales Negotiation

Join us for insights on how to negotiate a winning balance, where where both sides understand and appreciate the value they receive. As a result, you are more likely to forge a long-lasting relationship that yields more and better opportunities in the future. This idea underpins K&R Negotiations’ Win Wisely™ approach and underlines the importance of using leverage wisely.

BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) Woman tears agreement documents in front of agent who wants to get a signature

Why You Need Better than BATNA: Formulating a Defensible “Walk Away” Rationale in Negotiations

Either through becoming emotionally invested, getting pressure from leadership or being unable to analyze key factors that should indicate retreat, business negotiators often find themselves spending long amounts of time on deals of diminishing — or even illusory — value. One of the cornerstones of negotiation theory is BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), advanced by Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) in their book, Getting to YES. The wisdom of BATNA is that you cannot make wise decisions about continuing to negotiate unless you understand the available alternatives if you (or the other side) walk away. By looking at your perceived BATNA you should understand alternative courses of action in the event that a negotiation fails.…

Using Your “Incumbency” to Create Positive Leverage in Negotiation

Some concepts are better expressed using an example. Our client was at a crucial juncture with their customer — a European bank. In just three months, the time frame was expiring on an agreement to provision identity access management. That project had been running for three years, and had progressed substantially as forecasted. So a renewal to continue with the work was being discussed, plus, our client wanted to extend the scope of services for 24/7 identity and access management, which they believed the customer could use. This project was extremely complex, and it was incumbent on our client to express the value delivered to that point. This is extremely important: Nobody owes you recognition of your value. You have to make the case! Being successful in this situation meant deriving…

Further Thoughts on the “Master/Servant” Dynamic in Negotiation

In January I penned this post about the new plateaus of opportunity that open up for both buyers and sellers when we make the mindset shift to becoming a true strategic partner, rather than just a "run and fetch" vendor that recites features and delivers quotes. There is a fundamental problem (one that is not necessarily limited to contract negotiators): Even people who build long, otherwise successful careers in demanding positions don't consider themselves professional negotiators — even though they do it every day! They do it internally with their colleagues, externally with clients and vendors, and even at home. Why? The word "negotiation" itself can be intimidating. But to gain confidence, we must normalize this language in our lives. Negotiation is simply interaction between or…

Negotiation Examples: How Avoiding Unprincipled Concessions Kept the Customer’s Respect (And Won More Revenue)

  When competition starts putting the pressure on you, it’s natural to look at price-cutting as the primary way to keep the business. But in the long run, this is a mistaken impulse, unless accompanied by a sound business rationale such as a reduction in scope, change in terms or outcome from the deal. One of our engagements with a client that served a European industrial (the customer) with technology solutions definitely illustrated the value of avoiding such “unprincipled concessions!” Unprincipled concessions are “giveaways” not tied to a credible business rationale. Our research shows that this simple business negotiation mistake costs companies between 9 and 18% of gross revenue and significant profit. (See our infographic on the topic for a more detailed discussion…

Breaking the Master/Servant Sales Relationship

There is a world of difference between being a vendor that takes orders and being a valued peer or co-strategist. The former defaults to a defensive or reactive position, missing opportunities to help their client, increase the value of an account and build a more durable, mutually profitable relationship. Moving from the master/servant paradigm isn’t about gaining the upper hand in a brute power scenario, but rather about moving to a peer-to-peer relationship where mutual benefit flows from mutual respect and acknowledgment of exchanged value. From our experience, the master/servant trap is an easy one to fall into, even with some of the world’s top-tier service organizations. After all, if the customer orders, the vendor sells and delivers. There are organizational factors that…

Negotiation Examples: The Power of Agenda Management

The “time factor” — how you manage it against other considerations and use the high-level (or macro) agenda to help create agreement has a huge impact on your success! This was certainly the case during an engagement with one of our technology clients, whose customer was in the European auto segment. All of our client’s revenue with this automaker was in jeopardy when the automaker announced that a purchasing freeze would be in effect at the beginning of the coming year, due to deteriorating economic conditions and new IT management. Since it was October, these developments required immediate action and a clear agenda that would culminate in closure before end of year. In our view, too much is made of “agenda control.” It’s nice to control the agenda, but both sides in a…

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Creating Value-Based Leverage

In this short video, learn why negotiation is really the art of finding agreement.

Mladen Kresic introduces the concept of value-based negotiations leverage and why it is a powerful tool for moving conversations to an agreement.

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