Successful negotiation is a crucial part of business, but many negotiators struggle with the planning and preparation phase.
To make the most of your negotiation time, consider the following five Ps of planning:
1. Prospect: Information is Power
The first step in negotiation planning is gathering information. Learn everything you can about the people and organizations involved, including their objectives and the timeline of the negotiation. Consider any uncontrollable factors, such as global supply chain realities or trade and labor laws. By gathering information, you can enter the negotiation with more confidence and knowledge.
2. Predict: Negotiation Takes Place Inside the Head of the Other Party
To predict what strategy, questions, and tactics the other party might use, you should learn as much as possible about them. Consider their history, past negotiations, and personality. Think about what they want to achieve and what they might be willing to compromise on. By anticipating their moves, you can prepare better responses and develop fallback strategies.
According to The Gap Partnership, planning should take up 90% of your time, with only 10% allocated to actual negotiation time. This means that for every hour of negotiation, you should spend nine hours preparing.
3. Power: The Art of Shifting the Balance
In a negotiation, power is everything. Consider who has the power and why, and how you can shift the balance in your favor. Understand what your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is, and what theirs might be. By understanding power dynamics, you can enter the negotiation with a clearer idea of your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Position: Perception Is Everything
Perception plays a key role in a negotiation, and it’s important to carefully consider the position you’re in. Consider what you’ve said or done to create a perception that the value is different from what was originally anticipated. Think about where you’re meeting and whether the environment is comfortable. By being aware of how you’re perceived, you can make adjustments to improve your position.
5. Plot: The Final Step
The final step in planning a successful negotiation is plotting your strategy. Determine the main trading variables for both parties, including your breakpoint and opening offer. Consider what moves you’ll make and whether you have alignment and an appropriate level of support. By having a clear strategy in place, you can enter the negotiation with more confidence.
In conclusion, the planning and preparation phase of negotiation is crucial. By following the five Ps of planning, you can prepare for your negotiation with more confidence and knowledge. Remember that successful negotiation requires both skill and strategy, and by mastering these, you can become a successful negotiator.