After just wrapping up the last of 5 deals and in the middle of a handful more I took the weekend to replay the various negotiating roles I played and our organization played. In real estate, the broker role can swing wildly between chief negotiator to middle-man paper pusher. No matter the role, I kept coming back to how using the basics, which was common in these last 5 deals, made these easier than some other recent deals that had ‘hair on them.’
Every deal provides an opportunity to replay the negotiation, looking for missed opportunities, mistakes, master strokes, misalignment of tactics (ie. using distributive tactics while in an integrative situation, etc.). Just like athletes review game tape of themselves and their opponents, or chess masters review their matches and moves – if you’re not reviewing, critiquing and taking your analysis to the next level of thinking, you – like most other people when negotiating – are more often achieving sub-optimal results.
To borrow from ‘Getting to Yes’ , which is really one of the seminal modern negotiation books and came out of the Harvard Negotiation Project back in the mid 1970s, the key to negotiation is knowing your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) and having a good idea of what your counter-party’s BATNA is as well. Most people have an idea of their own position, but very few people analytically approach the other’s position. Like in poker, which is a distributive negotiation, if you aren’t constantly thinking of your opponent’s possible hands along with the strength of your own, you will more than likely win smaller pots and lose bigger pots than you should.