Materials from the toolbox
The BATNA concept first appeared in the industry literature in 1981, in the book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury. The authors’ ‘win-win’ approach continues to inspire people looking for long-term benefits in negotiations. The BATNA concept serves as the foundation for preparing for difficult situations or total disagreement in negotiations.
My BATNA, step-by-step
What determines success in negotiations? How should I prepare for effective negotiations? In the life of a salesperson or a negotiator, these questions appear every day. However, it’s most difficult to negotiate with people who - at least in our estimation - have the upper hand. That happens when we are concerned that the disproportionate strength of the other party will affect the result of the negotiation. For example, if we’re negotiating a purchase agreement with a large company that dictates market prices, we focus almost exclusively on getting the best price for us. Our approach will be more effective if we consider the consequences of a total lack of agreement. We need to know when we should say no, and we should have a Plan B ready if the negotiations don’t go well. If we don’t, we may get too involved in reaching agreement and, as a result, assess the other party’s negotiating proposal too optimistically. A full awareness of the available alternatives in the event that there is no agreement and choosing the best possible option as a realistic scenario for unsuccessful negotiations can actually strengthen our negotiating position.