Tactical Negotiating Plan: Worksheet

Step 1a: Agenda & Opening offer.

Drop Anchor or Wait at the Altar?

a) You are familiar with the industry and business models impacting on this negotiation.

Yes – Question B

No – Altar

b) Your goal system is clear, defendable, and has broad stakeholder buy-in

Yes – Question C

No – Altar

c) Your chosen negotiating style is: Competitive – Question D

Collaborative – Question D Accommodative – Altar Avoiding – Altar

d) Your assessment of the power balance, vis a vis your counterpart is

You are clearly stronger: Anchor high

You are possibly stronger: Anchor with “throw-away” variables

He is stronger: Anchor or Altar

Step 1b: Your opening (L) position:

Variable 1

Variable 2

Variable 3

Like to achieve




Intermediate Benchmark




Bottom Line – Need




Simple opening position:

V1- A

V2 – A

V3 – A

Equivalent Package opening position:

Option A

V1 = A

V2 = B

V3 = B

Option B

V1 = B

V2 = A

V3 = A

Note: Even if you decide to wait for him to deliver the opening offer first, you still must prepare and deliver your own opening offer.

Opening Tactics – Anchor, Wait at the Altar, 6 of 1, GOBLINS preparation method


Step 2: Engage and Analyze.

Use information tactics to uncover his BATNA and bottom-line position.

His goals are __________________

His style seems to be: ___________

Critical Variables he cares about are




Your L:




Your N:




His L:




Derive his N for each variable:

His statements, demands, or requests:

Industry benchmarks:

Transaction history:

Industry averages:

Best guess:

Tactics: STEEPLE, Trial Balloon, Big Talk, Wait at the Altar, Full Disclosure, Bluff (counter- tactics)

Step 3: Manage the Balance of Power (Power or Influence?)

Should you adjust your style to be more competitive or accommodative based on the emerging Balance of Power?

1. You want a relationship to extend beyond this transaction.



2. He seems to want a relationship to extend beyond this transaction.



3. Your BATNA position is strong, relative to his.



4. Do you have institutional constraints requiring your to sign this agreement?



Are you negotiating from a position of strength, relative to him (1N, 2Y, 3Y, 4N) ?

You can negotiate with Power tactics.

Are you negotiating from a position of relative equality (1Y, 2Y, 3Y, 4Y) ?

You can combine Power and Influence tactics.

Are you negotiating from a position of relative weakness (1Y, 2N, 3N, 4Y) ?

You must use Influence tactics.

Power tactics: Good cop, bad cop. Now or Never, Justifying & attacking anchor positions.

Influence tactics: Pot of gold. Foundation. Nickels & Dimes. Relationship-builders.

Step 4:  Motivators — Fear of losing the opportunity or Hope for gain?

A) You have a more powerful position compared to your counterparty.

Yes – Fear Tactics are in play.

No – Question B

B) You are confident that he has a relatively safe Best Alternative

Yes – Hope for Gain

No – Question C

C) You want to maintain a relationship with the counterparty

Yes – Hope for Gain tactics

No – Question D

D) You have institutional constraints to finalize this deal

Yes – Hope for Gain

No – Fear of Loss

Fear Tactics: End of the World, Take Away, Deadline
Hope Tactics: Pot of Gold, Marry Me, Press Release, Trial Balloon

Step 5: Controlled Descent. Concession planning.

A)  How did you begin the negotiation?





B)   What was your initial estimation of the balance of power?

You believe you were more powerful.

You believe the BoP was matched or ambiguous.

You believe he was more powerful.

C)   Is your style appropriate for your BoP estimate?

High power => Competitive, Collaborating

Ambiguous => Collaborating, Avoiding

Low power => Accommodating, Collaborating, Avoiding

D)   Did you Anchor or Wait at the Altar?




E)  What are the top 3 Variables you plan to negotiate?



F)  What are the variables you OBSERVED?

Yours (have any new variables emerged once you started negotiating)


G) What are your highest priority variables?

H) What are his highest priorities?

I) After your first meeting, how did your initial BoP assessment compare with observation?

J) What will your first concession be? What is the trigger?

K) What will you demand/expect as his first concession? What will the trigger be?

L) What will be your first style shift? What will be the trigger?

M) What will your terminal style? What is your final acceptable offer?

Concession Tactics: Anchoring, Wait at the Altar, Log Rolling, Nickels & Dimes, Flinch, Still Friends, Press Release, Trial Balloon, Control the Flow, Call his Bluff

6) Other Issues.

While these factors aren’t necessarily part of you tactical plan, they are issues you should consider carefully. Make sure you and your team/stakeholders are aligned.

What is your tolerance for Conflict?

  • Part of the job description for a negotiator – and strategic partner.
  • A little tension is normal in negotiation and business, but conflict shouldn’t define the process.
  • Conflict is a deal killer, and is to be avoided at all costs.

High Conflict Tactics: End of the World, Still Friends, Common Enemy, Divide and Conquer, Call his Bluff

Moderate or ambiguous: Anchoring, Deadlines, Nickles and Dimes, Good Cop – Bad Cop, Big Guns, Mirroring, Trial Balloon, Silence, Why?

Low Conflict: Back Burner, Let’s Take a Break, Foundation, Lunch, Full Disclosure.

Are you working in a team?
Teams can make you stronger or undermine your strategy. The difference is preparation and planning. Some tactics, like Good Cop – Bad Cop or Big Guns, are obviously team activities. Others, like Bluff or Take Away can be undermined by a clumsy team member who blurts out a contradictory message.

Team Tactics: Good Cop – Bad Cop, Big Guns,
Tactics prone to internal confusion: Break, Take Away, Flinch, Bluff, Nickles & Dimes.

Do you care about the relationship?
Relationships are variables, just like price and quantity, and need to be consciously negotiated. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that strategic business relationships are a matter of personal chemistry or familiarity. Sometimes, you don’t want a relationship — you just want to transact. Other times, a strategic partnership is more important than a single deal.

Relationship-building tactics: Foundation, Log Rolling, Flinch, Big Guns, Marry Me, Breathe

Relationship-killers: End of the World, Good Cop – Bad Cop, Still Friends, Common Enemy, Divide and Conquer, Trial Balloon, Bluff, Call his Bluff, Walk Away


All Rights Reserved. Property of Andrew Hupert. Copyright @2015

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