2. Know Yourself -Agenda and Opening Offer

Get the negotiation started right with an opening offer that stretches your goals but won’t scare off your counterparty.

Good negotiators take the initiative and set the stage for the negotiation they want to have.

Plan out your NEGOTIATING AGENDA – and be aware of his.

The negotiating agenda includes (but is not limited to):

Variables and deal points

Time limits — of the negotiation itself and the deal

Who is negotiating, authority & decision-making process?

Where is the negotiation taking place — and what medium is being used.  Is it face-to-face, or are emails, texts, and phone conversations part of the decision-making process?

What information will be provided

Deal structure — is this a binding contract or a “best-efforts” handshake deal?  

Sequence and prerequisites — are we talking about A first, then B, and if all goes well C —  or is everything on the table all at once?

Dispute resolution, jurisdiction, and arbitration

Non-disclosure, confidentiality, and non-compete terms

Whoever sets the agenda has a tremendous advantage in the negotiation.

Remember the lessons from the GOBLINS Planning Guide  – develop a matrix of variables scored into  Like to achieve – Intermediate benchmark – Need it or NO WAY levels.

Review the VARIABLES MATRIX to learn how to present an attractive choice (for your side). 

What if he makes the first offer or tries to dictate the agenda?

Maybe you’ve made the decision to wait at the altar, or maybe he’s simply beaten you to the punch and dropped anchor first.   In this situation you have three broad sets of options:

1.  If his offer reveals previously unknown information, new variables, or dramatically differs from the scenario you had anticipated, then you have to make sure that your pre-deal analysis is still valid.

Your priority now is to gather information, confirm the key points of his offer (to make sure that it isn’t literally too good to be true).

If you and your counterparty are not on the same page, then you have to withdraw and reconstruct your GOBLINS profile.

2.  If he is simply positioning to control the agenda, then you have to RE-ANCHOR with your well-planned GOBLIN plan.

Even if you wait for him to make the first offer, you must  prepare and deliver your “L”, or opening offer.

3.  If he is trying to force deal-killing terms or procedures that will undermine the post-deal implementation (i.e.: inadequate IP protection or unacceptable legal jurisdictions) you have to decide whether or not to engage in the negotiation.

In many cases, the negotiation about the negotiation is more contentious — and important — than the

Download the

Good negotiators know that it is never too early to start maneuvering to seize the agenda and setting your benchmarks.


CASE:  2 Good Options  (Tactic:  6 of 1)

Instead of making a simple offer and asking “yes or no”, offer him two choices that are equal in value to you.

Yes or No? =>  NO!

A or B, Tues or Thurs, Plan 1 or 2? =>  B, Thurs and Plan 2


Review the basics-  the

Chap 3:  Know Your Counterparty

Tactics Database

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