3. Know Your Counterpart — Find information

Engage and Analyze your counterparty during the negotiating process.

Early stages of a negotiation are often characterized by seemingly casual conversation, small-talk, and relationship-building dialogue.

This isn’t a prelude or an overture before the REAL work begins — this is an important part of the negotiation.  He is learning about you, your goals, and your weaknesses.  You have to do the same.

Show up with strategy for surfacing the information you care  about. Start by asking seemingly general questions that get him talking about his business philosophy and attitudes.

Here’s a list of Big Talk questions — the opposite of Small Talk.

The most important things you can learn about your counterparty are his Best Alternative an Walk Away point.

He will do his best to keep this secret, but you can get a good idea about his position by asking the right questions and making some educated guesses.

Uncover his Bottom Line:

You know his L — that was his opening offer.

Now you must uncover his true N level.

What’s his best alternative to YOU?


By now you know if you care about a relationship or not.  Find out what he thinks. 

Decide what kind of information will help you determine his bottom line, walk-away point.

Use STEEPLE framework an Porter’s 5 Forces analysis to familiarize yourself with his market and industry.

Use Trial Balloons (sometimes called “test closes”) and other information tactics to uncover his true position.


Information Tactics

Chap 4:  Power and Influence

Tactics Database

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