Goals and Best Alternatives 1. What is our goal in this negotiation? Why do we want to achieve this goal?
2. What is my best alternative for achieving this goal if this negotiation is not successful?
3. Will I disclose my best alternative to the other side during this negotiation? (Usually “yes” if your alternative is strong and “no” if your alternative is weak.)
4. How can I improve my best alternative? (By improving your alternative, you increase your power.)
5. What is the other side’s goal in this negotiation? Why does the other side want to achieve this goal?
6. What is the other side’s best alternative for achieving its goal if this negotiation is not successful?
Issues That Are Likely to Arise (apart from price) What issues are likely to arise during the negotiation? List them and after each issue note:
1. why the issue is important to me
2. facts I can use to support my position on each issue,
3. why the issue is important to the other side. 7. Do I have a personal or long-term relationship with the other side? If so, how might
this relationship affect the analysis in #8? If not, do I want to build a relationship with the other side?
8. Using the analysis at #8, what are the possible ways to create value for both sides—for example, by trading issues or by building on interests? What questions do I want to ask the other side when exploring these possibilities?
Questions Relating to Price
9. What is my reservation price? Why is this price important to me? (The reservation price is the lowest price you are willing to accept if you are the seller or the highest price you are willing to pay if you are the buyer.)
10. What is the most likely price? (This is a reasonable target price.)
11. What is my stretch goal? (Use this stretch early in negotiations. This is the highest price or the lowest price—depending on whether you are seller or buyer—that you can reasonably justify.)
12. What is the other side’s reservation price?
13. What is the zone of potential agreement? (This is the zone in which a deal can take place. This zone lies between the two reservation prices.)
14. Should I be the first to state a price? (If you are fairly confident about the value, consider anchoring the other side to your offer by stating the price first. If you are not confident about the value, asking the other side to state the price first is one way to determine value. But avoid becoming anchored to the other side’s number.)
*Thank you to the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) for encouraging the development of this planner. IACCM, in partnership with Huthwaite International, produced a benchmark study entitled “Improving Corporate Negotiation Performance.” The study noted the importance of planning to negotiation success, but concluded that most companies use no formal planning tools. After reviewing a planning template included in the study, I prepared a list of items that should be in a planner and presented them to contract professionals at conferences in the United States and Europe and to an international audience during a webinar. This planning checklist incorporates feedback from these veteran negotiators.