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June 4, 2010

What's The Worst Thing That Could Happen?

Now there's a question that we've all heard and many have even asked themselves. 
For negotiators it's more than an innocent inquiry. It is the core of one's pre-negotiating strategy building. The concept is so crucial that it has been given a name, actually an acronym....BATNA
BATNA stands for "Best Alternative To a Negotiating Agreement". 
Know that every negotiator needs to have a BATNA. Put in other terms, good negotiators have already considered, 
"What are my options if we can't reach a negotiated agreement?"
What if:    We don't sell the house?
            I can't get this job?
         They won't agree to my price?
         My proposal isn't accepted?
Rather than be surprised at these unsavory possibilities, wouldn't it be wise to consider beforehand what could be done in such cases?
Now don't confuse BATNA with one's "bottom line position". The bottom line is a position which describes the worst possible outcome that a negotiator could accept. Notice they "could accept"
it, even though it would be painful.
The BATNA is the alternative when there is no possible acceptable
agreement. The deal just isn't going to work. Now what?   The
answer to that is one's BATNA.
If there is no BATNA and a deal "has to" go together, concessions will have to be made regardless of how compromising they are. Such situations are rare. There is typically an alternative to be considered, such as - no deal!
Here's the key: Most amateur negotiators won't consider a BATNA because they are so emotionally committed to putting a deal together. They ignore the 'no deal' possibility and miss tapping the power of the BATNA.
When creating a BATNA, a negotiator should:
1. Brainstorm all available alternatives that might be considered if the bargaining fails to end in agreement;
2. Select the most promising alternatives and develop them into practical and attainable alternatives; and
3. Keep it in reserve as a fall-back during the negotiation.
Of all the negotiating mistakes or failed strategies encountered, none is more profound than failing to PREPARE for a negotiation.
Such preparation is incomplete without also determining the BATNA.
Good negotiators tap the amazing power of the BATNA. Know your BATNA.
Keep Negotiating.
1915 Brandon Brook Rd, Valrico, FL 33594, USA
Licensed Pennsylvania real estate broker for over 35 years, John Hamilton is an author, national speaker and educator who specializes in the art of negotiation. His most popular workshop is, “Negotiating: What’s Mine Is Mine, What’s Yours Is Negotiable” John was the 2002 President of the International Real Estate Educators Association and conducts over 125 seminars annually to business, banking, auctioneer, manufacturer representatives and real estate Boards/Associations. John's book KEEP Negotiating has become a desktop favorite for active real estate agents everywhere For past 15 years he has presented training program nationwide on sales, negotiating and motivational topics. Visit for a free report entitled the Top 12 Mistakes Negotiators Make. 

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