If you ever find yourself wishing spring was coming faster I have the solution, commit to writing a blog and before you know it – BAMN – the days turn to weeks and deadlines are upon you.

In this blog I’ll focus on BATNA. A ubiquitous term found in virtually all negotiation texts.

What is BATNA in the world of negotiation?

BATNA is defined as – the best alternative to negotiated agreement. Originally penned by Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) it has proven to be a cornerstone in negotiation theory and fundamental in preparing for most every negotiation. What is your best alternative? If you fail, what will you end up with?

I’m reminded of the definition we were made to memorize in undergraduate economics for the phrase “opportunity cost”. What you could have done if you didn’t do what you did. In this case “what you will be left (perhaps forced) to live with if you don’t close the deal at hand”.

What’s your BATNA? Often a seller’s BATNA is missed quota and subsequent trouble with the boss. If the buyer figures this out (lots of clues for another BLOG post), they leverage that and get the seller to negotiate against themselves, ultimately dropping their price in order to avoid the BATNA.

Why do I write about this? Because it makes me crazy.

Knowledge of the BATNA is very important and fundamental to any negotiation however, I believe a solid bracket is equally, frankly more important in any negotiation.

THE BRACKET: Your open (Raise the Bar!), your target (Try and Plan) and your bottom line (BATNA).

OPEN – Open high and raise the bar! Set an anchor and strive to achieve more through proper negotiation planning.

TARGET – Yes you will most likely need to move from your opening position and concede something. Recall, never give something without getting something in return. Negotiate back and forth toward your target. Try! Make a plan!

BOTTOM LNE – BATNA And here, I strongly, vehemently, encourage my students to focus only on their target and negotiate hard to close to that level.

If you think too much about the BATNA, obsess about the BATNA, worry about the BATNA, you’ll end up blowing right through your target on the way to a close that is way too close to your bottom line. Way to close to your BATNA.

So in closing;

The Foundation = TRY – PLAN – RAISE THE BAR!


Now I’m off to start my next blog. I have a deadline and I can already feel it fast approaching. If only Spring would arrive as quickly.