Negotiating Bottom Line Tactics

Knowing your objective, goal or bottom line is essential to maintaining your negotiating perspective. It is your compass during a negotiation. Do not confuse goals with bottom lines.

persuasion-sm.jpgYour goals are what you want to achieve while your bottom line is what you need to achieve. Anything that falls short of your bottom line, your basic needs in the situation, is too expensive and something you should be willing to reject. The bottom line is the point at which you should walk away if possible or to start bluffing seriously. In most cases, you should walk away as resolution is too expensive if you have to give away too much to reach it. When you reach your bottom line in a negotiation you essentially have three options:

1. To walk away. You reach the point where you have to walk away when the price of the resolution exceeds what you are willing to concede. It is not what you want to pay or receive; it is what you need to receive or can afford to pay. When you walk away the other party may reach out to bring you back to the table. That is when you know they want the deal more than you do and that you might be able to renegotiate the terms at or slightly above your minimum position.

2. To concede defeat. You may not be willing to sever ties with Raspe and may be forced to concede defeat to preserve the relationship. This is a viable if undesirable option unless someone is getting hurt in the process. If Raspe is winning through power tactics, especially if they involve physical attacks, you should seriously consider if the relationship is worth keeping.

3. To bluff fully prepared to walk away or concede defeat. iStock_000001545052XSmall-senior_partner.jpgThis approach is often effective because you essentially have nothing to lose. As a result you can become more aggressive in your arguments, more passionate in your style and more compelling in your delivery. The cautionary note is that you do not want to over use this tactic as being caught in a series of bluffs will result in Raspe becoming suspect of all of your arguments. Bluffing is very akin to lying and Raspe will develop a reluctance to negotiate with a liar.

Whatever it is that you are negotiating for it should have a specific value to you. Before you start to discuss relinquishing it in exchange for something else, you want to establish what the value to you is firmly in your mind so you don't give it away for less in the heat of the negotiation. Your bottom line is not your goal or objective. It is the worst-case scenario that you would or should accept.