Meet the GOBLINS
- Best Alternatives
- Like to Achieve
- Intermediate Benchmark
- Need to get – or No Deal
Goals — What are the overarching business & professional rationales for this deal?
What are you trying to build or achieve? What is your overarching business goal? First pass goal systems are internal matters — develop smart goals independent of your existing counterparties. Negotiators who let their counterparties have too much influence over their goal systems often get the deal they are offered – but have trouble turning it into a successful business.
Objectives are specific to this negotiation.
What do you want from the guy across the table? Now you have to turn your general goal into specific variables, timetables, and commitments. How much are you going to give up — and what is he willing to give up?
Best Alternatives — or Plan B.
Goals and Objectives set the upper goal — Best Alternatives set the floor. Your best alternative can also be your “least worst” option. It’s what you’ll end up doing if this deal falls through. You negotiate until you can do better elsewhere. In the short term, your priority is to know what your real alternatives are.
Like to Achieve. Your ambition.
Now that you have limits, maneuver and position to get the best outcome you can. Start by scoping out all your variables into ambitious case, most likely case, and bottom-line walkaway point.
You L is ambitious and maybe even a bit unrealistic — but it isn’t so outrageous that you appear crazy, cut-throat or clueless. The important thing is to express what you want from him in specific, measurable, and objectively understandable terms. “$15,000 for a used car” is relatively bulletproof. “An ownership stake for best efforts marketing that lead to sales” is very vague and open to different interpretations — and needs to be more defined & refined.
I stands for Intermediate Benchmark.
The I position should be in between (but not necessarily in the middle of) your L and Need options. I should also be an independent, readily available benchmark or index that is related to the negotiation. Mortgage brokers may use interest rates on government bonds. Salary negotiations are often benchmarked to the inflation rate. Plastics and chemicals prices are often linked to oil prices. Find the benchmark that will help you support your L position.
N is your final price. You need this – or no deal.
N is the point where you must walk away from this negotiation — and is tied to your Best Alternative. You get to N when your alternative is better – even if that means going out of business or losing your job. Keep working until you get to N — and then just walk away. Never go below your N. N is your Best Alternative +/- the time, money, and trouble to switch. If you are comparing two brands of paper towels in a supermarket, your N and B may be identical. If you are switching international shipping companies, it may be complicated and take some time – so there may be a gap between your N and Plan B option.
Style describes what kind of relationship you’ll be building.
The four types are competitor, collaborator, accommodaters, and avoiders. If you decide you are in a powerful position with an attractive Best Alternative, then you can be competitive or collaborating. If your position is weak, you had best plan on how far you are willing to go to get what you need — and how much accommodation that may require.