Preparation Checklist – The Steps

uneven pieThe GOBLINS negotiation process, by the numbers:


Step 1 – What does win look like?

Establish the top of your negotiating range by identifying your GOALS and deciding on your specific OBJECTIVES (deal points).

Step 2 – What is the bottom of the range?

Identify your BEST ALTERNATIVE – or Plan B in case this negotiation ends badly. What are you left with?  This sets the lower limit of your negotiating range.

Step 3 – Variables, deal-points, and agendas

Identify your top variables from Step 1, prioritize them, and score them into what you’d LIKE to achieve for each variable, what you think is a reasonable INTERMEDIATE level, and what your ‘NEED IT OR NO WAY” walk-away point.

Step 4 – Choose your negotiating style.

Businessman has stress and sreams into mobile phoneWhat’s the power-balance like in this negotiation?  Use your matrix from step 3 and your Best iStock_000008628612SmallAlternative analysis from step 2 to determine what your STYLE you should employ.  You must decide if you should be competitive, collaborating, accommodating or avoiding.  Your negotiating style is a decision – not destiny.

Step 5 – Tactics and Counter-tactics

Execute you plan with appropriate TACTICS and behaviors.  Don’t talk COLLABORATOR while using high-pressure tactics that say COMPETITOR.  Know what they care about and prepare a plan for giving them what they want as you get what you want.

Practical Application:

Here’s a helpful checklist to help you prepare your negotiating plan.


Step 1: Goals and objectives


Stakeholders – Yes, No, Both & Maybe

Goals ________________________

Variables or deal points ________________________



Power Assessment  🙂   😐  🙁

Constraints — Yours________________


Constraints – His ___________________


Step 2: Establishing a floor

Plan B

Best Alternative Analysis –




Step 3:  Scoping Variables

Agenda check — How does this negotiation fit in with your overall goals from step 1?

0%  Doesn’t directly contribute to my main goals.

25%  Contributes to my goals, but I’ll still have to look for new counterparties.

50%  This negotiation plays a significant, possibly strategic, role.

75%  This negotiation is my most important single piece of business right now.

100% identical.  This is my goal.

101% +   Time to reassess your goal or your objectives.  You are not analyzing your goal system properly.


3 Key Variables or deal-points that you want the other side to deliver.  This is your goal system – restated in terms of the actual price, product, or performance you are discussing to with the counterparty.  If your goal is to own a reliable car, your variables would include type of car, new or used, price, warranty, service, and possibly financing.  If you can’t put a price or value on something, your counterparty will.

Like to achieve for each variable.  Opening offer

Intermediate Benchmark

Need to achieve.  Walk-away

Step 4: Styles

Assess your power balance (hint – how much do you need this deal?):

I’m in control.

I’m strong.

Even split.

My position isn’t as strong as his.

I’m in a weak position.

What’s your opening Style?

Competitive – Win Lose

Collaborative – Win Win

Accommodating – Lose Win

Avoiding – Lose Lose

Step 5 – Tactics

What’s your final Style?






Download the GOBLINS Prep Checklist

NEXT:  GOBLINS method and worksheet (simple)


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