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20: BATNA as defined and taught by Danny Ertel

BATNA – Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement:

Nicole chats with Danny Ertel, lawyer; founding partner of Vantage Partners; and Senior Researcher at the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Learn what we’re solving for what’s important to both parties – what each is trying to accomplish or avoid.

Negotiation frustration: games and false fronts meant to throw off a negotiation. When a negotiator is a messenger with a demand vs. a party with a vested interest.

Avoid the haggle: Pricing high and leaving ‘room’ for a concession. It teaches the client not to trust the first thing you say.

Scope and fee changes: Should be managed together as part of an ongoing decision making discussion versus tabled for the end of the project. It’s about leverage.

Historical data lead to portfolio pricing success: 5 plus year relationship provided significant experience and revealed patterns within the organization’s matters. Certain cases were sortable by criteria and could be categorized for pricing and staffing efficiencies.

Under pressure to reduce write-offs the firm required disciplined preparation before a negotiation, which allowed for creative problem solving; stronger controls on scope and scope management with regular client check-ins; and end of project – full debriefs.

BATNA – Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement: what we’ll do if we don’t reach an agreement. For professionals it measures opportunity cost using profitability and strength of relationship.