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Negotiation Games – 4 Smart Plays To Become a Better Negotiator

Key take-aways

  • Efficient research is crucial before negotiation; focus on what you need to win the negotiation.
  • Prepare your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) to enhance negotiation outcomes.
  • Effective negotiators prioritize listening over talking, as it helps identify the opposing party’s weaknesses.

Are you prepared for the negotiation games? If you are, then there’s no need for you to read this article. Chances are, though, that you’re not yet ready and that’s okay. 

For this article, we are going to talk about four smart plays that you can use to become a better negotiator. Each play is designed to help you win your negotiations or, at the very least, give you an alternative should negotiations become extremely difficult.

By the end of this article, you should be an expert already with negotiation plays!

Play 1– Efficient Researching

We’ve already discussed the importance of researching before stepping into any type of negotiation. It’s discussed in greater detail in our 13 negotiation principles article. In any case, you’ve probably heard this a million times by now; don’t step into any negotiation unless you’ve done your research. However, we bet no one has told you yet how to do efficient researching before striking up a negotiation.

One can do any type of research they want, but it’s not going to guarantee that you’ll get the information you need. Before doing any research, find out what you need to win the negotiation first. Is the opponent a seasoned negotiator? Are you dealing with a company that has a successful run of negotiations? Are you going in with a good offer? Do you have suitable counter-offers? Always try to come up with different scenarios in your head so you’ll know what you need to do research on.

Play 2– Get your BATNA Ready

To get out of a hairy negotiation, you need to get your BATNA ready. There’s really no excuse. Only the pros would always get their BATNA ready and 9 out of 10 it always helps them get a better conclusion right after a very difficult negotiation. 

We discussed the BATNA in greater detail in one of our articles, but for those who really want to learn how to use it efficiently, our Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals can help negotiators out there in preparing for their BATNA for every negotiation.


Play 3– Listening is better than Talking

Seriously, we’ve heard way too many horror stories where negotiators insist on talking their way to victory against their opponents. Most of the time, these negotiators are often avoided and are even considered a menace. To become an effective negotiator, you also need to develop your listening skills. Because through listening, an expert negotiator can often spot weaknesses in the opposing party’s negotiation script.

There will be times when the opposing party may blurt out a piece of important information. If you’ve managed to catch it while they are speaking, it’ll immediately give you an idea of what to say next. Also, by listening intently to the other party, you are also seen as a negotiator who is calm and calculating, thus it makes you intimidating to the other party.

Play 4– Learn when to Quit

You’ve heard the phrase “quitting while you’re ahead” right? Well, this rule also applies to negotiations. If you don’t see any point in negotiating with the other party further or you don’t see any way where you’re going to get what you want, it’s time to raise the white flag. Don’t stop or linger too long at the negotiation table; stand up, thank the opposing party for their time, and leave. 

Leaving the negotiation table is such a power move that we also have an article on how to leave the negotiation table. Of course, use this tactic sparingly; otherwise, you’ll never be able to close deals at all if you keep leaving the negotiation table!

When to ExpectNegotiation Games

Well, there will be different times where you are going to be engaged in negotiations. It could be during an important procurement for your company, trying to negotiate prices for materials, or even buying your own house or furniture.

Always remember, negotiations will always be an integral part of everyday activities. And in the hands of skillful negotiators, negotiation games are nothing more but a show of their skills and expertise.

Do you want to become one of those skillful negotiators? Then you know where to go!

Enroll in our Negotiation Course For Procurement professionals to be the best negotiator that you could be.

Frequentlyasked questions

How can I prepare for negotiations more effectively?

Conduct efficient research to identify critical information and needs for a successful negotiation.

What is BATNA, and how can it benefit me in negotiations?

BATNA stands for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement and is crucial for achieving better negotiation outcomes by providing a backup plan.

When should I consider ending a negotiation?

It’s wise to quit a negotiation if it no longer serves your interests or offers no path to achieving your objectives.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics