Remember the BATNA!

What’s a BATNA? Jabba tried to feed Skywalker to it.

Just kidding. It’s the acronym for “best alternative to negotiated agreement”.

BATNA is a term of art in the world of negotiations. It’s intended to represent your best choice besides taking whatever deal is on the table.

For example: Let’s say you have only one offer to buy your building. If you don’t consider any alternatives besides selling, you’re basically at the mercy of the person across the table, because that’s the only game in town. But, if you are willing to consider alternatives, you might realize that you could also re-finance, pull out some cash, and hold the property.

Once you realize that your BATNA isn’t so bad, two things probably happen:

  1. You get confidence in your negotiating position and stand firmer, knowing the alternative to striking a deal isn’t so bad; and
  2. Your negotiating partner, recognizing your willingness to go another direction, moderates his demands.

So, far from endangering the negotiation, considering your alternatives actually has a way of making it more likely that you negotiate a fair deal.