Your negotiation journey - part two: the negotiation tree

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Constantin Papadopoulos is a freelance B2B marketing & sales consultant.

The following nine techniques/skills will improve the outcome of your negotiations. While these techniques are simple and effective, your negotiation success will come from applying them regularly. The best part of these techniques is that you can use them in your daily life. So let's take a look at the second technique:

The negotiation tree

What is a negotiation tree?

The negotiation tree is derived from the decision tree. The Harvard Business Review already mentioned the power of decision trees in the sixties. John F. Magee described its function as a tool that "can clarify for management [...] the choices, risks, objectives, monetary gains, and information needs involved in an investment problem." A negotiation tree has the same function, outlining the different scenarios, and plan your next negotiation actions accordingly.

Why a negotiation tree?

You will read in part four that acting as the host while negotiating is one of the keys to success. A good host is not in a position of need and is prepared for the responses of his counterpart. After having built your polygon of interests, the negotiation tree tells you to prepare for each potential reaction of your counterpart. Being prepared for the potential actions/reactions of your counterpart will keep you in control of your emotions and have your next move ready.

How to prepare your own negotiation tree?

There are different ways to prepare for a negotiation using a decision tree. I enjoy the one proposed by Igor Ryzov which you find here available. An alternative that I also use is to link the sales design (or sales funnel) with the nine mentioned negotiation techniques. Based on your sales funnel, determine the potential reactions of your counterpart. Let's take cold emailing as an example while prospecting. The negotiation tree shall help you react to the potential responses from your targeted audience. Here is a short example that I use:

  • Shows interest -> send free content and offer a preliminary call

  • Does not show interest ->thank respectfully and offer to resend free content in xx days/weeks

  • Does not respond -> Go for no oriented statement and offer to reconnect in xx days/weeks

In summary, the negotiation tree is a methodology to plan your next moves and be prepared for your counterpart's reactions. This will not only support you in becoming the host of the negotiation. This step will enable you to raise your awareness level while negotiating, which is leads us to the third post on negotiation - raise your awareness level.

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