Negotiation Preparation Differences in Selling Situations: Collaborative versus Competitive Expectations

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Marketing Management Journal


Pre-negotiation planning is critical to a successful negotiation encounter, yet while vital, few studies have made it a focal point. In this exploratory study, scenario analysis was used to discern potential differences in the pre-negotiation process in highly collaborative and highly competitive selling situations. Results indicate a disparity in the planning processes between the groups; not only in terms of the amount of planning, but also in the behaviors that comprise the planning process. Five major planning differences between pre-negotiation for an anticipated collaborative encounter versus a competitive encounter were identified: 1) obtain information on alternatives the client may be pursuing, 2) understand the other side’s decision making unit, 3) obtain information on the client’s anticipated preparation activities, 4) contrive your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), and 5) devise competitive attacking strategies. The findings are the first to empirically illustrate that the current theory of firm-to-firm negotiation should begin to incorporate an important element, that of preparation.