There are heaps of acronyms in business. And I fully acknowledge that as a negotiation pro it’s easy to slip into some sort of secret coded language when I’m talking about the techniques and strategies that will get people great results…but what good is all that info going to do if you can’t understand and apply it!

Today I’m breaking down the concept of a BATNA. Finding a BATNA, using a BATNA, and what happens if you don’t have a BATNA.

BATNA stands for Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement.

Or, in layman’s terms:

“What’s your plan B if this deal turns to crap?”

Pretty important to have that figured out before you start the negotiation, right?

If you’re looking to hire a copywriter, your BATNA could be that if it doesn’t work out with Person 1, you know you can hire Person 2 instead.

You can have these ‘best alternatives’ in life as well. Remember back to college? You may have had a Top Pick school, and then a few Safety Schools. You’d love to go to the Top Pick, but you had back up options.

Even something as simple as not being able to get into the Italian restaurant you wanted to eat at, but knowing that there’s a fab Thai right around the corner.

The power of a BATNA – or figuring out what your alternatives are – is that it gives you the power to walk away from a deal or situation that isn’t going to work for you. You’re not trapped. You have choice.

The more alternatives you have, and the stronger they are, the more powerful you are in that negotiation.

For example, if you’ve only got 1 client in the pipeline…eh. Not so optimal in terms of choice. To keep the lights on you may end up signing a sub-par deal with them.
But if you have a pipeline of 3-4 clients, if you’re in talks with each of them, if you’ve got a healthy business savings account…then you’ve got options, choices, power.

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Your challenge for this week is to generate a list of alternatives for the situation you’re in right now. What else can you do if this all goes sideways?