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What matters in interest-based negotiations

Expertise Verhandlungen konsultoriuntitled by krakenimages via unsplash CC0 1.0 Creative Commons

Accompany negotiations

Conclude negotiations successfully with a greater win-win

As entrepreneurs, we encounter negotiations on a daily basis: in cooperations, in sales, when entering investors or (selling) companies, as well as with co-founders or employees. We advise and accompany startups in negotiations of cooperations and M&A topics, hold negotiation tactics workshops to transfer knowledge through training, and provide founders with our platform key2investors with virtual labs, online training, and programs along the investor process.

Growth needs cooperations and investors

Those who grow manage to do so more quickly with strength from outside. It is not for nothing that gazelle companies and hidden champions also grow via scaling models such as licensing agreements, joint ventures, strategic alliances or other forms of cooperation. When investors come on board and this happens for the first time, there is also a need for action when negotiating.

Everyday negotiations

When you’re negotiating larger contracts with potential clients, in discussion with a CoFounder because something is changing or someone is joining, or it’s about key employees, negotiation is ingrained in everyday life. A lot of it is under your own control. When newer challenges arise, you can also call on external support.

Tips and our approach

Prepare interest-based negotiations

We have been working successfully for years according to the Harvard Negotiation Method, the interest-based procedure. We separate the people and interpersonal dynamics from the interests of the negotiators and decision-makers. A large part of the negotiation success does not occur during the negotiation, but already “off the table” before. Here it is necessary to optimize: the process, the sequence, option packages, the right counterpart, difficult moments and above all the alternatives.

Plan B

Time and again, the power of parallel negotiation is underestimated. Particularly when startups negotiate with investors or corporates, an imbalance of power arises that can be balanced by more options. We are working intensively on this.

Understanding the other side

We often make assumptions about what negotiating partners expect. But most of the time we are surprised what really influences decisions and negotiations as the hidden agenda of the people involved. In the interest-based approach, we take care of this perspective specifically. Are we talking to the right people at the right times and have we understood exactly what drives them?

Options development

There is not only one offer and that is negotiated. Often there is not only one topic that is negotiated but we are faced with a multi-issue negotiation and combine several topics in packages. The main issue here is the optimization of mutual interests in option packages. We develop this together with you.

Think 2-3 steps ahead

The negotiation itself influences not only the outcome of this single session but the entire course of the negotiation sequences. Thinking 2-3 steps ahead and tactically influencing the process is one of our main tasks.

Negotiation coaching before meetings and support in meetings

Tactical pre-discussions serve to assess the situation with all its implications, to point out alternatives, and to talk through your own limits and potentials for the next round of negotiations. It is entirely up to you whether we are on-site with you in the negotiation or whether you handle it alone and then return to the debrief for external challenge and support. In difficult moments (and they are all too frequent), we put your options into perspective together and sort your challenges and next steps into an order of importance.

A tip for a successful negotiation: Keep an eye on your best alternative to the partner you are negotiating with at all times. The so-called BATNA (“best alternative to negotiated agreement”) is an important part of any negotiation preparation, is likely to change frequently during the process, and is an essential factor for negotiation success.