From Potential to Exponential™


Negotiation Process – The Dance

February 26, 2018

The negotiation process, formal or informal, has a 3-stage process:

  1. The Overture
  2. The Dance
  3. The Deal

Stage 2: The Dance

This second stage is all about “exploration” and “discovery”

  • Discovering, defining and aligning your baseline “needs” and aspirational “wants” with those of the other party 
  • Establishment of deadlines for actions moving to close
  • Search for alternatives – competition sharpens all negotiations
  • Framing what we must have or do versus what we hope to do
  • Exploring through probing “how” and “why” questions – you can never ask to many questions
  • Use the magic tee phrase for any question “help me to understand . . .”
  • Write down and hold fast to your “must have walk away” terms
  • Brainstorm and develop creative solutions with “if . . then” options
  • Timing – make sure the other party commits to deadline for decisions and closing date – use liquidated damages for failure to meet
  • Budgets – yours and the other parties – including any contingencies
  • Authority – deal only with empowered decision makers having not only have the ability to say “yes” but also hold the power of the pen to sign contracts with corresponding financial spending authority

Before starting the dance. Know thyself first – by answering the foregoing points in writing – your needs, wants and most importantly – your “walk away”.


Best practice: Open your mind to all the options and avenues of approach, don’t be held hostage by past practice or current convention. In this stage everything is possible. Go for it!


Don’t be pressured by “take it or leave it” ultimatums. Answer with “perhaps” followed with another exploratory “if . . then” question. Bottomline: Don’t make a deal simply to make a deal – pull out that written “walk away” as a reminder.


Again, memorialize the facts in writing with a summarizing email of understanding after every conversation or meeting.                                              


Be clear, concise and disciplined in this stage as your moving to the deadline driven final stage – “The Deal”.

To learn more about the negotiation process check out our video.