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Updated: 8 Sep 2017

Negotiation Bargaining Zone

[ni-goh-shee-ey-shuh n] [bahr-guh-ning] [zohn]

Your Bargaining Zone is the range or area in which an agreement is satisfactory to both negotiating parties. The bargaining zone is essentially the overlap area between walk away positions in a negotiation.

Before entering into a negotiation, it’s essential that you reduce your risk by deciding not only your walk-aways for each goal or negotiable, but and also predicting other negotiators’ walk-aways too. Clients on our negotiation training courses often push back saying: “We don’t know what the other side’s walk away is, and they’re never going to tell us”. While this is true, you need to anticipate how far other negotiators will concede before the deal has too little value for them to agree. Without this information, you won’t have an idea for your Bargaining Zone.

The discipline of trying to figure out other negotiators’ walk-aways before and during negotiations is one of the best practices that separates good from great negotiators. Good routes include:

  • market research including asking stakeholders and the other party’s competitors,
  • carefully honed questions in your negotiation meetings,
  • watching and listening for non-verbal responses when you make offers that are close to or in breach of their walk-aways.

Also see: ZOPA

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