The Power Of Parallel Negotiating Tracks

by drjim on August 8, 2014

There can be more than one way to reach a deal

There can be more than one way to reach a deal
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All too often in a negotiation we encounter a situation where no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques we use, we are told to “take it or leave it”. This can be a big roadblock when it comes to finding a way to reach a deal with the other side. The good news is that there is another way. If you know how to use parallel negotiating tracks, then you just might still be able to reach a deal.

What Are Parallel Negotiating Tracks?

To put it as simply as possible, a parallel negotiating path is simple a type of “Plan B” for a negotiation. What experienced negotiators realize is that in a negotiation, there is often not a single correct answer or outcome. You’re just not going to be able to make that happen.

Instead, if you can take the time to create a Plan B to the negotiations that are ongoing, then you are going to boost the chances that you’re going to be able to reach a successful deal. Effectively what you are doing here is buying yourself some insurance that you’ll be able to reach a deal.

How Do You Use Parallel Negotiating Tracks?

A parallel negotiating track can be set up for just about anything. This can include an alternative deadline or a different price. You can even boost your chances of reaching a deal by creating a parallel track that combines a closing date with a price.

The power of using a parallel negotiating track is that it allows you to use many different solutions to reach a successful deal with the other side. This can be especially useful when the main negotiations have hit a “that’s the price – take it or leave it” stage.

A parallel negotiating track is something that can be used along with the critical path (how you’ll get to an agreement by the time that you need it). A parallel negotiating track can provide you with a way to reach a deal that will allow the other side to see the deal that they are getting from a different vantage point.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

It can be all too easy for a principled negotiation to reach a dead-end. The other side tells you to take it or leave it and it sure looks like the negotiation is over. However, if you know how to use parallel negotiating tracks then there still might be some hope for your negotiation.

Parallel negotiating tracks have to do with creating another line of negotiating that exists in parallel with your primary negotiations. You can think of the parallel negotiating track as answering the question “Yes, if…” where you agree to what has been negotiated if and only if the other side agrees to what’s being discussed on the parallel negotiating track.

The one thing that we always want to avoid if at all possible is to have our next negotiation not work out. If we can take the time to look for ways to find a deal that the other side can live with, then we’ll be able to boost our chances of reaching a deal quicker and being able to move on.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should have multiple parallel negotiating tracks in case one doesn’t work out?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In a negotiation, reaching a deadlock is something that we all fear, right? Everyone views a deadlock, which is when both sides can’t agree on something that is being discussed, as a form of failure. We don’t want to fail, so we use all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we know to try to avoid deadlocks at any cost. However, it turns out that the clever negotiator knows that deadlocks are something that they can use to their advantage if they know how to go about doing it correctly.

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