Whatever the objective of the negotiation the chances of achieving the goals are severely limited if some basic steps are not followed.
Like everything else in business (and in life), planning means more than simply having an approximate idea of the amount you are willing to buy or sell, the price you hope to agree upon or the terms and conditions you expect to be part of the contract. You need to have a detailed picture of the market, your objectives in all areas of the negotiation with fall-back positions to which you can comfortably retreat, and an idea of what the other side will be trying to achieve. The more you are prepared, the less likely you are to be surprised or out-manoeuvred by the other side, and the greater your chance of achieving your objectives.
Whilst working as Corporate Treasurer of a chemical manufacturer and exporter, I recall a meeting with the new Regional Manager of a major bank who wanted to get to know the clients in his territory. We saw it as an opportunity to raise the subject of financing costs and bank commissions. While I did not expect him to understand our production process or marketing strategy at this stage, imagine my surprise when he asked me “And what volume and kind of activity do you have at our bank ?”. As well as the new manager making a totally negative impression on me, I can’t imagine a worse position from which to begin a negotiation.