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The Truth About Negotiations by Leigh Thompson

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Truth 13Signal your BATNA

You may have noticed a BATNA-related Catch-22: "I can't tell the truth without being totally duped, and I can't lie without suffering moral-strategic-legal costs. What exactly do you advise?"

To make matters worse, counterparties often ask you about your BATNA directly. "Do you have any offers yet?" Similarly, a homebuyer asks home sellers, "Any action on your home?" And a vendor might bait a procurement director with, "Do you have another source for this product?"

So, what should you do when hit with a "What's-your-BATNA" question?

First, there are two things you shouldn't do.

  • Don't ignore the question and hope it will go away. It won't.
  • Don't turn the question around by saying, "I'll show you mine if you show me ...

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