Having watched 10,000 deals in 50 countries over ten years, Brian Dietmeyer, President & CEO, e-Think Inc., says there are two key questions to consider at the start of any negotiation.

He asks: what happens to both sides if a deal isn’t completed? And then, what are the likely terms in the event you do agree? Often, one or both sides don’t have clarity as to what happens in the event there is no deal…this is especially true when you’re dealing with a customer. What is/are its alternatives?

Regarding the possible terms, of course price is going to come up, but based on experience, many times both the buy and sell side don’t have all of the data (in addition to price) on the table simultaneously. People often look at the process as one of selling and negotiating. Dietmeyer suggests a different approach, driven by preparing as much data as possible.