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Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships by Melanie Billings-Yun

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Chapter 10. SUBSTITUTES — THE BACKUP PLAN

I am often asked to tell about a negotiation I lost. My clearly unsatisfactory answer is that although there have been a number of disappointments (routes that didn't work out, relationships that couldn't be mended, counterparts who proved untrustworthy), I can't recall any time I or my clients have felt we lost a negotiation. That isn't because I'm particularly brilliant or lucky but because (1) I always base my agreements on verifiable arguments and (2) I never go into a negotiation without knowing my Substitutes. Substitutes are the backup plan: what you'll do if the negotiation doesn't yield positive results—and when you're better off moving to Plan B. I have come away from a negotiation with "no deal" ...

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