Negotiation is a continual process that requires several steps to obtain the desired outcomes. If you’re trying to buy or sell something, or are in a job situation in which the initial offer is lower than what you are seeking, there are many strategies to help you to create value and achieve what you want from the situation. The first step is to understand the basics of negotiation such as how to prepare and concepts like ZOPA (zero option plan of action) and BATNA (best alternative to an agreement that has been negotiated).

Leverage is the key to any negotiation. You must know what you can truly leave the table and also what is the limitations of the other party. Understanding the other’s viewpoint and sharing your own perception is the best way to establish a rapport. You can also use an approach known as anchoring to establish a common reference point early on. This will force the other party to focus on the lower portion of your price range and increases the likelihood that they will agree to a deal.

The ultimate goal of negotiations is to create value for both parties in the situation. This can be accomplished by demonstrating the other person how their needs are being satisfied. In most cases, both parties will feel they have gained something positive through the negotiation process and that their opinions were taken into consideration. Understanding the basics of negotiation will help you feel confident to face any situation and negotiate deals that are mutually beneficial to both parties.