About Smartsettle

Smartsettle is a secure online negotiation system for parties seeking a formal agreement. Smartsettle covers a broad spectrum of situations. Whatever your negotiation is about, it can be started here. Our self-contained system called Smartsettle ONE is completely online, designed for two parties in cases that can be simplified to one numerical issue. If your case is more complex and of relatively high value, you may migrate it to Smartsettle Infinity, which is designed for cases between any number of parties.

Helpful answers

Visual Blind Bidding is process that virtually eliminates the tedious negotiation dance that characterizes ordinary negotiations. Parties are encouraged to start with visible proposals that communicate what their optimistic outcome for the negotiation would be while leaving some room for concessions. Smartsettle then generates Suggestions that fall between the initial optimistic proposals from the parties. In ONE these Suggestions are simple uniform grid points. In Infinity the Suggestions are complete packages. Any party may place a secret bid (or acceptance) on any Suggestion. The secret acceptance indicates what that party would be willing to agree to, despite it not being their ideal outcome.

All the unresolved issues are negotiated simultaneously so that parties make decisions on complete packages. An agreement is declared at the end of a session if there is an overlap among accepted packages. In ONE, where the negotiation is only about one numerical value, there is an agreement when the secret bids overlap. If no deal is reached, parties are free to seek other means to resolve their issues without having revealed any confidential information.

If a small gap remains at the end of a session it can be bridged with the Automatic Deal-Closer (ADC) if each party agrees to extend their bid conditional on the other party also extending theirs. If the gap is too large for the ADC then the Expert Neutral Deal-Closer will solve the impasse if both parties agree to use it.

When parties use Visual Blind Bidding, Smartsettle is able to speed up negotiations by Rewarding Early Effort (REE). If there is an overlap of the secret bids then Smartsettle gives most of that overlap to whoever was closest just before the overlap occurred, in other words, to whoever made the Smallest Last Move. The same REE algorithm is also used to split the gap with the ADC and the END.

At the outset parties must agree on an overall deadline for the negotiations. If the deadline expires before an agreement is reached then the negotiation ends without a deal. Either party can also declare Final Session if they consider that the other party is holding back or is two slow in responding.

If there is no deal in Final Session then parties may use the Expert Neutral Deal-Closer (END) to settle the negotiation. The middle value from a panel of Expert Neutrals (usually three) is deemed fair. Smartsettle then favors the party who was closest to fair by dividing the gap on their side using REE. Users can practice ahead of time against the robot and become acquainted with how the END works before they use it in a live case.

In the absence of any outside intervention, Smartsettle assumes that “fair” lies in the overlap zone. Parties should not extend their bids that far if that isn’t the case.

Starting at an extreme position is not considered collaborative but Smartsettle doesn’t really care where parties start or how much they move from their initial position, as long as their last move is relatively small. The one who held back the least and made the Smallest Last Move gets more of the overlap using the REE algorithm. Of course, a party starting at an extreme position will have more difficulty making sure that their final move is small.

If split-the-difference was used instead of REE, then parties would realize that there is no harm in holding back and have less incentive to move farther earlier, hoping for a deal sooner. And sometimes that behavior would give them a better deal, rewarding them for holding back.

Instead of talking about each concession and the justifications behind them or criticizing the other party for not making bigger concessions, parties are encouraged to explain their feelings and appeal to objective criteria. A negotiation process called Visual Blind Bidding allows parties to safely identify what they are willing to accept early in the negotiation. Negotiations are accelerated by Rewarding Early Effort and virtually eliminating the tedious negotiation dance and other adversarial antics that accompany ordinary negotiations. If no deal is reached, parties are free to seek other means to resolve their issues without having revealed any confidential information.

Smartsettle uses a comprehensive approach to solving negotiation problems, dealing with all the issues as a complete package. For that purpose, Smartsettle requires parties to first create a Single Negotiating Framework (SNF), which is like the final agreement except for blanks representing unresolved issues. .

If an agreement does not occur quickly using the Smartsettle interface, parties may also use a robust chat functionality for free ranging discussion and supplement this with video conferencing if desired. Parties may also upload any type of file to support their negotiation. If these methods are not adequate, there is nothing stopping them from talking on the phone or arranging face-to-face meetings.

Smartsettle is applicable to many types of formal negotiations. A few specific areas across the spectrum from simple to complex are Property Assessment, Small Claims, Buyer/Seller Price Negotiations, Auction Price, Debt Settlement, Insurance Claims, Marital Conflict, Estate Settlements, Community Planning, Procurement, Collective Bargaining, Mergers & Acquisitions, and International Treaties.

A facilitator may help one of both sides and is generally there to help with the process and find the information necessary to help resolve the case. A mediator’s role is more intrusive and may be privy to a party’s secret moves if both parties agree. If the END is used, a mediator may become one of the Expert Neutrals or the only one.

We charge a 2% of the negotiating range that is used to set up the Visual Blind Bidding Panel in cases with one monetary issue. Parties can avoid a high fee by setting a small range at the beginning. Neutrals generally have a policy of not charging a percentage of the amount of the settlement because of a conflict of interest. Our method avoids that objection.

If you need help then practice against the robot. If you still need help then you can hire a facilitator or a mediator.

Training is available if you wish to become a certified intervenor in Smartsettle cases. A few hundred dollars will get you started. Infinity training can easily run into the thousands.

Your own white-label Smartsettle ONE system will cost about $2000.

Ask for a quote.

All fees are subject to change without notice.