Employing alternatives gives you the power of options. Going into a negotiation without options is like going into battle with one weapon. What if the battering ram won’t knock the door down? Did you bring grappling hooks to flight over the walls? If not, you’re not going to get inside. Alternatives make you less dependent on one kind of deal and more open to variations. There’s no take it or leave it when you have alternatives; therefore, there are far fewer impasses. Further, knowing their alternatives may guide you in assessing their leverage.
Case and point: Carmelo Anthony’s recent negotiation with the New York Kicks is a great example of negotiation with options.