The Negotiator Magazine

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Walking Away from a Sale

Excerpted from Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals by Ed Brodow (Doubleday).

Ed Brodow

Brodow’s Law of Negotiation states: Always be willing to walk away! If you are too anxious to close a sale, you lose your ability to say NO to unreasonable buyer demands. Don’t place yourself in a position where you accept a less than satisfactory outcome, just to close a deal.

Your willingness to walk away can help you to close a sale. Here’s how:

  1. Walking away may force the buyer to soften its position.

In one eye-opening situation, I received a call from the CEO of an East Coast high tech company.
“I’m looking for the keynote speaker for my upcoming conference,” he said. “You were recommended. You have three minutes to tell me why I should hire you!”
Something about his brusque manner irritated me. I decided not to do business with him.
“Actually,” I replied, “I’m very busy right now, and I don’t think I’m the right speaker for your group anyway. You better find someone else.”
He quickly went from curt to pleading.
“What do you mean?” he said. “You have an excellent reputation. Why won’t you speak for us?”
My willingness to turn him away broke down his obnoxious attitude. I was hired — without having to justify my qualifications or put up with this man’s rude behavior.

  1. Your willingness to walk away demonstrates your commitment.

 Savvy negotiators are always testing you to see how committed you are to your position. In order to convince them, you may have to resort to strong measures — including walking out. Otherwise, the buyer may continue to believe that you will offer more concessions. When the buyer sees that you are totally committed to your position, he will back down and you will close a profitable sale.

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January 2007