Excerpted from Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve
Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals by 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.
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.
2. 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.
This lesson was lasered onto my consciousness during my corporate
sales career, when one of my prospective clients reneged on
a promise to sign our contract. Without saying a word, I packed
up my briefcase and walked out of his office.
"Where are you going?" he called after me.
"I'm leaving," I said. "You lied to me and I don't want to
do business with you."
He chased me all the way to the elevator bank and begged me
to return. He knew he had pushed me as far as I would go,
and he agreed to sign the contract.
Afterwards, he asked me, "Ed, if I hadn't followed you, would
you have come back?"
"I guess you'll never know," I told him.
3. Walking away can help the buyer sell your position
to their boss.
Buyers may have to justify their concessions to someone higher
up on the food chain. Now they can tell the boss, "See, we
had to make those concessions or the seller would have walked
away from the deal."
Let me make this clear: I am not saying that you should
always walk away from a sale. But if you don't even consider
the option of walking away from the negotiation, you may be
inclined to cave in to the buyer's demands simply to make
You must be prepared to say "Next!" or your customers will
sense your uncertainty. The willingness to walk away from
a sale comes from having other potential sales in the lineup.
When you know that your sales career doesn't hinge on this
one deal, you can exude confidence. If you are not desperate
if you recognize that you have other options
the buyer will sense your inner strength. Your willingness
to walk away is one of the greatest bargaining chips you have.