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March 18, 2019

Negotiating Tip 103: Walk Away Technique

Is there a time when you don’t want to walk away?

Forgive me for my return to the "walking away" concept.  It's simply because too few do it and breaking off or walking out of a negotiation can be so very effective.  Especially if it is planned in advanced and implemented properly. But, what's the proper way to make your departure? 

How do we structure proceedings that would allow us to come back and rejoin the negotiations? 

Here are some suggestions.

When formulating exactly how you will walk away, consider your objectives.  You want time to reevaluate your position.  You want your opponent to reevaluate their position.  And, you want to create an avenue and/or atmosphere for a cordial return.

I've never taken the Dale Carnegie courses, but friends who have told me they teach the “Sugar Sandwich Technique”.  That technique holds that if you have to tell someone something uncomfortable or potentially insulting, sandwich it between two soft, friendly and polite statements.  That three part formula (sweet-sour-sweet) can work effectively when you get to the point where you want to walk out of a negotiation.

An example might help clarify it in action.

You're negotiating with an appliance store manager over a pricy new refrigerator.  The item is just what you want, but the price is a challenge for you to accept.  Despite your effort to gain a price concession  (you've flinched, crunched, bracketed) the manager is holding firm. 

You've also employed the Power of Time by 'taking up a substantial portion' of the manager's time with inquiries about the item, the reviews, the features, the warranties, etc.  Again, no movement on price from the manager.

You decide to do a walk away in line with your pre-developed strategy.  Using the 'Sugar Sandwich', it would sound something like this....

You again grimace while examining the price tag and say,  "I have to admit this is a quality item and to have you and your store standing behind it is a great benefit.  Your good reputation proceeds you.  That said I don't see how I can make this work.  I'm going to have to go investigate some other options.  Thank you for your time and advice."

You've done the sugar sandwich.  You complimented the manager and his items, but you clearly said you're leaving....and you do.

What do you suppose is going to happen when you depart?  Could a concession be coming your way?  Are you leaving an opportunity there to come back?

You might add as you leave,  "If you get an idea on how we could make this work, know I'd like to do business with you?  Maybe I'll check back sometime."

That leaves the door open to another visit without showing desperation.  Trust me, the mood will be different the next time you meet.

Here's the truth.  Most Americans don't have the resolve to walk away.  And it's a well known fact that you don't know someone's best price until you do walk away.  It is almost a mandatory action in the car purchase arena

Good negotiators walk out continually because they know the tremendous benefits of doing so.

Take a chance.  Walk away.  You'll never be the same as you Keep Negotiating.

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