Mayday Mayday! Time to Abort the Negotiating Mission, Or is It?

Amber

Should you walk away from the negotiating table? If so, when? According to Jim Camp, expert negotiator, you should walk way when the negotiation is no longer in line with your mission and purpose.

In Camp’s opinion, simply walking away as a tactic to get the other party to capitulate is not an effective way of negotiating. It falls under the category of “tactic” or “technique” and thus is not principle-driven and therefore vulnerable.

First, you must start with a mission and purpose to your negotiation. If you are aiming to gain a client for your consulting service and you have a set amount that you want to receive as payment for these services, then your mission is to complete the negotiation with the purpose of helping the other party see the value of what you are offering.

As long as things are moving forward, then there is no reason to walk away or to threaten to walk away.

However, if things get to a point where you don’t think there is any chance of continuing toward the accomplishment of the mission, you can at that point abort the negotiation.

How can you tell the difference between a simple roadblock that can be overcome and a real deal-breaker?

You must have a very clear idea of what it is that you are willing to be flexible with and what it is that you will not negotiate. For example, you may have a certain price that you are sticking to, but you may be flexible with how the payment is made, whether at one time or over a course of installments.

If you come across an issue that asks you to compromise on your original mission and there is no way around it, you may walk away.

In this case, something strange may happen. Since you are walking away on principle and not as a tactic, the walk-away may actually work as intended to by those using it as a tactic. The other party will see that this is a part of your mission that really is non-negotiable and if they find value in what you are offering, they may re-evaluate their own mission and find that the amount that you are asking is in fact worth paying.

The difference here is honesty. Don’t try to circumvent honesty by trying to walk away as a tactic. The opposition will see this and you will not achieve what it is that you are trying to achieve.

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