The Negotiator Magazine

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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.

  1. 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 a deal.
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.

Ed Brodow is a keynote speaker, negotiation guru on PBS, and author of Negotiate with Confidence andBeating the Success Trap. His latest book, Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals, will be released by Doubledayon December 26, 2006. For more information on his keynotes and seminars, call 831-372-7270 or e-mail, and visit

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January 2007