Three clients requested help with negotiation skills. It’s one of my favorite topics and here’s why. No matter who you are and what you do, you’re constantly negotiating. You’re trying to move others to your viewpoint, your activity, your belief. When I think about negotiating, the first thing that pops to mind is: Be willing to walk. Be willing to walk away from the table, from the situation, the sale, the person.
Not necessarily walk away completely, but at that moment when you can—and should—exercise power over yourself and your process. Those are two things you can control. When negotiating anything, you must be willing—and able—to walk away. It’s the best preparation, so you can win.
You don’t want to walk away. You don’t have to walk away. You very probably will not walk away. But you must be willing to walk, otherwise, you lose your leverage. You must demonstrate that you are willing to; if not, they’ll sense it and they’ll use it to their advantage against you.
There’s no such thing as a win/lose negotiation. It’s either win/win or lose/lose. It’s got to work for everyone or, as Stephen Covey says, there should be no deal. If it’s not win/win, you should walk away. I’m not saying that you won’t compromise, barter for mutual gain, trade. That’s the stuff of true win/win negotiations.
To be in a position of strength when you negotiate—whether with a salesperson, an employee, a boss, a vendor, or a family member—you must be willing to walk. Willing doesn’t mean that you must. It just means that the other party won’t be able to take advantage of you because you were not willing to walk away from the deal.
If you have to make it work, if you have to come to an agreement, if you have to get it done now…advantage them! When they sense that you’re unwilling to walk, unable to walk—that you have to stay and get it done—they own you, and they own the negotiation.
Like everything else in life, you’re faced with a choice. Are you willing to walk?