Walking Away from a Sale
Brodow’s Law of Negotiation states:
Always be willing to walk away! Your willingness to walk away
can help you to close a sale. Here’s how:
1. Walking away may force the buyer
to soften its position.
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 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
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
“Where are you going?” he called after
“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.
3. Walking away can help the buyer sell
your position to their boss.
Buyers may have to justify their
concessions to their 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 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 the author of
Negotiation Boot Camp and negotiation guru on ABC News, PBS, Fox
News, Fortune Business Report, and Inside Edition.
© 2008 by Ed Brodow. All rights reserved.