Walking Away from a Sale
By: Ed Brodow

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 out.

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.

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.

Copyright © 2008 by Ed Brodow. All rights reserved.

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