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The Walk-away Trap

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation mistakes > The Walk-away Trap

Description | Avoiding it | Taking advantage | See also

 

Description

In preparing for negotiation it can be very helpful to develop a walk-away, such that if the negotiation fails, you can choose this option. This can be very powerful and it is not uncommon for the person with the strongest walk-away option to get the best deal.

The trap that can be created with a good walk-away is that it becomes too attractive or that you enjoy the power that it gives too much. The result can be that you forget that the goal of negotiation is to reach agreement and bring the walk-away into the discussion too early or choose this option before it is needed. As as result, it becomes more likely that the negotiation will fail and no real agreement will be reached.

Another thing that can happen is that the other person sees this early use of walk-away alternatives as a lack of commitment to agreement or a crass display of power that seeks to coerce rather than agree. As a result, they may decide to back out of the negotiation. They may alternatively decide to fight, with a result that the negotiation quickly descends into argument and acrimony.

Avoiding it

Plan your negotiation carefully and always keep in mind the key goal of reaching agreement. Have a clear concession strategy that includes a defined point at which you deploy your walk-away. The goal always is to bring the person back to the table, even when things seem to be falling apart.

Taking advantage

When others start to deploy their walk-away too early, you can either ignore it and pull them back in to normal negotiation, or else let them talk it out, hence removing their ability to use it later and so positioning yourself to be able to use your walk-away last and more powerfully.

See also

Developing your walk-away, Deploying your walk-away

 

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