The difficulty is determining the right circumstances to do so. This demands a deep, and I mean DEEP, understanding of various factors, including; 1. The value of the deal, the ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement) and whether you can do a deal outside of the ZOPA; 2. Knowing your counterpart. Who are you negotiating with and / or against? If you don't know who you are negotiating with you are probably being exploited; 3. Your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). If your BATNA improves your situation then you must be prepared to ‘pull that trigger’. Don't just use it as a threat, you must be prepared to withdraw from your current negotiation and engage your BATNA; 4. Controlling the process and emotions. If you’ve lost control you will be exploited. Walkaway and re-set; 5. Yours and your organisation's values and ethics. Mastering these principles is not just essential; it's the key to successful negotiation.
Great article. But it assumes all within your org are on the same page. Perhaps the sales person wants the deal at all costs because they get a commission, while the legal department wants to walk away because there are too many risks, and another stakeholder is on the fence with a more balanced view? Not to stereotype these roles, rather, just to illustrate that the walk away point is not always black and white nor consistent within an organization. As you say, negotiators are people after all and different people may have different opinions (and priorities and incentives).
great comment @brian and oh so correct. Unfortunately this is correct in so many organisations, especially where there is a lack of training, alignment and negotiation compliance. Your counterparts revel in this fact. 'That sales person' wants the deal so much, so desperate to hit their targets they lose sight of the real value of the deal and focus on their own self interest. It doesn't cross that sales persons mind that its not their money they are negotiating with. its the companies! Without limits that sales person is easily exploited as they just focus on a win. Your counterparts revel in the fact that 'your org is not on the same page'. They love it, this is what gives them power! Unity and a unified voice gives you power. I've had the pleasure of working both sides. If training is not available (I know it is very difficult to gain training budget right now) then at least make the first step in aligning the whole organisation with the same negotiation language (what is a BATNA, what is ZOPA, what is a walkaway, what is opening extreme, what is moving to give satisfaction etc), 2nd step is to engage senior internal stakeholders as a group of 'wise heads' (from legal, pricing, marketing etc) and agree on limits (what are the companies walkaways ). And also consider developing a pricing committee, for big deals, where the negotiator has to present their negotiation plan to the committee of wise heads and gain the required authority and alignment. Everyone gets on the same page! If not you will forever be exploited.. Thank you