Negotiations can be tense, especially when the stakes are high. If you negotiate too hard, the deal is lost. If you are too timid, you could end up leaving money on the table. In reality, negotiations are a lot like a ballet, meaning you have to learn how to dance your way around certain situations in order to come out with a win. Successful negotiation is very much an art, rather than a hard science.
The reality of negotiations is also much more complicated than one might think. Not only is it important to focus on closing the deal, but it’s just as important to focus on when to walk away. Knowing when to walk away can be difficult. You don’t want to ruin the business relationship, but the last thing you want is to fulfill a contract that’s not ideal. For this reason, it is important to understand the dynamics of negotiations, including when to walk away. There is no point in prolonging a negotiation that is going nowhere. Here are a few signs that you may have reached the end of your rope and you would be better off walking away.
You Have Reached Your Hard Line
Before you go into a negotiation, you should always determine the “hard line” at which you are not willing to cross. This would also be considered your “walk-away” point. For example, it might be a number that is the absolute lowest you would be willing to go before the deal no longer makes sense. It’s critical that you know your hard line before you sit down to negotiate and not try to come up with it in the heat of the moment. Furthermore, once you have settled on a number, stick to it. If the person isn’t willing to meet you at that number or better, it’s time to walk away.
You Notice Major Red Flags
It’s important to be prudent when negotiating business deals. Sometimes we tend to ignore huge warning signs, hoping that things will ultimately work out. Unfortunately, it can be too late and things can really end up going awry if you aren’t careful. If you begin to notice that the person you are negotiating with keeps flip-flopping back and forth, making promises you know they can’t keep, or telling you things that just don’t add up, you’re better off walking away instead of prolonging the inevitable.
Your Morals and Values are Being Compromised
Everyone has different values, and what’s morally important to you may not be as important to someone else. Though it’s not easy, this is one of the most important times when you need to walk away from a negotiation. If your gut is telling you that things aren’t right, trust your instincts. You should never have to deviate from behavior that you think is acceptable or compromise your own values for the sake of a deal. No deal is worth losing your integrity.
You Know You Can’t Keep the Commitment
Sometimes we end up overcommitting just to get the deal signed. The problem with this is that you are setting yourself up for failure and you are also setting yourself up to damage a working relationship. Even if it means walking away, you are doing yourself a favor by walking away when you know you can’t deliver on your promise. It may sting in the moment but it will be more favorable for you in the long run.