Last But Not Least

Using The Walk-Away

Let's return to Morocco. When faced with the final offer in more competitive negotiations of this flea-market variety, the "walk-away" is the countertactic of choice. As indicated, they say "Take it or leave it." You say "See you later" and move toward the door. It's dramatic, it's fun, and many times, the other side calls you right back.

Many perceive the walk-away as a high-risk gambit, but it really isn't. As you reach for that doorknob, you may be thinking "What if they don't call me back?" Not to worry. If they don't, you can always turn around...and walk (or call) right back. So they didn't buy your bluff. Big deal! But for your opponent's ruffled feathers, there's nothing to lose, except (maybe) a little face.

Of course, when you really know your bottom line, the walk-away is more than just a bluff. It is the ultimate expression of deal-making strength, the power to say "No deal." However, it won't work unless you've done your homework and set negotiating goals that are exactly right for you. And how to set those goals will be the subject of our next column.

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This article was originally published in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Last But Not Least.

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