Good Sales Negotiators Know Not To Fear A Deadlock

by drjim on December 14, 2012

When a negotiation isn't going anywhere, that doesn't mean that it's over

When a negotiation isn’t going anywhere, that doesn’t mean that it’s over
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What’s the one thing that negotiators fear the most? Not being able to reach a deal with the other side – this would mean that we’ve wasted everyone’s time with our negotiations. There are a lot of different terms to describe this situation, but the one that strikes fear in everyone’s heart is “deadlock” simply because it sounds so very final…

Welcome To The Real World

As a negotiator you need to understand a very important real world fact. Deadlocks happen no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. You really should not fear them. A deadlock is just a normal part of the negotiation process.

As an American, I can tell you that I don’t really deal with deadlocks very well. I know that my colleagues from other cultures do a much better job of facing up to a deadlock condition than I do.

People from other cultures understand that not every negotiation results in a deal. Instead, they end up walking away from many deals – it’s just a normal part of life. Since they’ve done it so many times before, they have no qualms about doing it again during the negotiations that they are currently involved in.

Don’t Fear A Deadlock

What you need to start to do is in your own mind associate a deadlock with walking away from the negotiation. Don’t view this as the end of the negotiations, rather think of it as just another tool that you have to communicate to the other side of the table.

What you are telling them is that the offer that is on the table is not good enough. Don’t let your ego get in the way – that will block you from being able to reach a deal.

View a deadlock for what it really is – a negotiating test. This is just one more stage of a negotiation. You should see it as a test of who has the power in the negotiations. Who wants a deal more?

What you need to realize is that if both sides of the table truly believe that they can get a positive benefit out of reaching a deal with the other side, then the negotiation is not over even if a deadlock occurs.

What All Of This Means For You

All too often sales negotiators view reaching a deadlock in their current negotiations as being a type of negotiating failure. It’s very important you not view a deadlock condition as being the end of the road. Rather view it as simply being another part of the negotiation definition.

Instead, you need to adopt the attitude that is held by many other cultures. Just view a deadlock status as being one more step on the road to reaching a deal. Viewed this way, walking out of a deadlocked negotiation is simply a way of communicating to the other side of the table that the current deal is not good enough.

The next time that you are in a principled negotiation that deadlocks, don’t give up. Instead realize the situation for what it is – another step on the way to reaching a successful deal. Keep at it and you’ll find a way around the deadlock and then you’ll be able to wrap this negotiation up by reaching a deal with the other side of the table.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What can you do before you walk out of a negotiation to make it easier for you to return to the table?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Who among us doesn’t like to negotiate? I mean just try to picture the rush of energy that you feel as you sit down to a negotiation. Ponder the clever tactics that you’ll get to use. Imagine the artful negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that the other side may use that you’ll have to detect and create moves to counter. This is all a lot of fun until you’ve finally reached an agreement with the other side of the table. What do you do now?

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