How To Make A Deadlock Work For You In A Negotiation

by drjim on August 22, 2014

You can use deadlocks to your advantage to get where you are going

You can use deadlocks to your advantage to get where you are going
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Deadlocks are a part of negotiating just like speeding tickets are a part of driving. We don’t like them, but just like all of the other negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we have to deal with, they show up every so often and we just have to deal with them. The good news about deadlocks is that they are actually a valuable tool that negotiators can use to move a negotiation towards close and even get a better deal. Do I have your attention now?

Why Deadlocks Are Valuable Tools

As a negotiator, the more tools that you have going into a negotiation, the better you can expect your outcome to be. That’s why a deadlock should be viewed as what it really is – just another negotiating tool.

The reason that a deadlock can be so useful to you is what it can make happen. When a deadlock is looming in a negotiation, it can cause the other side of the table to display their position and at the same time freeze the negotiation. If they are really willing to allow the deadlock to happen and walk away from the negotiations, then their current position is a “hard” position.

If, on the other hand, they are operating under some constraints (like time) and not reaching a deal in the negotiation is not an option for them, then when they are facing the possibility of a deadlock occurring, they may be willing to give you compromises that they were not willing to give earlier in the negotiations.

How To Cause A Deadlock To Occur

Just as a deadlock is an important negotiating tool, how you cause a deadlock to occur is just as important. What you need to keep in mind is that the deadlock is not really the end of the negotiations. Rather it is just a stopping point. Your goal is to make sure that you’ll be able to restart the negotiations later on.

Whenever the negotiations reach a deadlock, put on your pleasant face. Inform the other side that you’re not going to be able to do what they are asking for. By doing this, you are leaving the door open to continue the negotiations later on.

Make sure that you never burn your bridges when you are dealing with a deadlock. Don’t tell the other side that since you’ve reached a deadlock, you’d never be willing to do a deal with them ever again. Instead, tell them to give you a call if anything changes. This will make it easy for both of you to restart the discussions.

What All Of This Means For You

All too often, negotiators fear a deadlock happening in their principled negotiation . In many cases, this is viewed as a failure on the part of the negotiator. It turns out that this is not the case. Deadlocks are just another negotiating tool that we have available to us.

As negotiators we need to learn how to use deadlocks to get what we want out of our next negotiation. When used properly, a deadlock can force the other side of the table to display their position and freeze the negotiations. Your strategy for implementing a deadlock must always be to remain pleasant and keep the door open so that we can break the deadlock when we need to.

In order to be able to walk away from your next negotiation with the deal that you want, you need to learn how to use deadlocks to your advantage. Take the time to study what we’ve talked about and you’ll go into your next negotiation with one more tool that you can use to get the best deal possible.

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

Question For You: If a deadlock happens, how long should you wait until you try to break it?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you enter into a negotiation, often times things don’t seem fair. Specifically, sometimes you view yourself as being “the little guy”. When this happens, it’s often easy to believe that you don’t stand a chance – no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques you use the other side is going to get what they want and that’s all there is to it. However, it turns out that you have a secret weapon that you can use – the deadlock.

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