What Do You Do When Negotiations Are Unsuccessful?

Margaret Wood 11/12/2021

A great negotiator accepts that they will not win every negotiation. Even if they can’t close the sale, being gracious during the acceptance process allows all parties to walk away with their dignity.

Reaching an Impasse

Walking away from the bargaining table does not necessarily signal defeat or weakness. On the contrary, by being reasonable and accepting that there is more than one positive solution, you are perceived as an understanding individual who would make a great business partner. When structuring an alternative plan, make sure to consider the other party’s pain points to sweeten the deal and ensure it is to both party’s benefit.

If the negotiations appear to have reached an impasse, trying to force closing is to no one’s advantage. By accepting that further negotiation at that time is not in anyone’s best interest, you stand a better chance of re-scheduling when some of the issues have been resolved.

Becoming a Great Negotiator

Trust, respect, and integrity are essential when it comes to succeeding in business. A good negotiator considers alternatives set forth from both sides and is open to compromise.

If it becomes evident that the negotiations have stalled, have both sides identify their pain points. Using a checklist to manage issues, goals, and objectives can be remarkably effective. Download a Word-to-PDF converter to facilitate document processing. Ask questions if the other party’s language or presentation is unclear. Invite input and feedback–consider best-case, worst-case, and bottom-line walk away scenarios.

Avoid negotiations that have no real chance of success–perform your due diligence and avoid committing to negotiations that don’t provide a realistic path to achieving your company’s goals. Ensure that your contract is polished and that the details are accurate. 

Building a Relationship

Sometimes, unsuccessful negotiations can stem from a lack of rapport. Building a solid relationship is crucial to successful negotiations, cultivating understanding and flexibility; this creates a more collaborative environment, facilitating resolution and implementation.

Unpredictable Situations

Sometimes, factors beyond your control can derail negotiations—or the deal is not as attractive as it was initially thought to be. Helping others understand some issues that need to be addressed gives you the best chance to resolve those issues and move forward.

Here is an excellent example of a deal not as attractive as was initially thought. You interview with a company, negotiate a salary, and they call you back two more times, each time interviewing with higher-level management. It’s not until the third interview that you are told the position you initially interviewed for is no longer available, but an entry-level position is open for half the salary.

Personalities Get in the Way

Negotiations can get heated, making it difficult to achieve any compromise or agreement. The key is to remain calm, get everyone re-focused and continue the talks in a civilized manner. If this is not possible, keep in mind that walking away from the table is always an option.

Your Chamber of Commerce

If you are looking to grow your business and forge new relationships with other companies in the community, consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce, as well as others—immerse yourself into groups of the best business leaders and uncover great business opportunities.


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