Negotiating Tip #7:
When To Back Off
We at Mobus Creative Negotiating teach that people should not be afraid to push a tough deal.
But keep in mind there are limits of how far to push. In particular, if there’s any kind of relationship at stake, you have to be careful. If you push too hard so the other person thinks you’re being unfair with them (or worse, taking advantage of them) it can be a relationship killer. And then it makes it hard to move the negotiation forward: where the two sides can cooperate to mutual advantage. If they don’t trust you, then they may well refuse what would seem like a win-win offer. They are now too concerned you are only out to take what you can without respecting the deal.
Also, bear in mind that sometimes the other side may be intimidated by you. That can lead people to react out of fear, even in extreme ways. Sometimes they just collapse and accept whatever you propose. Other times though they come on hot and heavy, out of control. If that happens to you, remember: don’t take it personally. Realize that this is their issue – and it may not have a lot to do with you.
Which isn’t to say you can’t make the situation better. Improving things starts with perspective – having some insight and understanding about what’s going on. It may be best to back off a bit. Maybe take a break from the negotiations. Try to have some friendly chat. Raise the areas where the two sides agree. And then edge into discussing what to do about the areas of disagreement.