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Before You Walk Away

Brian Buck
201116 Before You Go
© Scotwork NA

Pop the champagne — it’s over! After a hard-fought battle, lots of long hours, and an enormous amount of back and forth, your deal is done and you couldn’t be happier. After all, when a negotiation crosses the finish line, everyone instantly goes from deal fatigue to deal euphoria. But there’s one thing you need to do before you walk away from the table. If you don’t do it, you’ll run the risk of destroying your deal.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re done with a deal, everyone (virtually) shakes hands, and you go about your merry way as you wait for the contracts to be drawn up. The other side commits to doing the contracting and promises that it will be easy and painless. But when you receive the contract, you discover that they changed the terms of the deal! How could they do that?, you wonder. You call them on it and they tell you, “I thought that’s what we agreed to.” That’s when a realization sets in: There’s a disconnect between you two. What now? Unfortunately, all you can do, other than walk away from the deal, is reopen the negotiation and continue working out the items on which you’re not aligned. 

If you’ve gone through that process, you know how painful it can be. When you’re in that spot, you can feel betrayed, defeated, and certainly frustrated. However, there are 3 easy steps that can help you avoid this from happening.

  1. Document all of the issues you’re negotiating. Most commercial deals have a multitude of issues that need to be worked through. If you’re not writing them down and keeping track of them, they can easily get lost. So keep an ongoing list of all the issues.
  2. Summarize progress regularly. As you go through your negotiation, bring up the list and summarize where you stand on each item. This will give you an opportunity to resolve any disconnects in the moment, instead of at the end of the deal.
  3. Recap the deal before you walk away. Even if you haven’t done everything else, this is the one thing you should do at the end of every deal to ensure that there are no surprises or disconnects. 

Addressing issues while still at the negotiating table is much easier than doing so afterwards. We all have a revisionist view of history when there’s a disconnect, and we tend to remember things in a way that benefits us. Don’t let your deal fall apart at the end. Instead, do the little things throughout the process and you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation. Now you can pop the champagne!

We Can Help Keep Your Deal from Falling Apart at the End

After a hard-fought, successful negotiation, the last thing you want is to learn that your party and theirs were not aligned on critical contract terms . . . and that your deal is very much at risk. We can help! Drawing on 45 years of real-world negotiating experience, we’ll assist you with getting better deals, saving time, and creating value for all involved — not to mention preserving and even strengthening relationships. Let us partner you with one of our advisers, ensuring that you’ve got the broadest view of your deal.

Talk to one of our experts today.

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