When to walk away from a negotiation: wish, want, walk values

The art of negotiation is a vitally important business skill to possess. Knowing when to push for the highest figure possible, settle for a reasonable compromise or move on to something new is crucial to success.

The art of negotiation is a vitally important business skill to possess. The Gap Partnership, leading negotiation experts with over 20 years’ experience in the industry, believe that a good place to start is to focus on your wish, want, walk values. It’s important to make sure these have been firmly set before starting any negotiations as it can be tricky to decide on your values in retrospect.

What is wish, want, walk?

Wish, want and walk values are a simple method to better negotiating. There are a lot of different techniques and negotiation training on how to perfect the skill, all with multiple steps that you can never remember when you’re in the heat of negotiation. Wish, want, walk, is a method will create a mind-set making you more prepared, allowing you to be a better listen, to respond appropriately and reasonably, and to make you more confident – the foundation of any successful negotiation.

Wish value

Firstly, your ‘wish’. This is your goal or dream result and where you start the negotiation process. Whoever you’re negotiating with will generally be trying to agree on a lower figure that would play in their best interest. Most of the time, the compromise that is agreed ends up being in the middle of the two negotiators’ ‘wishes’, so the higher you set your ‘wish’, the higher your final result will be. However, it’s worth mentioning this figure shouldn’t be too unrealistic either as this could play to your disadvantage, leaving you unsatisfied with the end result and feeling disappointed with the outcome.

Want value

This stage is where the vast majority of negotiations are closed. The want value is where you think the negotiation will end up according to external marketplace forces. This is where you should look to set realistic targets that you ‘want’ to get out of the negotiation. This figure can sometimes get confused with the minimum offer you’ll accept, or a compromise just below your ‘wish’. In reality, it should be a healthy compromise between the two. It’s worth researching into the deal before the negotiation begins so that you can make an educated and informed decision on what your ‘wish’ and ‘want’ values should be, in respect to the market in which you’re making your offer.

Walk value

Finally, your ‘walk’ value is the point in the negotiation at which you walk away form a deal because it is simply not worth it. It is the point at which you either lose money or lose pride, possibly both, or feel as though you lost and therefore won’t advance with the deal. Your walk value is the lowest offer you’re willing to accept, or the lowest whatever you’re offering is worth in the given circumstances. Even if what you’re being offered is an improvement on your current situation, it’s crucial to have a ‘walk’ value in there to remind you what you’re worth. It might be the case that you will have to walk away from the negotiating table and search for a new offer, but will be worth it if you have done your research and are prepared to push for a proper valuation and a fair agreement.

Be prepared for best outcome

When it comes to knowing how to walk away from a negotiation, you should already have the tools sorted before you even start. Make sure your ‘wish’, ‘want’, ‘walk’ values are in place to give yourself the best possible chance of leaving a negotiation with the best possible outcome.

See also: Secrets of successful business negotiation – When the stakes are high, negotiations will be a test of both your wits and your willpower.

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for SmallBusiness.co.uk. He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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