Negotiation Tactic #70 – Apparent Withdrawal

Summary: Acting uninterested in continuing the negotiation.

Although you sometimes may not want to go to the extreme of walking away from a deal, you may still want to give your counterpart the feeling that you are not really committed. Apparent Withdrawal should be used when you want to give the appearance that you do not care, when in reality you are simply trying to retain control of the situation.


Several years ago, a friend of ours was negotiating to buy a beautiful home. He had gone through several days of negotiating on many deal points. He was in love with the house but the seller’s last concession was still $4,000 above what our friend wanted to pay. So he called the seller’s broker and said that he was going to have to withdraw from buying the house because he could not make the numbers work to his satisfaction. Our friend was confident that neither the seller nor the broker would let a $300,000 deal go over a difference of $4,000. Since our friend was willing to pay the $4,000 if he had to, this was a case of Apparent Withdrawal rather than Withdrawn Offer.


The broker had at least three possible tactics at her disposal: These Boots Are Made for Walking , I’ll Meet You in the Middle, or Trade-Off Concession. Any of these tactics could have worked to bring our friend back to the bargaining table without giving in to his lower price.

Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?

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