During the Great Recession and again now with the COVID crisis, one of the companies I own (Short Sale Expeditor®), has been very busy due to the need to real estate agents to hire a third party to process and negotiate short sales. This experience not only taught me a lot of the distressed property market and the economy, but also about the most effective ways to complete a successful negotiation. Honestly, I never thought I was such a great negotiator, but in hindsight, I see that I really am. And, it’s because I’ve always utilized the skills I listed below (among others) Here are 5 essential negotiating skills or tactics that every real estate agent can and should use in order to be successful.
5 Essential Negotiation Skills for Every Real Estate Agent
- Be a good listener. If you talk non-stop, there is little time to “hear” the other person or side in a negotiation. When you let someone else do most of the talking, this will give you the opportunity to hear where there might be wiggle room to get some of what you want accomplished during the negotiation. Also, when you listen, you will learn a lot that can help you properly strategize for the win.
- Do not rush to settle terms. There are very few instances when you should rush to settle terms. But, in most cases, even if you know you are going to accept the terms, it is often best to tell the other side that you need to consider it. That’s because the more impatient person usually shows their cards, and you may even be able to get more out of the negotiation than you had hoped—just because you waited.
- Don’t show all your cards. If you already know where you want to settle or land, that’s great. But develop your plan to arrive there, and do not show all your cards at once. As an example, dose bad news gently instead of dropping a bomb. If you already suspect the home will not appraise and you represent the buyer, softly mention that you are uncertain about the appraisal when you are speaking with the listing agent prior to the appraisal. In that way, you can return to that conversation and say “As I mentioned and suspected…” The same tactic can be used when negotiating repairs or final price terms.
- Ask a lot of questions. This technique can be used very effectively to often get the other side to think they came up with an idea or solution that was actually yours. Socratic questioning (something like what teachers or litigators use) is a method that focuses on discovering answers through questions.
- Never lose your cool. If you want to kill a negotiation and leave your clients high and dry, the very best way to do that is to lose your cool—to be rude and unprofessional in your dealings with the opposing side. Best to buddy up and make the other side your best friend in order to get what you want out of a negotiation.
When it comes to negotiating in real estate transactions, not only do I use these 5 techniques but a whole slew of others. Want more tips and tools, don’t forget to subscribe to get my newsletter in your inbox!