Negotiating is defined as ‘a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.’ But, for many agents – particularly those early in their careers – the thought of negotiating across the table with a customer or another agent causes hands to sweat and sleepless nights. One of the reasons is that we are afraid of failure, of not living up to the expectations we’ve set for ourselves.
Never fear! We are here to help you simplify the process of negotiating and break it down into an easy way for you to understand and master it.
First, remember that you negotiate literally every day of your life. In your home, you negotiate with your kids, to get them dressed and to school on time or in bed at a decent hour. You may negotiate over bills with your spouse or partner. There’s hardly a portion of our daily lives that doesn’t involve negotiation, be it major or minor.
Real Estate Negotiating
So, let’s move into the business world:
- First, listen.A successful negotiation doesn’t start with your demands or an ‘us vs. them’ outlook. Begin by asking questions: What does the other party want to achieve through the process? Listen thoroughly – don’t be quick to respond – so you can understand how you can best serve the sales process.
- Table your emotions. The outcome of a negotiation doesn’t reflect on you, so check your emotions and your ego at the door. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy ego, as it’s part of what makes us successful, but don’t let it become your internal defense system if things aren’t going well.
- Don’t focus on the dollar signs.Sure, we are in real estate to make money for ourselves and our clients, but obvious greed is a certain way to tank negotiations! The last outcomes you want are burned bridges with other agents. If you feel like you’ve come out on top, be gracious and humble. If the deal doesn’t go your way, behave the same, because you never know when you’ll be working with the same people again.
- Find strategies that allow both parties to claim success.No negotiation is truly successful if someone walks away feeling they’ve been beat. For instance, ‘nibbling’ is a buyer’s tool allowing you to ask the seller to give up small things, allowing the buyer to get most of what they want. Hence, nibbling away at the deal. If you represent the seller, be prepared for this and stand your ground: Be willing to give in on one big thing but don’t allow your deal to be nibbled away.
Finally, we suggest you practice your scripts and role play to prepare thoroughly. In time, you’ll be ready to deal with any curveballs that may get thrown your way in a negotiation. This, like any other skill, becomes stronger with time and practice.