After 25 years as a Realtor, the challenge remains when it comes to negotiations. Now that we are experiencing a livelier market we need to hone our negotiation skills and prepare for the main event!
Negotiations don’t necessarily mean conflict. It’s not a war nor is it a game. In the current market, where we are experiencing multiple offers, we must prepare in order to create a win win result and a satisfied client.
Some suggestions for your negotiation “cocktail”.
1. Carefully review all the documents and highlight the points you want to make clear to your client. They will be anxious and rely on you for clarification. Present the points that you anticipate negotiating for them in a clear and concise manner. Perhaps there are issues they mentioned as non negotiable. Verify that this is still their position. This can help set the stage for a compromise on that issue should they receive another term, they hadn’t anticipated, in exchange.
2. Probe for deal breaker items that truly are not negotiable. This has to be transparent in your conversation and can actually present a clear path in your negotiation. Prepare to explain to your fellow negotiator that this is not up for discussion, so you must work together to find another solution. Agents usually appreciate a collaborative, rather than adversarial, approach.
3. Brush up on non verbal signals as a lot of negotiation is done on the phone. Try not to negotiate in a non verbal manner ( text or email) as that erases a lot of possible clues. Voice inflection, coughing, silence and volume of voice can all be helpful or misleading. Some of the toughest negotiators I’ve had the pleasure of doing business with, had the softest voices. Be open and alert.
4. Identify, and have an understanding of, cultural differences. With our global economy and cultural diversity in real estate transactions, this is a must. It can tip the scales and move the process more smoothly toward resolution. This effort sets a tone of respect and removes the possibility of offending anyone.
5. Set the stage for compromise with your client. If they feel there is no need to compromise on anything, your job of creating a win win scenario will be much more difficult. Ask them to put themselves in the other party’s shoes, which can soften a stance. I ask them to put on their “buyer/seller hat” which can lighten the moment.
According to Gerard I. Nierenberg author of The Complete Negotiator, the 5 steps in negotiation are: assumptions, facts, issues, positions and decisions. If we have calm and clear communication skills and a patient understanding of the first four, the desired decisions will follow. This is created by confidence and a clear understanding of your client’s position. Preparation, rather than an impromptu atmosphere, helps create the win win result and present you as a true professional.