In today’s competitive real estate market, your ability to negotiate determines your success. From conversation control to body language, real estate agents need to master the art of negotiation. It will allow them to thrive.
Negotiations can be stressful, heated and emotional. And if handled improperly, the tension between buyers and sellers can result in lawsuits, retaliation, and general unhappiness.
To mitigate these risks, agents should learn to own the negotiation process. After all, a smooth sale means a happy client.
So below are a few tips on how to improve your negotiation skills:
Before each meeting, make a list of goals and items that should be discussed. Then write down different scenarios and outcomes that could stem from the meeting. It’s good practice to devise a Plan B in case the conversation does not go your way. Think of it like planning to argue in court. Brainstorm different questions, scenarios, and solutions. During the meeting, try to be more personable so that the experience doesn’t turn off your clients.
Listening is just as important.
You have to show you are willing to compromise to some extent. So listen intently to both the buyer and the seller, then figure out what your counterpart truly wants. This way, you can think of an innovative solution that will satisfy everyone. If you can listen well, hone in on the client's needs, and respond accordingly, then you will thrive in your next negotiation.
No real estate business can grow if the agent is a pushover. So be assertive, but not aggressive. Take your time when closing the deal. This balance will allow you to present yourself professionally and gain the trust of both sides. Nothing will make you appear more desperate than if you're in a constant rush to close the deal. While it is great that you want to finish the deal and earn your commission, it's crucial that you remain patient. Even if you are on a time constraint, be patient and make sure you've covered every point. You don’t want to leave something behind just because you were in a rush.
Be culturally sensitive.
Different cultures do business differently. So, whenever possible, ask the buyer and seller what culture they ascribe to before meeting with them. If they are from out of town, then try to learn a few words from their local language and how they engage in business. Be sensitive to differences in self-expression, in speaking and writing, as well as in differences of body language.
Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes. There is nothing more important than understanding what your counterpart wants to get out of the negotiation. Most likely, they want to be understood, valued and feel like they made the right decision. By being positive and approachable, clients are more inclined to accept your help. They’ll want to be more proactive during the negotiation process. If this is the case, then you’ll know that they trust you. So bring a positive aura to the table to create an environment that's more conducive to business.
Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, but voice them in an amiable manner. Don’t get aggressive, don't be too blunt, and don't raise your voice when discussing concerns. Remember that many times when you are expressing something difficult, or something that makes you feel vulnerable, it’s not always about the message - but how it's said. So, while you’re trying to find a solution, be diplomatic. And don’t forget, what goes around comes around. Be professional so that your clients treat you the same when expressing their own concerns.
Positive body language helps to make your case during a negotiation. Use your eyes, hand expression, body positioning to your best advantage. Sit upright with elbows on the table and don’t lean back to appear too casual. Your sit and stand positions should suggest that you're open to conversation. Smile, nod and make direct eye contact when listening. Body language says a lot about you and your attitude, and you must draw the attention of others with positive expressions.
Analyze and Adapt.
Once the meeting is over, analyze what worked well and what didn’t. Determine what you think were signs of success and what needs to be followed up with for more clarification. By reviewing the success of the meeting, you’ll build on your strengths, correct your weaknesses, and get ready for an even better meeting next time.
Nothing is personal.
Negotiations can be a vulnerable time. It’s our human nature to take any negative outcome as a personal attack. We’ve seen time and time again how egos and feelings can destroy corporations and businesses. If you truly want to be successful, then you’re going to have to leave your emotions at the door during a negotiation. You’ll need to remember that outcomes are not a reflection on your character. Negotiations aren’t personal attacks on a particular person, but rather they are just a form of business.
There you go! These are a few tips for improving your negotiation skills. Hopefully, you will plan ahead before a meeting, listen intently during the meeting, analyze the outcomes, and remember not to take negative feedback or outcomes personally. Instead, be optimistic and approachable so your clients win. Because if they do, you will too.