Are You a Skilled Persuader or a Trusted Negotiator?
When you spend as much time in the office as I do, you get to hear some pretty interesting things. Last week was no different. I got to sit in on a great story; One agent was telling another agent that she was in her third sign back on a house. She was handling it well. The house had been on the market for several weeks and hadn’t sold. Both the sellers and the buyers were digging in their heels on price, and the agent was explaining that they were going back for the third try, in ten days, this time without the patio set and the built-in BBQ.
It had me thinking. Is this multiple offer market making us forget about the fine art of real estate negotiating? Buyers are coming to the table with condition free offers. They are giving sellers everything they want in an effort to secure the house. The only thing separating the winner from the loser is the size of the bag of money but when the house doesn’t sell in multiple offers some agents are left thinking…..ok, now what? The answer is simple. It is time to negotiate.
Wikipedia defines negotiation as a dialogue between two parties intended to reach an understanding, resolve a point of difference, or gain an advantage to produce an agreement. Negotiation is a process where each party tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise.
I am reminded of a story of a new real estate agent who was an amazingly skilled negotiator. Back in the eighties, this agent, a recent immigrant to Canada, with limited English, carved a very successful career within his community. At the time (25 years ago) the real estate market was a completely different creature, yet this agent would constantly amaze his fellow agents. While most would be tempted to give up after five or six sign backs, this agent would often negotiate 30 sign backs. When questioned about his tactics his response was simple. He knew that if he could get one person to sign an agreement he would have a deal……it just took a bit of time.
A successful negotiation doesn’t always end when the two parties meet in the middle. The reality is that there is far too much emotion in the process for that to happen. Successful negotiation begins with listening to both parties and evolves into a little give and take. “I will give you this if you will give me that”. While money is an important motivator, it can often be the simpler things that get a deal done, like a closing date or an inclusion.
There is no question that we are going to run into a completely different set of challenges when the market balances or moves into a buyer’s market. Successful agents will need to transition from skilled persuaders to trusted negotiators.