BEST PRACTICEElite Agent

Improving your persuasive negotiation skills

As a result of the information age, clients and customers are much more educated than ever before.

If agents are to stay competitive in this environment, they need to constantly hone their negotiation skills to maximise their personal power; and understand that power is present in all interpersonal communication.

Improving your persuasive negotiation skills
As a result of the information age, clients and customers are much more educated than ever before. If agents are to stay competitive in this environment, they need to constantly hone their negotiation skills to maximise their personal power; and understand that power is present in all interpersonal communication.

When most people think of “power” they envisage legitimate power, or in other words ‘power over someone’. By virtue of the position or status one holds, legitimate power refers to the exertion of power or influence through the perceived right to control behaviour. Think manager and subordinate employee. In the real estate profession however, there are much more relevant and subtle forms of power that can be useful in negotiations and sales.

Referent power
You can achieve ‘referent power’ by being the type of person that others wish to be like or be identified with.Referent power is based on a high level of identification, admiration, or respect for the power holder. The more well-liked and respected you become, and the more you are seen to hold similar attitudes, values and experiences as the other person, the more your referent power you have. This means that building rapport, focusing on similarities with your clients, and exuding an air of confidence and success can assist you to influence their decisions.Being a person of integrity is key to being a good negotiator.Aristotle grasped the concept of character and credibility when making a persuasive point:‘We believe good men more fully and more readily than others’.

When you have a clear understanding of the needs of the other party and you address these needs positively and proactively, you will automatically create a rapport between yourself and the other party – further creating this rapport means that the other person relates to you as someone with the same values and qualities.

Expert power
‘Expert power ‘is the power of influence you have when you are seen to hold special expertise or knowledge.As the Roman poet Virgil wrote:‘Believe one who has proved it. Believe an expert’.Your expert power can be maximised by displaying detailed product knowledge of your area of real estate, an understanding of your local demographics and by maintaining your finger on the pulse knowledge of the market place. This power increases even further when you are seen as unbiased. Your message will appear more authoritative, and you will be far more persuasive.

Good communication
Finally, you may have information or persuasive power over others if you can consistently, logically and flexibly communicate. By asking skilful questions and paying careful attention to the responses you receive, you will notice that people typically use certain words which may have a lot of emotional value attached or may indicate how they perceive the world around them. Try to match your words and phrases, so that in responding, you blend audibly with the other party, using some of the same terms that they have used.This way, not only will you have expert knowledge, but also information about the other party’s needs, which you use to present a well thought out persuasive case.

Persuasive negotiation is a skill that can always be enhanced.You can learn techniques to increase your power in negotiation by focusing on understanding how you use language, build relationships, and display your credibility and knowledge. By understanding what makes people perceive power, you can find a way to get them to see your point of view.

Jo Hamilton recently joined Kaplan Professional as a Curriculum Specialist for Real Estate, Learning Resources. She has three decades of experience in the Real Estate sector, and two decades in tertiary education. Jo also runs a successful consultancy business in property-related training services and the production of hands on, interesting, and practical learning resources.

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