To be a great negotiator requires preparation, so don’t “wing it” says Terri Cooper of Real Estate Mastery. Each negotiation will be different for you, and strong communication skills can mean success in achieving mutually beneficial outcomes during any negotiation.
Instead of stating your own “very persuasive” arguments, ask open-ended exploratory questions.
Active listening involves observing body language, signs of hostility, defensiveness or a closed minded position.
Negotiation is often the process of having a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. While there is a lot at stake for you, often there can be a lot at stake for your both buyer and seller. Inevitably, this can lead to a high level of emotion on both sides when you are negotiating deals for your clients.
No matter how good you are at building rapport and relationships, there are different factors at work when negotiation is involved, and you need to aim for a win-win outcome for all parties.
Your success rate in doing this will improve when you:
1. BEGIN YOUR NEGOTIATION BY TOTALLY BEING PRESENT TO YOUR CLIENT.
Instead of stating your own “very persuasive” arguments, ask open ended exploratory questions, listen attentively to the other person’s concerns, needs, current stance and carefully paraphrase to ensure you have heard and respected their position.
2. WRITE DOWN ANY SALIENT POINTS OF CONCERN.
An effective way of showing this concern and respect is to take the time to write things down. Even if what your client is saying is not clear or even rational. You may be able to refer back to these points at a later part of the process
3. PARAPHRASE WHAT YOUR CLIENT IS TELLING YOU.
This not only is a mark of respect but also ensures that you have heard correctly. Reflect back what you have heard to check for accuracy.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO FOCUS ONLY ON WHAT IS “ABOVE THE SURFACE”.
Often the negotiation will be successful if you can identify the underlying motivation, which be revealed only in the presence of trust between you and your client.
5. BE OPEN TO ANY EMOTIONAL ENERGY WHICH IS PRESENT.
Active listening involves observing body language, signs of hostility, defensiveness or a closed minded position. At all times, indicate with your words and your own body language your respect and empathy for their position, especially if it is not aligned with your own.
6. DO NOT BECOME DEFENSIVE.
If you do encounter strong emotions – work to understand the underlying problem. You must avoid inflaming the situation with aggressive responses of your own. This is the time to listen, stay firm but emotionally steady.
7. DO NOT COME ACROSS AS JUDGEMENTAL OR CONDEMNING.
Try to put yourself in the client’s position, allow them to state their point of view and then you must pause before giving a response. This will show respect and understanding, if not agreement, but will predispose the other to withdraw somewhat from their own position, and be more open to communication.
8. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, NOT THEIRS, TO EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS.
If you sense that the other person is not hearing or not understanding you, then it is entirely up to you to defuse the situation even if this means suggesting time out.
9. PRE-EMPT OBJECTIONS BY BEING PROACTIVE.
Introduce and be open to exploring any potential issues of contention before they become a problem.
10. STATE COMMON OBJECTIVES AND COMMONALITIES BEFORE EXPLORING DIFFERENCES.
Initially emphasise any terms or conditions that will be favourable to both sides rather than honing in on the differences in price expectations. In this way, the differences will be minimised in the light of the commonalities.
Negotiation is an art. One of the best books I have ever read on the subject is “You Can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohen – jam packed with practical strategies and ideas. When you master this art, there will be no ceiling on what you can achieve!