If you work on commission, you may feel the urgency to close straight out of the gate. Which makes sense because your livelihood, company rank, future prospects, and confidence are directly connected to the next closed deal. You have quotas to reach, deadlines to hit, bosses to satisfy, and bills to pay. But jumping to the solution part of the negotiation too soon will undermine your chances of getting what you want.

  • Slow. It. Down

Every negotiation requires a three-phased approach. It is recommended each phase take place in a separate conversation.

Phase One

Your focus should be on building a relationship and gathering all the information you need to communicate more effectively. Begin with listening, making it about the other person, validating their emotions, and creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin.

Build Rapport

Rather than giving a sales pitch, think about how you can encourage your counterpart to open up to you. If you can get your counterpart talking, you’ll gain insight into their perceptions, fears, history, and perspective. Below are tactics you can use.

  • Determine what type of Negotiator you are up against and then communicate to their standards
  • Use calibrated questions
    • How and What questions give the listener a feeling that they​ have control of the conversation
    • Goal is to suspend unbelief​ → calibrated questions to ask for help
    • Don’t use: Can, Is, Are, Do, Does, why (makes people defensive)
    • Avoid: questions that can be answered with Yes or tiny pieces of information
    • Start every question with what and how
    • Avoid angry emotional reactions
    • Phrases to use
      • What makes you ask?
      • What about ____ is important to you?
      • How can I help make this better for us?
      • How would you like me to proceed?
      • What is it that brought us into this situation?
      • How can we solve the problem?
      • What’s the objective / What are we trying to accomplish here?
      • How am I supposed to do that?

  • Mirror - Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathize and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your potential clients to reveal their strategy.

    • Repeat the last (or critical) 3 words of what someone else has said

    • Examples:

      • Client: Can you do a 1% commission?
      • You: I’m sorry but I’m afraid I just can’t do a 1% commission
    • For negotiations, do not try to mirror the persons tone of voice, body gestures, or language. Just stick to mirroring the words they are speaking.

    • Why mirroring works?

      • People copy each other (imitate) to comfort each other
      • Builds rapport that leads to trust
      • People fear what is different and are drawn what is similar
      • You are insinuating similarity which tells the other person to trust you because we are alike.
    • Mirror process

      • Use Late Night FM DJ Voice
      • Start sentences with I’m sorry… (note: only if you want to disagree without sounding disagreeable)
      • Mirror
      • Silence​, at least 4 seconds to let mirror work it’s magic
      • Repeat
    • When to mirror?

    • When you want to drive the conversation in a certain direction. Use a mirror to focus into a certain topic.

    • When you want your counterpart to expand on their last statement

  • Use labels

    • Validate someone’s emotion by acknowledging it
  • Process

    • Calibrated Questions: Ask How and What questions
    • Mirroring: Listen & repeat back
    • Labeling: Give feelings a name & identify with how they feel
    • Repeat

Types of Negotiators:

  • Analyst
    • Acquiring facts & info ​> making a deal
    • Time = Preparation
    • Silence = Opportunity to think
    • Methodical & diligent. Hates surprises.
    • Self-imaged tied to minimizing mistakes
    • Prefers to work on their own
    • Reserved problem solver
    • Information aggregator
    • Skeptical by nature
    • May appear to agree when just agreeing to think about it
    • Doesn’t like calibrated questions
    • Apologies have little value
    • Hypersensitive to reciprocity
      • Get gift first = it must be a trap
      • Give first = you must reciprocate
    • Tools: labels​, specifically to compare analysis
      • Use data
        • Use data to drive my reason, no ad-lib
        • Use data comparisons to disagree
    • Worst-type match: Assertive
  • Accommodator
    • Building relationship​ > making a deal
    • Time = Relationship
    • Silence = Anger
    • Communicating → happy
    • Sociable, peace-seeking, optimistic, distractible, poor time managers
    • Watch tone & body language → hesitancy won’t come in words
    • Risk: may overpromise, agree to give you something they can’t actually deliver
    • Tools:​ What & How calibrated questions focused on implementation
    • Worst-type match: Accommodator
  • Assertive​
    • Being heard ​> making a deal
    • Time = Money
    • Silence = Opportunity to speak more
    • Getting solution perfect is less important than getting it done
    • Loves winning above all else
    • Most likely to get tunnel-vision. Focus on goal → miss opportunities to explore
    • Emotions = bad
    • Negotiation = intellectual sparring
    • Focus first on what they have to say. Once they are convinced I understand them, only    then will they listen
    • Tools: calibrated questions, labels, ​and summaries​. Get a that’s right
    • Be careful with reciprocity (give an inch → take a mile)
    • Worst-type match: ​Analyst

Make “NO” work for you

The first step to becoming an effective realtor is changing your mindset. Far too many realtors are addicted to the word yes. But ultimately, yes is a useless word, and you need to learn to stop chasing it—which requires a mind shift.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix here: Flip your yes-oriented questions around by turning them into no-oriented questions. It takes a little brainpower to switch it up, but you’ll be consistently amazed at what people agree to when they can agree by saying no.

To outsiders, all real estate agents are the same. They don’t look any different, and they are all trained the same way and told to say the same things. To get to the next level as an agent, you need to figure out what you can do to separate yourself from the pack. An easy way to do this is by changing your mindset to stop chasing after the yes—and afford them protection by allowing them to say no.

Don’t be scared of the word, “No” can often mean:

  • I am not yet ready to agree;
  • You are making me feel uncomfortable;
  • I do not understand;
  • I don’t think I can afford it;
  • I want something else;
  • I need more information; or
  • I want to talk it over with someone else.

Benefits of “No”:

  • “No” allows the real issues to be brought forth;
  • “No” protects people from making—and lets them correct—ineffective decisions;
  • “No” slows things down so that people can freely embrace their decisions and the agreements they enter into;
  • “No” helps people feel safe, secure, emotionally comfortable, and in control of their decisions
  • Again, People feel in control and secure when they say no
  • “No” moves everyone’s efforts forward

If I hear No, say:

  • What about this doesn’t work for you?
  • What would you need to make this work?
  • It seems there’s something here that bothers you?
  • What do you want me to do?

Examples to trigger a No​:

  • Is now a bad time to talk?
  • Have you given up on … ?
  • Is it ridiculous … ?
  • Would it be horrible … ?
  • Is it a bad idea … ?

You might sometimes need to force counterpart into a no:

  • Intentionally mislabel an emotion
  • Ask a ridiculous question that can only be answered by a No
  • Let’s talk about what you would say No to
  • If the person will not say no at all, walk away from the negotiation
    • They have a hidden agenda
    • They are indecisive or confused

Phase Two

You can begin to use the information gathered in phase one as you address your client’s fears and work to demonstrate understanding. In this second phase, your goal should be hearing “that’s right.”

Make Them say “That’s Right”

Before you convince your counterpart to see what you’re trying to accomplish, you have to say the things to them that will get them to say, “That’s right.”

“That’s right” is better than “yes.” Strive for it. Reaching “that’s right” in a negotiation creates breakthroughs.

Trigger That’s Right with a Summary:

  • Effective pauses encourage the client to keep talking
  • Minimal Encouragers: Yes, OK, Uh-Huh, I see → show I’m paying full attention
  • Mirroring: Listen & repeat back
  • Labeling: Give feelings a name & identify with how they feel
  • Paraphrase: Repeat in my own words to show I’m really understanding
  • Summarize: Re-articulate meaning of what is said + acknowledgment of the emotions = Paraphrase​ + Labeling

Phase Three

It’s in this phase that you should even begin to touch on the deal itself. Phase three is about addressing implementation, planning for the “what ifs”.

Close with Implementation

As an agent, you’re responsible for preparing the prospect to transition into being your client and setting accurate expectations. You are going to tell them what the next steps are, what they can expect from you, what issues might arise, how you will communicate with them.

You can tell you client:

  • If we get on contract, I will be calling you every Friday regardless if I have an update or not.
  • The next step is for you to get pre-approved. This has to be completed before we ever go see a property in person
  • I will be adding you to my mailing list which will be sending you properties that match your criteria.
  • You can reach me via text, phone, email Mon-Fri from 8am through 6pm.

You can ask your clients questions like:

  • If I can’t reach you via text, how would you like me to contact you?
  • When you send me a house you are interested in, what do you expect me to do?
  • I expect you to answer calls/emails with two days and ASAP if we are in contract. Is that going to be a problem for you?