People say that real estate isn’t meant for introverts. It’s an industry that places a lot of value on great social skills and building connections. Agents have to negotiate with other people on the client’s behalf for every single transaction. Only individuals who are extroverted and outspoken should pursue a real estate career.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Most people are not specifically introvert or extrovert. They are somewhere in between. We have our comfort zones and unique conditions for working. Extroverted personalities rely heavily on socializing and networking to keep them going. Introverts on other hand relish the comfort of solitude and might not want to talk a lot. Real estate can be just as fruitful for people that lean towards introversion as it’s for those that lean towards extroversion. Introverts have their traits which can prove useful when it comes to negotiations:
- Good listeners
However, saying that introverted agents can just successfully wing it during negotiations wouldn’t be correct. I am an introvert and the normal response from me if I am negotiating with an extrovert would be to give in and just get it over with so I can go back to what I like doing – working alone or reading books. That’s the normal psychological reaction that every introvert probably has to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a struggle, but introverts have their own strengths.
So, how can agents with introverted personalities survive in the brutal world of real estate and compete with the “people persons‿ in the market? Well, we have a few suggestions that both our introverted and extroverted friends can benefit from during their next negotiation:
We negotiate every day. It can be something as small as getting your favorite dish cooked or something major like closing transactions so you can get your commission. But it’s only after we recognize the importance of this skill and then focus on improving it that we can get better at it.
Great negotiators acquire this skill through a lot of practice and experience. Introverts are shy by nature and try to avoid confrontation. Negotiations can be pretty intimidating for them because deep down they think that their opponent is strong, and they are weak.
The first rule of successful negotiation is to negotiate from a position of power, even when you have nothing. For Introverts, the confidence and the strength that they seek during the showdown would come from pre-negotiation planning. Planning is where introverts should spend most of their time, so they are not flustered during negotiation.
Here are a few things introverted real estate agents can do during planning stage:
- Getting The Complete Picture
- Importance of Being On Same Page
- Facts and Figures
Getting the complete picture
It’s important that you gather as much information as possible before you meet with the other party to discuss the transaction. Agents with an introverted nature need to not only understand the position and motives of the other party but also the client that they are representing. The more information you have about your opponent, the greater advantage you will have during real estate negotiations.
If they are representing buyers, it’s important to understand:
- What are your clients are looking for in a house?
- What is their price range?
- What other options do they have regarding potential houses?
- What makes that particular house a good buying option for them?
These are just a few questions that you should know answers to before you proceed to the next stage. Similarly, you have to look at it from seller’s perspective as well:
- Is the house worth its listed price?
- Why is it being sold?
- Has the seller already bought a new place and is in a hurry to move?
- Is there a divorce involved?
- What are the pros and cons of that particular house?
- Has the house been on the market before and at what price?
- Is the house priced at or below market value?
If it is overpriced, then it means there is room to get the price reduced. However, if it is listed at market price, then that means the opponent might not budge on pricing. The same principles can be reversed engineered to help you if you are representing sellers.
Importance of being on the same page
Once you have answers to most of your questions, you will need to discuss your strategy in detail with your client and give them your expert opinion on how to proceed. This ensures that both agent and client are on the same page and don’t accidently undermine the overall position during negotiations, which can be pretty awkward. For introverted agents, knowing that your clients have full confidence in your strategy will help you negotiate on their behalf with a calm and grounded approach. Remember, you are negotiating on your client’s behalf, not yourself.
Define Your BATNA
At this stage, you will have to imagine the best and worst case scenarios that you might face during negotiations. What do you hope to achieve if everything goes according to your plan? What can be the lowest acceptable outcome that you can go for with without breaking off negotiations? Having a BATNA or Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement can empower agents during negotiations. It’s your Plan B which will allow you to walk away from the negotiations.
It is important to know your limitations before negotiations, so you don’t get used as a doormat by your opponent. Also, it will help you set the tone for negotiations and if possible, move towards a win-win scenario favorable for both agents.
Once you have your BATNA, you should sketch out several scenarios that can help you get to your end goal.
Now that you have your negotiation strategy and BATNA, it’s time to step into the negotiations with confidence. Introverts have several skills like acute listening, observation, empathy and focus which, when used correctly, can help them hold their end even when dealing with alpha agents. Having complete control over yourself is a key element in becoming a great real estate negotiator. Here are a few tactics that you can use to win real estate negotiations as an introvert:
1 – Ask Questions
Ask your opponent open-ended questions. Questions are the best way to get to know your opponent’s motivations and priorities. Knowing what the other party wants to achieve from these negotiations will help you analyze the overall situation and if possible channel negotiations towards a mutually beneficial win-win scenario.
2 – Listen
There is a common misconception that to be a great agent you have to speak a lot. While communicating your point is important, doing that in a concise manner without revealing too much is crucial during negotiations. It’s important only to say the right things at right times. Saying too much and your opponent might figure out your weakness.
Introverts are really good listeners and can soak up a lot of information quickly. When faced with a stronger extroverted opponent, the best strategy is to let them talk until they are tired. Keep your message concise and support it with fact and figures.
Remember, we can’t change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
3 – Understand Your Opponent
Every agent has a different style when it comes to negotiation, and it’s important to use the right negotiation strategy for each style. There are four main personality types when it comes to negotiations:
- Analytical – They are logical, fact-driven negotiators
- Driver – These are dominant, independent and strong-willed negotiators
- Amiable – These are patient and cooperative negotiators with a calm demeanor.
- Expressive – These are charming, outgoing and persuasive negotiators who can be a bit informal at times.
You can determine the personality by engaging them in conversation. Here’s a great article that outlines the do’s and don’ts when it comes to dealing with these four negotiation personality types. As an introvert, it’s essential to do some research on your opponent and their history as it may help you create the strategy you need to orchestrate a successful negotiation.
4 – Empathize
Introverts tend to empathize better than other people. Today’s business world views empathy as a weakness. However, if used in moderation, it can be the difference between closing a business deal and failing one. You can accommodate the other party and not get hung up on small details which have a very short term impact. However, do make sure they don’t take too much advantage of your good nature.
5 – Paraphrase
Once you start making progress, it’s important to summarize the information your opponent is giving and paraphrase the agreed upon points. Paraphrasing will help you build a rapport with the other agent, but also move through the whole process quickly.
6 – Body Language
Your mindset and body language play a huge role in determining how successful you will be during real estate negotiations. The person who can control emotions will control the situation. Whether it’s you or your opponent, nonverbal communication can provide a lot of insight on how someone is feeling or what they might be thinking. For introverts, it’s crucial to keep your thoughts collected and approach negotiations with a calm mind. It is also essential that you observe your opponent for the nonverbal cues that they might be giving. If you are getting mixed signals from them, try to probe and find out what’s making them uncomfortable.
Negotiations can be pretty intimidating for introverts, especially if their opponent is an extrovert with an aggressive approach. Hopefully through solid planning and strategy, you can walk into negotiations with a calm and grounded approach. Once you come to an agreement on certain things, end the meeting in a strong manner by restating the things everyone has agreed upon. You will also need to define the next steps, so everyone knows what needs to be done and by whom.
I believe introverts can be just as successful in real estate negotiations as agents with an extroverted nature. Introverts have strengths which can be rewarding and can utilize to tilt real estate negotiations in their favor. What’s important is to be creative and always push the envelope.