Regardless how long you have been in the real estate industry, you negotiating skills will be one of the most ought after skills by clients. It’s an incredibly powerful skill to possess to negotiate the right price and terms for your clients. This is why clients have rated negotiation skills the second most important factor in an agent, when they choosing to hire a Realtor. With Realtors looking to improve their negotiation skills, it’s no wonder there are real estate designations dedicated to this. There are several techniques and strategies, used in general negotiations, that have also been adopted in the real estate industry.
To better structure their negotiating techniques, many Realtors have also started to incorporate NLP to their negotiations. NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, it is the process of how that neural language functions. It’s as close as we will get to be able to read, or communicate, another person’s mind. A lot of the NLP techniques agents already use, without having fully understood or studied NLP. Using this during negotiations, really comes down how you can frame the perspective of negotiations. There is a section of the Certified Real Estate Negotiator Designation, which teaches different techniques and strategies agents can use. Let’s breakdown some of the techniques they discuss in this designation.
1. Change the perspective
The first thing you can do is to change the perspective and tone of the negotiations. Creating a collaborative structure where you are ‘teaming up together’ solve a problem, will lower the guards compared to a ‘you vs. me’ scenario. This changes the body language, tone of voice and breaks down the mental wall of being defensive.
2. Big Picture
Our motivations vary when we are trying to achieve a goal, there is usually an underlying motivation that is not immediately aware. A simple example is when an employee asks for a raise, they may be doing so to increase their quality of life. Employers may not be able to provide the raise, but they can look at alternatives to help their employee achieve a better standard of life. This can be done by extending their vacation time, or having them work from home once a week. You are going to take the same concept in negotiations, and bring the bigger picture to your opponent, especially if you feel they are getting frustrated or unwilling to listen.
3. The Sweet Spot
One of the most crucial moments during negotiations, is when your opponent has just proposed their idea. The moment they are finished, is what we refer to as the ‘sweet spot’. This is the moment where you have their attention and can divert the conversation back to your idea or counter offer. Instead of opposing right away or providing reasons why you can’t ‘accept’ the offer, place a little time on their proposal, ask questions and explore their thoughts. By avoiding rejecting the idea right away, you are allowing your opponent to now be more receptive to your offer and argument, once you propose your counter. They will then be more likely to follow suit, and explore you counter offer, ask questions and open up the discussion.
4. Explore Ideas
When your opponent is talking, pay attention to their choice of words to discover what type of learner they are. There are three types of learners, visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Here are the types of phrases they may use:
Visual: Visual learners need to be able to see and image to be able to breakdown and process information.
How to recognize Visual learners: Visual thinkers tend to talk more quickly. They see your vision, or talk something through until they see eye-to-eye with someone.
Phrases Visual learners tend to use include:
- ‘It looks like..’
- ‘Show me what you mean’
- ‘It appears as though..’
If you are working with someone who is a visual learner, to capture their attention, use statements such as:
- ‘How do you see us agreeing on the terms’
- ‘What would it look like if we settled on this?’
- ‘Imagine how happy your family would be here’
Kinaesthetic Learners: Kinaesthetic learners take more of hands on approach to be able to fully understand and learn something.
How to recognize kinaesthetic learners: Kinaesthetic thinkers tend to talk more slowly. They also tend to process things more slowly and thoroughly, they like to really feel and have a firm grasp on the situation.
Phrases kinaesthetic learners tend to use include:
- ‘Get a feel for it’
- ‘Solid as a rock’
- ‘The pressure is on’
If you are working with someone who is a kinaesthetic learner, use phrases such as
- ‘How would you feel knowing that your family got their dream home’
- ‘Let’s feel out this option to see if it’s a good fit’
The majority of people are visual learners. Visual learners account for a total of 60% while auditory and kinaesthetic learners account for the rest of the 40%.
Auditory: Auditory learners tend to learn and process information best when they are listening. How to recognize auditory learners: Auditory thinkers tend to have more melodious voices and tend to talk a lot. They really need to hear what you’re saying and they tend to march to their own drum and make their own music.
Phrases auditory learners tend to use include: ‘
- It sounds like..’
- ‘So you’re saying…’
- ‘It’s music to my ears…’
If you are working with someone who is an auditory learner, you need to use statements such as:
- ‘What would an ideal situation sound like to you?”
- ‘Hear me out on this one’
- ‘Listen to this option’
- ‘How does that sound to you?’
During negotiations, whether it is with a client of another Realtor, study their body language and subtly mirror their image. For example, if someone is speaking slowly, then slow down your rate of speech or if someone is leaning forward, then you should lean forward as well. Mirroring the other person with help build a sense of rapport, as they can feel ‘relatable’ to you, without necessarily knowing why. Again, you should be subtle about this, and keep in mind that verbal communication only accounts for 7% of overall communication. Tone of voice and body language (55% of total communication), play a large role in how you are able to successfully get your point across.
It’s not surprising that the majority of sales professionals genuinely enjoy the negotiations scenario and can actually get a natural ‘high’ from this. The excitement, adrenalin and enthusiasm are all very common in negotiations, especially in the real estate industry. This is good news for clients, as it increases confidence to know that you have someone in your corner who actually thrives on getting the best outcome for them. This is definitely a skill you are able to master, and with these tips, hopefully dominate as well.