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3 Techniques to Keep in Mind When Negotiating with Other Agents

by Peter Thomas Ricci

What techniques should you keep in mind, when conducting negotiations with other agents?

Negotiations are one of the most pivotal aspects of any agent’s career; after all, it’s one thing to find that dream home (or buyer) for your client, but an entirely different matter to secure that dream on mutually beneficial terms. New research suggests, though, that we may be attaining that dream in a less-than-ideal manner.

According to a new study by Daniel Ames, a professor of management at Columbia University, businesspeople often present themselves too hard or soft when negotiating with their peers, even though they think they’re striking the right balance. “In the language of Goldilocks, many people are serving up porridge that others see as too hot or too cold, but they mistakenly think the temperature comes across as just right – that their assertiveness is seen as appropriate,” Ames said in a feature on Inc.

So what’s an agent to do to ensure that their negotiation approach is hitting home? Ames has three suggestions:

1. Seek Input – Simply, we should not trust our instincts when it comes to our negotiation style; instead, seek input from friends and colleagues that you trust, and ask them to offer clear, honest and sympathetic guidance on how you can improve your negotiation tactics.

2. Everything is Not Strategic – Sure, the agent across the table may have reacted a certain way to something you said, but you can’t assume that they are feigning that response as part of their strategy. As Ames put it, “If someone acts taken aback in a negotiation, probe to understand what’s behind their reaction. They might really be offended, because they know something you don’t that makes your behavior look extreme.”

3. Come Prepared – We all know how important it is to be assertive when engaging in negotiations, but it’s equally important to do your homework and back up that assertiveness with cold, hard numbers. Do you think a home is worth more than the buyer’s agent suggests? Or perhaps you’re on the other side of the table, and you think that the listing price is too high? Come prepared with the proper research on comps, trends and the home’s characteristics to back up your statements. That way, your counteroffers will be reasonable and studied, not shoot-from-the-hip rash.

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