Want to Level Up Your Negotiations?

Remember the Four Cs 

If you work in real estate, then you know there is no escaping from negotiations. Very few deals are done without a little bit of give-and-take, a smidge of haggling, and sometimes, flat-out demands and dealbreakers being thrown around. But haggling doesn’t need to be a hassle; sharpening your negotiation skills is a great way to ensure that all your deals go that much smoother. While outcomes are never guaranteed, all negotiations feel a lot more positive when you have the skills to navigate them with confidence.

Understanding the Dynamics of Real Estate Negotiations

There are a lot of dynamics at play during a real estate negotiation, and everyone is coming from different perspectives. The seller and their representatives want to ensure that they get the best price for their property. The buyer and their representatives want to not overspend. Agents and brokers want their clients to be happy but also to reach a deal that pays them appropriately for their time and efforts. Add external factors like market trends and economic conditions, and you’ve got a recipe for volatility. That’s where negotiation skills come in.

One of my all-time favorite books is Never Split the Difference: Negotiate as If Your Life Depends on It, written by retired FBI hostage negotiator Christopher Voss. Now, a real estate deal is rarely a matter of life or death, but many skills used by trained crisis negotiators translate well into the world of real estate sales and negotiations. 

It all comes down to the Four Cs of negotiation: 

  • Common Interests
  • Conflicting Interests
  • Compromise
  • Conditions

To be an effective negotiator, you need to understand these four components of the deal. Let’s break that down a little bit, with examples:

  • Common Interests: The buyer, seller, agents, and brokers all want the same thing—to transfer property from one owner to another.
  • Conflicting Interests: The parties in the negotiation may disagree on the price of the property. 
  • Compromise: The parties must find common ground by reaching a sale/purchase price that is amenable to all.
  • Conditions: A buyer might accept a higher purchase price if the seller agrees to make repairs or other changes as a contingency of the transaction. 

If you think about these Four Cs before any negotiation, you have a mental framework of the elements of the deal. The best part is that you can apply these guidelines to almost every aspect of your life, whether personal or professional. 

Overcoming Challenges in Real Estate Negotiations

While it would be incredible to always come to the table and have things go off without a hitch, it would be foolish to think that negotiations won’t hit snags now and then. There are many outside factors that can impact a negotiation and throw you for a loop. Here’s a tip for that: Don’t get thrown for a loop. 

Easier said than done, right? When unforeseen circumstances threaten your negotiations, remember that being flexible, adaptable, and resilient can help you find creative or innovative ways to get your talks back on track. Stop, think, and reframe your thinking. You might immediately want to jump to negative thinking— “What am I going to lose?” Don’t do that either. 

Instead, think, “How can I still benefit from this negotiation?”

When you approach a challenging negotiation with a positive mindset and with an eye on finding solutions that work in your favor, you stand a better chance of not giving up too much in the compromise and still walking away satisfied. 

So, how can you develop a positive mindset, adaptability, flexibility, and resilience to help boost your negotiation skills? 

Continuous learning: Be a constant student, staying informed about industry trends, economic conditions, creative thinking and problem-solving techniques, and negotiation methodology. Read and absorb as much as you can, take seminars and classes, and be astute about the media you consume. 

Practice: Work with your colleagues to role-play negotiation scenarios during group trainings and team meetings. Think about ways you can “choose your own adventure” for your team through varying conversation points to arrive at the best outcomes. 

Seek diverse perspectives when you’re not at the table: Talk to people! Industry experts, colleagues who work in different roles than you, mentors—they can all give you their perspective on what happens during a negotiation. Their input can help you understand things from the point of view of others, which can, in turn, help you adapt your negotiation methods to best suit your purposes. 

Negotiation Could Be Your Niche

With enough practice and skill-building, you could be your business’s next go-to person for negotiations. Even if that’s not your main goal, building your skills and being the best negotiator you can be never hurts. Just keep working on your foundational skills like a positive mindset, adaptability, and resilience, and don’t forget your Four Cs of negotiation—they’ll rarely steer you wrong. 

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