Being able to negotiate is the key to being successful as a real estate agent. New agents can find this selling strategy stressful or overwhelming, but with practice, you can master the skill and serve your customers better. Negotiating is really just a dialogue between two parties where the goal is to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion. It requires practice but once you understand the basics, you’ll step into negotiations with confidence. 

Here are a 6 simple ways to improve negotiation skills in your real estate dealings:

Let the Other Party Make the First Offer
In many aspects of real estate, timing is everything. But rushing into a decision can hinder your results. To improve your negotiation skills, let the other party make the first offer. This gives you a chance to see what they’re thinking and how you respond. Remember, most of the time their offer will not be their final offer, and they will be expecting you to come back with a counteroffer. By waiting, you’ll gain valuable information about what is important to them and have the opportunity to change your bargaining position. 

Look For a Win-Win Solution
If your goal during negotiations is to have everything go your way, you’ll always end up disappointed. Instead, walk into the situation with an open mind and a willingness to let some things go. Some of the things you can do to help facilitate a win-win situation include: 

  • Separate the people from the problems. Agents with improved negotiation skills do not get personal. Everyone is looking out for their best interest, and everyone wins when both parties focus on the issues. 
  • Practice empathy. Listen carefully to what the other side is seeing and do your best to put yourself in their shoes. Try to see where they’re coming from and take time to acknowledge why you feel the way you do about certain requests. 
  • Ask smart questions. The more information you have, the better decisions you’ll be able to make. When you strive to learn more about what the other side needs, its easier to find a route to a common goal. 
  • Negotiate with integrity. Even if you never see this person again, the way you handle this negotiation will speak volumes about your work ethic and professionalism in the field. People will hear about the way you handle business deals and the way you treat people, and this could make or break you in this people-centered industry. 

Be Willing to Listen
Sometimes during negotiations, both sides focus so much on being heard that they forget to listen. When you don’t feel heard, it’s natural to shut down and refuse any attempt at compromise. Knowing this will improve your negotiation skills by helping you be intentional about making sure the other side feels heard and that their needs, wants, and opinions are valuable. You don’t have to agree with everything they say, but you should try your best to listen, ask questions when you don’t understand, and be open-minded to new ideas. 

Know What You’re Bringing to the Table
New real estate agents often go into negotiations not fully understanding what they have and why it is of value to the other side. This ignorance puts them at a disadvantage, and it’s often not until after closing that they realize what they had. Skilled negotiators do their homework so they come to the table prepared. Understanding the local market value, whether you’re in buyers’ or sellers’ markets, and unique aspects of a particular property, will help you make confident and informed negotiation decisions. 

Think, Then Respond
Real estate is a fast-paced industry, and things change all the time. Expert agents are good at thinking on their feet and can shift their real estate strategies and methodologies quickly. However, not every decision should be rushed. In a negotiation situation, it’s important to think before you respond. Listen carefully to the details of the offer, and take notes if that will help you process the information better. Then take the time to weigh your options and consider the pros and cons before responding.

A classic strategy used in negotiations is creating a sense of urgency, but don’t let that trip you up. It’s important not to delay a decision longer than you have to, but it’s more important to give yourself the necessary time to think through a decision before giving an official response.

Keep Emotions Out
Negotiations are not supposed to be personal. Negotiations are supposed to be a way for both parties to reach an agreement in which they both benefit. Be careful not to make decisions based on emotions, and instead focus on the facts.

Whether you are very excited about an offer or extremely disappointed, try to remain neutral. Don’t raise your voice, name call, or show outward displays of regret, excitement or disappointment. It’s okay to feel all of these things, but showing them can impact the way the other party makes decisions. Learning to self-regulate and self-monitor emotions can help you stay focused on your end goal. 

While you’re trying to improve negotiation skills, remember a few of these tips:

  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Feel confident in saying no and walking away from something that doesn’t benefit you.
  • Come to the table prepared.
  • Choose to collaborate instead of competing.

Part of being a top-performing real estate agent is investing in continued education. Top-level agents listen to podcasts, read books, and attend classes that will help them learn more about the industry. Continued education can help agents perfect their sales and negotiation techniques, as well as give them what they need to better serve their clients. Mbition offers online real estate courses and classes that connect agents with the solutions they need at every stage of their career.