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What is a "Good Negotiator"?
05-27-2009, 12:58 PM
Post: #1
What is a "Good Negotiator"?
Hi all,

Look at the average real estate agent profile and they all say I'm a blah, blah, blah... million dollar producer... blah, blah blah... available 24 hours a day... blah, blah, blah... and an excellent negotiator.

When I think of negotiations, I think of William Shatner on priceline, Somali pirates, baseball players getting $72,000,000.00 contracts.

What role does the agent really play in the negotiation process?  Or is the agent strictly an intermediary between buyers and sellers delivering information back and forth, because isn't it ultimately up to the buyer or seller to decide where to give and take.

I picture it like this;

Agent 1: Here's my buyers offer.
Agent 2: OK let me take it to the seller and see what they think.
Agent 2: They think that's too low, but they've counter offered this amount.
Agent 1: OK let me see what the buyers think about that.
Agent 1: Well, they've decided they'll pay that amount, but they would like the refrigerator included and they think the house needs a new roof and they'd like the seller to pay for that.
Agent 2: OK, let me see what the sellers think about that.

and on and on and on...

I know, that's simplistic at best.

I remember from buying my home, that our agent made some suggestions regarding price, whether to ask them to clean out the barn, etc. but basically it was up to us to dig our heals in and fight over price.  She really didn't have any power to negotiate anything without our approval.  She made suggestions to us, my wife and I would come to a decision, she would contact the selling agent and on and on.

So what was really happening in the background that we couldn't see... because I am sure there were things she was doing on our behalf that we were not aware of.  What is the agents role in negotiating?  And of course how does this translate in the SWS model?

Thoughts and/or examples??
05-28-2009, 04:38 AM
Post: #2
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
There's a whole chapter on soulful negotiation in my next book!

I think I'm a great negotiator - not a win/lose kinda gal, but when I say "great" I mean that I get my client what he wants without killing the whole vibe of the deal.

Here's an article that was posted at Realty Times last month, I believe:

There was another great one at Broker Agent News (although I absolutely hate that magazine) a few weeks ago, but I can't find it. Darnit...

For me, the best way to negotiate is to put yourself in the other guy's shoes and figure out how to get him to say yes to your requests. I don't think this is best accomplished with intimidation or threats, but rather trying to give him a way to say yes without looking or feeling like a putz.

And, remembering, that you can always say NO. Which is sometimes the very best strategy of all.

Here's an excerpt from my book:

I used to be afraid of the word “negotiate.” I considered it, paradoxically, to be both beneath me and also over my head. My vision of a master negotiator was someone who was expertly manipulative, who had the attitude of one of my first clients: “It’s not a good negotiation until both sides feel some pain.” I pictured a cheesy salesperson in an expensive suit making his opponent feel inadequate and inexperienced so that she eventually gives in against her will.

I wanted no part of that!

On the other hand, I was also intimidated by the concept of becoming a good negotiator. I read books on the Art of Persuasion and Negotiation and found the methods to be interesting but not terribly practical. When I’m having a conversation with someone, I simply can’t intentionally steer the conversation in the direction I want it to go using rehearsed scripts. And, frankly, being a girl, it’s important to me that there is a mutual trust in any conversation I have--y’know, that whole feminine relationship-building thing.

So, for years, the idea of being a great negotiator wasn’t something I was interested in becoming.
But you know what? Somehow I became one without even trying. No, not by listening to subliminal sleep tapes, reading books or taking an expensive weekend course, but rather by trusting my own common sense and understanding of human nature.

In this chapter, we’re going to talk about all sorts of negotiations, including some situations that may not exactly qualify as negotiations, but use the same skills and philosophies. I’ll tell you this upfront--it all comes down to a few things:

1. Respecting and acknowledging the intelligence of the guy on the other side of the table
2. Looking for a win/win wherever possible
3. Striving to see the situation from all perspectives and acting accordingly

"The Secret of Joy in work is one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." Pearl S. Buck
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05-28-2009, 07:58 AM
Post: #3
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
With what few negotiations I have had, I s'pose I've been lucky and have had pretty soulful agents to deal with (so far Wink ).

I took a page out of Jennifer's teachings. I tell clients and prospective clients that when we get to the negotiating part, that I am a win-win kind of guy.[rather than each side feeling pain, each side should be feeling good]. I am not going to beat up someone at the negotiating table, but I am not going to be a doormat, either.

Many of my clients (I say that like I am a top-gun which I am not...the awards from the board came out and I was in the rusty nail category rather than platinum) get a thoughtful look on their face when I tell them that. I look for THEM to nod in agreement and then, if and when they do, I make a decision about them as to their fit with ME as their agent.

But, my new friend, as rookies (and I shall be a rookie for several years), our radar is working overtime, jumping at shadows to the threat of a more experienced agent taking us, and by extension (and more seriously) our  c l i e n t s  to the cleaners.

I have absolutely no problem of going over anything I have a question about with my broker and I am lucky that he is open and always makes himself available. I will willingly take a bit of a hit on my credibility with a client in order to serve them better, whether they know that or not.

Use your "walking around" sense. If it smells bad or feels bad, it probably is bad somehow, but consider it a learning experience and ask and get direction before you leap, and you will have to do that quickly. Ask questions of a mentor if one is provided to shadow, but stay soulful in your approach (true to the code, Lad Smile )

You are going to do fine. You ARE confident. You ARE asking questions. You ARE competent. You ARE professional. You put your CLIENT first. These are very good things.
05-29-2009, 04:41 PM
Post: #4
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
Jennifer has pretty much covered it very well and I agree with her on this topic 100%. 

I think there is a lot of negotiation in the process, starting with our own clients.  Sometimes that is where I work the hardest.

I used to have a misconception of what negotiation meant and I wasn't sure I was any good at it, until I realized I was damned good at good, in fact, I didn't even realize that's what it was! LOL  For me, it's about the baby steps...finessing the deal in just the right way until everyone is happy.

And as Bill mentioned, it's about both sides coming to the table happy about "their great deal." To get to that point takes a great deal of finesse and negotiation. 
05-30-2009, 08:45 AM
Post: #5
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
I think that almost every new agent is worried about being a tough, pit bull negotiator...after all, that's what they want, isn't it?  Well, some? Yes. A question is, do you want that type of person as a client? Yes, they are walking and breathing, etc. but do you want to be associated with that type of business model?

Still it is a justified fear with many of us newbies. My first offer presentation outside my own office was with a seasoned, and I mean seasoned veteran. Agents said, "Oh my goodness, you sure are learning some tough lessons early on." Stuff like that really helped my c-c-c-confidence.

As I was driving to the agent's HOUSE to present the offer (talk about a home court advantage), I noticed I had butterflies! JEEEEZ...butterflies? How long had it been? Somewhere like standing on Carol Anne Thompson's front porch waiting for the door to be answered with a corsage in my hand...

Going up against the Tiger Lady...I was sure to bomb, be humiliated, would they ever find my body?

I remembered some very important things at that moment. 1) I had met the Tiger Lady before and she had a good side.20 I had given budget presentations many times before a committee whose sole purpose was to intimidate and ask pointlessly stupid questions so they could justify their existence,3) I had been on the witness stand and cross examined by a really overpaid jerk, among a few other items(4-100)....point is, we all have been in high pressure situations and negotiation-related situations before, and come out for the most part, just fine (Especially salesmen actually PAY HER to take a vehicle off the lot).

Remember seemingly unrelated strengths that when looked at under the magnifying glass, are very related. Might not be real estate, but it was essentially the same thing, just different wrapping paper.
05-30-2009, 02:44 PM
Post: #6
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
Bill, you should write commedy!  You have a wonderfully entertaining way of writing...

I think you make a great point - there is way more negotiating going on than people realize, they don't recognize it because it isn't what they think it should look like and they forget how much of their life they spend negotiating!
05-30-2009, 08:04 PM
Post: #7
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
Thanks, Susan...
There are a lot of folks that think my performance in real estate of late is ather that what you meant :'(. Just sort of kidding...for a freshman, I'm holding my own with a lot of the bigger dogs in the pack...and a lot of it has to do with not taking life too seriously...LIFE, not client relations or customer service.

If most of the newbies look, they have been in a similar situation sometime, so it really isn't so intimidating or daunting. Sort of nothing to fear, but fear itself thing...and of course having someone sue the crap out of you...oh, that's me, I forgot...
06-01-2009, 03:27 PM
Post: #8
Re: What is a "Good Negotiator"?
I think the definition of "good" is relative. If you ask a buyer, a "good negotiator" means negotiating an awesome deal in the transaction - ie lowest possible price. If you ask a seller, a "good negotiator" means getting the highest possible price. Hence, see how these 2 would never meet?

Yet, I believe that there is a balance in everything. In a buyer's market, the negotiation typically favors the buyers, ie sellers end up paying for alot of things to sell the house. Trying to get a good balance where both sides feel they got a good idea is important.

Negotiation is definitely a skill many people do not possess. Negotiation banks on alot of physology, alot of timing and motivation also. Hence, a "good agent" that understands all these can "win".

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