Why should you be negotiating toward win-win?

I was recently quoted in an article on negotiating entitled Top 15 Real Estate Negotiation Strategies from the Pros.  I enjoyed seeing the ideas from other contributors.

For starters, I think it is important that the term “win-win” jumps out a lot from this set of ideas. Why is that a big deal? Some agents automatically approach their negotiations as a battle. It is all about winning; winning a lower (or higher) price for their client, or the terms their clients need… nay, demand!  This hardline, ham-fisted technique might get you to a mutually accepted agreement. But know that more negotiations lie ahead. I have discovered countless times that although everyone in the transaction thinks we are on solid ground, there likely will come a time before closing where my seller needs something from the buyer. Maybe it is more time, or an alteration to an inspection remedy. If my client was boorish in their negotiating getting to mutual, the other side is going to be much less likely to be accommodating.  So, winning may not last.

When you are striving for a win-win, the parties will generally have a favorable view of their counterparts and will demonstrate a tendency to work through issues that come up later.


No may not be no


One thing I re-learned from this article and surrounding content was the notion that “no” is not the end. It is the beginning. Sometimes just giving the other side a moment of silence to think, and to fill, will bring possible “yes” solutions to mind. Often, modifying the request but restating it will get the wheels turning or produce the result you are hoping for.


Is yes bad?


One point I don’t necessarily agree with is that saying yes to a good offer is a mistake because it causes the other side to question if they offered too much. While that may be true, I think a mistake is made when you decline or counter a terrific offer.


Usually a buyer KNOWS they made a great offer. Often they made a great offer to avoid the back-and-forth dance. By countering you are inviting the universe to throw a monkey wrench. You are allowing time for things to happen… people are born, people die, they get married, they get divorced, they get in a fender bender, they quit sniffing glue. Life happens with the ticking of the clock and usually life events affect negotiations (usually NOT in a positive way). Buyers sometimes just get a touch of buyer’s remorse; something they will likely work through if they are IN a transaction, but something they may not work through if negotiations are lingering on. My advice to clients leans to acceptance, depending on other factors like time on market, other interested parties, etc.


The 50/38/7 Rule


I made the point (number 14 here) that speaking with the other agent is critical, NOT texting back and forth. A quote that seems to make its way around says that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is tonality and 7% is the words we use.  I don’t pretend to know if those percentages are credible, but I think the point is credible. More understanding comes from the emotion you pick up along with the words – something that does not convey in a text or email.  Furthermore, written communication is halting and limited. It discourages the back and forth, the questions and answers, the brainstorming of ideas together, and much of what makes a real conversation superior in most ways.



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