The best negotiation skill is rarely taught or even mentioned. But, in an intense and competitive market like today, this skill is often the critical difference between an accepted offer and going back to the home search.
The good news- it is simple and common sense if you just know what it is. The better news? Very few agents use it, so it is easy to really get an edge over all the other offers.
The Best Negotiation Skill Is….
What is the best negotiation skill that most buyer agents lack? Empathy. Understand what the listing agent and the seller is thinking an feeling and adjust accordingly.
Before you roll your eyes, assuming empathy is something you have nailed, take a look at some of the examples I include below. Your job is SUPER hard- you may not realize that your empathy muscle has suffered.
Read The Entire Listing on The MLS Before Calling The Listing Agent
You are incredibly busy- calling the listing agent for answers is faster and more convenient, right? But the listing agent is busy, too. Your question may only take a few moments, but can you imagine how all those moments add up?
The number one annoyance for listing agents is being treated like an on call help desk. We assume you have no experience and will be a nightmare during a transaction.
Read the MLS to find your answers – public remarks, agent only remarks, attached documents, everything. If you must call, acknowledge you are asking for a favor. “I am so sorry- I can’t get the internet on my mobile so I couldn’t check the MLS. Would you be offended if I asked….”
Showing respect for the listing agent’s time is a number one best negotiation skill in a seller heavy market.
Identify Yourself As An Agent When You Call
When you call a listing agent you might not think to identify yourself as an agent. You are in a hurry to get answers, and who cares if you are an agent?
I do. I have one mindset for potential buyer calls and a completely different one for agents. I assume any call is from a potential buyer unless told otherwise.
The best negotiation skill is to start by identifying yourself as an agent- “Hi, this is a broker call” is a great way to start. In just three seconds you’ve shown skill and are likely to get more information from me than I might give to a buyer prospect.
Respect Business Hours
You work when your buyers need you. This means they might demand answers from you late at night, weekends, maybe even during the Superbowl. You want to deliver great service, so you immediately call or text the listing agent…. late at night, weekends, maybe even during the Superbowl.
It’s a bad idea. The listing agent is not on call 24/7 – they work for the seller, not you and not your buyer.
A best negotiation skill is save that message for business hours whenever possible. I might not know if you exercised restraint, but I will notice if you call me during the Superbowl.
Use Gunslinger Contract Techniques With Extreme Caution
Ever heard of an escalation clause or a bully offer? I call them gunslinger techniques and sound like they will give you an edge…. and you desperately want an edge.
I’ll write a tutorial later for those unfamiliar with these techniques. The lesson is that they are unusual and designed to manipulate the situation in the buyer’s favor.
But our new negotiation skill, empathy, tells us these techniques can backfire.
Homesellers prefer offers that are simple and straightforward. They don’t like trying to figure out if there is a “gotcha” in the situation. If they have another option they will take it.
These gunslinger techniques are very effective in the right conditions. The best negotiation skill is to understand who to use them with and when.
Real Estate Is Local And Dynamic
Negotiation is all about communication and best communication practices can vary based on location and market conditions.
I’ve written this post in the Los Angeles area during an extremely seller controlled market. A different location or market dynamic would completely change the way a professional would negotiate.
That is why empathy is the best negotiation skill. A professional is in tune to the situation and perspective of others and uses empathy to craft the most effective strategies.