Posted in Negotiation

The Art of Negotiations


  1. Introduction
  2. Modeling & Bonding
  3. Human Relations Skills
  4. Control the Negotiation

Negotiation: to deal or bargain with others; to arrange for by settlement of terms.

A lot has been written or said about negotiations.  My remarks will be germaine to the house buying business, but can be applied to every other area of sales and all types of relationships.  The material forthcoming has significantly improved my ability to close transactions as well as improved my ability to get along with others.

In every negotiation we are trying to influence sellers or buyers to our way of thinking.  The real guidelines for these negotiations are set by their needs.  Determine their needs as early in the negotiations as possible and this will direct the course of your dialogue as you lead them with questions.

The earth seems like its rotating faster around its axis, yet we know it’s not.  However, with the advent of the information age, peoples’ lives and businesses are moving much faster than they were years ago.  Fast cars, fast food and life in the fast lane pretty much describe many people’s lifestyle.  People live hectic lives and when life gets disrupted people can become agitated, frustrated and motivated at the same time to make snap decisions.  You must be aware of the stress people are under and not aggravate or exacerbate their situations during negotiations and simultaneously get them involved and emotionally.  That’s why in negotiations we begin in a friendly, calm manner and your first goal is to put people at ease so they can talk freely about the circumstances surrounding the sale of their house.  Start immediately to build a level of comfort in sellers and continue to build trust and confidence by letting them know that you’ve got the ability to create workable solutions as you’ve helped others in similar situations.

Every negotiation starts with the initial phone call and your ability to develop rapport quickly will allow you to identify the real guidelines of every negotiation – their needs.

Everything you say is said with the purpose of extracting information to allow you to identify if this prospect has potential and if so, would you flip it, rehab it or use it as a rental.

The initial stages of all negotiations are not to win people over to your way of thinking.  That comes later.  It’s to get them to divulge the reason why they’re selling and what they perceive their needs are. It’s at this point that sellers often confuse their wants with their needs.

Be a calming influence as you lead them with questions and take on the role of a counselor.  No matter how good an opportunity may appear, do not become over anxious or over bearing as this will send the wrong signal to the seller.  Let them know you’d love to help the, if you can and you’ll do everything possible to solve their situation or point them in the right direction.  I always let the seller know up front that I may not be able to help them in order to dilute their ideas of their perceived value.

If you’re perceived as friendly, calm, confident and have successfully built up their trust, than they will want to do business with you.  This initial contact can make or break you as the seller is analyzing you as much as you are them.

I earnestly try to put people at ease by subtlety introducing the following into our conversation as it unfolds, but I don’t blurt it out:

1.  “I’m experienced and have been doing this for a long time.”  This credentializes me and begins to build their confidence in me.

2.  “I’ve solved others problems that have been in similar situations.”  This builds trust and I haven’t come into a situation that I haven’t previously experienced in a long time.

3.  “I will give you the benefit of my knowledge and experience and if I can’t help you I will outline other choices available to you.”  This builds friendship and lets them know that I truly care about solving their problem.  It also introduces “the take away” by possibly not being able to help them.  Nobody likes things being taken away from them.

4.  “I appreciate the opportunity that they called me when they could have called someone else.”  This lets them know that I do appreciate and respect their time and further establishes professionalism.

5.  I let them know that I’m in the business to make a profit, sometimes upfront and sometimes in the future.  This is a set up for a reduced price or workable terms for a long term rental.  The perception for them is to prepare their minds that I’m in business to make money.  Sellers appreciate forthrightness and they expect you to make a profit. Never conceal this fact from them.

6.  I let them know on the phone that I need some information to quickly determine if I can help them and if we like what each other says, we’ll put our agreement in writing and close on the day that best fits their needs.  By using the words “help them”, it subtlety  puts them on the defensive.  They have to sell – I don’t need to buy a house.  By stating that I’ll put the agreement in writing and close on the day that best fits their needs, this sets them up for an appointment and a purchase agreement while giving them the comfort and confidence of knowing that I can close the transaction in the time frame that they require.

I don’t blurt out the above information at any time in our dialogue.  Rather, I integrate into our conversation as the timing unfolds based on their responses to the questions I lead them with.

Of course, I want to know if they had other offers and what happened to those offers and how long the house has been on the market as I determine their specific needs.  At first the conversation is all about them and then we get down to particulars.

You really want your easy-going dialogue to be very much like a conversation as opposed to an interrogation.  There are times when you’ll get calls from a “know it all” seller and they’ll want to tell you the value and what you’ll make in profit in five years.  With these types of people, I do switch gears to a different style of questioning because these types of sellers are difficult to create an opportunity with.  It doesn’t mean it’s impossible and never by rude to a seller. You’ll never know when they’ll be back because time ran out for them.

Genuine compassion and empathy are characteristics that you must exhibit during negotiations with sellers that have befell misfortune.  Humanize people’s conditions and you’ll go a long way to separate yourself from your competitors.

Modeling & Bonding

Most people like to do business with people who are genuinely friendly, not pushy or aggressive and it’s up to you to find that balance and win them over to your way of thinking.  You must subtlety build confidence and trust in only a few moments of their phone call.  You better believe your tone of voice and happy-to-help attitude has to come through that phone.

Every time I meet someone, whether it’s on the phone or in person, my subconscious mind immediately makes a judgment and I formulate an opinion based on past experiences within seconds.  Guess what?  So do you – and so do sellers and everyone else.  Sometimes our initial impressions of people are inaccurate and we consciously overturn them.  Just know this:  You have a window of opportunity with a seller to make your first impression and it can make or break a potential relationship – in seconds. Especially when they have a list of other investors from the newspaper they can call.

The way you talk and how you sound is more important than the words you use.  If you’re married, you know what I’m talking about and if not pay close attention.  The tone of voice and voice inflection as you respond to the answers of the questions you asked the seller either gets you in the door to buy the house or not.

WARNING: No skill is required for a seller of a house with no equity and you’re the fifth person they called because all the other investors already declined.  If you have a real money making opportunity, your skills have got to be sharp and everything you say and how you say it is for a reason and has a purpose.  I love this part of building rapport with the seller.  Thirty one years of solving the needs of others has allowed me to become an expert in this field.  For me, it’s natural and believe me, the seller can tell the difference.  And, yes, my speech pattern and the words I use are adapted to whoever is on the other end of the phone trying to sell me a house.  Champion sales people go into every negotiation prepared with potential obstacles thought out in advance and a ready response should one come up. In fact, a professional will often bring up the obstacle prior to the seller bringing it up which induces confidence and trust because the investor is making sure the seller has thought everything through.  This “give and take” interchange between buyer and seller is, in part, what excites me about this business because it’s always different.  It’s not boring; it’s exciting – especially when the check clears the bank!

Let me give you an example of tone of voice and voice inflection.  “You think I’m funny, what, funny like a monkey.”  Did you get that?  Of course not – your reading this.  It was just words.  But if you heard Joe Pesci say it with the voice inflections and tone of voice he used in the movie “Goodfellas” it would mean something different to you.

I can teach voice inflection, tone of voice, modeling and bonding to anyone who really has the desire to learn.  You can learn of it by reading this book, but to make it become indelible in your subconscious mind you have to hear it and, even better, see it.

The recent book The Secret discusses ideas that are not so secret.  They’ve been with us since biblical times and the fundamental basis to the book is the law of attraction.  The book or DVD gives the message that whatever we put out in the Universe comes back to us.  For example; if you release negativity then you attract negativity and vice versa with positive energy.  The reason I’m writing this is as follows:  People are attracted to people like themselves.  They are comfortable with people like themselves and for the most part hang around with people like themselves.  Stop, take inventory of your friends.  For the most part, do you have similar beliefs about faith, life and sports?  How about clothes you wear and type of food you eat?  I would bet that you are similar in some regards which proves a quick point.  People are attracted to people like themselves.  Recently, I took inventory myself and realized that my closest friends are all successful entrepreneurs and own their own businesses.


You have only a few minutes to make a positive impression on a seller when they call you to sell their house.  You know that people are attracted to people with similar characteristics and traits, so what you want to do in this short period of time is to model their behavior as much as possible to begin the bonding process.  Since you’re on the phone, all you have to work with is their voice.  So, after your friendly “happy to help you” greeting, begin to mimic their voice in terms of tone, inflection and speed.  People listen at the same speed that they speak.  I had an employee that spoke really slowly while I spoke really fast and it took me 15 years to realize that he could never keep up with me mentally because I spoke faster than he could listen.  Talking slow and listening slow does not mean that the person is slow.  It means that they process words at a different speed which has no implications as to their intelligence.  Likewise, some people learn better by reading, other verbally and people like myself by watching.  I will process information much faster if I can observe it with my eyes.  Reading takes much longer for me and in fact, I must read new information at least twice before it starts to register. You really need to understand this for your own benefit for all future education.  Because if you learn efficiently and effectively by reading a book, why would you ever go to a seminar when you can just get the book?

Recently I read in the paper that when Hillary Clinton, in her run for president, speaks in the South, she speaks with a twang.  Why?  Because people in the South speak with a twang.  Maybe it’s the same reason that when we visit Mexico we attempt to speak Spanish.  We speak in the language that people understand and in the dialects they are familiar with.

For more on sales training I highly suggest Tom Hopkins and for human relation skills; you cant go wrong with Dale Carnegie classes.

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