Negotiation is definitely an art form. For many years, during the abnormal market of 2002 through the beginning of 2006, many agents were simply order takers. They would go to a potential listing, list it at what the homeowner would like, charge what the hoomeowner said to, and sold it. Many of the agents that were order takers during that market are still order takers in today's market. They are the agents with over-priced listings that are offering a low commission to cooperating brokers.
To be successful in this business, you MUST negotiate.
Things to keep in mind when negotiating:
1) Know your information. You must know what properties are selling for and have the information with you. You must also know the facts of your market and have them available to show the seller or buyer.
2) Know your worth. Many agents settle for less commissions because they don't believe they are worth it. The amount of time that is put into each transaction in today's market has definitely increased. I don't know why agents are still discounting themselves.
3) Be willing to walk away. I have noticed that when you are willing to walk away, you are more likely to get the business on your terms. If the listing is ridiculously overpriced, why take on the headache if the seller won't budge or reason? If they don't want to pay you what you want, why discount your services? People are shocked when you are willing to walk away and will more likely than not give in when they see that you are serious.
4) Be persistent. "No" may not really mean "no" when it's initial. See what terms can make the deal happen. Always ask for a counter if they say no. Always ask them what will it take to make the deal if they aren't happy. Always ask them why you aren't the agent they want to hire if they aren't signing the papers right then and there.
5) Be professional. Never go to low tactics. Always be ethical in your behavior. Present yourself as the ever professional. Look and speak the part of a real estate professional at all times.
6) Keep a positive attitude. Deals fall through. It's the nature of the business. Just keep putting deals through, so that it won't hurt as much. And continue to be proactive.
Remember, deals are made every day. If you're looking to make more deals, you must be a negotiator and not an order taker.