Begin With Common Ground/Where you start negotiations may determine where you end up.

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

"The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them."
--Adriana Doyle

 In a disagreement or negotiation, a great deal of energy is wasted focusing on where two parties disagree. Whether it's a tussle between a buyer and seller or husband and wife, our worst instinct is often to hold fast and point out where opinions and conditions differ. It makes resolution seem almost impossible at the outset.

Rather than beginning negotiations by pointing to conflict and difference, why not start by directing attention to common ground? If compromises have been made in the past, wouldn't it make sense to highlight where two parties have found mutually agreeable terms, and begin there?

It's a small shift, but an important one. By focusing on past successes and shared views, you set the stage for overcoming the present disagreement. Beginning with stories of resolution, rather than the bleak prospect of insurmountable differences, you set the tone for a favorable outcome. You help both parties visualize the time to come when both sides have put strife and tension behind them. As a real estate pro, you've ridden through the fires of negotiation before. Draw on the stories of past compromise to help reach the other side.

Though the attribution has been lost over time, there's a quote that says, "riding is the art of keeping a horse between you and the ground." Negotiating the terms of a deal successfully requires an intuitive and firm (but not too firm!) grip on where you're going. To keep things upright and moving forward, you and the horse must depend first on common ground. 

by Scott of Oakley Signs and Graphics

Comments (3)

Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Great advice Rhonda, especially regarding riding a horse! LOL! We learnt to focus on the positives a while back, especially during an offer presentation. Get them agreeeing, even if only on the small items. Get them bobbing their heads in agreement!  Good article.

Jun 15, 2010 02:46 AM
Holly Weatherwax
Associate Broker, Momentum Realty - Reston, VA
A Great Real Estate Experience

I recently worked with a client who, although a successful person, found it most comfortable to maintain a contentious stance during our negotiation. I kept telling him that the perception that he was difficult was not helping the negotiation process. He felt like being agreeable opened the door and asked them to 'walk all over him.' After several issues, I finally convinced him that a 'spirit of cooperation' would actually put him in a better position. He reluctantly tried it my way--got all that he wanted AND the stress level went down!

Jun 15, 2010 02:52 AM
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Great Advice Rhonda.  Amazing what a difference this change in attitude can make... focusing on the common ground rather than focusing on the differences.

Jun 15, 2010 03:16 AM