Put your hands up, you've been negotiated

Education & Training

I'm in a daze, vegetating on the couch as my 4 yr old son walks up to me and says "Put your hands up, and surrender".  As my eye cracks open I'm looking down the 'barrel' of a Lego gun, and my hands go up as a smile ticks the side of my mouth. Cowboy kid


The negotiation begins. . .


I will surrender if . . . what?


1. He helps take the clothes upstairs?

2. Comes upstairs for dinner?

3. Puts on his jammies?




Life is a series of negotiations, whether you recognize it or not.  We learn these skills from our parents, our friends, our collegues and our society.  Unfortunately, our society is not centered around negotiating and our practice can be limited.  Sure we negotiate for our cars, we negotiate our cable bills and we expect to negotiate for our homes.  However, knowing that we need to do this does not mean that we aren't nervous as hell to do it. 


Why are we so nervous?

Unsure Agent


I think it's because we don't think of this as a game.  Negotiating is a game of chess within your daily life.  There are rules and expected responses.  In chess, you know that your bishop can only travel on the diagonal.  When negotiating you know that the other party is going to start high or fairly unreasonably.  They expect to have you counter them. 




So...How do you counter someone you want as a client?



One strategy is 'the flinch'


With this strategy your goal is to express visually or with verbal sound effects (think a - HMMMMM, or a hiss, or even a polite laugh) that the request is unreasonable.  By doing this you are going to make your client potentially uncomfortable.  That's ok, they need to be uncomfortable so that they come back to you with something more reasonable, or give up on their request all together. 



I recently interviewed a top sales manager on a few strategies used in negotiations.  The keys to winning at negotiation are understanding:


1. How the game is played

2. You need to prepare your responses in advance for the common points of negotiation

3. Never think that you are the better negotiator


In my PowerHour we explored a few situations where these strategies are used in agent negotiations, what to look for and how to counter them.  












Check it out and tell me what you think.  

Do you have specific strategies you use when you are negotiating for your clients?

Posted by


Training and Instructional Designer






Comments (28)

Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

We are constantly negotiating and positioning ourselves for a power stance. It is how the job gets done effectively

Oct 10, 2014 12:16 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Feel like none of this should feel like trickery. It should always be about win-win and really nothing else. You want people to come back and you also want to be paid well. It's not harder than that.

Oct 10, 2014 03:48 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

One of the things that came to mind as I read this is how we really should do more in a child's life to help develop their negotiation skills. 

Oct 10, 2014 04:08 PM
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Specialist - Agent

That's intresting. I was a single mother of twins so it was my common response to either of them when they asked me for something, "What's in it for me?"  Taught them early about negotiating and consequences ...

Oct 10, 2014 08:07 PM
Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

To be blunt don't be a jerk. Negotiating shoulsn't be about the other person it should be about the property. I can negotiate with jerks but after all is said and done it doesn't feel as good as when everyone is nice about it and after the same goal. It's not about you, it's about your clients.

Oct 10, 2014 09:42 PM
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

Kids can be great negotiators and they don't even know it.

Oct 10, 2014 09:57 PM
Ron Barnes
Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties - Jasper, GA
"Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1!

Ah yes! The flinch!

Negotiation is more planned retreat than attack in most cases. Folks who try to win usually lose. Know what you want, and what you can give up. Better for both sides to be pleased with the end result. Unlike many, I enjoy going through the process.

Good post!

Oct 10, 2014 09:58 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Ever since I can remember, the statement...everything in life is negotiable holds

Oct 10, 2014 10:10 PM
Michael Ha Elmhurst
Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Corona, Middle Village - Elmhurst, NY
Woodside, Maspeth

LoL the kid in the picture is so cute I can't help but look at him over an over . .  Just can't read straight :)

Oct 10, 2014 10:32 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Was a single full time Dad with four... what works well at the end of the day is "the clock on the wall says..."  they realize when said with a sense of urgency this is bigger than Dad, the kid... hop to it. Quick like a bunny and let's get those teeth brushed, prayers said, stories read and lights out for the sandman's beep beep backing up sound with the gravel truck for deep ZZzzzzz's.

Oct 10, 2014 10:41 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Just listened to Point2Agents webinar on negotiation this morning. I try to offer options so the other party feels they have choices. Where possible you want to try and avoid win lose situations as they can end in stalemate. I try to avoid saying the best offer is, or we cannot go any lower, clients change their minds and when you give them choices and let them know the options they may take something you thought they wouldnt because they said they wouldnt.

Oct 11, 2014 05:15 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Strategy or methods . . . yes, I have my ways.  I listen very carefully to what I'm being told, by whom and how this affects the deal.  

Oct 11, 2014 06:20 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Where are you that you have snow already?  Thankfully we won't be seeing it for a little while longer.  Great post Aly, and you made great points.  I like the hiss!

Oct 11, 2014 01:38 PM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

You should never negotiate from a position of weakness or ie where the other party knows too much about your intentions, timeframe, etc. too many agents give me all the information I need to negotiate around them 

Oct 12, 2014 10:47 AM
Alyson Engelbrecht
Bellevue, WA

Praful - thanks, my oldest loves chess also, until he loses a game :)

Jenna - my husband also hates it when I negotiate with him.. hmmm, not sure why?

Joan - win-win's are SO important

Ed - Negotiating is part of the 'meat and potatoes' of RE and it can be so hard to convey that effectively in a client interview.

Laura - agreed, you don't want someone to feel like you pulled an extra ace out of your sleeve.  But, you also don't want to lay all your cards on the table and lose the hand.  It's a challenging line to walk.

Tammy - Kids have not fear when it comes to these things.  I think that we can take a lesson from that, right?

Chris - WoW, in awe of you right now.  When it gets scary is when they get old enough to be a challenging negotiator.  I'm not looking forward to that.

Richard - Remembering it's about your client and not you can be really hard, especially if you feel like you could get them more but they don't want to do it.

Jackie - agreed!

Ron - What an interesting way to approach the negotiation.  Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Richie - It's funny because there are quite a few things that I am uncomfortable negotiating, I'm sure I leave quite a bit on the table sometimes.

Oct 13, 2014 03:50 AM
Alyson Engelbrecht
Bellevue, WA

Michael - :)

Andrew - what a great idea

Nick & Trudy - it's about setting aside what you think you know, taking the offer to your client then elping thme understand the negotiation process and what they want out of it. Clients can make some surprising decitions.

Carla - It's so important to let others do more talking, give them a chance to give something away.

Evelyn - my dad took that picture last year on my birthday.  I just loved it so much i left it up all year.. :)

Karen - You've got my ear.  I'm looking forward to a blog about your strategies.

Oct 13, 2014 05:22 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Cute way to make great points. Stick'em up, we gotcha. :)

Oct 13, 2014 07:49 AM
Alyson Engelbrecht
Bellevue, WA

Thanks Karen!  It's fun when home life connects to my work.  Glad I could share it. 

Oct 13, 2014 07:54 AM
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Negotiating happens in plenty of situations and circumstances outside of business.  IT is a necessary skill to have and perfect.  

Oct 14, 2014 07:07 AM
Alyson Engelbrecht
Bellevue, WA

Kevin - I totally agree, it's interesting that when we are negotiating in daily life it seems less daunting than when we have to prepare for it with another person.

Oct 14, 2014 07:12 AM