All of the posts in the world can't show you what a few years in the field can grind into you.. but we're going to try. This one is all about saving the deal... probably one of the most important "lost causes" you can take up. Afterall, how much of your business is thrown out as unsalvagable (only after having spent countless interactions to develop in the first place)? If you could become the master at saving the sale, how much could you gain (if you're savvy enough to put your skills to use in referral partnerships)?
When it comes to emotionally-charged negotiations heading south, the best path forward is often taking a good step back. Sure, it's easy to get caught up in the torrent river of salesmanship at all costs when you're genuinely starving for business. But make-or-break pushing of your lead's team may be the cause for the impasse in the first place. So we'll slow the roll a bit, go back to the basics and focus in on rebuilding trust the only way you can... by earning it. Then we'll provide some tips on rapid deconstruction and reconstruction to make this process economically viable.
Can you or should you pull over for a pitstop in order to win the race in the long run? Let's explore...
Slow it Down, Keep it Cool...
First off, if you're even thinking that something is wrong, then you've likely already tipped the other party off to that fact and they're probably discussing it now. But there's a silver lining to this cloud... and that is that you noticed it. A worse scenario would be the business that you're losing without even knowing it. Those situations are just begging you to forego your brand integrity and discover (only when it's too late) what red-lining your relationships for immediate gains can do for your long-term goals. Yes, real estate is about closing, closing, closing. And yes, if you're not closing, someone else likely is. But faster and harder isn't always the way to go and likely isn't going to be an effective approach to salvaging waning deals.
Have you noticed that for some agents, listings just seem to work themselves? It seems almost effortless... like they're gliding. Sure, you know that everyone is hustling and budget does play a large role in this, but all things being equal, the fact that they are so cool about the process is a major working factor in their favor. It's the very definition of cool... not seeming to be affected either way by a prospect moving forward or out in a deal. After all, maybe it's not right for them... or maybe they're not right for it. So these agents can afford to think that way, right? Maybe, but ask yourself... did they change their thinking after they started closing more listings or have they always had that frame of mind and this is the result down the road?
You already know what it feels like to be in the middle of a high-pressure sales scenario... think car salesperson here. Don't you prefer the one that was friendly, laid-back and yet knew everything there was to know about the vehicle you were looking at (more so of a fan than even yourself)? You ended up asking more questions, didn't you? You ended up asking them for a card, right? You looked for them the next go round and no one else would do... you get the gist. They gained your trust, but you did most of the work when you think about it. Here it is in a nutshell... visibly hurried comes across as hungry, wounded and unsuccessful in the hunt. You might have set high goals for yourself, but for the other team, down is down and when they see you as pushing to no avail, they're going to push back for more than you or your client want knowing that (you, at least) need it. Even if you're numbers truly are weak right now, your advocacy and experience in the matter should remain "chin up and shoulders back."
This is all to say that even when you're hungry... don't push in line, it may get you kicked out of the relationships you're trying to grow. Keep it cool. You may need this one (like, really need this one), but check yourself and don't let your poker tell ruin what could be a salvageable deal.
Eliminate Hardline Tactics
Obviously, buying and selling homes is an emotionally-packed process. Life transaction aside... it's money. Clients will almost always be their own worst enemy when it comes to the art of negotiating and are likely pushing the relationship hard with infamous phrases like "Our home is worth much more than their last offer, did you..." (insert some comment about sharing comps, mentioning other interested parties or just repeating that line louder and more often). This is why you are so important in the process. You have found a way to balance your client's decisions and emotions with those of the other party, all the while making certain that your needs are met. Okay, so that's really going back to the basics there, but this is important to remember... you're the expert here. It's not just your experience in contracts, familiarity with regional history or national market data... you're the chief negotiator.
That all said, you're going to do best when you're looking out for everyone's interests. We all know it's give and take, but ask yourself... are you really giving? Think of Congress when it's in full gear... it's not about what you want, it's about what you're willing to give up and more, it's about showing that you're willing to take a hit in order to keep negotiations moving forward towards the ultimate goal. Your clients, like constituents, are almost always looking out for their interests alone... but you're there to make things happen (and you know that this means some, but likely not all things). Ask yourself "What negotiation points would hurt to give up?" Then ask which two you could sacrifice for the cause. If you're a chess player, then you know that negotiating a win in your favor almost inevitably requires hard sacrifices along the way. Remember, you don't want to share this or wear it on your shoulder. This is just an internal ace card that you know you have and just knowing it, can give you that smooth (yet humble) professionalism we discussed above. Knowing "I can make them happier at any point" will all-but-eliminate hardline-thinking that often tears deals down.
1. Don't assume. It's safer to assume that everything has changed since the last time you spoke and that you may not have a clear understanding of new motivators affecting the deal at any given moment. In other words, don't rely on an abundance of communication on their end). You might find that things have changed since the last time negotiations were on track, but that their demands have not. Their client may now be hurting to close sooner because of a recent life change and that fact may not come up outside of a sudden uptick in pressure to meet their needs. They might even be arguing old points based on new data. In these situations, it is helpful to stop, review with them the points you know they're looking for and listen to see if their primary positions on the field have changed. There may be new opportunities that can make everyone happy while keeping the ball moving forward.
2. Think outside the box. A good frame of reference is to ask yourself if you've changed anything since the last time you all came to an impasse. If not, then you may be putting all the heavy lifting on their shoulders. Even if you feel that's where it needs to be and that it's on them, it's still a stopped deal because of you, right? We say it often, but it holds true, especially here... if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. Ask yourself "what could I look into (right now) that might put this train back on the rails." Okay, so you may have exhausted everything you can do, but is there something someone else can do to grease these cogs? What would you do if it were your family, friend or client? Is there some number that you could call to get one more go around and save the deal? If you find that you're close, but that all the back-and-forth has burned into their ideal timeline, then maybe $500 for a small moving crew might get them back on their timeline. Here's a simple exercise (nothing new here), put their list of hardline negotiation points you can't overcome up on the screen or on the desk, then while that's up, place your contacts list right next to it and thumb through the names. You might be surprised to find an old contact that can help put things back into gear.
As mentioned at the start, there is a world of insights that we could reference (and learn from ourselves) regarding the art of salvaging a deal. Really, it varies from opportunity to opportunity. Naturally, most deals may not be salvageable at all - personalities, timelines and resources do matter. But if you're close and if you can feel it, then giving it one more go might be the thing that makes your year (and brand) stand apart. Being willing to push hard and get back into the fight is admirable (and necessary here), but approaching the next round like your last 5 may not be. Change up your game here and there. Ask hard questions, watch for when and where changes happen, be humble and accept that you may be the easiest change to make, get creative and keep your chin up.