Negotiate Like a BOSS 5 Steps to Better Negotiating

Real Estate Agent with SC Home Offer LLC
I just finished listening to "Never Split the Difference" a riveting guidebook on how Chris Voss, FBI hostage negotiator, annihilates his competition in high-risk negotiations.  That guy clearly knows his stuff and for his type of negotiations, his strategy and tactics can't be beaten.
In my business though, I take a slightly different approach.  In fact, a completely different one.  For me, there's no goal to beat the other person.  I'm happy to split the difference if it makes sense for both of us.  Now, before I lose you, this type of "weak" negotiating has helped us purchase and sell hundreds of homes for profit - paying fair prices to sellers and still earning a reasonable profit. 
No doubt, people have sold to us instead of the competition because we follow these 5 steps:
1. How can I serve you? (mindset)
Approach every negotiation with the question, "How can I serve you?"  Truly, my heart's desire is to leave the person on the other side in a better place than before we met.  So, I approach every negotiation with that question.  Imagine your elderly parent or distressed son or daughter was in negotiation.  Would you want the other party to have the "I'm going to beat you" mindset or the "How can I serve you" one? 
2. Get to the root. (caring questions)
Now, ready to serve, ask questions and find out what's going on. Why is this person looking to sell, buy, rent... look beyond the surface. Ask "why" "what have you tried" and "what are you afraid of."  Not so you can beat them up with your knowledge but so you can provide a better solution for all.
3. Show your cards. (building trust)
"Mr. and Mrs. So and So, thank you for helping me get a better picture of WHY you are looking to sell your home. This understanding helps us figure out IF there's a solution that can work for both of us.  Now, would it be ok if I share my goals and fears with you as well?" Once they agree, be honest.  Tell them what you are hoping to accomplish and what you are afraid might ruin it.  When people know that you care and you are being honest they often want to work with you to find the elusive win-win scenario.
4. Explore solutions. (be creative)
At this point, you understand the other side and they understand you. Now, it's time to see IF there's a solution that can work for all.  In buying or selling real estate, it's not all about the numbers. Maybe it's about timing, or ease, or respect, or you name it.
If there are trust and transparency, you can present all sorts of solutions that never would have been considered if they didn't like and trust you.  We often purchase homes with sweet owner financing. Sometimes people team up with us to sell their home for more (also awesome). Often we will find out about additional properties that they want to sell.  
While you are in this step, keep revisiting both goals. Are we getting closer? By engaging them in every step of the solution process they often come up with solutions that are better than you could have alone.
5. Make a deal or don't but leave as friends. (call for action)
They know what you want.  You know what they want. Every possible option has been laid on the table.  Is there a solution that can work for everyone?  It's time for a decision.
I start every negotiation with an up-front contract that goes something like this, "Now Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I approach purchasing homes a little different than how many others do. I'm going to share a bit about our company and process and I'm hoping to learn and really understand your situation and goals as well. Is that ok with you?" They always answer in the affirmative.  "Great, now I'm also going to share my goals and fears too.  And once we have all that out on the table we will be in a really good place to see IF there's a fit for both of us.  Does that make sense?" Again, yes. "Perfect, now we are NOT the best solution for everyone as there are times when selling to an investor isn’t your best option, and if it's clear that we are not, we will let you know, but if we agree there's a good fit, would you guys be able to move forward today?"
Once we have the ground-work laid, the knowledge shared and the solutions explored we are in a place to decide: deal or no deal.  I want to walk away from every negotiation with a solution I can provide or a recommendation to a home selling solution that will be better for them. 
It's through this caring and sharing approach that helps us win new business every day while developing great new relationships too!
Regardless if your a real estate agent in Atlanta, GA or an investor who buys homes in Greenville, SC, learning how to negotiate will win you more than just clients!
If you adopt this approach, I hope to get to "negotiate" with you soon!

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