Careful, Your Non-Verbal Communication is Showing

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

Careful, Your Non-Verbal Communication is Showing

It seems that a very quick change has happened with buyer negotiation tactics in our Bristow-Gainesville real estate market.  The approach taken on the buyer's side is increasing becoming aggressive with mutiple threats to walk if they don't get exactly what they want.  

Selling a home is not an every day experience for home owners.  They may only do this one or twice in their lives. They rely on their agents to detect a real threat to walk over someone blowing smoke.  Additionally, they rely on their agents to de-escalate situations like this.

The other day, I was speaking with a fellow agent who I respect very much.  In recounting the drama of a buyer's agent threatening his buyers would walk if they didn't get what they wanted, I simply said, "What he didn't realize was this non-verbal communication was telling me all I needed to know."  I guess I take the term non-verbal communication for granted, having graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, but this agent hadn't the first clue what I was talking about.  It seems the digital world has stripped away nuance for a lot of people.   Not me.

You don't need to be talking on the phone, or in person, with someone to get a sense of their non-verbal communication.  That's why it is called non-verbal communication.  Actions always speak louder than words.  Take these actions from buyer's agents, or happenings on their sides of the transactions and tell me if they are in keeping with a buyer about to walk.

Buyer's agent texts, calls or emails on the hour, every hour to see if the seller ihas gotten another offer.  (Why do you care?  Your buyers are ready to walk.)

Buyer's agent texts, calls or emails repeatedly throughout the day to say their offer is final and if the seller doesn't accept it, they are walking.  (Your repeated phone calls make it seem as though your buyers are in a state of anxiety over whether the seller is going to work out a deal and they clearly aren't spending their time looking for another property....just brow beating us.)

Buyer's agent, who threatened multiple times that their buyers are walking if their offer isn't accepted, called to counter his final offer.  (But I thought your offer was final.  Your countering yourself?)

Buyer's agent tells you there are plenty of homes for the buyer to choose from, so they are walking if they don't get this repair.  (MLS disagrees.)

Buyer's agent screamed and yelled that if the opening offer to purchase wasn't accepted that they were walking, but their buyer negotiated a deal with the seller and entered into a contract for more than what was allegedly prompting them to walk away.  Same agent uses the same threat at home inspection to say if the seller doesn't fix everything, the buyer is walking.  (Hmmm.  You didn't the first time.)

Buyer's agent is screaming on the phone that the buyer is about to walk due to inspection, meanwhile I just met the appraiser at the home.  (Buyer is clearly dumping more money into this deal.)

In all of these cases, when a buyer's agent starts to threaten and get aggressive, I go silent.  I acknowledge I heard them, tell them I willrelay to the sellers and disappear.  Rule #101 of negotiations anyone?  He who speaks first loses.  Repeated messaging is a sign that the buyer wants THIS home.  They are dying inside at the thought that they won't, so they have their agent communicate repeatedly.  Adding in the phrase, "If we don't get what we want, we are walking," is not at all effective when you have pestered me all day long.  You're not going anywhere.

My favorite lately was informing the buyer's agent who had threatened to walk once before, but didn't, and was verbally assaulting me with the fact that her buyer was walking if he didn't get all the fixes in the inspection, that she should inform her buyer that the appraiser just left the property.  He had already paid for that too.  She just got caught misrepresenting his lack of seriousness about the property. Ooops.

Actions truly do speak louder than words.  If you ever dare to employ the, "Do it our way or we're walking approach," shut down all outgoing communication.  Truly be ready to walk.  If you aren't, you are only contradicting that statement with your non-verbal communication.  And when you don't follow through on a threat like that, you lose all credibility going forward.



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Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Best Practices
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Art of Professional Salesmanship
Diary of a Realtor
Bartender, Make it a Double
Old Farts Club
the importance of nonverbal communication in negotiations
negotiating through threats

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Richard Daskam
Keller Williams Coastal Properties - Signal Hill, CA
Your Real Estate Consultant

Threats only make things worse, and you either show your ignorance or age. 

Oct 06, 2019 09:38 AM #3
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

HAH! That's what Goren would call 'a tell'. LOLLL!

I love the entertainment value! OH, and Miz Mimi is right. It's the dudes! (and females trying to establish dominance. ICK).

Roseanne Barr used to say that sitting in negotiations for her (HUGE) salary and control, the more the patriarchy would yell, the more she'd sit back and speak really softly.

I love that. Makes the bombastic have to STFU and LISTEN. Which is the meat of excellent communications!

Oct 06, 2019 09:47 AM #4
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon Chris Ann. This is funny but oh so true. What you don't say speaks volumes.

Oct 06, 2019 10:58 AM #5
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Chris Ann Cleland - you have made very wise insights.  Mood and personality really come across in texts and emails.

Oct 06, 2019 11:02 AM #6
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

With so many strong seller markets across the country, buyers who act that aggressively are likely to miss out on a lot of homes during the negotiation process.  However, investor types, don't care, they are only playing the numbers!

Oct 06, 2019 01:32 PM #7
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

CONGRATULATIONS Chris Ann, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Oct 06, 2019 01:40 PM #8
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Chris Ann - you are able to see the "big picture" as opposed to many sellers who can only see their part.  That's understandable but your insight is quite helpful.  Hopefully they are able to hear and understand.  

Oct 06, 2019 05:02 PM #9
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-507-7510

Chris Ann Cleland Unbelievable story of very bad behavior by showing agents. Don't they realize they sound like fools acting like that while their buyer is proceeding to pour money into transaction.  Threats really should be an ethics violation.

Oct 07, 2019 05:46 PM #10
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I was going to communicate my pleasure and agreement concerning this post by saying nothing, but of course the blank comment in my space wouldn't be seen because it wouldn't have been "published."  Oh well.

And the cartoon character at the beginning of the post seriously missspellled the word seriously.  FYEYE.

Sorry, I didn't mean to misspell FYI... 

Oct 08, 2019 03:38 AM #11
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Negotiation is a game that you can win if you watch the non verbal actions of the other party.  Great group of clips that show that a buyer is desperate to buy but wants it their way or no way.  A bluff.  Thanks!

Oct 08, 2019 04:47 AM #12
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Why does it surprise people when they take the time to observe & listen? We were created to receive and observe. The kicker? It is done wordlessly. 

Oct 08, 2019 06:55 AM #13
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

LOVED this post, Chris Ann Cleland ... and believe it or not, I see this behavior as the Lender too.  The "drama" exhibited during the common transaction has grown immensely over the last few years.  Some seem to thrive on it.  I don't.  I see it as my job to tampen the fires ... not stoke them.


Oct 08, 2019 08:49 AM #14
Raymond Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

With my client's approval,  when threatened, it is a good time to say, please send over the paper work so we can sign it and your client can start looking for a home that is a better match.  It makes the rest of the transaction go so much better.  Of course, it helps if you have received multiple offers.    I really like working with clients that are looking for win-win situations.

Oct 08, 2019 10:03 AM #15
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Well deserved feature Ann, and lots of good points we can all hope to remember when we get a bully on the other side.

Oct 08, 2019 02:06 PM #16
Krystin Mitchell, CPA CFE
KLSM CPA Firm, PLLC - Houston, TX
Accounting, Tax Preparation & Resolution, Tax Lien

Being able to recognize nonverbal cues is such an important asset in any industry. Thank you for sharing this post, Chris Ann. I thoroughly enjoyed it!


Oct 09, 2019 07:38 AM #17
Gail Smith-Bibb
Gwen Fowler Real Estate - West Union, SC
A tradition of trust

I think Shakespeare got it right. "Thou doth protest to much, me thinks."

Oct 09, 2019 08:32 AM #18
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Hi Chris Ann, I dislike when someone says right off the bat "this is final" or "they are walking if..." because in reality, isn't there often somewhere in between that could work for both sides of the equation? What does the buyer (or seller) really want? To move forward? Or to move on? Great post about non-verbal communication that we should all read and heed!

Oct 09, 2019 10:08 AM #19
Steven Nickens
Elite Pacific Properties Maui - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

I think it can come down to supply and demand. Not a lot of inventory, ignore the threats. Nice article, food for thought.

Oct 09, 2019 05:43 PM #20
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Fantastic article! I always wonder if buyers clients know their agent is representing them in such an aggressive fashion.  Want to walk?  Go for it! 

Followed by, "see you at the closing table" where I'll innocently remind you of "that time you were going to walk".  LOL! 

Oct 10, 2019 04:28 AM #21
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

great post! Negotiation is an art & there are many agents that just don't get this. Obviously, you do which is a terrific asset to your sellers.

Oct 18, 2019 12:51 PM #22
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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