Do you get emotionally involved with your client and the transaction to the point where you begin to notice you are upset all the time and there is a lot of drama and bad vibes constantly going on? Are you missing important details of communication and not really hearing what the other agent is trying to tell you or the other parties involved because you feel everyone is being adversarial and you have lost control of the situation?
I realized this too late in my own career when a transaction I was trying to get closed got really messy and nearly failed. I had the rare privilege to get to know and work with a wonderful couple who had adopted 11 special-needs kids. I just fell in love with them and respected what they were doing for the children and so I took it upon myself to advocate for them even more than usual to make sure they received all the money possible from the sale of their home.
During the listing period, my clients fell on hard times, and once we procured a buyer, he somehow found out they were in serious financial trouble. Having this knowledge, during inspections he literally beat them up with demand after demand because he knew they were desperate to sell and would do almost anything to keep the deal together. Somehow he found out what they owed on the property and was trying to get as much of their equity as he could squeeze out them. If my sellers lost this sale they would end up losing the home as the bank was about to foreclose on it and the buyer knew it.
I was so exasperated with his continued harassing and demands via his Realtor, that one day I went off on her. I screamed at her and told her that her client was a creep to put it mildly. I had never done anything like that before and as soon as I hung up the phone, I was embarrassed and ashamed of my unprofessional behavior. I had completely lost control of my emotions and my ability to negotiate effectively and objectively for my client.
It really was not the agent’s fault that her buyer was unreasonable and seemingly going for the jugular vein of my client. She was only the messenger and had to do her job as well. I felt that had I kept my cool, let go of the outcome, played my hand a lot more strategically and calmly and not let myself get so emotionally involved trying to save the transaction, I would have been able to handle his demands with more of a nonchalant attitude instead of one of desperation. Using a poker face, even over the phone, is a powerful take-charge negotiation.
To end my story, I felt it necessary to call the agent back and apologize for my unruly behavior to save face. After the deal closed, she called and apologized for her creepy client and respected the fact that I fought so hard for mine. That experience taught me a powerful lesson in the power of not taking things personally, always being professional and keeping my cool no matter what.
If you want to continue to stay in business as a successful Realtor NEVER make the transaction about you and your commission. No transaction is ever about you and your pocketbook. Now I know the reality of that statement can be difficult to swallow at times, because you still have to eat and pay bills, however, remember the reason you were hired to do the job. It was to get the best possible deal for your sellers and advise them what is best in every situation encountered in the transaction.
If you are representing the buyer and the home you are showing to them has an agent bonus, do not allow that to influence your effort to try to encourage your buyers to purchase this home just because it has some extra money in it for you. I know—I am human too, and it is certainly hard when you are trying to feed your children, but the secret I learned long ago is that when you let go of the outcome, the income will flow to you.
At the onset of my career, I realized that when I was fearful of not having a closing, it materialized in the actions and language I conveyed when speaking to my potential clients. Coming from desperation that my client had to buy a home from me actually created a lack of trust on their part. They started to feel I was not looking out for their best interest and told me so. People really do sense other people’s fears and desperation and are repulsed by it.
Just remember that having any kind of fear sends messages out into the universe that can actually block the abundance that is just waiting to be given to you. This is where the law of attraction comes into play. You do not need to fear, or feel desperate that a qualified client will never buy from you. You just need to be positive that they will and concentrate on earning all the money you need and want and receiving abundance in all aspects of your life. If you think and feel like that, it will come to you. Be the very best agent you can possibly be. Be ethical with honesty and integrity and learn the right skills to help your clients and I promise good things will boomerang right back to you.
Being a great negotiator will be one of the greatest assets you have for keeping the wolves from the door and continuing you on the path of success and abundance. You will have a consistently better chance of controlling and keeping your transactions together.
Think about the fact that in a negotiation, you are trying to handle each party’s objections, which is typically price, time and terms. You must be able to see each party’s point of view. When working with a buyer, it is important to listen to what they are asking for (their hot buttons) and being able to convey that information to the coop agent, as well as understanding the wants of the sellers on the opposite side of the negotiation in order to allow you to make it a win/win proposal for both parties. You might be thinking, well I am just representing my client and I am going to do everything possible to get them what they want even though you know it might be totally unrealistic, like asking for a 50% discount on a hot property that has full price multiple offers on it. Knowing that is not possible and letting them continue to believe that, is not being fair or honest with your client. Instead you need to educate them as to what they should expect with the current market conditions. This would be a case of you negotiating with your own client and yes making them understand the perspective of the seller position in todays’ market. So you see all parties interests, wants and needs must be considered to successfully negotiate a deal.
Flip over to the listing side of things. You receive an offer on a property that has been sitting on the market awhile. The offer is much lower than the asking price. Already having insulted the seller they then have the audacity to ask for a huge amount in closing costs. The buyer’s agent explains that the buyer just wants a good deal and they feel they must ask since it has been on the market a long time. The seller feels like he has received a gut punch and automatically assumes that this offer is all about getting the lowest price and the buyer is just testing to see how desperate he is to sell.
Upon further investigation the seller’s agent finds out the buyer can live with a higher price but those closing costs are the hot button for them to make the deal. So asking a lot of qualifying questions of the buyer’s agent will quickly and easily reveal the real motivation of the buyers’ offer and put you in a better position to negotiate the real points of importance with both parties. In this case the closing costs and not so much the price as originally thought.
Closing is another facet of negotiations that I will lightly touch on since volumes of books have been written on the perfect close. For you, as the real estate agent, I recommend that you do not become what I call too “salesy” in your conversations with your clients. That is the word I created to describe people who come across as a bit pushy and who may use language that could falsely persuade a buyer or seller to do something they felt pressured to do. This is a closing line I have heard used by other agents from time to time,
“This property is priced cheap, and it is going to be gone before the end of the day, so you had better make an offer right now.”
Another one spoken by the agent representing the buyer, “The owner of this property will never take an offer like that! You had better up your price if you want this property.”
Now these statements may be true, but if I did not know for sure I would never say something like that to close a deal. That is unethical.
A better way to encourage the buyer to make a decision would be, “Wow! This home looks exactly like what we have been looking for. It seems to be priced great. Do you think it is your dream home? Are you comfortable making an offer on this one?” Or try something like this for the buyer client making an offer to the seller, “ You know this is a very low offer we are sending to the seller. The listing agent said they have multiple offers on this home,and I really feel we will be left out if we do not make a very good offer. It is certainly up to you, but I want you to get what you want.”
The last two sentences are closing statements are much more palatable and come from a caring attitude on the agent’s part. Good closing agents are not afraid to ask for the sale but use words that let the client know they are working on their behalf to obtain what the clients really want.
Negotiating the transaction will continue until the deal closes and the title is transferred to the new buyer. Be prepared to continue handling objections with regard to possession, inspections and any other concerns that may appear during the period of time between the offer acceptance to even after the buyers move in.
Writing accurate and correct contracts will put you out in front with your fellow agents. There is nothing sweeter to me than to receive a well-written offer that is clean and easy to negotiate. I understand that is not always possible, but it should be commonplace. I know who the best agents are in my market, and I love getting offers from them because I know that the only reason they won’t close will be because the buyers and sellers cannot agree on terms, not because the agent was not good at negotiating throughout the transaction and doing the right things to keep her deal together. These outstanding agents know the importance of being a skilled negotiator and writing a great contract that will most likely get accepted is just part of what they do every day.
As a newbie agent, you have a lot to learn and negotiating should be at the top of your to do list. Knowing how to handle difficult real estate situations through negotiations will increase your closing rate ten-fold and actually serve your clients even better. You will become known as someone who gets their deals done and really represents your client best interests. Get busy and learn to be a top negotiator, make the money you always dreamed about and join the Top Producer club as one of the top agents in your market .
There are several awesome books on negotiating that will give you strategies to help you negotiate more effectively in your business. I recommend you read this outstanding book “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss.
I hope you enjoyed this article. You can always reach out to me at [email protected]