Is good negotiating something that can be learnt? Follow these pointers to achieve a successful outcome without one party feeling short-changed
Good negotiating is a skill that can be learnt up to a point. My definition of negotiation is to find a mutually acceptable solution between two different objectives: the one being to pay as little as possible, the other to achieve as high a price as possible. What are the most important ingredients?
No doubt. You’re sitting with people that have different objectives. You are in the middle, so to achieve success from your negotiation you need the right attitude. If you want to be successful at negotiating you have to be enthusiastic. You need that element of positivity so that both sides feel they’re working towards a good outcome.
KNOW WHEN TO KEEP QUIET
When I’m sitting with a buyer and he says, “I’m not going up”, then I say, “But the seller’s already refused your offer”. At that point I just keep quiet. The buyer invariably says “Okay I’ll go up”. I’ve watched agents talk themselves into a successful sale (the buyer was ready to sign) and then right out of it again because they didn’t stop talking.
HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR PRODUCT
Know all the details about what you’re selling. It’s the agent’s responsibility to know the property’s size and age, the rates and latent defects (always expose these to a potential buyer), why the seller is selling and what stays with the house. You also need in-depth knowledge of what you’re asking the buyer to sign in the offer to purchase so that you can answer any questions. By law you should go through every clause with the buyer and seller.
A GOOD NEGOTIATOR:
ALWAYS OPERATES WITH ETHICS AND SINCERITY.
These are paramount to qualify an agent as a good negotiator. When you feel somebody doesn’t understand a clause, explain it in detail and don’t brush over it.
Knowledge of the property and the legalities around sales and purchases and sound ethics will give you confidence.
WOULD SOMETIMES RECOGNISE NEGATIVE QUESTIONS AS A POSITIVE SIGN.
Very often when buyers ask negative questions about a house, they are displaying buying signals because they wouldn’t ask those questions (“Is there only a single garage?”) if they were totally disinterested. Good negotiators recognise that there is an opportunity to achieve an offer early on in the process.
ALLOWS THE BUYER AND SELLER TO OPERATE IN A RELAXED ATMOSPHERE.
Neither of them should feel rushed, in conflict or stressed.
WILL NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR AN OFFER.
Have the courage to say “Let’s put in an offer”. It’s about asking the question as an agent, instead of walking away and losing an opportunity. Buyers often need the negotiator to take the initiative and ask.
CAN ADAPT TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
You cannot be rigid on any one thing. Also, if the buyer’s offer is too low, be prepared to ask the seller for a counter offer.
SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF REJECTION.
If you negotiate and there is rejection (of the asking price or transfer date) expect it as a normal part of the negotiating process. Don’t be intimidated by it.
“Good negotiators recognise that there is an opportunity to achieve an offer early on in the process,” Denise Dogon, Dogon Group Properties
Denise Dogon is the CEO of Dogon Group Properties. She started selling property 43 years ago, and specialises in homes on the Atlantic Seaboard. Dogon opened her business focused on residential property in 2002. She now sells exclusive properties and oversees marketing of the group.
Words: Denise Dogon