Standing Room Only

I’m teaching a class at the Denver Board of Realtors on February 3 at 1 pm. It’s called “Negotiating MUSTS for the Consumer Centric Agent.” The Denver Board and I are hoping for a good turnout. The real estate industry and consumers everywhere are looking for more. They are looking for Standing Room Only!

Why SRO? Simple. While we’re busy getting our fill of Social Media 101 and Short Sale and Foreclosures, it is this class and those like it are badly needed in our industry. We are, on the whole, poorly trained in this skill/art – negotiating. While we face the perils of websites, consumer savviness, and what Dan Pink refers to as Asia, Automation and Abundance, our opportunity to differentiate ourselves is right at our feet. Consumers need help. They need someone to work on their behalf; someone to put the process and events surrounding a real estate deal into context; someone to teach them how to get from point A to point B in a transaction and keep a competitive advantage. Consumers need an agent with better advice than, “Let’s see if they’ll split the difference.”

Negotiating is about helping your Buyer or Seller achieve their goals – creating the win/win. At a time when we no longer control the flow of information in the real estate world, one of our greatest assets is our ability to help our people make good decisions. Please note: I don’t make decisions for my clients, I merely advise them, letting them see all sides of a situation, educating them about their options. It’s about bringing people together for mutual gain. It’s about letting them see, as the CRS 202 book says “the limitless possibilities for mutual satisfaction of needs that most life situations afford.”

Negotiating is like customer service. Until I experience whether yours is good, bad or something else, I only know what you tell me. So, what are you telling me? When you meet with a Buyer or Seller do you discuss negotiating? Are you using your negotiating skill as a point of difference? “Well, how would I do that?” you say. Glad you asked. What I’ve learned in twenty three years of teaching is that when you educate someone about something, they actually believe you know about it. The better job you do, the more they think you know. Educate enough about the market and folks will think you’re the market expert; educate enough about negotiation… well, you get it. What do I teach folks? I teach them about the three keys to negotiating: 1) your negotiation begins long before you meet the prospect 2) never negotiate from a position of weakness and 3) take away the other sides options. I teach them about the three crtiical variables in any negotiation: power, time, and information. I mention that in today’s marketplace Sellers compete with Sellers and Buyers compete with Buyers. And, we discuss tactics. By the time I’m finished, I believe they think I can handle the job. Maybe they’ve learned something.

We need to do better and luckily there are a plethora of resources. First take a class that emphasizes negotiation. There are designation type classes like the Certified Negotiation Expert, CRS one day classes and mine on Feb 3. OR, read a book. I suggest beginning with Fisher and Ury’s classic “Getting to Yes.” Follow up with Ury’s “Getting Past No” or Roger Dawson’s “Secrets of Power Negotiating.” Look for articles on the internet (when in doubt, Google).

Negotiation is an opportunity to stand out. It’ll give you an edge in the business and an edge in your life (just think, snagging the next hotel room upgrade or getting little Johnny to empty the trash will become a cinch). But you’d better do it quickly, I’m working towards a Standing Room Only crowd.