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The Call for SRO: Real Estate Negotiation Expert

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 6.13.39 AMI’m teaching a class at the Denver Metro Association of Realtors on June 23-24 called “Real Estate Negotiation Expert.” The course is the only National Association of Realtors certification in the science and art of negotiation. DMAR 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. We lived through Short Sale and Foreclosures class. And while we’re busy getting our fill of Social Media 101, How to Sign A Contract With Your Finger, and Multiple Offers for the Busy and Non-Busy Agent, 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, competitively, we face the perils of Zillow, growing 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. People 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/we don’t make decisions for my clients, I/we 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. Perception is truth. 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 are some of the high points? Well, I always love to discuss 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. We also take serious looks at communication options, power play strategies, the BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), positional negotiation and deadlock. There is a fantastic section on non-verbal negotiation. And, we discuss tactics. We also get a heavy dose of “learn by doing.” By the time the class is completed, agents think I can handle the job (see how we tied in that perception thing?). Maybe they’ve even learned something. Most important: they believe THEY can handle the job.

In the quest to be better at this, there are a plethora of resources. First take a class that emphasizes negotiation. Listen to a podcast, 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, a lot of us are working towards a Standing Room Only crowd.