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4 Tips to Becoming a Top Notch Negotiator

August 26 2014

topnotch homesWhether it's a change in the listing price or a seller's unwillingness to cover closing costs, everything in real estate is negotiable. This is why real estate professionals must be on top of their game when it comes to negotiating for their clients. In fact, 87 percent of buyers identified negotiation skills as an important quality for their real estate agents to posses (NAR).

A recent study by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) found that the power of negotiation is something that clients and prospects are paying more attention to. One-third of sellers said they changed agents because of their lack of negotiation skills. The study also found that 26 percent of buyers and sellers wanted their agent to negotiate better and 24 percent wanted better agent communication.

Lee Barrett, President/owner of Barrett & CO., Inc., says that agents must be effective negotiators if they want to successfully represent and satisfy customers. During the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, "Negotiate Like You Mean It! Strategies for Win-Win Results Every Time!Negotiate Like You Mean It! Strategies for Win-Win Results Every Time!" Barrett provided valuable insight on how real estate professionals can start stepping up their negotiating skills.

Here are 4 tips that Barrett says will help you become a top notch negotiator for your clients and prospects:

1. Understand What They Are Looking For

Understanding what a buyer or seller is looking to gain out of their real estate transaction is crucial for turning them into a satisfied customer. "People are not getting to the depth of conversation that we need to," says Barrett. Be sure to ask questions like, "How long of a timeline are we working with?" "What's most important to have in a home?" and "Why are you moving?"

Barrett also points out that real estate professionals who ask better questions tend to spend less time with buyers and sellers, have better relationships and get better referrals. "This causes us to have conversations with people and become better listeners," he explains. "We understand their needs and desires better."

2. Talk About Compensation Later

Initiating a conversation about compensation right out of the gate is something that Barrett believes can be detrimental to the agent-client relationship. "They shouldn't bring it up," he says. "They get into a position where they don't know their value and are willing to become a commodity rather than showing their value."

Since there are so many moving parts in a real estate transaction, the amount of work that is required may be more or less than you originally expected. Setting a financial incentive right out of the gate is like saying, "you get what you paid for." The key thing to remember here is that you're the local real estate expert and if you stick to what you do best, you'll be compensated for it at the end of the day.

3. Make Data Easier to Understand

Visually displaying information for your clients and prospects is important. Remember when presenting market data like the Local Market Index Local Market Index Reports and other sales figures make it easy to understand. Try using PowerPoints, collect newspaper articles or print out web stories that will better support what you are sharing with them. Furthermore, it will illustrate the basis for where your projections and numbers come from.

"You want to be able to put something in their hands and make them comfortable, knowing you have their best interest in mind," Barrett says. "Remember, today's client is looking for value. They want to know what you bring to the table." When your clients have a better idea of what your strategy is, they'll feel more confident in your ability to negotiate on their behalf to get them the best deal possible.

4. Think About Long Term Rapport

During a negotiation period, your client will want you to go to the ends of the earth to get them what they want. While this will make for a happy client, it's also important to remember the other party. In the world of real estate, the phrase, "It's all about who you know" couldn't be more fitting. Since word of mouth is the leading way that real estate professionals are found by clients and prospects, it's more imperative than ever to establish as many positive relationships as possible.

"Don't get adversarial with the other agent. Create a win-win situation," Barrett says. "It's all about collaboration. Treat everyone in the transaction the way you want to be treated. It benefits all parties."

If you take all of these tips into consideration during your next negotiating situation, there's a much better chance that you'll come out on top. If you're looking for more ways to keep your clients happy, download the and For Rent Media Solutions' "Rise to the Top: Be the Local ExpertRise to the Top: Be the Local Expert" eBook!

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