“I will only pay you a 5% commission” the seller said emphatically.
Now what was that technique I just learned? Oh yeah – persuade with CLASS!
“Ms. Seller, I’m curious – how did you arrive at 5%?” Even though I felt defensive and mildly upset, I said this in a comfortable conversational tone. I needed to clarify the real reason so I could deal with it head on.
“Well” said the seller, “I have interviewed 2 other agents and they said they would only charge me a 5% commission. Why should I pay you more?”
So now I knew the real reason. My competition was undercutting me. To be more effective in persuading the seller to pay me a higher fee, I knew I had to get the seller to like me or at least to want to do business more with me than my competitors. I remember from my professional negotiation training that to be likeable, I had to smile, be polite and respectful, be authentic, and be there in the moment with my client (not someplace else mentally). It would also help if I could find something that we had in common and if I remained cooperative vs getting competitive. So I said:
“I see. I can understand that. If I were in your shoes I would probably feel the exact same way.” I also remembered that it is important to acknowledge the other side’s position when they are being reasonable (if they are being unreasonable I have to focus on the issue and not attack the person). People want to be validated and acknowledging their position is also a cooperative vs. competitive approach.
I said “Could I ask you a question?” She nodded positively. “Do you agree that your primary focus should be on what you walk away with at the closing table?” She said “Yes.” And that was good because many sellers first focus on the selling price instead of the bottom line net profit. Now she was focused on her true self-interest.
“When evaluating which agent can help you get the most at the closing table, you need to focus on three skills in your agent: 1) negotiating skills since your agent does the actual influencing and persuading of the other side on your behalf, 2) marketing skills since your agent must be able to get your home seen by all the buyers interested in a home like yours, and 3) market analysis skills since your agent needs to understand the market data to help get you the most at the closing table.” This was my attempt at ensuring the seller clearly understand her own self-interests in evaluating which agent to hire.
“OK. I see what you mean.” I could see the light bulb go off in my seller’s head! Now I needed to show her I had the best qualifications and solution for her situation.
“As you can see I am the only agent you are considering who has professional negotiation training as evidenced by my CNE or Certified Negotiation Expert designation. If you will allow me, I would like to show you my expertise in these 3 important skill areas and how my expertise has helped other sellers like you.” Now I was prepared to offer her my “solution” to her problem.
When she smiled back and said “Yes. Please do!” I knew I was hired!
For more persuasion and negotiation knowledge, please visit the Real Estate Negotiation Institute at www.thereni.com.