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Using the Negotiation Tactic of Silence

Silence is a key negotiation technique. Silence tends to make people feel uncomfortable; using that discomfort can be an effective real estate negotiation tactic.

Learning to master silence is a negotiation skill worth practicing. It may seem simple, but often is not. You might find that you, too, are uncomfortable in the silence. But remain quiet in order to get the other party to talk more or to become nervous about something they said or did. The Golden Rule when using silence as a tactic is, “He who speaks first loses.”

When the opposing agent offers a counter that does not benefit your client, remain silent for as long as possible. Often the other agent will become uncomfortable, begin to talk, and may reveal further information that can help you successfully negotiate around the problem.

When the silence negotiation technique is employed against you, resist the temptation to fill the void. Instead, ask for a recess or simply walk out and end the session. Leave with a parting comment similar to, “If you have nothing more to say, I guess we should end our meeting.” This will put the pressure back onto the other agent to keep you in the negotiation – or if you leave – to reestablish the negotiation on more favorable terms. Or simply say, “I can be quiet just as long as you can!”

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