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RISMEDIA, March 4, 2010—“I absolutely adore negotiating,” says Tami Bonnell, President of the US Organization of EXIT Realty Corp. International. When it comes to negotiation though, many real estate agents become nervous, making the issue bigger than it really is.

Negotiating is really just a conversation; if you’re in a negotiation with someone, they’re interested or you wouldn’t be talking.

As with everything else in life, if you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way, you’re right. Bonnell offers the following tips to help you through the negotiation process.

In negotiations there are four possible outcomes:
-No outcome

When you are negotiating, always strive for Win/Win so everyone benefits.

Here are the 7 key points to successful negotiations:

1. Avoid negotiating down to only one item, for example price. If the only thing you’re negotiating about is price, you don’t have the same leverage as if there are other issues such as appliances or closing date.

2. Never assume; make sure you ask effective questions. The more you know about your counterpart, the better off you’re going to be. “If I understand correctly, is this the most important thing for you?” Find out where they’re flexible.

The folks on the other side of the table don’t have the same needs and wants as you. Try looking at it from their perspective. Put their needs first.

3. Whenever you know less about your counterpart, you increase your risk window. It’s really important to know all of the “whys” when you are negotiating. Why do they want to move into this home? Because of the school system? To be closer to work? Service is the price you pay for a great career – you have to ask effective questions to best serve your customers.

4. How you talk is important too. Use short simple sentences; otherwise they might assume you’re not telling the truth. Long, complicated sentences can sound like you’re trying to talk over them. The books Negotiate This and You Can Negotiate Anything, both by Herb Cohen, are great references.

Make people feel comfortable and at ease. It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.

5. Don’t get emotional – if it feels like the situation is becoming too emotional, it’s ok to reconvene.

6. Approach the scenario from a different angle – paint a picture that works for them but always tell the truth no matter the circumstances.

7. Always negotiate in person when possible. Negotiations by phone or e-mail will never be as effective as negotiating face-to-face. You can’t read body language over the phone. Not only will you get better results when negotiating in person, but you’ll get better at it too.

Here are some key phrases to help in the process:

-Help me understand.
-Talk to me. (ie encourage them to open up)
-I need a little more information.
-I need a little help. (I want to understand your perspective)
-What is it that’s frustrating you right now?
-What is it you’re trying to accomplish?
-Let’s recap.

Finally, remember that you don’t have to have all the answers. Negotiating is enjoyable – it means they’re interested! The more you do it, the better you’ll get.

Click here to listen to the full 30 minute presentation on The Art of Negotiation by Tami Bonnell. No registration is required.