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Last week, we talked about powerful negotiation tactics and their impact on getting and keeping clients and why a real estate pro who can negotiate well will see his or her business increase substantially.

This was according to Lee Barrett in Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, “Negotiate Like You Mean It! Strategies for Win-Win Results Every Time!”, which revealed tips on understanding clients’ needs, understanding the property and understanding the terms that may by negotiable.

Barrett has worked 37 years in real estate and is the current president and owner of Barrett & Co., Inc., operating in the Las Vegas market. The industry vet says the key to a successful client relationship—be it buyer or seller—is to always think of the client’s mindset of “what’s in it for me?” because if you are not reaching those benefits and helping them reposition themselves, it’s not going to help them buy or sell a home.

But even more importantly, he says to successfully represent and satisfy customers, agents must be effective negotiators.

Everyone Negotiates
“Negotiation is elementary. It starts with education and with getting people to do some comparison shopping,” Barrett says. “Everyone in the world does comparison shopping. When someone buys a property, statistics show they are comparing pricing online.”

In fact, national real estate statistics show that after a home offer is written, 88 percent of people go back to the Internet to make sure they got a good deal.

A successful real estate professional will talk with his or her client about the negotiating up front and establish a plan of attack. Barrett says it’s important that clients understand the property and feel comfortable with all decisions.

When it’s time to negotiate, Barrett says the key is to know as many specifics about the property as possible. That includes not just the price but the timeline of when the buyers want to move, the history of the property’s price (including any price reductions) and any other key information.

“I want to know the past and current offers if I can. I want to ask the listing agent a number of questions about those specifics, and many people think they won’t share this information, but a lot will let you know what’s going on,” he says. “If I rep the buyer, I have every right to ask because I want to position my buyer to have the highest probability of purchasing the property.”

When it comes to the subject of Earnest Money, Barrett says if he’s representing the buyer, he will try to limit the amount, but if he’s the agent for the seller, he will always try to get the most he can. Again, it all comes down to the “what’s in it for me” mindset of the customer.

“I’m big on expectations,” he says. “I am going to do everything I possibly can to get them in a home. They expect the best for me.”

Negotiating No-No’s
One of the things Barrett warns about when representing a homebuyer in a negotiation is not to give the seller too much time to think about it—especially in a top market.

“I have seen people give sellers three days but it gives them too long to make a decision,” he says.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In part one, Barrett explained why asking questions is so important in the negotiating process. An agent should always know of any improvements, disclosures and other questionable situations that might change the negotiating strategy of an offer.

“I will watch to see how many times it has gone from a contingency or pending sale back to the open market,” he says. “I want to know about things I might not be aware of before I ever make an offer. The more questions I ask, it can help create a win-win for the buyers and sellers.”

Never go into a negotiation without knowing which items your client is prepared to give up on.

“You need to have a discussion prior to the negotiations and let them know they may not get everything they want to get. You need to know what concessions they are willing to give up so while in negotiating, you are in a position to know what to counter,” Barrett says.

For more tips from top industry pros, register here for next month’s free Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar from, “Leverage Your Business Through Systems, Tools and People” at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 20, featuring Linda McKissack, author of “HOLD. How to Find, Buy and Rent Houses for Wealth.”