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Your agents bring together buyers and sellers through successful negotiation. Too often, agents are practicing sales prevention; they are getting in their own way, and, unfortunately, the buyer and seller lose out on opportunities.

These strategies for intentionally choosing the words you use or not use will put you in a more effective position to help your clients. Master these on-purpose strategies to manage expectations better and fulfill your client’s real estate goals and objectives.

1. Use the ‘sandwich theory.’ Start and end every conversation on a positive note. Enthusiasm always wins, and approaching every step of the negotiation process in a positive manner will make you an expert negotiator. Good news, bad news, good news is the best way to communicate—the good news is the bread, and the bad news is the meat. No need to be “Debbie Downer” and end on a flat, low note, followed by a pause. Yikes! We never want that tone; rather, we want to say, “I’m so excited! We are going to sell your home tonight”—even when you have a lower than desired offer. The sandwich theory helps you navigate and negotiate at a much higher level, and helps remind people of their end goal: buying or selling a home. You will love the results from this strategy, I promise. Request a FREE strategy call to learn more.

2. Say ‘the client’ instead of ‘my client.’ So many times, agents say, “I won’t let my buyer or my seller…”. “My” is a possessive pronoun that does not help facilitate a negotiation; instead, it puts everyone in the boxing ring or courtroom “fighting” for their client’s best interests. You can advocate proactively without acting adversarial. When you say “the client,” you are separating yourself from your client, so that you and the other REALTOR® can have a proactive conversation as professionals both working for their respective clients, but also acting in a positive, results-oriented manner for a win-win outcome.

3. Don’t text or email negotiations. More deals fall apart or don’t even come together because they were done via text or email. Factual information can be communicated via text or email; emotional information must be done in-person, or, at the very least, on the phone. It is impossible to see and respond to people’s concerns when you are texting or emailing, making it less likely to overcome their objections. You are 90 percent more effective when you are face-to-face.

If you can’t meet in-person, connect via video or FaceTime, as these are great ways to see your client and discuss the risks and benefits of their options. This applies to providing seller feedback via text or email, as well; it is not effective. Often, they get offended, and it’s not two-way conversation. Sometimes they receive it so poorly—like you don’t like their home—that they end up transferring agents.

4. Read and respond to people. The most effective salespeople read and respond to people in-person. Fifty-five percent of communication is body language, 38 percent is tone of voice, and only 7 percent is made up of the actual words we choose.

So, you have to choose the right words—words that make a positive impact or invoke resolution, like calling the home inspection process a “home inspection resolution process,” rather than the contingency removal. “Resolution” implies a positive outcome.  Start calling it the home inspection resolution process with your clients and other REALTORS®; you will notice how influencing the words are to keeping people focused on the property and everyone’s original goal to buy or sell.

5. Focus on the property, not the personalities. Too often, deals go sideways because buyers get buyer’s remorse, and then poor negotiations and poor communications (done on text or email) mean both parties get hung up on the personalities. I have had to say, “The sellers don’t come with the house” and diffuse emotions when agents are running around with their hair on fire. If the client is upset with the agent, move off that and redirect them back to the main event: the house.

We have to filter what is being said. Will it be helpful or hurtful to the negotiation process? Is it even relevant, or will it get everyone overly emotional? Telling or repeating to your client “It’s all or nothing,” or “Take it or leave it” are not effective to help close deals, as they appear unfriendly. Remember: At the end of every negotiation, everyone should feel good, not raked over the coals.

6. Manage expectations better. If you prepare your clients for what to expect before it happens, you are managing their expectations so much better than when you tell them about things as they are happening in real-time. Let them know ahead of time—at the listing appointment—that they could get an offer around 88 percent, and share with them what that number is now, when it’s not live. Explain that we will counter all offers, and we will not be offended when someone writes an offer. Now, when the offer comes in at 93 percent of list price, they are happy, as it is higher than you had prepared them for. They are now in a positive position to negotiate and close that opportunity. Explain to buyers and sellers the purpose of the home inspection and that it is not another round of negotiations.

Being a deal maker and a facilitator that actually problem solves and keeps people focused on the positive, the end result will increase your effectiveness at negotiating and you will be closing more deals and keeping more of your deals together. There is always a way to bring two parties together if you have the right mindset—to help them in an effective, strategic manner, and not one that is adversarial. Go be an expert negotiator and grow your business to the next level. I look forward to hearing your success stories at 

For a free copy of Sherri’s exclusive podcast, “Speak On Purpose, Speak With Purpose: Strategies for Closing More Negotiations and Leads,” click here.

Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 20 years of experience in real estate, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynotes, and is a national speaker for the Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. For more information, please contact or 844-989-2600 (toll-free) or visit