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Proven Negotiation Strategies That Create Sales, and 6 Indicators You Are Practicing Sales Prevention

I am always surprised at the amount of deals that don’t come together for a buyer and seller due to situations that were completely avoidable—maybe the agents were not effective at negotiating, or not effective at keeping the deal together during the home inspection. Both parties walk away disappointed, instead of with a positive outcome.

Here are three indicators you may be practicing “sales prevention,” and three proven negotiation strategies. With these, you can create a win-win: for you to be an expert negotiator—more about facilitating conversation than argumentatively trying to win—and a powerful communicator. With these skills, other agents will want to work with you, because they know you know how to overcome objections on both sides while maintaining less stress for everyone.

Indicator No 1: Texting and Email Are Not Effective Forms of Negotiating
Be extremely careful when texting and/or emailing terms of a negotiation to your client. So many misinterpretations happen during email or text. All caps can indicate a nasty or yelling tone—and, trying to properly understand your client’s objections without seeing them or hearing their voice is next to impossible.

You are much more effective when you are in-person, so you can watch body language and hear their tone of voice. This will help you help your client. Be sure to manage their expectations: Explain at the beginning of the process that you will need to see them in-person (or, at the very least, on the phone)—that using technology to navigate through the negotiation part of buying or selling a home won’t be most effective, and you’ll need to actually speak with them to discuss the pros and cons each step of the way.

Indicator No. 2: Using the Possessive Pronoun ‘My’
When you use the word “my,” such as “my buyer” or “my seller,” during a tough negotiation, it can sound like you are getting in the ring with Mike Tyson or trying to win an argument in a court room, instead of being a facilitator. It’s also adversarial and combative-sounding to the receiving end.

Replace “my” with the word “the”—”the buyer” or “the seller.” When you do this, you put the clients in one category and you and the other agent in another, where you can both work proactively to problem-solve and overcome objections together. It’s a revolutionary idea, and agents thank me all the time for making this adjustment in their speech pattern. You will love the results you get when separating yourself from the buyer.  Remember: Your job is to facilitate the conversation and negotiation to a win-win result.

Indicator No 3: Over-Mirroring Your Client
We all want to be liked and appreciated, especially by our clients. You won them over and they’re working with you—and that’s great—but when it comes to giving them good advice, it’s vitally important that you don’t “over-mirror” them when they are making unreasonable decisions that would negatively affect their negotiating ability, or won’t be in their best financial interest. We learn in sales that you should mirror your client to build rapport—but that does not work when they want to reject an offer or negotiate home repairs, or tell you they are offended and want to put the house back on the market and raise the price. This is usually not the best strategy, and agents know it, but are reluctant to say something contrary to their decision for fear they will “get fired.”

Have tough conversations with sellers with empathy. Explain that you understand why they are offended, but at the end of the day, their home is currently sold and they’re just $1,400 away from having this all behind them. Telling them you understand will validate emotionally-charged decisions they want to make. Having some of these conversations way before an offer will help dramatically, as they will understand it is truly in their best financial interest to stay with the buyer they have and not make rash decisions when they feel the other party is not negotiating in good faith. You can diffuse a lot of the drama by being a good facilitator and reminding both the buyer and seller that the end goal is to get the home sold or bought. Keep them focused on the goal and property, and not the personalities. 

To receive a free copy of my exclusive podcast, “Speak ON Purpose, Speak WITH Purpose,” 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