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Negotiations happen all the time, at every level. But when it comes to the number of deals made and contracts signed, there aren’t many negotiation types that outnumber real estate. Karen Briscoe works in the DC Metro area, leading a team at Keller Williams. Last year her team closed 100 sales, averaging $1 million each – leaving her as a high-level negotiation expert.

It is a consultative process

Sales is often seen as a combative process. Even the language suggests something of this. Sellers will ‘convert’ a lead, then ‘close’ the sale. It implies that they have somehow transformed someone into a buyer, persuading them, then trapped them in the sale. In fact, this is far from the truth.

“There isn’t really any need for a true conversion experience because they are already buying,” explains Briscoe. Nobody is going to spend $1 million on a home unless they are searching for a home at around that value. And it’s the same in any negotiation, it starts because they want to make a deal, the discussion is about the details. “The sales professional is looking to provide the counsel, the wisdom, the recommendations, based on what is in the best interest for the customer client. And when you consult, and meeting their needs, then there really isn’t any need for a true conversion experience, it is more of a win-win type of approach.”

Relationships matter

Like with any negotiation, the type of relationships created end up being critical to the end result. This is especially true in real estate. Both the seller and agent must work harmoniously together to ensure the end result is favorable for both parties.

“If I don’t sell the house, it doesn’t change my life,” Briscoe explains. “Whereas, if the seller doesn’t sell the house, that’s going change their life. And if the buyer doesn’t buy the house, that’s going to change their life.”

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Dealing with the others in the negotiation

It is a myth to think that any negotiation is just one-to-one. There will always be others that create the context in which the parties are operating. This is especially true in real estate. There might be family members who are providing finance, and friends and colleagues eager to share their experience and knowledge. And because buying and selling can be a nerve-wracking experience, people are keen to listen.

“I go into it with a perspective that there are other people involved that I will not be aware of,” explains Briscoe. Although well-meaning, this external advice can be problematic. It can often cause unnecessary anxiety and frequently can be wrong, coming from experiences in a different jurisdiction, for example.

Briscoe, however, uses a simple trick. “Whenever any communication appears, I will summarize in an email. Oftentimes, that email gets forwarded to the person asking the questions.” It creates an opportunity to understand the concerns and clarify any issues. Sometimes, it even means the other person can get directly involved.

Briscoe also uses the ‘feel, felt, found’ technique for handling concerns that arise, either from her client or someone around them. “First you validate how they feel, then that other people have felt that way. That helps them realize they are not alone, and others have gone through the process before.” The crucial part, though, is the ‘found’ element, Briscoe continues, “telling what we have found before isn’t just recognizing them, or commiserating with them. It’s helping them move to a solution or the next steps they need to take.”

Click here to listen to Karen’s full episode.

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