How to Ramp Up Your Negotiating Skills
Negotiating skills are the foundation of any successful real estate career.
On the front end, they’ll help you lock down more listings and bring in more clients. And down the funnel, they’ll ensure you get top dollar (and top commissions) once those listings start selling.
A good negotiator can also more easily build their network, grow their business, and work their way up the professional food chain.
So, ask yourself: How are your negotiating your skills? Could they use a refresh? Just want to get better and expand your career? Here’s how you can do it.
6 ways to improve your negotiating skills
1. Take a negotiating course.
There are loads of courses you can take in negotiation — both online and in person. Some are specifically focused on real estate, while others are more general negotiating classes. Either can help advance your career (as could taking both types!)
The Real Estate Negotiation Institute is one option (courses are available via Zoom and in-person), and you can also take classes from big-name universities through Coursera. Just a few of the schools available include Yale, University of Michigan, University of California, and Rutgers.
2. Get certified so your clients know you have serious negotiating skills.
Another option is to get your RENE certification, which stands for Real Estate Negotiation Expert. To be eligible, you must be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (and be in good standing). You’ll also need to take a two-day educational program.
The program comes with an application fee of $159, as well as other fees, which vary based on the educational provider you go through.
3. Hone your listening skills.
Great negotiators are also great listeners. They know how to ask the right questions, build rapport, and find common ground — even with people they’re very different from.
To really up your negotiating skills, start practicing more active listening in both your personal and professional life. Let others assume the primary role in conversations, and use your time to dig deeper and learn more about their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Understanding these motivators can give you the upper hand in a transaction and make your negotiations more successful.
4. Know your body language.
Understanding your own body language is vital — at least when negotiating in person (or via Zoom/Facetime, where someone can see you). It can help you set the tone, as well as better gauge where the other party is coming from — or even spot deception.
To learn more about your own body language, record your next few Zoom sessions or film a practice interaction with a friend or family member. What tone is your body setting? What are your facial expressions saying to the other party? Are your gestures building rapport or breaking it down?
5. Watch your colleagues (and those on the other side of the transaction).
Pay close attention to how your colleagues negotiate, as well as those you come up against in transactions. Are there any tactics they use that are particularly successful or creative? Are there strategies that just rub you the wrong way? You can learn a lot from just watching and listening attentively.
6. Tune into a few TED Talks to improve negotiating skills.
There are lots of TED Talks that cover negotiation. And at only 10 to 20 minutes a piece, they’re super easy to soak in while cooking dinner, driving to work, or just sitting in the carpool lane.
Here are a few you might want to consider:
- Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss: Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and really knows his stuff. In this talk, he covers things like tactical empathy and his “bad, mad, sad” approach.
- Negotiation Power by Jack Nasher: Presented by Jack Nasher, founder of the Nasher Negotiation Institute and a best-selling author, this talk goes into building your “inner game” — and how great negotiators are made, not born.
- How to Have Your Cake & Negotiate Too by Ashley Pare: Pare’s talk aims to build strong negotiators from the ground up. You’ll learn how to boost your confidence and self-worth, and ultimately, demand what you want out of your career and life.
- When You’re Making a Deal, What’s Going on in Your Brain by Colin Camerer: Presented by behavioral economist Colin Camerer, this one dives into the thought processes involved in negotiating and decision-making.