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20 Tips on How to Be a Better Negotiator

Most of us are not born natural negotiators and need to learn the skills. The best negotiators clearly understand how both parties view a deal and can generate an outcome that is a mutual win for both parties involved.

Here are 20 negotiation tips to help us generate better outcomes for all parties involved:

  1. People want to be understood and accepted, so listen with empathy and a sincere desire to know what the other party is trying to accomplish.
  2. Consider factors other than price. Uncover as much as possible about what the other party needs.
  3. Focus on clearing the barriers to an agreement and neutralizing the negative by agreeing as much as possible.
  4. Set the initial terms of the deal by making an offer first.
  5. Set an extreme anchor to make the real number seem reasonable.
  6. Listen more and talk less. We can’t underestimate the power of silence to generate information from the other party.
  7. Be willing to walk away so you are not emotionally attached to winning
  8. Start by saying No, i.e., Your offer is very generous. I’m sorry that doesn’t work for me.
  9. Find a way to agree with a statement by saying “that is right” but not “You are right.”
  10. Avoid splitting the difference; it usually leads to a bad outcome for both sides.
  11. Resist the urge to rush even if there is a deadline.
  12. When possible, use the word fair, i.e., I want you to feel you are being fairly treated, so feel free to stop me if at any time.
  13. Try to make it clear there may be something to be lost by inaction.
  14. Use odd numbers, not even numbers.
  15. Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.
  16. Start questions with What or How, i.e., What makes you ask? What about ____ is important to you? How can we accomplish that?
  17. Get face time one to one. Body language and tone of voice can drastically influence the direction of a negotiation. People respond favorably to requests made in a reasonable tone of voice.
  18. Offer non-cash items that may be valuable to the other party but less valuable to you.
  19. People trust people more when they share similarities. Identify similarities when possible.
  20. Successful negotiations are where each party feels as though they didn’t lose.

Remember, the best negotiations generate a mutual win for both parties, leading to long-term relationships and a lifetime of rewarding partnerships.

 

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