Becoming an effective negotiator is essential to growing an effective (and successful) real estate business. How to become an effective negotiator? According to Chris Voss, former FBI lead international hostage negotiator, become more persuasive.

Voss just came out with a new book titled “Never Split the Difference.” In this book, Voss focuses on the importance of taping into and using emotions to accomplish negotiation goals. He admits that focusing on emotions during negotiations may sound counterintuitive but, “emotions get people to solve problems for you in ways that make both sides happy.” And making both sides happy what a successful negotiation is all about.

Voss believes emotions are critical in all negotiations. “Most deals end because of negative feels and most deals close because people like one another. Those who learn to disagree without being disagreeable have discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”

Here are 7 negotiating tips from Voss…

  1. Always focus on listening, being empathic and developing rapport. Smile, use a calm voice, be nice and slow things down. Do NOT be direct. Being totally honest and straightforward are good qualities but can be interpreted as being rude and/or blunt.
  2. Forget about “getting” them to say “yes.” Saying “yes” and committing to something too soon often make people uncomfortable and defensive. You want them to be relaxed and feeling in control. Let them know that saying “no” is just fine. “No” is often interpreted as a protective word. When people feel protected, they tend to relax. Try saying something like, “How about if we were to try…?” or “Have you given up on this project?” Often the response will be…”No, we’ve just been really busy…sorry for the delay…” or “No, but how about if we were to try…?”
  3. List and share every terrible thing they could possibly say about you. They might smile or laugh and say, “No, you’re not…but you are…” Then you can acknowledge and diffuse “your” negatives. By being open about yourself with them, you’re letting them know that you trust them enough to think objectively about yourself and to also join forces with them to accomplish your joint goals through negotiation.
  4. Enable them to feel in control. You want to create collaboration, not confrontation. Ask them open-ended questions that begin with the words “how” and/or “what.” Enable them to educate you rather than the other way around. Playing dumb is a highly effective strategy. When they are teaching or educating you, they drop their guard. Then, if you’re listening carefully, you get the upper hand.
  5. Listen for the two words, “That’s right.” Those two words are magic. When they say, “That’s right,” you’ll know that they think you understand them. When they think you understand them, you have created rapport with them. Now you’re on the same side. Now you’re collaborating. All you have to do is paraphrase or summarize what they’ve been saying to you. Then they’ll know that you’re listening and understanding them. (You don’t have to agree with what they’re saying…you’re just summarizing what they’re saying.
  6. Discover your levers by listening to them and asking them questions. Keep them talking. They’ll tell you with words and silence what’s really important to them, the things they are intentionally holding back, the things they don’t even know is important.
  7. How to do all of this?  Keep asking “how?”