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October 23, 2022
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: Negotiation advice and techniques

Do you know this key negotiation technique?

Negotiation technique | 

I fail to reach agreements in many negotiations.

This may seem like an odd admission from someone on whom some of the world’s most successful families and business people rely on.

But anyone who tells you that they reach an agreement in every negotiation is either lying, concedes to all the other side’s requests or has a gun (and even then they are probably lying). And even if you agree to all their terms there is still no guarantee.

As an example, last week I was asking about a home I had inspected for one of our clients two months ago. I felt that it was overpriced but wanted to see what was happening. The agent was less than pleased. He had managed to persuade a buyer to offer the guide price of £16.5m and the seller now wanted £17.5m, despite the fact that the house had been available at £16.5m without any interest for a long time.

Quite simply, there is no guarantee to agreeing a price/other terms in a property transaction and there is no one “secret” technique that will perform miracles. However, by using several negotiation techniques together you will significantly improve your chances of success.

One of the most important of these is what former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, describes as “Tactical Empathy”. In other words, you need to fully understand what the other side is not only saying but feeling.

Now, this does not mean you need to be befriend the other side, nor should have sympathy for them and this is also not some “airy fairy” psychobabble. Voss was the head hostage negotiator for the FBI, so he was using these techniques on hardened criminals and terrorists to save people’s lives across the world, i.e. this works wherever you are in the world because despite cultural differences our brains are all wired in the same way (with a few exceptions).

So, what do you need to do to display Tactical Empathy:

According to Voss:

Imagine yourself in the counterpart’s situation.

Recognize their perspective and vocalize/demonstrate that recognition.

Understand your counterpart’s feelings and hear what’s fueling those feelings.

Focus your attention on identifying emotional obstacles that are standing in the way of an agreement.

Analyze your counterpart’s words, tone, and body language. Spot changes therein and look for incongruencies”.

If you try to rely on logic to “win” a negotiation, you are far more likely to fail than if you focus on what is actually motivating the seller(s). Because you can be pretty sure that pound per square foot arguments will not have been the driving factor in the vast majority of cases.

If you don’t find out what their real motivators are, then what chance do you think you have of achieving the best terms possible?

property price negotiation

And you need to also consider the agent’s motivation.

Yes, they will be interested in their commission, but there may be other factors to help you persuade them to convince their client that your offer is the best. For example:

  • They have a monthly or annual target they need to hit
  • They want the best for their client but are inexperienced or simply don’t know how to handle their client to show them the merits of your offer
  • They dislike their client so you need to smooth that relationship or ensure that your message is delivered in the correct manner

Admittedly, I have acquired a large number of properties worth hundreds of millions in total, so I will encounter far more scenarios than most, but when you find your ideal home or investment property, you can’t know what the sellers will be like.

Of course, if you have the misfortune to deal with a psychopath, then Tactical Empathy is unlikely to work. Indeed, it doesn’t work 100% of the time in normal situations, but you will give yourself the highest probability of success by using Tactical Empathy in conjunction with other proven techniques.

One final word of advice on negotiation techniques.

There are lots of books that suggest that you should ask questions that require the other side to say yes, which will in turn lead them down a series of yes answers and eventually force them to agree with your point of view, e.g. Do you drink water? Have you ever been thirsty? Do you think water is good when you are thirsty? Well, I have 6 bottles of water – how many do you want?

While this seems logical, it is also highly manipulative and you often hear salespeople use such tactics. In fact, you may have been on the receiving end of it on a telesales call. Does it feel good? Have you ever agreed to buy because of it? Or have you simply said that you will think about it or even “yes” just to get them off the phone?

Because “Yes” very often means “no” leave me alone!

So, please don’t fall into this trap of asking leading questions because it is the complete opposite of tactical empathy and you will either fail to secure your ideal property or end up paying more than you have to. Does that sound like a clever way to negotiate?

The good news is that with some sustained practice, the negotiation techniques you need to use will become second nature and you can use them in every negotiation, not just property.

Contact Mercury Homesearch

So, do read the chapters in my book, The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring £1m to £100m Property in London, which reveal the tested and proven negotiation strategies that I have been using for over 20 years of acquiring property in London.

If you would like a complimentary copy of the book, simply click https://mercuryhomesearch.com/free-book/, call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK) or email dee@mercuryhomesearch.com. Of course, you may have specific questions or concerns about negotiating or other facets of acquiring a property in London.

Topics: Negotiation technique, Negotiate property prices

About the author, Jeremy McGivern

My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.

Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade.

My advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.

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