Powerful questions can be one of the most effective tools in your negotiation arsenal. In fact, the person asking the questions controls the negotiation. No matter how awkward the silence might be, however, always wait for your client to respond. Why? The first one who speaks loses.

  • Powerful questions can be one of the most effective tools in your negotiation arsenal.
  • Never answer "What will the sellers take?" with asking price. It could come back to haunt you.
  • Ask hesitant buyers if they'd be able to live with themselves if they lost the house they love.

Do you struggle with closing your clients or overcoming objections? Rather than arguing or trying to persuade your clients, you can control negotiations by asking the right questions.

Powerful questions can be one of the most effective tools in your negotiation arsenal. In fact, the person asking the questions controls the negotiation.

But always wait for your clients to respond after asking powerful questions — no matter how awkward the silence might be. Why? The first one who speaks loses.

Below you will find eight powerful questions to help you overcome objections and get the deal done:

Scenario 1: The commission objection

Buyers or sellers: Will you reduce your commission? John Smith from your office offered to do it for 5 percent.

Agent: Mr. Seller, to obtain the highest possible price for your property you need a powerful negotiator, wouldn’t you agree? (Wait for the response.)

So if John is unable to negotiate a full commission on his own behalf, how effective do you think he will be in negotiating the highest possible price for your property?

Scenario 2: Your buyer and the seller are $5,000 apart, and neither side will budge

The strategy here is to show the buyer how much the additional $5,000 in purchase price will cost on a daily basis. For a 30-year mortgage with a 4 percent interest rate, the additional payment is $23 per month or 77 cents per day.

Agent: Mrs. Buyer, this house meets your main criteria and is in the school district that you want, isn’t that correct? (Wait for the reply.)

Agent: Are you willing to trade being in the best school district for only 77 cents per day?

Scenario 3: Buyer objections to property features

Buyer objections are almost always closing signs. For example, if the buyer says, “I hate this ugly gold carpet,” the buyer is imagining living in the property. Respond by asking a move-them-into-the-property closing question.

Agent: Would you refinish the hardwood floors, or would you replace the carpet?

No matter how the buyer answers, the response requires the buyer to imagine being the owner of the property.

Scenario 4: The seller scoop

Buyers: “What will the seller take?”

This is a dangerous question. If you respond by saying, “the asking price,” you could have a major problem if the property sells over asking in a multiple-offer situation. Here’s a better approach using a closing question.

Agent: The only way to know for sure what the seller will take is to write an offer. Would you like to write the offer digitally using DocuSign, or would you prefer to draft the offer using a paper version of the purchase agreement?

Scenario 5: The low-ball offer

The buyer’s agent has submitted a low offer on your listing, and the sellers are infuriated about it.

Agent: Mr. and Mrs. Seller, did you know that about 50 percent of the offers that have a low initial bid eventually end up closing?

Consequently, you now have an important decision to make. You can counter back at full price, under full price or not at all. If you are angry and never want to deal with these buyers again, you could counter back over asking price.

The question is, would you prefer to keep the negotiation going and find out if this offer is in the 50 percent that will close, or do you want to end the negotiation now? It’s your choice — what would you like to do?

As a side note, I actually had two sellers who did counter back over asking. They loved the idea; it completely defused their anger, and it also meant that I didn’t lose the listing.

Scenario 6: The upgrade overvaluation

Sellers: We have all these upgrades — our house is worth more.

Agent: Your upgrades definitely make your house more sellable. The only upgrades that increase the price, however, are those that increase the square footage, and here’s why. How much are your beautiful cherry cabinets and quartz countertops worth if the buyer plans to replace them with white cabinets and black granite countertops?

Scenario 7: The need-to sellers

Sellers: We need to get at least $350,000 if we are going to sell.

Agent: Mr. and Mrs. Seller, the real estate market is like the stock market.

For example, if you purchased stock at $100 per share three years ago and today it is selling at $50 per share, you wouldn’t be able to sell your stock in this market.

The same is true of our current real estate market. Homes with amenities similar to yours are currently selling between $280,000 and $320,000.

Consequently, you have two options. You can price your property where it will sell in this market, or you can wait until the real estate market improves. It’s your choice; what would you like to do?”

Scenario 8: Buyers need more time

Buyers: We need to think about it.

This powerful script comes from Lindsay Grandquest’s recent segment on Inman News Radio.

Agent: I know you really like this property. If I were to call you tomorrow and tell you that the sellers received another offer and the property is sold, how would that make you feel?

If the buyer says that he or she would be unhappy, would cry or would be angry, Grandquest follows up by asking:

Agent: How do you feel about writing an offer right now?

The next time that you find yourself wanting to tell your clients your opinion or to persuade them by arguing, take a different tack — ask a strong closing question, and watch how much easier it becomes to get the deal done.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent

Email Bernice Ross.

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