As a broker and team leader who works heavily in the resale market, I see offers from real estate agents of all experience levels on a regular basis. Encouraged by a strong market, new agents are entering the business in droves, full of wide-eyed enthusiasm and dreams of being successful.

But we all have to start somewhere. The learning curve for a new agent can be steep, and it takes a bit of strategy to navigate in an effective, productive way.

One of the most crucial skills that will help you along this path — and that you can cultivate early on — is being a smart negotiator. This skill can help you quickly stand out among your peers and clients and is something you can continue to hone throughout your career.

Here are my tips on going from zero to hero when it comes to negotiation, especially when you are new to real estate.

Flattery will get you everywhere

I often see new agents overcompensate for inexperience with overly formal and unnecessarily complicated contracts, hoping no one notices they are fresh out of real estate school.

Enlist cooperating agents to root for you by complimenting them on their experience and skill, and demonstrate a mix of humility and enthusiasm to learn the full scope of the process. Be appreciative of their professional advice.

Embrace technology, but don’t hide behind it 

Gone are the days of triplicate contracts and waiting by the fax machine until 10 p.m. for the offer to come in, thanks to electronic options for creating, signing and sharing contracts.

Even so, never underestimate the power of telling your client’s story to the other side of that transaction the old-fashioned way. Make a heartfelt phone call, send a handwritten note and even present it to the agent and/or other party in person.

Ask for advice

We real estate agents are champions of rugged individualism, working long hours in exchange for the freedom of having our own businesses and defining a career on our own terms.

I often see new agents overlook seeking advice from their manager or peers, trying instead to figure out a tough scenario on their own. But if you leverage the experience of those around you, you’ll likely find that they have been in similar situations and can offer great solutions and recommendations.

Be open-minded

All terms of a real estate contract are negotiable, and buyers and sellers ultimately come to terms for reasons beyond just dollars and cents. Experienced agents can sometimes get into the habit of approaching every negotiation one way, hiding behind the familiar and comfortable. “This is the way we have always done things,” they say.

Take advantage of your greatest asset — a fresh perspective — to see a path to bringing parties together that might not be as obvious to the seasoned pros.

As a rookie agent, there is nothing quite as exciting as getting out with clients and helping them locate the perfect home. That’s why we love what we do!

Finding the right home can be quite different than successfully ratifying a contract on the right home, and the gap can be in your approach to negotiation. Following these ideas can launch you from newbie agent to a successful entrepreneur earning a living.

Misty Soldwisch is a broker/owner and team leader with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Des Moines. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram

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