Sharpening your negotiation skills will ensure you are equipped to represent clients and provide the best possible service. And just like anything else, you’ll need constant practice. Here are a few tips to help you.

Whether you are an aspiring agent or an established broker looking to advance within your organization, you need to be equipped with strong negotiation skills to succeed at any stage of your real estate career.

Like any other skill, you should practice and develop your negotiation chops on a regular basis. With an arsenal of negotiation strategies at your disposal, you will be able to maximize your value to clients and stand out from the competition.

Here, I’ve outlined a few ways you can sharpen your negotiation skills — plus how these tactics can provide value to your business.

1. Take your time

First things first: Always take your time while negotiating to ensure it goes smoothly from the get-go. Preparation is the most critical step to negotiating. Begin by taking time to fully grasp the situation. Once you have a clear understanding of the issue, run through the possible scenarios.

Ask yourself big-picture questions. Put yourself in your client’s shoes, and consider how each scenario will affect them. If you’re negotiating for your own benefit, think about what you are willing to compromise.

How likely is the other party to respond? Consider the best and worst-case scenarios. By taking time to run through the conversation in advance, you will be much more prepared to build your case.

2. List your goals

Before entering a negotiation, evaluate exactly what you are asking for and what the end goal is. List out what’s most important to you or your client. Doing this helps you develop key discussion points, and it also helps guide the conversation.

Be upfront about the reasons behind your requests. This will help the other party understand what you stand for, allowing you to better represent your client’s best interests.

Moreover, discuss alternatives. Map out a potential back-up plan. Consider items that might make up for areas the other party wouldn’t budge on. While it is reasonable to make accommodations for the other party, never be afraid to strive for the very best. If you truly believe you or your client deserve something, ask for it.

One tactic is to ask for more than you hope to receive. This will make your actual goal seem like a compromise. No matter what you discuss, make sure it is what you deserve — and that it aligns with your original goal.

3. Establish trust

Once you’ve prepped and ran through all the scenarios, it is important to establish trust between yourself and the other party. Clear communication will ensure the other group understands what you are asking and that you are willing to listen and will negotiate reasonably.

It is very important to establish a positive relationship to ensure the party feels respected and heard. Leading up to the event, build a rapport so that it’s much easier for them to connect with you and find commonalities between each other.

Being personable will help them be more open-minded when it comes time to negotiate. Remember to always remain calm. This is especially important if both parties don’t agree on something. You always want everyone to feel comfortable and heard. Their views are also valid, so take time to listen.

If they’ve brought up something you didn’t think of in advance, take a moment to think about it. Reevaluate your original position, and you will hopefully arrive at a mutually beneficial alternative.

Agents who actively work to develop negotiation skills will gain a competitive edge over other real estate professionals who serve their market. You will satisfy clients time and time again, and this will ultimately lead to more referral business in the long run.

After all, growing your network is one of the most effective ways to gain new business and increase your market share. I also recommend enrolling in local negotiation classes or virtual training sessions through industry groups or local educational institutions.

Enhancing your negotiation skills will ensure you are equipped to represent clients and provide the best possible service. Not to mention, these skills and tactics will also positively transfer into every other aspect of life.

Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.

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