No one can predict the future of real estate, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at Virtual Inman Connect on Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital and more will be center stage. Bet big on the future and join us at Connect.
In the fast-paced world of real estate, success often hinges on effective communication and negotiation skills.
While many agents focus on what they say to their clients and counterparts, strategic silence is an overlooked but powerful tool that can significantly impact outcomes.
Strategic silence is when you purposely do not speak or comment on concerns or issues to give them more traction or purposeful intention at a specific time, according to the Oxford Review.
Drawing inspiration from a Harvard Business Review article titled “When Speaking Up, Timing is Everything,” let’s explore how adopting strategic silence can help win battles.
1. The power of timing
Timing is of the utmost importance when speaking up. Strategic silence involves carefully choosing when not to speak, allowing others to reveal crucial information or make concessions. Timing is indeed everything, especially in negotiations, and knowing when to employ strategic silence can be the key to achieving favorable results.
2. Active listening
Active listening is a fundamental aspect of strategic silence. As agents, we are often in scenarios where clients and counterparts divulge valuable information, especially when they feel heard.
By practicing active listening and observation and refraining from interrupting, you can gain insights into the other party’s motivations, desires and concerns. This information can be used strategically to tailor communications, offers, and counteroffers and frame a negotiation strategy.
We have two ears and one mouth to listen twice as much as we speak. — Epictetus
3. Creating space for contemplation
There is often a rush to fill silences with words in negotiations, but this can be counterproductive.
Strategic silence creates a space for contemplation and reflection. When presented with an offer or proposal, allowing a brief pause can encourage the other party to consider the terms more thoroughly. This pause can work to your advantage and may lead to a more favorable response or concessions.
4. Encouraging counteroffers
Silence can be a powerful tool for prompting counteroffers. If you present an offer and then remain silent, the other party may interpret this as an invitation to negotiate further. They may feel compelled to return with a counterproposal, potentially moving the negotiation in your favor.
5. Allowing emotional release
Real estate transactions are emotionally charged, especially for clients buying or selling their homes. Strategic silence can be used to allow clients to express their emotions, concerns or frustrations.
Allowing clients to vent their feelings can lead to a more cooperative and productive relationship, ultimately benefiting both parties.
6. Maintaining control
Strategic silence also helps agents maintain control over negotiations. Agents can project confidence and professionalism by staying composed and not reacting hastily to offers or demands. This controlled demeanor can influence the perception of the agent’s expertise and negotiation skills, potentially putting them in a stronger position.
In the competitive world of real estate, effective communication and negotiation skills are essential for success. However, real estate agents must recognize that speaking is not always the most potent tool in their arsenal.
By actively listening, creating space for contemplation, encouraging counteroffers, allowing emotional release, and maintaining control, real estate agents can leverage the power of silence to their advantage.
When employed thoughtfully and strategically, silence can lead to more favorable outcomes, stronger client relationships, and a competitive edge in the real estate market. So, remember that in real estate, timing is everything, even when it means staying silent at the right moment.
Nikki Beauchamp is an advisor with Engel & Völkers in New York City. Connect with her on LinkedIn.