The negotiating -- will make you or break you
I love this episode because of the fierce negotiations and how I got FULL ASK and ALL CASH for 111 Mercer where no other agent believed in my pricing. Not only that, but what you don't see in this episode is that in the following two weeks I sold the third and the fourth floor as well. Full ask, may I add!?
So this week I want to talk about negotiating. Negotiating requires a unique set of skills, a language few people know and something you cannot see or touch. Perhaps that’s why some people say we real estate agents make way too much money: because it is a difficult profession to really understan -- until a little show called Million Dollar Listing came along. Only when you know how to negotiate, can one acknowledge the difference we make for a seller or buyer. In fact, I can go on record and say I think we are underpaid, at least I am. Six percent is really on the low side. When you are an amazing negotiator, you WILL make a difference three to five times that, and you have earned your money many times over. 111 Mercer is a good example of that. You don't cost your client a penny; in fact you are MAKING your client money, even after the commission is paid.
Negotiating is, of course, what makes or breaks a real estate agent, and makes you earn the commission. It's all about knowing when to push and when to pause. It's an art. Like a very sophisticated dance, it's on your long straight toes, and it takes years to perfect it. I am a Swedish ballerina when it comes to negotiations. But there are tricks to it.
Let's start with the fundamentals. Body language -- you are bilingual!
Body language is very important during all negotiations and counts for a lot more than we all think. Our face tells it all, especially mine. I have come to learn by watching the show myself: if you are smiling and making eye contact you are in control. When you start looking down, you twitch and squint and your jaw muscles are clenched you show negativity and non-agreement. That is all fine -- if you WANT to show the other party you think the offer is disgustingly low, as an example. But the problem is most agents don't know they are sending out these signals, as they have never filmed themselves or negotiated in front of a mirror.
Your arms and hands need to be open, and relaxed in your lap. As soon as your fists are clenched, and you cross your arms over the chest, or -- warning -- start biting your nails, the other party knows he or she is getting to you. Remember, negotiating is a game of chess or of poker. You don't ever want to let the other side in on your agenda and certainly not what your next move will be.
Watch your legs and feet too. Don't shake your legs or foot under the table. If you are standing up negotiating, be mindful you don't start twitching. Unbutton your suit or coat, and tilt toward the other party. Lean towards him or her and zoom in with your energy on his or her face. Don't lean back in the chair or look away (unless, once again, you overly excited and need to send the opposite signal).
All super agents have full control over the body. Use it as a negotiating tool.
Everything in life is negotiating. You might not think about it but you do negotiate all day long. At work with your colleagues, home with your parents or children, husband or wife, and even at IKEA regarding the delivery of your furniture. Life is one long negotiation. I'm sorry, but accept it and be good at it. We are all looking for other people' approval or action and therefore always negotiating.
I even negotiate with my miniature dachshund, Fritzy: "Come here, boy. . .Look, a bone!"
Negotiating is simply the way to get what you want out of life. And it is something I have realized and knowledge I have accumulated during the last ten years of closing and now almost two billion dollars of real estate for hundreds of clients in thousands of deals.
A good negotiator takes unexpected turns. If your counterpart knows what awaits around the corner, he or she will be prepared and you never want the other side to be prepared. You want to keep the other side unprepared, on his or her toes. I always start off the negotiation at a happy place, being nice, smiling, and laughing like a little bird, or like in this episode: I buy lobster and champagne before even starting!
Everyone wants what they can't have, and sometimes you have to KILL a deal to make it work. This is what Karen tried to do by walking out. Smart, in a way. But the history professor Mr. Eklund on his tandem bike saved the day, although it was wobbly and I was screaming biking down SoHo.
Lastly, I need to give Derek a few words of love. Thank God for him. For making me balanced. For taking away focus from money, commissions, DEAL-making. For seeing the boy in me, and the man I want to be. Love is eternal, and he is my angel. I think you will start to see what made me fall in love with him to begin with. I can make all the money in the world, but without love it doesn't mean anything.
So do that for me today: tell somebody thank you for loving you! And see you next week as we are getting closer to the wedding.