The Negotiator Magazine

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  1. PLAN PLAN PLAN.  This is one of the BIG differences between skilled negotiators and average negotiators.  Some very successful negotiators spend 4 hours planning for every 1 hour they spend in the actual negotiations.  During the planning they seek out specific information that is needed to develop options and strategies.  They turn the information into knowledge and then use the knowledge to plan the best approach for achieving their goals.  And skilled negotiators are very methodical in their planning, often utilizing guides and forms in arriving at their final plan.
  2. Role play.  Professional athletes spend a significant amount of time practicing prior to competing.  Skilled negotiators do also.  Find a partner and have them play the part of the other party in the negotiation.  Then reverse the roles (see 12 below)!  If you have role played various scenarios several times, you will be much more confident when the actual situation presents itself.
  3. Argue less.  Arguing introduces negative emotion into the negotiation and skilled negotiators know the importance of minimizing/eliminating negative emotions.  And, since skilled negotiators spend more time exploring options, making positive comments, and asking questions, there is simply less time to argue!  If you are going to argue, do so on a limited basis. 
  4. Win-Win Mentality.  Highly successful negotiators know that the best way to get a win for their client is to help create a win for the other party as well.  It’s extremely rare that one party will be able to “force” the other party to accept terms and conditions that are unsatisfactory to the other party.  Collaborative negotiators therefore seek to understand what the other party wants so they can create a solution that is mutually satisfactory or win-win.  The goal should be to satisfy your client the most while adequately satisfying the other party or parties.
  5. High Integrity.  This is a given.  If you’ve ever negotiated with someone who demonstrates a lack of or questionable integrity, you never want to negotiate with them again.  In fact, you may break off the negotiations or ask the other side for another representative.  Never negotiate in any other way except with high integrity.  Trust is built (or destroyed) during the negotiations and once trust is established more open information sharing occurs.  But once integrity is questioned, the information flow stops and the negotiations become extremely difficult.
  6. Knowledge of Subject.  Expert negotiators know knowledge is power and they will spend the time to become knowledgeable about important areas of the negotiation.  In real estate for example, knowledge of the real estate market is key in determining the proper strategy for your client.  If you lack knowledge in a specific area you can also bring in your own expert.  For example, if you are a real estate agent going on your first luxury home listing appointment, you might team up with a luxury home specialist from your office.  If the other side has an expert, have your own!.
  7. Think DOUBLE.  Thinking double means anticipating what the other side will say or want in a given area of the negotiation, and being prepared with a response when appropriate.  When a home Seller exclaims “I won’t pay that high of a commission” a real estate agent better be prepared with the appropriate response!  Skilled negotiators think “If I say this, they might come back with that, and if they come back with that, I’ll come back with this.”  Thinking double makes you better prepared to deal with issues and concerns in the heat of the battle.

Effective negotiation training can help you learn to do everything necessary to be a skilled negotiator!  Then you’ll be better able to serve your clients, and get better results for them and yourself!


Tom Hayman in the President of Negotiation Expertise, LLC, a national negotiation training and coaching company serving the real estate industry.  Tom was a top negotiator for the Procter & Gamble Company for 25 years and has received training from Harvard University, The Wharton School, Stanford University, and Oxford University, Oxford, England.  You may contact Tom at


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February 2007