Recently I was talking with some friends of mine who are planning on using the current depressed real estate market to “trade up” and get a bigger / better house. They were lamenting the fact that this process was going to require them to negotiate with the sellers . They had come to me because they knew that I teach others how to use negotiation to quickly close bigger deals.
What they wanted to do was use that ” win-win ” technique that they had heard others talking about and they wanted me to teach them how. Sigh. Nothing in life is ever as easy as it seems, but from this experience I thought there were a few key points that you might be interested in…
The Negotiating Pizza
When I started talking with my friends about the house that they wanted to buy, I kicked off the conversation by asking them what they wanted to get out of the negotiations that they knew would be required. They said that price meant everything to them – they could only afford to spend so much money.
Dear reader, clearly we were starting off on the wrong foot. The problem is that my friends were looking at the negotiations for the house that they wanted as a pizza. Assuming that that pizza had been cut into 10 slices, they wanted to make sure that they came out of the negotiations with at least 6 pieces and not 4 pieces. This is not win-win negotiating.
In their quest to get the house that they wanted at the lowest possible price, my friends were approaching the negotiations as a contest – a contest that would have a clear winner and a clear loser . No wonder they were nervous!
A Better Negotiating Pizza
Win-win negotiating has everything to do with how both sides of the table feel after the negotiators are done. If somebody feels as though they’ve come away with less pizza than the other side, then it wasn’t a win-win discussion.
What you need to do is to make the pizza BIGGER . That way it doesn’t become a matter of who gets how many pieces, because both sides actually walk away with more pizza.
In working with my house buying friends, I asked them where they had some flexibility – what else could we add to the negotiations besides just price. It turns out that they were flexible on when they could take possession – they didn’t need to move in immediately. Also, my friends are handy fixer-uppers and so they were willing to make changes to the house – the current owners didn’t have to actually have the work done.
In the end, these two additional negotiating points were what allowed my friends to successfully close the deal. The current owners had not yet picked where they wanted to move to so having more time to get out of the house was very important to them. Additionally, they had a lot of fancy furniture that they didn’t want to have to worry about covering while the house was being painted, etc. My friends got the house for a fair price and everyone went away with more than enough pizza.
Sales negotiators who learn how to make the pizza bigger for both sides of the table will be able to close better deals and close them quicker.