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7 Ways to Navigate Complex Contract Negotiations

By |March 20, 2023

Deals are rarely easy in real estate. In most cases, it’s only a matter of time before complex contract negotiations begin. 

Next time you find yourself in a deal held up by a difficult negotiation, use these tactics to get past the impasse and get it done.

1. Use Tactical Empathy®.

Every time you go through a typical real estate transaction— listing preparation, preliminary offer discussion, home inspection, appraisal, final walk-through—there are plentiful unknowns. 

And anytime there’s an unknown, there’s discomfort.

The best real estate agents use Tactical Empathy® to understand how those unknowns impact the client. They take a proactive approach to mitigate those concerns ahead of time so the client feels understood.

2. Stay curious.

When negotiations are complex, emotions are high. Real estate agents need to stay curious to keep their clients calm and logical.

When a client or counterpart makes a decision that doesn’t sound logical, we naturally get frustrated. It may seem easy to fall into the habit of not applying Tactical Empathy and dive into trying to pursue through logic. Instead, we should stay curious and question why they’re making that decision. 

Ask yourself: What is the driving force behind their decision-making? What dynamics have you not identified?

Staying curious will give you the information you need to determine the best path forward. 

3. Employ Labels™.

If some part of the deal makes you or your client uncomfortable, hang a Label™ on it

For example, you might say to your counterpart: It seems like you feel it’s unreasonable for the buyer to ask for concessions in addition to a lowered sales price.. 

Using Labels can help you discover why someone is acting in a certain way. Depending on the motivation, you could uncover the Black Swans that could make all the difference.

Stop making compromises.  Download our guide to negotiating contracts and learn  how to never settle »

4. Apply the correct tone.

One of the Laws of Negotiation Gravity™ states that tone of voice can trigger emotional reactions in your counterpart, whether that’s your client or the other agent. 

Because real estate deals are complex, you want to make your asks and deliver any bad news using the “late-night FM DJ” voice, which is slow, low, and consistent. We must be aware of how often the need to use this tone arises in a real estate transaction. 

If you’re representing a seller in the sale of a family home and the buyers ask for what may seem to be reasonable repairs after a home inspection you certainly don’t want to sound upbeat when you deliver the need for a change. 

5. End with a Summary™.

In complex contract negotiations, a Summary™ can make all the difference in the world. 

When we work through difficult situations, we want to get comfortable as quickly as possible. By thoroughly summarizing your client or counterpart’s position as completely as possible and including their emotions, they’ll either tell you why you’re wrong or respond with the two magic words: ”That’s Right”™

6. Use Dynamic Silence™.

When someone feels uncomfortable in a stressful situation, they want to relax as soon as possible.

Don’t be so quick to get comfortable that you talk through the entire conversation and forget to listen. Instead, harness the power of quietness by using Dynamic Silence™ to give your counterpart space to talk.

If you find yourself being attacked, resist the urge to attack back. Use Dynamic Silence instead of jumping in. Doing that will allow you to de-escalate the situation while forcing the other side to revisit what they’ve said—all without saying a word.

7. Be aware of your mindset.

Remember that your counterpart is not your adversary.

By being aware of your mindset, staying curious, and leaning on colleagues trained in The Black Swan Method®, you can work together on a constructive solution that’s acceptable for everyone.

Never forget: Practice makes perfect!

Nobody rises to the occasion—we all fall to our highest level of preparation.

Practice these skills in your day-to-day life so you’ll be ready when your next complex contract negotiation rolls around! 

To learn more about how you can navigate difficult contract negotiations, check out our free e-book: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating Contracts.

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