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2012-03-30 17:23:16

Manipulating vs. Negotiating: One Can Kill Your Business

Every day all across the country, many real estate agents are dying a slow death. What’s worse, they’re sticking the stake through their own hearts one millimeter at a time. A long, slow, painful death. And what’s even more incredible: they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

How is this happening? Every time agents manipulate instead of negotiate, they take one step closer to leaving this great profession.  

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic here, but understanding the differences between manipulate and negotiate can mean the difference between the life and death of your real estate business.

The dictionary defines manipulate like this: “To control or influence something or someone deviously; to falsify a bill, accounts, etc. for one's own advantage.”

The definition of negotiation is this: “The mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of a transaction or agreement;a discussion set up or intended to produce a settlement or agreement.”

The reason agents who manipulate shoot themselves in the foot is this simple sentence: People know when they’re being manipulated. And in the long run, manipulating clients will leave you without business. It’s proven that dissatisfied customers tell more people about their experiences than happy ones.

So use these negotiation tips to give clients pleasant and memorable experiences:

  1. Let both sides win – Arrange transactions so that both sides feel as if they’ve gotten most of what they want – in short that they feel they’ve won. True, your clients might not get exactly what they want in the transaction, but if you can help them get most of their goals and then let the other party get an outcome that satisfies them, then you’ve made everyone a winner. Win-win doesn’t mean everyone gets everything they want. So instead of starting negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, stay focused on your top priorities and keep your emotions in check.
  2. Respect the other side's priorities. Effective negotiators learn as much as they can about what the priorities are of the other party, and then they keep them front and center in their mind with the utmost respect. Once you know what's important to the other side you can avoid hitting on the sensitive issues.
  3. Build a bridge, not a dam. How do you do this? You start with a fair price or fair offer. Pricing is key and overpricing a home turns off potential buyers. The same goes for making a low-ball offer – that’s practically guaranteed to alienate sellers. Asking and offering prices should be based on recent sales prices of comparable homes. When you price the property right from the beginning, you build bridges. Not only that, but you also move closer to reaching your 2012 goals. Speaking of reaching goals, e-mail me at and I’ll send you a free article, “Catapulting yourself into 2012,” that covers the details of goal setting, creating a business plan and several other key functions.
  4. Think impression. It’s been said people may not remember you, but they will remember how you made them feel. As you’re negotiating, always think about the impression you’ll be leaving with both parties. The goal is to create smiles all around the closing table at the end of the transaction. If you achieve that, you can consider yourself a winner, too. 

Let me hear from you about this article. Have you ever gotten honest feedback from someone about how you negotiate? Have you taken time to examine how you work with your clients to ensure that you’re truly negotiating and not manipulating? How can you make your negotiation skills stronger? Please send any comments or questions you have to or



Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.

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