Monthly Archives: December 2009

Samurai Negotiating: 3 Strategies, 4 Tips, No Sword

Need sharper negotiating skills?

Thinking about a real estate transaction, you negotiate with every party involved, right?  Whether it’s for a cut in your fees (no!), time to close, a reduction in sales price or agreement on communication terms, it’s all a negotiation.

Why the discomfort?

It’s a mindset.  And, it’s also cultural.  To some, negotiating may seem rude.  To others, when faced in a negotiation, it feels like one party wins, while the other looses.

Here are three strategies and four tips that will help you improve your negotiation skills and drive more bottom line revenue.

The Cringe
An effective tactic, the cringe is used to make the other party uncomfortable.  The less experienced negotiator will either offer a big concession or will attempt to rationalize what’s been offered/requested.

The Stance
As a rule, people often ask for more than they expect to get.  Be steadfast.  Don’t back down what you offer/counter offer. 

The Inquisitor
While you don’t want to present yourself as harsh, severe or hostile, the more information you have on the other person’s situation, the better.  Ask questions to discover what’s really important to them.

For example, if you’re in a listing presentation, you may ask:

  • “Why are you considering selling?”
  • “Which other agents will you be speaking to/have you spoken with?”
  • “Is there a deadline or timeline driving this?”

It is also important to know as much about the agents with whom you compete.  It could help you overcome using that agent as leverage.

Tip #1: Recognize Style

We each have our own communication style.  The same holds true in negotiating.  To be effective, you need to understand the negotiation style to that of the person on the other side of the table.

Who are you?  Dominant decision maker?  Influencer?  Both are extroverted.  While task oriented and those adverse to change adverse are more introverted.

Why is this important? 

  • A dominant negotiator must practice patience with the less extroverted. 
  • An influencer is not terribly detail oriented.
  • Task oriented types need facts in negotiations.
  • Change adverse folks need to understand why.

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Judge’s Ruling Based on “I’m gonna teach you a lesson” Precedent? WTH?

Recently I read where a judge in Suffolk County, NY judge erased a Long Island couple’s >$500k in mortgage debt admittedly to teach the originator (and/or)servicer, OneWest, a lesson.

As is too common lately, sadly, the couple had fallen behind on their mortgage due to health issues and a change in their interest rate. The bank had refused to refinance.  So, after slamming the bank for its “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” acts, he issued the bombshell decision.

The mortgage is hereby cancelled, voided, nullified, set aside and is of no further force and effect.

(Side note: Doesn’t that sound like the Jackie Chiles character on Seinfeld – the parody of Johnnie Cochran?)

In watching the video on the story, it also sounds as though they may have stripped equity through a refi at some point.  For some reason the news doesn’t really go into those details.  But, is using our home as an ATM really our fault?  (Yes, that’s snark-casm) 

WTH, Your Honor?

What rule of law can he possibly cite?  While I am no legal wiz, I doubt it can possibly be upheld through appeals.  Or, can a judge in NY essentially give away property legally owned by someone else?  Whatever the answer, for the time being he has set a precedent. 

He has also set into motion an action that will require the lender/servicer to accrue massive legal fees in appeal as will others when like lawsuits begin to pop up.

The Backlash?

Will this start a landslide of “my-lender-was-mean-to-me-because-I-couldn’t-pay” lawsuits? 

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Bring a Good Tagline to Life – Six Rules and 7 Sins

Coming up with a great tagline is a struggle.  Typically, people get it wrong by focusing on what the product or service is rather than the ultimate benefit it provides.

Why does it matter?

Your tag line should be a memorable phrase that sums up the tone and premise of your brand or service, reinforcing the marketplace’s memory of you.  Some taglines are successful enough to warrant inclusion in popular culture.

It’s not about you.

If your tagline talks about you, you have it wrong.  Think bigger.  Do you change someone’s life by being the area’s #1 agent, having 21 years in the business or earning your spot in President’s Club? 

How do those speak to the client’s ultimate payoff?  Don’t tell people how great you are.  Tell them what’s in it for them by engaging you.

Here are a few guidelines to creating a tag line.  How does yours measure up?

1. No Platitudes

If someone reads your tagline and thinks “Well, I hope so” you’ve failed.  Therefore “Selling your home for top dollar” is not a good choice. 

2.  No Clichés

Just because a word has recognized meaning doesn’t mean it’s meaningful.   Make sure it says what people need to know about you.

3. Be Clear, Not Clever

Pick your focus and stick to it. 

4.  So ….?
What are the benefits to your client?  Benefits are the key to better copy in the tag line.  While developing your tag line ask yourself “so what?” What is your client’s ultimate payoff

5.  Jazz it up

Make it reflect your image and personality.  Typically this is done by injecting an adjective.

6.  There are no rules for the number of words

We have a tendency to think a tagline can’t be more than 5 words.  Not necessarily.  When building it, don’t restrict yourself.  If it’s too long, you can probably pare it down.

How to build your tag line


You must have a clearly defined (read: documented) Mission, Promise and Brand.  Don’t move on to next steps until this is done.  Your tagline will identify you/your business by capturing the essence of these three elements.


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