Category Archives for "Negotiation"

Why Breaking This Childish Habit Would be an Ugly Mistake

It’s often not until your child is grown that you appreciate some of their childish habits.

Take persistence, for example. If you have children, especially teenagers, you know that sometimes you may give in to their demands just to be able to get on with your life. The same tactic works quite well in the business world.

Professional Negotiator Peter Stark tells the story of a son who is a master at asking for something over and over again, from many different creative angles, until he accomplishes his goal.

“At one time,” Peter explains, “my son’s major life goal was to own a Nintendo 64 game. He asked for one almost every day for a period of two years.

“His creative questions included, ‘Could I buy it with my own money?’ and ‘Could I buy a Gameboy until I can get the big version that plays on the television?’

“He also asked why other parents I respect bought their kids a Nintendo 64. The questions went on and on.

“I even told him, ‘Nintendo is a dead horse in our house, and if the horse is dead, you should get off it!’

“Refusing to give up, my son creatively asked the following great question: ‘Dad, is it important to you and Mom that I can make quick decisions in complex situations?’ When I said ‘yes,’ he came back with, ‘Great! I think Nintendo 64 helps kids make quick decisions in complex situations.'”

After two years Peter relates that his son finally got his Nintendo 64.

Your Turn

By looking at this example, can you see why persistence is such a successful tactic? Do you understand why hanging in there is so  important?

If not, think about this: 45 percent of leads turn into a sale for someone. You want that person to be you. So hang in there–even when you want to lavishly wet yourself.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Negotation Tips for the Obscenely Timid

The Oldest Negotiation Trick in the Book

Negotiation Tips for the Obscenely Timid Agent

Does the thought of negotiating make your throat go dry? Palms sweat? Heart hammer your rib cage? If so, you’re not alone.

But never develop the chops to handle your own in a boardroom and people will eat you alive. Your clients will scold you. And you’ll have a Pollyanna negotiating reputation…which doesn’t result in more business.

In other words, if you neglect to build your negotating skills, your real estate career will be short. Fortunately for you, you can solve your problem–rather quickly I might add–by mastering these six fundamentals.

1. Start with a Fair Price and Offer

There’s no question that significantly overpricing your home will turn off potential buyers. Likewise, making an offer that’s far lower than the asking price is practically guaranteed to alienate the sellers. It might seem obvious but asking and offering prices should be based on recent sales prices of comparable homes.

2. Respect the Other Side’s Priorities

Knowing what’s most important to the person on the other side of the negotiating table can help you avoid pushing too hard on hot or sensitive issues. For example, a seller who won’t budge on the sales price, might be willing to pay more of the transaction costs or make more repairs to the home, while a buyer with an urgent move-in date might be willing to pay a higher portion of the transaction costs or forgo some major repairs.

3. Be Prepared to Compromise

“Win-win” doesn’t mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some. Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, focus on your top priorities and don’t let your emotions overrule your better judgment.

4. Meet in the Middle

Can’t decide who will pay the recording fee? Can’t agree on a close-of-escrow date? Arguing over cosmetic repairs? Splitting the difference is a time-honored and often successful negotiation strategy. Pay half the fee. Count off half the days. Fix half the blemishes.

5. Leave It Aside

Politicians and corporate executives are famous for their “for future discussion” agreements. If you have a major sticking point that’s not material to the overall contract (e.g., the purchase of furniture or fixtures), finish the main agreement, then resolve the other difficulties in a side agreement or amendment. This technique allows both sides to recognize and solidify basic areas of agreement, then move ahead toward a fair compromise on other terms and conditions. Summarizing the points of agreement in writing is another helpful strategy.

6. Ask for Advice

Successful REALTORS® tend to be experienced negotiators. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t in countless real estate transactions, and they’ve established a track-record of bringing buyers and sellers together. Consult a trainer about negotiating strategies, win-win compromises and creative alternatives.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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How to Create, Build and Protect a Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

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How to Tell If Someone Is Lying

The Oldest Negotiating Trick in the Book

This negotiating trick is a timeless classic. It’s something Aristotle taught Greek lawyers in 300 BC. And it’s something lawyers are still learning today.

What is it?

Simply asking questions to reveal hidden motives behind a counterpart’s rejection of a deal point.

Why This Negotiating Tactic Is Important

To be an effective negotiator, you have to learn to uncover the real reason behind a counterpart’s resistance. You can’t simply cave in when a prospect or client says no–especially if you are dealing with someone who thinks they have the upper hand, like a buyer.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say Jack is refinancing his home. His mortgage broker itemizes all the charges associated with securing a loan. Jack asks if he could waive the fee for the appraisal since he had an appraisal done six months earlier. He wants to use that appraisal.

The mortgage broker says that getting an appraisal is standard company policy. Her boss would never approve of waiving the appraisal or the fee.

Jack is stumped. But he doesn’t give up.

Expert Negotiators Do This When They Meet Resistance

To find out if there is another reason the broker does not want to waive the fee, Jack could ask to speak directly to the broker’s boss.

If the explanation the broker has given is not exactly accurate, the broker will probably make a concession. In this way, he may call her bluff.

Better yet, if she does let Jack talk to her boss, he may succeed in gaining something he would not have gained–talking to the person who makes the decisions.

What to Do If You Can’t Think of Any Questions to Ask

Imagine you were truly stumped. And couldn’t think of anything to say. What do you do?

Your best bet is to be honest and just say “Are you telling the truth?” Say it with humor or a light tone. Play dumb even. That’s a great tactic.

But you’ll even find those times when this tactic won’t work. Someone’s on a power trip and will waster your time and money. Get out of that situation.

Have you ever used this ancient negotiating trick? Did it work? Leave your answer in the comments.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the real estate marketing blog.

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How to Create, Build and Protect a Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

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How to Tell If Someone Is Lying

Use the Problem-Agitate-Solve Formula for Killer Sales Presentations

Pain and problems dominate us. Everyday and every hour we are constantly looking for solutions for our pain and problems.

This holds true for home buyers and sellers. That’s why it’s a great idea to use the PAS formula in your sales presentations.

Whether you’re persuading a buyer to bite the bullet and buy a home or convincing a seller to stake YOUR for sale sign in their yard, you can use the PAS formula to get the job done.

What Is the Problem-Agitate-Solve Formula?

The PAS formula is Dan Kennedy’s darling. Or at least he gets credit for it. Nonetheless, it’s pretty basic.

Identify a problem. Agitate the problem. Solve the problem.

Identify a Problem

Imagine you just met a man at the tennis club. Imagine he told you he lives in a two-bedroom, one bath home with his wife and two kids. Imagine the children as one girl, one boy. Next, imagine the girl 7 and the boy 5. And they share a bedroom.

See a potential problem?

If you do, point out the problem.

You: Hey Stan, are you concerned about your daughter wanting her own privacy?

Agitate the Problem

Once you’ve identified the problem, now aggravate it.

You: Man, that’s probably pretty uncomfortable. You guys are probably looking for a house soon, right?

Stan: You bet. But it’s tough. With the market and all.

You: Yeah, but if you don’t get her own space soon–especially as she gets older–could be a nightmare for all of you. Don’t you think?

Stan: Oh man, yeah.

You: Often one thing can really drive a wedge between a brother and sister–even a family.

Stan: Yeah, my wife and I are really concerned about that.

You: Could be a real problem when she realizes she’s the only 8 year old who shares a room with her brother.

Stan: I don’t even want to think about it.

You: But how can you think about moving when the market stinks and you really don’t know how well your house will sell.

Stan: You can say that again.

Solve the Problem

This is when you trot out your solution.

You: Stan, if you got some time this week, any chance we could get together and I could maybe show you how we could solve your problem? I’ve got some great ideas to share with you.

Stan: Even though I’m not in the market, I think I might be able to swing that.

See how easy and casual that was to set an appointment? Works just as well in any situation.


Use the Pain-Agitate-Solve formula to stop people in their tracks, draw them closer, yearn for your answer and beg for your solution.

Use it during casual conversations or planned-out sales presentation. It doesn’t really matter. Just remember, PAS.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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How to Create, Build and Protect a Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

Thomas Edison, considered the inventor who harnessed electricity, originally believed that the best way to harness electricity was to use a direct current (DC).

When the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla appeared to have succeeded in creating a system based on alternating current (AC), Edison was furious.

Edison determined to ruin Tesla’s reputation. He determined to make the public believe that the AC system was inherently unsafe–and Tesla irresponsible for promoting it.

To this end Edison captured all kinds of household pets and electrocuted them to death using an AC current.

When this wasn’t enough, in 1890 he got New York State prison authorities to organize the world’s first execution by electrocution, using an AC current. But Edison’s electrocution experiments had all been with small creatures. The charge was too weak, and the man–only half killed.

In perhaps the country’s cruelest state-authorized execution, the procedure had to be repeated.

It was an awful spectacle.

This is not the kind of reputation you want to follow you into any sales or negotiation setting.

Although in the long run it is Edison’s name that has survived, at the time his campaign damaged his own reputation more than Tesla’s.

So he backed off.

The lesson is simple–never go too far in attacks like these in negotiations, for that will draw more attention to your own vengefulness than to the person you are slandering.

There are better ways to build a fearsome reputation.

How to Create Your Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

Your reputation is critical. There is no exception to this law. You must build it, layer by layer, maintain it and protect it. Then it will proceed you in any negotiation.So you have to start at the foundation.

Since we must live and work in society and must depend on the opinions of others, there is nothing you can gain by neglecting your reputation.

By not caring how you are perceived, you let others decide this for you.

Back in October, the New York reported on online reputation management:

“There is all type of damage by miscreants on the Web to a business,” said Marc S. Friedman, chairman of the intellectual property practice at Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross in Manhattan. “The number of methods depends only on the creativity of the wrongdoer.”

While you shouldn’t shoot for stifling constructive criticism, you should definitely be the the master of your fate. And also of your reputation.

In the social realm, appearances are the barometer of almost all of our judgments, as a Chinese University of Hong Kong discovered a few years ago.

And you must never be misled into believing other wise. This is the reason for the supreme importance of making and maintaining a reputation that is of your own creation.

Sustainable reputation optimization requires going back to the root cause of what influences people’s opinion of you and what creates the buzz–whether online or offline–about you.

Then you must figure out how to set the conversation in the right direction.

The solution here may have less to do with paid media [read: billboards, banners and ballyhoo] than with such foundations as customer service, education, Web infrastructure, and personal mission and philosophy

If you think you can build a fearsome reputation with gimmickry, manipulation, or next-day PageRank, you’d better think twice.

And your blog, while it might allow you the opportunity to dialogue about how you’d like people to think about you, will only go so far if there’s isn’t a compelling, credible message.

It better be a message that bloggers can’t pick apart by comparing (via hyper links) disconnects between what you say and what consumers actually experience.

How to Build Your Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

In the beginning, you must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity of honesty or cunning.

This quality sets you apart and gets other people to talk about you. You then make your reputation known to as many people as possible. Step back, and watch it spread like wildfire.

A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without having to spend much energy.

As they say, your reputation inevitably precedes you, and it it inspires respect. A lot of your work is done for you before you arrive on the scene, or utter a single word.

How to Protect Your Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

Reputation is a treasure to be carefully collected and hoarded. Today, this afternoon or tonight: take the time to discover what you will be known for.

[It helps, if you haven’t already, to get to know yourself through a profile test like Myers-Briggs. You can learn your Myers-Briggs profile free here.]

Make your reputation simple and base it on one sterling quality. This single quality–efficiency say, or leadership–becomes a kind of calling card that announces your presence and places others under a spell.

Then take the time to cultivate it. This happens slowly: steady but sure.

And remember, avoid Edison’s mistake: always take the high road when it some to reputation and never appear desperate or vengeful in your self-defense.

Never transgress this law. Learn to protect yourself from hurtful rumors. Confront people. Blog or post a response. Trademark your name.

And if all else fails, initiate legal action. But take action to protect the reputation you’ve so tenderly cultivated.

Like Jesus said, “When among the wolves, act like a sheep but play sly like a snake.” [Rough paraphrase. Forgive me.]

Ancient Observance of a Fearsome Reputation

Robert Green tells a fascinating story about a Chinese general who uses his reputation during China’s War of Three Kingdoms to avoid certain death.

General Chuko Liang of the forces of the Shu Kingdom dispatched his army to a distant camp while he rested in a small city. He kept with him only 100 soldiers.

In no time scouts returned shouting that an enemy army of over 150,000 troops was just over the hill.

Without wasting time Liang told his soldiers to fling the city gates open and to go hide. He put on a Taoist robe, grabbed a lute, lit some incense and sat on top of the highest wall, strumming and chanting away.

Minutes later he could see the massive army approaching, swarming the countryside. Pretending not to notice, Liang continued to strum.

Soon the army stood at the town gates. At its head was Sima Yi, who instantly recognized the man on the wall.

As his soldiers itched to enter the unguarded city, Sima hesitated, held his men back and eventually retreated.


Chuko Lian was commonly known as the “Sleeping Dragon.” His exploits were legendary. His reputation proceeded him. And Sima figured it was a trap.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the real estate marketing Blog.

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Boy in the Bubble: How to Entice Even the Most Pre-Occupied Person

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Boy in the Bubble: How to Entice Even the Most Preoccupied Person

Breaking news: You have to break through more than just clutter.

What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

Attention is the new economy. That means the barrier is preoccupation.

Yet, it’s hot stuff to rattle off how many ads CEO’s see a day, the average person sees a day, the left bank bookseller sees a day.

This is commonly known as clutter.

But it doesn’t explain anything about what’s inside a person’s head. That is the real obstacle.

But if you learn how to split through someone’s preoccupation, it doesn’t matter if the he’s barraged with 1 million messages.

You will strike him dead. But it’s not that easy.

Combating Tangible and Intangible Preoccupations

Think of preoccupation as a boy in a bubble. Inside that bubble?

His iPhone. His laptop. His email inbox. His magazines. His television. His notepads, pencils, drafting compass.

Those are the tangibles.

Intangibles include dreams, lusts, fears, worries. All things that keep his vision very short-sighted. In a nutshell, he sees, rarely, no farther than the inner edge of his bubble.

Unless he’s interrupted. Or enticed.

You, my friend, have to entice him. Interrupting him will only piss him off. Piss him off and he hunkers more.

Enticing him involves waiting for him to ask a question.

Why would he do that? He has a problem.

Enter the sales process.

That Irresistible Scent

The first thing you need to have is a clear understanding of is how your prospect arrives at a buying decision.

Here’s a very simplified flow of a buying decision:

  • Recognition of need or problem
  • Search for information
  • Evaluation of alternatives
  • Decide what to purchase
  • Purchase
  • Evaluate the purchase again

With that in mind, let’s now consider how you sell to your prospect.

Keep in mind: Sales is not a push-method. It’s a pull method, where you entice your prospect to follow you by an attractive scent you are offering.

This scent has to appeal to him. It has to satisfy a craving he has. That craving he got before he decided to crawl out of the bubble.

And the overall decision has to be a win-win scenario: both you AND your prospect feel good about the outcome. He must feel it is delicious and think it divine and you must think it fulfilling and feel like you didn’t feed him your arm and leg.

So let’s look at the sales process with a clear goal in mind: matching the what you have to offer to what they want or need.

Defining That Complex Relationship with Clients

A complex relationship, like the one you want to develop with your prospects, goes through stages, like this [with each bullet followed by a little narrative]:

  • Suspects–the entire universe of potential buyers for your product or service.

The boy in the bubble runs across your blog posts because he’s decided he wants a new home. You have an article called “11 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Bubble Home.”

  • Prospects–those suspects who have expressed an active interest in your service.

He’s decided to follow you at this point. The 11 Mistakes article was good. So was the article called “How to Sell Your Bubble for the Most Money in Less Time and Hassle.” But he really liked the story you told about another boy in a bubble who you helped successfully and safely buy a new bubble.

  • Leads–those prospects who are actively engaged in the buying process your service.

At this point, he likes you. He joined your email list. You have his permission. Eventually he wants you to help him find that dream bubble. In a matter of days, he’s calling you on the phone.

  • Buyers–those leads negotiating with you and who have made a commitment to buy in principle, but have not yet bitten the bullet.

Your relationship gets a little rocky at this point. He doesn’t feel like you understand what he means by “leg room.” Nor does he feel like you are listening when you show him a bubble with fist holes in the door. You listen, re-engage, probe deeper with questions, find out what he really is thinking. You are negotiating.

  • Customers–those who have paid for your product or service.

You did it. The dream bubble. You found him the dream bubble. He’s happy, you’re happy. So you buy him a wreath to hang on his bubble. He gives you a sketch of his foot. And then you follow up with him regularly through out the year. Why?

Post mortem, you still want him to love you.

Your advertising–not just your blog, because your blog simply can’t do it alone, neither can your email–must compel potential customers through these five phases.

To do so, they must not communicate not just information–but benefits. Benefits cinch the deal. It’s that attractive scent that snaps him out of his preoccupation to look at you.

Benefits are cream.

3 Questions to Find Out What They Desperately Want or Need

Benefits will provide the momentum to move potential customers along. This needs to happen, by the way, at every stage, both in an individual blog post or email through text ad or postcard through negotiations and post mortem discussions.

Now consider these three questions to determine your objectives every time you communicate with a prospective customer, whether via your website, phone or blog:

1. What actions do prospective customers need to take that will lead to a buying decision?

2. Who do I have to persuade to take action? The wife? The father in law?

3. How do I persuade them to take action?

The running theme here is “taking action.” Keep that in mind.

Truly powerful communication always addresses the recipient’s needs: What’s In It for Me?

If not, then you will never break through their mental preoccupations and get their attention. [They are thinking about dinner now, last week’s Lost episode, not about you or what you have to offer.]

Always anticipate and ask the question, “Why should he buy from me?”

But be sure that you are addressing people at their level of interest and in the language that best suit their dominant personality styles. You want to give them information that convinces them to write a check, not write you off.


There is a huge difference between information and persuading. Persuasion is designed to move readers to action, to get results–whether it’s subscribing to your blog or pulling the trigger on a $800,000 home.

To persuade effectively you must take their point of view. You must answer questions correctly and fully. You must ask questions. And you must answer objections. Before they say them, if you can.

Breakthrough their preoccupation, maintain momentum, and actively lead your prospect through the decision process and you will survive.

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Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add.
And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

Unforgettable Negotiation Advice: Discover His Thumbscrew

Whether it’s a lending partner, your listing coordinator, a competing agent or a prospect across the couch from you, people will occasionally resist you.

And constantly butting up against these people will cost you a lot of energy.

One important thing to realize though is everyone has a weakness, a gap in the armor, a soft spot. Usually it’s an insecurity, an uncontrollable need or a closet passion. Once found, however, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to guide them down the right path.

Here’s what to look for:

Pay Attention to Gestures and Unconscious Signals

Everyday conversation supplies the richest mine of weakness, passion or emotion, so train yourself to listen. Start by being interested.

Also, open up to the other person. Share a secret that won’t damage you if you share it.

Finally, train your eye for details–how someone responds to their spouse, what delights a person, the hidden messages in clothes.

Once you find this soft spot, push on it.

Look for Contrasts

An overt trait often conceals its opposite. People who thump their chests, cowards; prudent minds, lavish souls; the uptight, screaming for adventure; the shy, dying for attention.

Probe beyond appearances and you will find a person’s soft spots.

Fill the Void

Insecurity and unhappiness are the two main emotional voids.

Validate the socially insecure: “This neighborhood may seem out of your league, but you belong here.”

Look for the roots of the unhappy: “Tell me if I’m wrong, but you don’t look like you are enjoying the home-selling process. If this is true, can you tell me what’s bothering you?”

The Moral?

You can win against just about anybody–no matter their power, fame or money. Just find their soft spot.

Pleasure and Pain: The Seemingly Dark Art of Manipulation

One of the most powerful ways to generate direct marketing responses is to set out reasons why responding to your offer brings wonderful pleasure and why not responding sustains or even increases pain.

Whenever you can, set up pleasure and pain offers. You can do this even in face to face presentations.

Tell your prospects all the good things that come by working with you or buying a particular home…

And then suggest the bad things that may occur (or remain the same) by not responding.

Articulating pleasure and pain offers simply means telling people the favorable consequences of accepting your offer and the undesirable consequences of doing nothing.

Here are a couple of examples:

Why They Should Choose You as Their Agent

•  Pleasure: “Sell your home for the most money, in the fastest time and simplest way because I use proven marketing methods and have a vast network.”

•  Pain: “Choose a different agent and you may end up working with inexperienced, careless, even thoughtless agents that will drag the sale of your home own for ages, refuse to negotiate and market the home as minimally as possible.”

Why They Should Buy That Particular Home

•  Pleasure: “End constant frustration with limited storage space, enjoy vaulted ceilings, ample sunlight and a vast, fenced in yard.”

•  Pain: “Skip this opportunity now and the next buyer strolling up may beat you to the punch.”

Why It Makes Sense to Put an Offer On This Home Now

•  Pleasure: “Position yourself to move into this home sooner rather than later, besides…”

•  Pain: “Waiting to put an offer on this home might allow another buyer to come in and put an offer on it and then the seller may like the idea of a price war, which means the highest bidder wins.”

Pain Is Not Torture, If…

To some this may seem like manipulation. In my mind, as long as you are telling the truth and not withholding certain truth…it is not manipulation.

You are giving facts to a person to help them make a decision. Ari Galper’s got this down pat.

One thing that is extremely helpful when working with pleasure and pain offers is that you believe in yourself–and what you are doing.

If you don’t believe in yourself and don’t believe or enjoy what you are doing…then your resistance to this approach maybe a symptom to something deeper: job dissatisfaction, low-self esteem, insecurity.

I confess: I struggled early in my career with face to face sales simply because I was insecure. But that was not all…

Then I discovered I was an introvert. And that explained a lot.

Figuring out that I was an introvert [and being okay with it!] helped me to operate where I could be the most productive.

Writing is infinitely easier to me than face to face. I eat, sleep, read writing. It comes very natural. Face to face, on the other, is a vicious exercise of the will.

What that tells me is that I need to spend most of my time behind a keyboard. I’m very comfortable behind a keyboard, and salesmanship in print is very easy for me.

Still Not Comfortable with Manipulation? Think About This

Now, if telling people the truth about the pleasure and pain of certain decisions still feels below you and you are certain you are not insecure or introverted or in the wrong job altogether, then consider other issues outside of buying or selling a home.

Like drug addiction.

Would you be manipulating someone if you told them the pleasures of not doing drugs (stability in your life and freedom from worry about cash, cops or crashes)…

And then the pain of drug addiction (broken relationships, poor job performance, financial ruin)?

Consider this approach to other weighty issues, like teen pregnancy and smoking. Then move across the spectrum to subtler issues, say choosing a college, and finally buying a home.

I think you’ll see that it’s not manipulation when you are sincerely concerned for the other person and are simply putting all the cards on the table.

Even better is this: If you can remain objective during the process and even say, “You know, this may not even be the home for you. I just wanted you to know all the facts.”

Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

This weekend I ran into a Realtor friend of mine. I asked her how things were going. I asked her if she had any horror stories that dealt with sellers and buyers in this flat real estate market. She did.

In a conversation that lasted less than 30 minutes, she shared 4 different stories about bone-headed, stubborn clients. And one timid, but cooperative client.

1. The Delusional Rehaber

Seller insisted he must sell his home for $325,000.

That’s how much he HAD to get out of it since he renovated the main floor, added the new second floor and built a detached two car garage.

The next closest price a home actually sold for within the last year–$178,000. Agent friend refused the listing.

2. Seller Under the Impression the World Will Wait for Him

A seller listed their house for $165,000 when the next closest was $145,000. The home sat on the market for 6 months. After they’d been paying two mortgages. They never allowed my agent friend to lower the price, accusing her of not marketing the home enough. This was not true.

She’d had it listed in all the usuals, MLS, online video, papers. She even sent out just-listed postcards.

When the listing expired, she re-listed on the condition they lower the price to $150,000, but seller insisted $155,000.

My agent friend agreed to $155,000 only because she knew she’d get showings and offers, which she did, but all the offers were around $148,000. She said to take it. They refused.

After 3 months she insisted they lower the price again, which the seller reluctantly did, to $148,000. He then insisted she go back to the agents who had clients who gave previous offers, but of course all the buyers had already bought a home.

The home eventually sold for $144,000 six weeks later.

3. Low Baller Gets Blacklisted

My agent friend had a buyer who low-balled an offer on a home $30,000 below the list price. The list price, compared to comps in the last year was probably $5,000 above average, but definitely could fetch something very close to list price.

My agent friend suggested they not go in that low, because even though they were in a buyer’s market he was probably going to piss off the sellers. The buyer insisted. Doing her job, she sent in the offer.

The seller’s agent came back, said, “My client knows you are just doing your job, so nothing with you, but they refuse to entertain any offer from that buyer.”

When she shared that information with her client laughed, he said, “There playing tough. Okay, well go back $20,000 under.”

She said, “You don’t understand: they don’t want to work with you.”

He was appalled and said, “Is that legal?”

4. A New Hot Water Heater Does Not a Massive Upgrade Make

Seller bought a home, replaced the hot water heater, and a year later put the home on the market, $26,0000 more than for what he bought it for, but $15,000 more than any other home sold in the area.

My agent friend recommend they sell it closer to the comps, but the seller refused.

It sat for 3 months without any offers.

The seller agreed to lower the price, got plenty of offers, but sold it only once it was $1,000 less than the best comp, 3 months later.

The seller was furious he’d replaced the hot water heater.

5. Nice Nurse Plays Hardball with Builder, Reluctantly

A nice nurse wanted to buy a home. Over about 3 days, my agent friend drove her around to see 4 homes. None fit the bill. The fifth home they saw did fit the bill. But it was out of her price range.

However, according to recent comps, the home was over-priced at $175,000.

My agent friend suggested they offer $162,500, which high nurses, but still in the nurses range. The nurse agreed because she loved the home to death, but she didn’t think that was such a great idea, didn’t like the idea of such a “low offer” but trusted my agent friend.

The builder of the home came back with $168,000. This shocked the nurse. They countered $164,000. The builder countered that with $165,000. Agent friend and nurse countered with $164,500, which the builder jumped all over.

What Is Up?

Here’s the deal: My agent friend couldn’t understand why so many people ignored her advice, especially after she patiently laid out the facts, namely that no home had sold with in the last year for the prices anyone wanted to buy or sell. Except the nurse.

What was the difference? Why do some people, despite your professional experience and wisdom, choose to do things there way?

Not too many people in their right mind would tell the heart doctor that they’d really like to stick to the double bypass surgery instead of the recommended quadruple bypass.

What gives? Let me know your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

How to Tell If Someone Is Lying

Last week I shared with you a curious secret about getting people to believe you. That ended up being a pretty good post. One week later, returning to the same theme–negotiations–I want to talk to you about the other side of the coin.

The dark side.

The Dark Art of Lying

I’m a pretty casual guy. Most of the time I think pretty well of people. I give them the benefit of the doubt. I believe them. And don’t think too many people lie.

My wife gives me trouble about this.

On three different April Fool’s Day I fell for fake cuisine: baby carrots, grilled cheese, chicken pot pie.

[Stop laughing. It’s not funny.]

Sometimes its hard for me to believe that someone is lying to me. I think mostly I think this way because when I think of lying I think of a malicious car thief or hateful dictator.

But lies can be common during negotiations, lies like “I don’t remember saying that I’d throw in range and microwave,” when in fact they do know that they did promise that but at this point they’ve changed their mind for one reason or another.

Instead of simply withdrawing the offer, they lie.

However, telling if someone is lying to you is not only useful in a real estate context. Anyone can use this knowledge in everyday situations where telling the truth from a lie can help prevent you from being a victim of fraud or scams and other deceptions, like April Fool food pranks.

The following rapid-fire list of techniques are to help you detect if someone is lying. These techniques are used often by police, and security experts.

Read up now and become a regular Holmes.

Body Language of Lies

If someone is lying to you, physical expression will be limited and stiff, with few arm and hand movements. Hand, arm and leg movement are toward his own body. The liar is trying to take up less space.

A person who is lying to you will avoid making eye contact.

He will touch his face and throat with his hands. He will touch or scratch his nose or behind his ear. He will not likely touch his chest where his heart is with an open hand.

But he will not look at you.

Emotional Gestures & Contradiction

Timing and duration of emotional gestures and emotions are off a normal pace. The display of emotion is delayed, stays longer than it would naturally, then stops suddenly.

Timing is also off between emotions and gestures, between expressions and words. For example: Someone says “I love it!” when receiving a gift, and then smiles after making that statement, rather then at the same time the statement is made.

A liar’s gestures and expressions don’t match the verbal statement, such as frowning when saying “I love you.”

[Ugh, that one hurts.]

When someone is faking emotions (like happy, surprised, sad, awe) instead of moving the whole face a liar’s expressions are limited to mouth movements. For example, when someone smiles naturally their whole face is involved: jaw/cheek movement, eyes and forehead push down.

Interactions and Reactions

A guilty person gets defensive. An innocent person will often go on the offensive.

A liar is uncomfortable facing his questioner or accuser and may turn his head or body away.

A liar might unconsciously place objects (book, coffee cup, etc.) between themselves and you. He’s creating that barrier. Kind of like when he tries to consume less space.

Verbal Context and Content

A liar will use your words to answer you question. When asked, “Did you eat the last cookie?” The liar answers, “No, I did not eat the last cookie.”

Liars sometimes avoid “lying” by not making direct statements. They imply answers instead of denying something directly.

The guilty person may speak more than natural, adding unnecessary details to convince you…they are not comfortable with silence or pauses in the conversation.

A liar may leave out pronouns and speak in a monotonous tone. When a truthful statement is made the pronoun is emphasized as much or more than the rest of the words in a statement.

Words may be garbled and spoken softly, and syntax and grammar may be off. In other
words, his sentences will likely be muddled rather than emphasized.

Other Signs of a Lie

If you believe someone is lying, here’s how you can test him: change the subject of the conversation quickly. A liar follows along willingly and becomes more relaxed. The guilty wants the subject changed.

On the other hand, an innocent person may be confused by the sudden change in topics and will want to get back to the previous subject.

Also, liars tend to use humor or sarcasm to avoid a subject. Ever heard the bad joke in the middle of a pretty serious discussion?


Obviously, just because someone exhibits one or more of these signs does not make them a liar. The above behaviors should be compared to a persons normal behavior whenever possible.

Got any other lie detecting tricks up your sleeve? Share and share a like.