Top five tips for sharpening your negotiating skills

27th April 2017

Our recent roundtable on the government’s proposed ban on tenant fees generated 10 top tips for growing your business.

We’re exploring each tip in our weekly email alerts.

This week, we’re examining the foundations of cutting edge negotiation.

Some of us are blessed with the gift of the gab and are clearly born to sell, but many of us have to work harder at achieving the same outcomes.

So, where do you start?

  1. Review your body language

Your body language is the most important factor determining whether or not a client or prospective client will like you and buy into what you’re selling them, be that a property management service or simply an inventory.

According to acclaimed professor Albert Mehrabian, body language accounts for 55% of the equation measuring your likability (the words you speak (7%) and your voice (38%) are also important, but more about these later).

Eye contact is perhaps the most important, and often most difficult, element of body language that you need to master.

Firstly, there’s a fine line between showing a client your undivided attention and coming across as creepy by holding your gaze for too long.

Secondly, the British custom of maintaining eye contact is not necessarily the best approach for all clients, particularly for certain nationalities.

  1. Listen to your voice

Do you have a persuasive voice?

There are many elements to achieving a persuasive voice, from the tone and pitch to the pace, and you’ll need to tailor each of these for each and every client you deal with.

Generally speaking, letting agents may well be able to talk more assertively and at a quicker pace with accomplished portfolio landlords and institutional investors than they would with landlords new to the private rented sector, but it’s important not to make sweeping assumptions about client needs.

Instead, learn to develop a more intuitive approach to understanding which sales techniques work best with whom.

  1. Consider your vocabulary

There’s nothing any of us hate more than being bombarded with information, particularly when it’s littered with waffle and business jargon that very often even the communicator doesn’t understand.

Your job is to win the trust of a client and you can do that by demonstrating that you are a market expert who is appropriately skilled and confident enough not to have to baffle them into making a decision.

Stick to the facts, avoid acronyms at all costs and be ready with an explanation to everything you say, should you need one.

  1. Be authentic

Authenticity should be at the heart of everything you say. Do you believe your own proclamations? If not, why would you expect a client to do so?

But how do you ‘learn’ to be authentic? In fact, can you learn this art?

There have been countless articles written on the paradox of authenticity, and the suggestion that if you’re trying to be authentic, you’re failing to be so.

In a nutshell, being authentic is simply about being yourself, so, as above, keep things simple, honest and, above all, speak in a manner that you’d wish to be on the receiving end of.

  1. Show dedication

Part and parcel of being authentic is being dedicated to your job, so how dedicated are you?

More importantly, how dedicated do you appear to your clients? Will they believe that you’re working at your optimum level to get them the best deal?

Only by appearing, sounding and genuinely believing that you’re dedicated to the cause will you be able to charge the fees that you deserve.

Good luck!

Next time, we’ll be focusing on How to review your fees.

Click here to read our last top tip on How to review your cost base