Negotiation plays a large role in the commercial real estate process and in our daily lives. To refine our negotiation skills, our team read Getting More by Stuart Diamond, renowned writer and professor at The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.
We had many great discussions about Diamond’s principles and have enjoyed putting them into practice. Here are some of our key takeaways:
Throughout his book, Diamond stresses the importance of preparing for every negotiation. Preparation could include a writing up a detailed agenda or taking a few moments to collect our thoughts. If we do have more time to prepare, we discussed the value in researching the other party’s core values or mission statements. Holding companies and individuals to their standards is a persuasive negotiation tactic and will help us reach our goals.
The purpose of negotiating is to reach our goals. Clearly defined goals ensure we stay focused during negotiations. In our profession, we negotiate on behalf of our clients. We strive to achieve their objectives of selling, leasing and acquiring property at their desired price. In our personal lives, we may negotiate with our children for an earlier bedtime or with a store’s customer service department for a refund.
We are more likely to “get more” from a negotiation when we have genuine care for the parties involved. So often in business we jump right into the matter at hand without taking time to learn about the other person. We need to understand their perspective and tap into their emotions. We also discussed how friendliness can go a long way in our interactions with airline staff, retail sales associates and other customer service personnel. One team member tested this idea and ended up with free drinks for befriending his server.
The title of the book is “Getting More” not “Getting Everything.” Sometimes we may need to start with small steps towards our goals. One way to do this is to trade items of unequal value. For example, a five-star review may mean a lot to a small business. We can offer a positive online review in return for the store replacing a faulty item. Additional parking spaces may not mean much to a landlord but may be very important to a tenant and could lead to a signed lease agreement.
We’re excited to continue applying these negotiation principles to “get more” in our personal and professional lives.