10 Tips to Negotiate Like a Pro

Whether you are buying, leasing, selling, investing or developing commercial real estate, at some point you will likely need to negotiate. After all, the Latin root of the word negotiate is negotiari, which means to carry on business. So you can pretty much bet that doing business will eventually involve negotiating. Read on to learn more about the art of negotiation and what it takes to be a successful negotiator.

Do Your Homework

Gather all pertinent information before you begin to negotiate. This includes not only knowing what you need, but also what the other side requires. When you can come to the table understanding both sides of the deal, then you are much more likely to be able to mutually work toward reaching each other’s goals.

Know What You Want

In any negotiation, you must know and prioritize your wants. There are always some that are less important and others that are deal breakers. Knowing the difference will help you compromise during negotiations.

Listen More Than You Talk

A good negotiator is first a good listener. Here’s what you need to do in order to listen well:

  • Be quiet and let the other party speak first.
  • Don’t interrupt and pay close attention.
  • Ask probing questions that require more than a yes or no answer, so you receive valuable information.
  • Be aware of nonverbal cues such as gestures, tone of voice or facial expressions.

Many differences can be resolved simply by listening.

Be Optimistic

Aim high in any negotiation, because if you expect more then chances are you’ll get more. A proven approach for receiving higher results is opening with an extreme position. For example, buyers should offer less than they expect to pay, and sellers should ask for more than they think they’ll receive. Optimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy… and on the other hand so can pessimism. Be the optimist when you negotiate.

Give and Get

When you give something during negotiations, make sure you get something in return. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I’ll do this if you do that.” When both parties reciprocate rather than make concessions, there is greater satisfaction.

Take Your Time

Patience is a virtue in life and negotiations. The advantage goes to the person that is more patient. Patience tells the other side that you are not in a hurry to close the deal. And what happens then? You may just hear the offer you want in an effort to get you to say, “Yes!”

Don’t Get Emotional

Keep your emotions in check when you negotiate. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. Negotiating about a contentious issue can be frustrating, but don’t allow your emotions to take control. You can think more clearly and arrive at more favorable results when you keep an even keel.

Play Like You’re on the Same Team

The objective of negotiating is for both sides to reach an agreeable—even advantageous—outcome. For that to happen, you must be teammates instead of adversaries. Cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration rather than division.

Know When to Walk Away

Sometimes even teammates must walk away, because not all deals are meant to be. You know what your deal breakers are, so don’t bend to the point of breaking. Simply convey your resolve and the other negotiator will know that you mean business.

Hire an Expert

A good commercial real estate agent can help you negotiate a favorable deal. He or she understands the local market and will offer advice on how to reach the best negotiated outcome.


The information contained in this article is general in nature and should not be construed as financial, tax or legal advice.  As with any financial or legal matter, consult your tax advisor and legal counsel.