Here’s how to master the art of negotiating


District Real Estate’s director of business development, Alan Kaye, loves nothing more than shaking hands on a great deal. Here he distills his negotiation know-how gathered over three decades in the industry

The rise of Donald Trump, who proclaims himself to be (amongst other things) the world’s best negotiator, has brought to the fore just how important the art of negotiation can be.

Whether or not Trump really is as good as he says, and will happily proclaim to whatever microphone is near by, only time will tell. But negotiating is something that affects everyone’s daily life and is an important skill to master, particularly when it comes to getting the most for your money in the UAE real estate market.

To walk into every negotiation with the odds stacked in your favour, there are a number of key principles you need to learn.

Establish rapport

Try and build a relationship with the other party before serious discussions begin. You may have only a few minutes to do this but try to establish a feeling for the other person.

See if you both have any common interests, people you may both know; pick up on the conversation if the other person has, for instance, just been, or is going, on holiday.

This will establish you as a person in their mind and less of an opponent. Plus, while talking you should be able to pick up on cues from the body language of the other person as to how they are approaching the negotiation.

Swot up

It is imperative that you try to find out as much as possible about the person who is sitting opposite you. Try to speak to other people who have had similar negotiations – you might be able to learn from the outcome of their experience.

Also, try and fully prepare yourself with any relevant facts or figures that may come up in the discussion such as what other similar units are currently renting for. If you can quote such examples it will strengthen your case significantly.

Question time

Do ask lots of questions and then listen carefully to the answers and what the other parties are saying. Don’t try to be the loudest voice in the room or verbally bludgeon the other party in order to get your point of view accepted.

One should constantly be using ‘we’ not ‘I’ in order to try to carry the other person with you. Ultimately, everyone should be able to walk away happy and in agreement.

What’s your best price?

At all times, be optimistic and aim high in your opening gambit, while still being realistic. Sellers should ask for more than they expect to receive and buyers should offer less than they are prepared to pay.

Your optimism will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have low expectations and come across with a negative attitude then you will inevitably end up not achieving what you set out to achieve.

Cool it

Do not become emotionally involved, make threats, shout or lose your cool. The art of negotiation is certainly not to start or be involved in a fight. Be prepared, if needs be, to take a break for both parties to gather their thoughts. After all, both sides should be looking for a successful outcome.

Think long term

Remember, if you are a tenant or landlord you need to appreciate that this may just be the beginning of a long relationship. It is, therefore, important to establish parameters and a relationship in order that when you do meet again both parties will be in a positive frame
of mind.

Don’t lose focus

Always try to keep the focus of the negotiation on results and the facts and what would be the best outcome for both parties. Take the emphasis away from the personalities involved and do not take anything said personally; the negotiation is not about you  but the issues involved.

By implementing some or all of the above, you will begin to master the art of negotiation and hopefully achieve what you set out to accomplish.

Hopefully, you will also build beneficial long-term relationships and leave with your reputation enhanced.

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