What A Trapper Taught Me About Real Estate Investment Negotiation

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Most trappers only go see the trader (the “distributor“) twice a year.

When a trapper returns from the wilderness he carefully parks his sled in a place where townspeople can see the size of the tarp-covered load and some of it’s quality furs.  After friendly and extensive solicitations concerning the good health of the storekeeper, the trapper explains how poor his catch is and how ashamed he is to offer such shoddy pelts in exchange for handsome store goods.

Although no verbal offer is made, the trapper walks slowly through the store pointing to items that he feels “unworthy of.”

The next day he repeats this process, bringing along his poor, but dignified family.  As the children gape at the candy jar the trapper again bemoans his lack of skill as a trapper- all the while continuing to congratulate the trader on the quality and diversity of his goods and pointing out that the wise trader deserves the prosperity he enjoys.

On the next day, with the trader and townspeople present, the tarp is removed.  The parties then get down to business, with the trapper, again, pointing out items that he is “too humble to be worthy of,” while a wordless tally is kept by both.  As the bargaining proceeds, the participants become more open with each other, revealing their true needs and values.  After patient discussion, the parties strike an agreement, deliberately leaving some matters open for future adjustment.

On his last day in town the trapper drops by the store to say good-bye and, sadly, acknowledges that he has forgotten to include some staples such as matches and candies.  The trader promptly provides these items without charge.  As the family is about to leave civilization once more, the trapper discovers a few superb pelts that were overlook previously.  These he provides to the trader as a departing gift.

Related: 5 Crucial Steps for Successful Real Estate Negotiations

What’s the Point?

There are many bases of power other than financial leverage.

If you are wondering how this applies to real estate, let me explain. It’s all about negotiation.

I have a friend who bought a 180-room hotel 90% off this asking price utilizing this technique.

Most every real estate investor and real estate agent (read: the distributor) we come across thinks they know everything about negotiation and real estate.

My friend and I prefer to be the humble trapper.

What is your favorite negotiation strategy?

Hit me up in the comments.

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About Author

Jimmy Moncrief is a bank underwriter and real estate investor. He blogs at RealEstateFinanceHQ.com where he talks about all things real estate. He also is the creater of free evernote templates for BiggerPockets members to learn how to better organize and automate their real estate investing.

10 Comments

  1. This is going to sound hypercritical, and admittedly make me look dumb, but I had to read the story a few times before I figured out the Eskimo and the trapper were the same person. :-/

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