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What A Trapper Taught Me About Real Estate Investment Negotiation

by Jimmy Moncrief on March 21, 2014 · 10 comments

REI Negotiations

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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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark March 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm

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. :-/


Jeff Brown March 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Maybe your best effort yet, Jimmy.


Jimmy Moncrief March 29, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Jeff!


Ben Leybovich March 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

What do I know – I’m just a dumb landlord…


Jimmy Moncrief March 29, 2014 at 8:22 pm

haha! Love that pun!


Kevin Yeats March 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Why don’t I see this negotiating technique on “Pawn Stars?”


Jimmy Moncrief March 29, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Kevin – great point – like all negotiation techniques – none of them are full proof!


Frank Iglesias March 24, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Thanks! I really enjoyed this article and makes me I think I might give it a shot – Trapper Style.


Jimmy Moncrief March 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Yea man! Let me know on the progress!


Mike Sheridan August 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

That’s some pretty serious negotiating.


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