Inspired (and a bit frustrated) with "Never Split the Difference"

15 Replies

I must say I'm 98% inspired and 2% frustrated, but thought a mildly inflammatory title might get more views. :)

First off, if you haven't read Chris Voss' "Never Split the Difference" and listened to podcast "The Ultimate Guide to Negotiation", do so right now!  Really inspiring and informative.  Hands down my favorite podcast so far.

I'm an out of state investor (investing in Missouri), therefore I'm buying through the MLS, at least at the moment. I understand the premise from the majority of the lessons of the book require a negotiation to be in person. That said, that's just not an option for MLS listings.

I'm speaking through two people normally (my agent and the listing agent).  There's not much room for FBI style negotiations here.  At least I don't see many.

Lessons that I believe may be applied

  1. Take your time (don't respond to counters quickly)
  2. Don't use numbers ending in zero.  Make it seem like a lot of thought went into the amount ($41,071 vs $41,000).
  3. Follow the 4 bid plan as outlined in the book (first offer is 65% of my desired price, and incrementally go up in smaller offers, finally end with adding something of little value to my final price).
  4. Get as much information as possible on the seller.  This isn't that easy to do, but may at times yield some sort of dividend.

Does anyone have any other advice for negotiating off MLS listings?

I was also very inspired by the podcast and I am reading the book now. I understand your struggles with implementing this on MLS deals. You may want to send your agent a copy of the book. You would at least get the techniques one layer deeper in the transaction.

I enjoyed listening to the podcast with Chris Voss, and then read his book, which i found really thought provoking. I was in a real estate deal where the seller's broker said the seller wouldn't budge an inch on price or concessions. I asked if I could write the seller an email as I didn't trust that telling my realtor to tell the seller's realtor to tell the seller would get much traction. So I wrote an email outlining some issues, never using "I, Me or mine" type language and utilizing some info the seller's broker mentioned at a showing which I learned from the book Never Split the Difference.  After the email, the seller agreed to pay for $5000 in sewer line repairs that he had refused to do before!

I did give my real estate broker a copy of Never Split the Difference, but I don't think he finished it. 

I did attend a one day workshop in Dallas put on by Chris Voss and the Black Swan Group Sept 7, 2018. Part of the price of admission was a 1 hr private coaching session valued at $1500 that would be scheduled at a later date.  Maybe I should've opted for the 1 hr coaching session as it would've been a lot cheaper than flying to Dallas, staying in a hotel for 2 nights, uber, meals, and house/pet sitter. 

The one day seminar, Tactical Empathy, was generally good. I would give it 3 1/2 stars as by the afternoon the Black Swan staff was doing their best to fill up the time till 5pm with various anecdotes  of how they negotiated with the airline ticket person or the hotel staff, or how they were given upgrades and freebies. These stories all may be true, but it was used to fill the time.  There were numerous breaks to also fill the time. It would've been much more helpful to have ended at 3 or 4pm so people could more easily catch flights than make it a 9-5 day when there wasn't enough material to take up that time.

Finally, a month has passed and no word on scheduling the one hour of coaching included in the $1899 price for the one day seminar. No one answers the phone at Black Swan, and the responses to email inquires about the coaching session are someone will get back to you. 

How do you communicate with Black Swan when no one answers the phone, or you get the run around via email?  

I've never heard of black swan but I would chalk the experience up to a learned lesson.  I too have spent money attempting to learn about real estate but after my second attempt,  I was fortunate enough to find Bigger Pockets.  Honestly,  they have a huge amount of information online and a wealth of resources.  You can freely ask questions and often get replies.  My only critique is that I haven't found many people from BP in the Dallas/Fort Worth to actually meet in person to exchange information. Obviously, there are plenty of other groups - smart move to be involved with other real estate organizations - so I'm really a okay with that.  Just surprised there aren't more BP fans in the metro....

@George E. I was in the same seminar as @Victoria Seale , and agree 100% with her. The coaching she’s referring to was part of the seminar offering, and I haven’t had the chance to follow up either.

Good book, good techniques, but a little difficult to implement when you need those around you in the same page, as it’s kind of advanced.

Anyways, I’m in the metro area (Plano) and would be happy to get together, maybe we should put together a BP meetup, you and I!

@George E,

I heard about Chris Voss and his book Never Split the Difference  on the bigger pockets podcast. Black Swan is his company. Too bad the touted former FBI hostage negotiator doesn't follow thru in his business dealings. Maybe they are overwhelmed by the tsunami of coverage and business surge or don't really care.

Since I"m in the Santa Fe NM area, it might be a little hard to put together a BP meet up @Jose Matuk  but we could practice over the phone the other techniques!!

Jose, I'm game to setting up a BP group in the Dallas Area. Victoria, as for trying to practice some of the techniques, I'm not familiar with them but I'd be willing to do some reading and perhaps Jose and I can set something up via Skype with you. 

@George E. @Jose Matuk I am in the dallas area as well. Would love to meet up with both of y’all to discuss real estate and negotiating (Chris Voss style). 

I just finished reading the book the other day. A lot of good nuggets, but hard to implement, like you said, when dealing through a realtor via mls listings. I have been using the 'it seems like.....' conditioning a lot more lately (especially with my girlfriend haha). I think those that listen to him on the BP podcast will get a lot of those nuggets without having to actually read the book, but it was a good read nonetheless.

@Nina Hayden , @George E. and @Will Parker let's get together soon, I sent you all colleague requests so we can coordinate. I'm sure there are many more people interested in this area, we can set up a more formal meetup and invite them as we go. 

Perfect!  I’m half way through the book. It’s definitely interesting; but, I can see how it wouldn’t work as well in certain situations. 

Looking forward to meeting at some point. That sounds great!

He is a guy with a lot of experience.  The book is filled with fluffy stories. I'm not a fan of that approach.  It covers a lot of good points.

For a much better lesson, take the four week Coursera class on negotiation by the University of Michigan. It's free.

Originally posted by @Jose Matuk :

@George E. I was in the same seminar as @Victoria Seale , and agree 100% with her. The coaching she’s referring to was part of the seminar offering, and I haven’t had the chance to follow up either.

Good book, good techniques, but a little difficult to implement when you need those around you in the same page, as it’s kind of advanced.

Anyways, I’m in the metro area (Plano) and would be happy to get together, maybe we should put together a BP meetup, you and I!

There used to be a couple of more laid back events in the area.  @Dana Chun used to run one in Richardson, and @Nick Hughes used to have one.  I have thought about getting a more casual one started again, likely after the holidays.  Kind of an accountability group, informal exchange of ideas.....with maybe a beer thrown in.

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