Negotiation Books: What Are Your Favorites?

28 Replies

All:

I just had an investor friend casually mention to me that he had just left a negotiation with a seller in which he saved $10,000 on the purchase price. In one hour.

That's an incredible return on his time. 

And it got me thinking. Over the years, my biggest financial and personal "wins" seem to occur when I've negotiated really well.  The 80/20 rule seems to go hand in hand with this experience. Real Estate (and marriage!) is all a constant, never-ending negotiation. From dealing with buyers, sellers, contractors, tenants, lenders, appraisers, zoning, property managers and on and on and on. I'm going to focus on getting more big "wins" and that starts with becoming a much better negotiator. 

With that being said, what is your favorite negotiation book or books that you've read?

A few that I'd highly recommend:

  • Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
  • Getting More by Stuart Diamond

I thought Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone had good advice.

@Will Gaston  

  • Bargaining with the Devil - When to Negotiate, When to Fight by Robert Mnookin
  • Art of War by Sun Tzu (has helped me although I am not an expert in this book... helps provide perspective)
  • Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff (provided perspective in how to get ahead of conversations and how to frame statements. 

Thanks @Omar Khan . Great recommendations. I’ve read Pitch Anything and it is fantastic. Great mindset shift there on who really is providing the value. 

Originally posted by @Will Gaston :

Thanks @Ryan Dossey . Any suggestions @Mark Ferguson in addition to your own?

We wrote this book because there was absolutely nothing worthwhile out there specifically for real estate negotiation.  So, when it comes to real estate negotiating, I don't have any other suggestions.  And, to be honest, while I'm a fan of my Flipping & Estimating books, I think this book is the best one I've been part of writing (the Amazon reviews seem to support that as well :) )...

As for negotiation books outside of real estate, "Influence," by Robert Cialdini is probably my favorite...  

Originally posted by @J Scott :
Originally posted by @Will Gaston:

Thanks @Ryan Dossey . Any suggestions @Mark Ferguson in addition to your own?

We wrote this book because there was absolutely nothing worthwhile out there specifically for real estate negotiation.  So, when it comes to real estate negotiating, I don't have any other suggestions.  And, to be honest, while I'm a fan of my Flipping & Estimating books, I think this book is the best one I've been part of writing (the Amazon reviews seem to support that as well :) )...

As for negotiation books outside of real estate, "Influence," by Robert Cialdini is probably my favorite...  

 Thanks Jay. Will check out your book for sure. Also great call on “Influence”. Cialdini is a must to understand negotiation IMO. 

I’m in sales for my day job. My company put me through a negotiation course that I will never forget.

https://www.karrass.com/

Might be a bit expensive, but if you save thousands of dollars in a single negotiation then the course pays for itself, and more.

Originally posted by @Will Gaston :

Thanks @Ryan Dossey . Any suggestions @Mark Ferguson in addition to your own?

 Nope, just that one. Just kidding!

How to win friends and influence people, has some great stuff on how to act and talk to people. That is a huge part of negotiating. 

@Joel O. anything in particular that you remember being the most helpful? There’s a 2 day event near me in February.

@Will Gaston Yes! If there is 1 single thing to take away it is: "What's on their sheet?"   Let me explain:

The course includes several role plays, team exercises, and trial negotiations. It's very fun, and I learned the most from the hands on activities...

The instructor pairs you up with a partner, and hands you both a sheet of paper. One is a 'seller', the other is a 'buyer'.  On the sellers paper, it tells you all about your situation. Eg. You need to sell your old truck and need a minimum of $XXX to pay off a loan debt... You need to sell ASAP.

On the buyers piece of paper, it describes a different situation. Eg. You need to buy a truck ASAP, you've been searching for months and if you don't buy this truck today, you will lose a large contract job worth $XXX.

Enter negotiation. Make a deal.

After the exercise is over, you get to read the other person's sheet. You get to see what pressures they are under, what is driving their decisions and requests..  It is VERY eye opening. You will never enter a negotiation again in the same way.

They also go into the psychology of negotiation, and explain quick wins that honestly help with just every day life. Low hanging fruit kind of stuff that regular people don't think about.

One of the homework assignments is to go to Starbucks and negotiate your price for a cup of coffee. The goal is to pay lower than the regular price tag. Sounds funny, but try it. Today, I probably get 1 out of every 4 cups of coffee for FREE at Starbucks. No kidding, this course changed my life forever.

Cheers!

Joel

@Joel O. were there any upsells at your training? I’m always skeptical of any conference because of that. 

@Will Gaston Nope. No upsells in my training. It was a small 2 day course with a local trainer. Not a typical ‘conference’ that sells a longer course. 

Happy to chat more about it if you have more questions. Message me and I’ll give you my # if you’d like. 

I have no affiliation with Karass by the way. Not trying to sell anything!

Joel

I think people can also over negotiate certain items.

There comes  a point where the effort is not worth the affect. So you need to (pick your battles) on what you absolutely want to negotiate on and what is kind of an afterthought.

As an example because restaurant servers know I tip well and do not try to nickel and dime  I get a much higher level of service. Also if there is a reservation to be had and it's up for grabs we tend to win out over others. Just had this happen on a New Years Eve restaurant celebration package.

So there are times when you might want to always save but the negative thoughts you are possibly invoking in others overshadows any possible minor savings that occur.

Negotiation is a lifelong process and not just real estate. It covers every aspect of people's lives in one way or another.   

@Joel Owens I agree and I (unfortunately) learned this hard way over-negotiating with contractors several years ago. 

You can strong arm people into agreeing with you, but if you don't leave some meat on the bone for them to win it will certainly cost you in the end. Plus it's really bad karma. Being cheap and/or over-negotiating just for the sake of it just isn't a good way to live. 

Many of us have read the unwritten book called "not getting what I want" over and over again because we conduct life interactions on what is logical rather than on peoples' needs (which are often completely illogical).

There is a similar course to Joel's on Coursera.com by university of Michigan.  You also have exercises where each party has a sheet of influences. You can do them locally or negotiate with others in the class over Skype or phone.

It covers way more than basic negotiations. It covers conflict resolutions, contracts and lots of other topics that will help in your RE business. 

Course is called Successful Negotiations on Coursera.com and it's free if you don't want college credit or a certificate.

Jeff V

I have seen a great list of negotiation books. My top pick is Jim Camps Start With NO book.   https://www.amazon.com/Start-Negotiating-Tools-tha...

Its a contrarian approach to negotiation. My second is Chris Voss's book (Never Split The Difference) is a terrific negotiation book (saw that mentioned in the post earlier). He references Jim Camps book in his.  Another I enjoyed is The Book on Negotiating Real Estate: Expert Strategies for Getting the Best Deals When Buying & Selling Investment Property. Glad to see someone writing something with relevance to our industry.  Thanks to everyone for sharing yours!

Originally posted by @J Scott :
Originally posted by @Will Gaston:

Thanks @Ryan Dossey . Any suggestions @Mark Ferguson in addition to your own?

We wrote this book because there was absolutely nothing worthwhile out there specifically for real estate negotiation.  So, when it comes to real estate negotiating, I don't have any other suggestions.  And, to be honest, while I'm a fan of my Flipping & Estimating books, I think this book is the best one I've been part of writing (the Amazon reviews seem to support that as well :) )...

As for negotiation books outside of real estate, "Influence," by Robert Cialdini is probably my favorite...  

 J and Mark: I'm about 3/4 through your book (just finished section on stalling/bluffing) and it's fantastic. Great job on that. I'm sure it was a ton of work. Will definitely be re-reading it on a regular basis.

Do you have any suggestion on this scenario I'm in now? I've gotten an offer on a property that I'm selling which is probably within my range at which I'd sell, however the buyer says that his initial offer is his max price. Any suggestions on what to do to figure out if there's anything left on the table?

Originally posted by @Will Gaston :
Do you have any suggestion on this scenario I'm in now? I've gotten an offer on a property that I'm selling which is probably within my range at which I'd sell, however the buyer says that his initial offer is his max price. Any suggestions on what to do to figure out if there's anything left on the table?

If it's within your acceptable range, it basically boils down to your risk tolerance.  If you just listed the property and aren't desperate to sell, you can counter-offer and hope that he either negotiates higher or just stays firm (and doesn't walk).  Remember, people don't make offers on properties that they don't want, so it's pretty rare for a buyer to walk away simply because you countered their offer.  But, it does happen, and if you really want this deal, you may not want to take that chance...

If you really want this deal to go through and have a low risk tolerance, I would use this as an opportunity to negotiate other aspects of the deal...

For example, you can indicate that the price is acceptable, but counter with any/all of the following that are important to you:

- Shorter closing period

- Higher earnest money

- Shorter due diligence

- Who pays for closing/title work

- Etc...

I would caution against just accepting his offer under any situation.  See Page 183 (in the paperback) for why that would be bad.  But, there are a lot of other things besides price that can be negotiated...use his "max offer" to focus on those things and see what you can get that will benefit you.

@Will Gaston I totally agree with J. on this. 

I would add that it's also really weird to start out at his max. Did you ask for proof of funds? What do they show? If he's smart... They're at or just below his offer. If he's not... He may have more than he's letting on. 

If this is a retail buyer there is potentially some "emotional" attachment to the property already. 

If he's an investor and is in a market where deals come up often and he has lots of inventory to look through he may be offering his MAO for his formulas to work.

I'd be much more inclined to take an All cash offer within an acceptable range (if on the low side) than I would be to deal with an FHA buyer for 45 days.

Ryan Dossey, Real Estate Agent in IN (#RB15001099)

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