The Clever Psychology Trick You Need to Successfully Negotiate With Type A Personalities

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I like to think of Type A personalities as a piece of rope. Pushing them won’t get you anywhere, and fighting with them will only create a tangled mess. If you want to get rope somewhere, you’ll have to pull it.

Many of the people you’ll come into contact with in investing have Type A personalities. They tend to be very successful in business and negotiating and are usually relentless in their pursuit to win. It will be you against them when making deals. 

What is a Type A personality?

According to psychologists, Type As are impatient and very competitive, and they view the world through a “dog eat dog” mentalityIf you want to win against Type As, you need only to focus on their impatience and competitiveness. You have to turn their biggest strengths into weaknesses and gently pull them where you want them to go.

Framing Conversations

I used to have a hard time dealing with Type As. They were relentless and oftentimes wore me down. I am Type A myself, so I put up a good fight, but you only have so much energy in a day. Instead of constantly wearing myself out, I decided to study Type As so I could learn how they worked.

My current strategy came together when I read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics (psychology of decision making). One of the things that really hit home was the concept of the two sides of our brain (analytical and emotional). Lucky for us, type As tend to focus on the emotional side of the brain, which is, according to Kahneman, “lazy … impulsive, impatient and keen to receiving immediate gratification.”

Winning is immediate gratification; it’s the fuel that keeps Type As going. The beauty of “winning” is that it’s relative and has no set standards. Winning a soccer game might mean three points, while a basketball game might mean forty points. To a Type A, points don’t matter. All they want is the glory of beating the other team. This is their greatest weakness, needing to win. The only way to pull them is to let them win the game. 

single-family-over-multifamily

Related: 6 Key Steps For Fearlessly Negotiating Great Real Estate Deals

Real Life Examples

Example #1

I had a deal recently where I was warned about a buyer who was very aggressive and prided himself on being able to talk anybody down on price. A definite Type A. The seller told me the price and terms range he was willing to accept, and I told him I would get it. He actually laughed at me.

When I called the buyer and told him the value of the property (quite a bit higher than the top of what the seller wanted and what it was worth), he proceeded to tell me the price was too high and cited a whole host of made-up data. Slowly, I agreed and lowered the price. Once the buyer got down to the top price the seller wanted, I congratulated him on his negotiating skills and asked what he could give us as far as terms, seeing as how he had “won such a good deal.” Not only did we get the top price, but he also gave us a better interest rate than we expected. He won (getting the price down), but I created the rules (starting price) of the game.

Winning is relative to the situation at hand. You simply have to create a situation where them winning means you get everything you want. Remember, the emotional brain is impatient and wants immediate gratification. This excludes going home and running comps to know what a property is really worth.

Example #2

A few months ago, I had another deal where a Type A real estate agent was trying to get my sellers down on price during inspections. She was the most relentless person I had ever met. I was impressed and knew I needed to quickly redirect her efforts away from me. So, I told her I understood her concerns about the price (I conceded and she won the argument). A few hours later, I let her know that I had set up appointments for a few more buyers to come look at the property. I changed the game from her against me to her against “other buyers.” In order to win, she now had to accept the house without repairs or take the chance of losing it to someone else. And since she had been working with these buyers for six months (Type As are impatient), I knew she would direct all of her efforts towards what I wanted, which was getting the buyers to accept the house as is. That’s exactly what happened. She won the game, and we got everything we wanted.

Example #3

I had another situation where a listing agent was offering a low buyer agent commission if the buyer’s offer wasn’t what he wanted. Definitely a Type A. I checked online and noticed the house had been on the market for a couple of months. I knew I needed to tap into his impatience. So, I sent him an email with the paperwork to change the commission that said I wouldn’t have time to show this property if he didn’t send the signed papers back to me by the end of the day. The only way to win in this situation was to sign. I got it back in about twenty minutes, along with an appointment time.

After seeing the property, we put in a low offer. I knew he would try to fight us on the price, so I knew I had to play on his impatience and need to win from the beginning. So, I made the offer expire four hours after he received it and told him I had already sent out another offer to be signed as soon as this one expired. The only way to win in this case was to direct all of his efforts towards his clients and convince them to take the deal. I gave them no time to negotiate because he would have tried to wear me down. He got it signed in just under two hours. 

find-deals

Related: Strike Price vs. Goal Price: How to NOT Leave Money on the Table When Negotiating

Example #4

On another transaction, I turned in a repair list (not cheap) for the sellers and another repair list that the buyers were going to do once they moved in. The buyer’s list was probably cheaper, but it was very long. I do this on purpose. Remember, winning is relative and not based on actual numbers. As a Type A, he tried to fight us on the seller repairs by rejecting some of the items and offering us a little money for the others. He was doing what I expected under the circumstance, so I let him win and agreed with his reasoning about not wanting to do some of the repairs. Then, I asked him if the sellers would rather do the other list instead; maybe that would make more sense to them. Since one list was much longer than the other, winning meant doing the smaller, more expensive list (original list). When we got off the phone, he was very happy he was able to get the smaller list, and within an hour, the sellers also agreed. Again, winning is based on the situation. Change the rules, and you change the definition of winning and who the Type A directs their efforts on.

After a lot of practice, Type As are now my favorite people to negotiate with. They have a lot of energy and skill that can be easily directed in your favor if doing so means they “win.” 

What are your strategies for dealing with Type A personalities during negotiations?

Let us know with a comment!

About Author

Brett Lee

Brett Lee is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Portland Oregon where he helps people achieve a better future so they can do the things that truly make them happy. Brett is also a buy-and-hold investor, property manager and investment advisor.

20 Comments

    • Brett Lee

      If they talk with a lot of feeling words they too focus on their emotional brain. In this case I would do the same as above. If they talk with more facts and numbers and take time to properly form their thoughts before speaking then they focus on their analytical brain. The analytical people will not let you change the subject and they will look up everything you say. But, they are terrible at business and social situations so it’s rare you’ll run into many of them. The type a’s are who you need to worry about as they will try to take advantage of you while the analytical is more likely to look for what’s fair.

  1. James Green

    @BRETT LEE thanks. You just pegged me, I’m the analytical guy and I do hate small talk. I’ve gotten a whole lot better & do realize there is a purpose for it. LOL!! Although I’m not terrible at business,……… Any more.

  2. Chuck Van Court

    Interesting and probably often effective for many people. However, for a person like me who is type-a, analytical and street savvy, these manipulative and somewhat deceptive tactics would be all too obvious and backfire in a very big way.

  3. Jeff S.

    Interesting stuff. RE sales is a tough business. When I drove bus I could tell the type A drivers and never tried to pull out in front of them. For them it is a contest they don’t want to lose even with a bus the weighs 10 times what they do.

  4. Excellent article but I have a few questions for you.

    The first is are you talking about the agents themselves being the Type A’s or their clients or both? I’m a bit confused on this point. Secondly, how can you easily spot these Type A’s form the get-go.

    Thanks

    • Brett Lee

      I was talking only about real estate agents. The best way to identify type A’s is to look for a need to prove them selves/win something or show dominance, the tend to be more aggression in their language and use a lot of emotion/feeling words (emotional brain thought process) and they tend to be impatient and make their points with few words. If you look above at Chuck Van Court’s post he gives us an example. He uses aggressive language (manipulate, deceptive tactics and backfire in a big way). The words are also emotional/feeling words (emotional brain thoughts) as they have no specifics attached like number of deals won, money saved on each deal (analytical brain). His writing is also very short, to the point and doesn’t have any fluff or wasted words. Lastly, although the article was aimed at real estate agents he felt the need to tell everyone (even though no one knew he was reading the article) this wouldn’t work on him (need to win/be dominant). This is a very good example of type A behaviors.

  5. Shaun Reilly

    Great article and interesting examples.
    I have studied up on negotiations and the tactics to use with various categories for years, but this is one of the few times I read such interesting examples of using these techniques.
    Have plenty of experience doing this but some of your tricks will definitely go in the tool belt for the future.

  6. james russell

    my brother is a hardcore type-A. he is the CEO of his own internet security agency, and i hear this sort of thing from him all the time. he is just exceptional at making it difficult to manipulate him in this way, because he rarely lets his emotions get in the way of business. a trait i have yet to learn apparently. but it is interesting to see how people, who arent used to type-A people, eventually figure out ways around this difficult type of personality. interesting read for me thank you

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