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I HATE to negotiate!

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2020

I hate conflict.  In fact I hate it so much that I have made it a habit over the years to avoid it every chance I get.   You see, I can’t think fast under pressure, I can’t hit back with a clever comment in the heat of the moment.  So I end up getting psychologically bruised, battered and embarrassed whenever I am in that situation.  I always beat myself up you see, when after the altercation, I come up with a million brilliant, clever, and generally awesome comebacks that would have caused immediate silence and admiration for my wit and sharp word skills…  

I have always equated negotiations to conflict and have been ripped off many times due to my avoidance of the subject. I happily paid more just to get away as fast as I could.

Fancy me then one day starting a business whose success is greatly dependent on negotiations!  I started a property investment business.

In my ignorance I never realized that negotiations is a part of life when you work in property and it was a good thing too that I didn’t know, as that gave me time to gain the skills needed to not only survive but to thrive.

Negotiations is everywhere below is a (non-comprehensive) list of all the times you will be required to negotiate …

  • The price of a property…. I felt embarrassed to offer low, I didn’t want to offend the seller. These were nice people that just wanted to move on.  So I ended up not offering at all for a long time.  I only got over this fear when I realized that if I don’t make an offer someone else will make an even worse offer and the seller might be desperate enough to take that offer.  Rather my offer informed by proper numbers and facts than someone trying to make a quick buck at the expense of a desperate person. 
  • The price of renovation work / building work. I felt too embarrassed to push the price down.  I felt that since I have never even paid the slightest attention to my husband doing some DIY at home that I can’t possibly be in a position to argue a price with a clearly knowledgeable and experienced person.   There are various ways you can play this one.  You can get more quotes – but this is sometimes not possible due to timing and area.  You can make friends with someone that is an expert in that field and get them to review and challenge the numbers (this still works best for me…) the longer game for me is to build up your own reference database as you get quotes and as you actually do work, this can’t be argued by anyone else.
  • Negotiating return %’s and investment conditions with your investors. How do you know what they want?  To avoid the conflict I ended up offering high, too high, with too many conditions.   I lost BIG.  The only way you can negotiate this is to know your deal inside out. To trust in your skills as a property professional and to know your numbers.  The numbers dictate the % not what the investor wants.  I do a worst case scenario, a best case scenario and then I pick the middle. 
  • Negotiating furniture. This was an unexpected one for me.  I always walk into a shop, fill up my trolley and walk out.  Turns out if you go to lessor know shops and you have more than one trolley you can generally ask for a discount.  The first time I did it was simply awful.  I felt like a cheap skate.  A beggar.  But I pushed through and said that my business partner will not allow me to go shopping again if I don’t ask.  They gave me the discount.  You see it all comes down to bulk. If you regularly from the same shop, the same cashier or the same manager, they get to know you and how much you buy in a month and they will want to keep you as a customer.  So go ahead and ask!
  • Negotiating time. There was a time right in the beginning, when I just got started that I didn’t have any money and I therefore through that I can’t progress with my property journey. Until my coach opened my eyes to the world of negotiating time.   Your time and what you can do with it, is worth much more than money sometimes.  It created valuable business partnerships for me, where I do all the work and my partner gives the money.  In the beginning I made the mistake of not valuing my time and skills as much as the money, but the truth was that they needed me just as much as I needed them.   That mindset changed once I completed a couple of projects and realized that many people have money but no time, now I could negotiate these partnerships with more confidence and to the best terms for the deal not the individual.

There are many more instances where you will negotiate in property and in your life.  I am constantly negotiating with my kids over bedtime, with my husband on who gets the TV remote tonight or what time I get home, and my daughter over how much ice cream she is allowed to have in one day. 

Use these personal moments, where you are in your comfort zone and in a safe space, to practice your negotiating skills purposefully.   Before long you will be doing it like a pro!

PS. I will also HIGHLY recommend that you read The book on negotiating real estate it was an eye opener for me!

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