Real estate can be a wonderful and very satisfying career! Helping clients realize the American dream of home ownership is very satisfying and seeing that smile on your client’s face when his/her dreams are realized is priceless. There aren’t many larger dreams for our clients (maybe a LARGER home!).

The role of a real estate agent is to help clients achieve their goals. Sometimes the goals are more challenging than others and sometimes the goals are VERY, VERY challenging. However, in the end, helping the client get results is what the agent is hired to do. Clients who get the results they want (or more!) end up being raving fans  for their agent and often refer family and/or friends. Clients who do not get the results they want often move on to another agent. The slogan for agents is “Happy clients, Happy life!”

The fundamental skill used by real estate professionals to help clients achieve their goals is negotiation. Real estate agents negotiate for a living. They negotiate with their broker (e.g. commission splits, desk fees, administrative fees, ,etc.), with their clients (e.g. commissions/service fees, performance bonuses, retainer fees, length of agreement, list prices, offer terms, etc.), with other agents (e.g. referral fees, co-broke commissions, bonuses, etc.), with third parties (e.g. lenders, home inspectors, title companies, appraisers, etc.), and with other agents on behalf of clients (e.g. purchase contract, inspections items, closing dates, etc.). Every day is filled with one negotiation after another! And if negotiations fail, no one gets paid and disappointment and frustration flourish.

According to NAR statistics, Buyers and Sellers expect their real estate agent to be a skilled negotiator. So how do real estate agents get trained to become skilled negotiators? Since negotiation skills are not taught in real estate licensing school, agents have to look elsewhere to acquire these skills. Many, if not most real estate agents, never get formal or professional negotiation training. Traditionally, agents learn on the job  and/or talk to other more experienced agents to find out how to deal with certain situations. Sometimes this is effective but most often this is an inefficient and incomplete approach (plus the client is paying for the agent’s training!) to gaining professional-level skills.

Recognition of this critical skill for a successful real estate career is however growing. There is a 4-hour negotiation training module offered online by NAR (no credit towards any designation). A portion of one of the modules in the GRI (Graduate of REALTOR® Institute) training touches on negotiation skills. The Women’s Council of REALTORS® has a relatively new designation called Performance Network Management that includes a module on negotiation strategies and tactics. And now there is the CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) designation for real estate professionals from Negotiation Expertise, a national negotiation training and coaching company serving the real estate industry.

Because negotiation skills are so critical and necessary in real estate transactions, the CNE designation was created to recognize agents who have taken the extra step to receive professional negotiation training. The designation shows advanced training and skill development in this key area, and clients can be much more confident in their agent’s ability to help them achieve their desired goals if the agent has earned the CNE designation.