Have you ever tried to do something without taking lessons or reading directions first? Like assembling a new product? Or maybe using a new software program for your PC? Maybe you tried to use your MLS program before you had formal training. After the training you realized it had much more capability than you realized. Often, we wish in hindsight we had taken the class or read the directions first!

Think about your negotiation skills the same way. Negotiation is a real estate agent’s basic skill (actually it’s a life skill that is used daily by virtually everyone). You negotiate all the time – with your client, for your client, with other agents, with third parties, with your broker, and even with yourself! If you haven’t received the right training or read the right “directions,” you could be missing key approaches and knowledge that could significantly benefit you and your clients. Representing yourself to your clients as a professional should include training in at least the basic areas, don’t you think? And if you want to position yourself as a higher level professional, then having evidence of additional training (e.g., a designation or certification) to back up your claims is mandatory.

NAR data (see 2007 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers publication) shows that clients want negotiation skills in their agents. The data also shows that a majority of clients are not satisfied with the results their agents negotiate for them. This is most assuredly due to a lack of training, so learning to negotiate more effectively will achieve greater client satisfaction and give you a competitive advantage!

Think of negotiation training as similar to learning to drive a car. You need to know basic procedures and rules for your own success and the success (and safety) of others. You need to know how to interact with other drivers on the road (and in parking lots!) so you meet your goals with as few problems as possible for everyone. You need to know how to avoid getting into dangerous situations or, once in them, how to get out with minimal or no damage. And importantly, knowing how to plan for, how to anticipate, and how to respond to whatever comes your way is absolutely critical to your success (and survival). Good negotiation training teaches all of this and more.

Agents who take professional negotiation training can demonstrate a competitive advantage to their clients very early in the process. Here are some of the benefits you will gain for yourself and your clients with the right negotiation training:

• Better results for your clients and yourself – Negotiation is a blend of using collaborative approaches to help identify and create value for all parties, and competitive approaches that help ensure you capture the value components you want. Understanding the dynamics of collaborative and competitive negotiating will most certainly help you achieve better results for your clients and yourself.

• Become more persuasive and convincing – Using proven persuasion principles can significantly increase your ability to successfully convince the other side to accept your offer. Scripts incorporating effective persuasion techniques should be included, and this will give you a distinct advantage over those who don’t use these proven approaches.

• “Whole Brain” communicating and negotiating – When people make important decisions like buying or selling a house, they make the decisions using emotions (right brain) and logic (left brain). Knowing how and when to impact each side of the brain will drastically improve your success rate.

• Planning – You probably have a marketing plan, a lead generation plan, an open house plan, and other systemic approaches for your real estate business. Effective negotiation training will show you the benefits of using a planning guide of some sort to better anticipate and prepare for your negotiations. Planning is one of the hallmarks of professionals in every field.

Look for negotiation training that will help make you a skilled and successful driver in real estate. You – and your clients – will be very glad you did!