The first in a Series of Persuasion Principles offered by the RENI, we set out to examine the Self-Interest Persuasion Principle in detail. The principle of self-interest states that people are more likely to do something if they perceive it to be in their best interest. Most real estate negotiators will agree that this makes perfect sense. A successful real estate negotiation leaves both parties feeling that they have not only accomplished their goal of buying or selling a home, but that their interests and needs have at least been adequately satisfied.

To successfully negotiate using the self-interest principle, you want to demonstrate to the other party why it is in their best interest to accept your proposal. The first opportunity is when you are engaging a new buyer or seller. Carefully listen to their needs and desires, whether that be buying or selling quickly, getting the best price, or something else. Then tailor your presentation to focus on how your skills and experience will help them achieve their needs and desires.

The next opportunity could be negotiating with the other party’s agent or broker. Ask questions to determine what the other party is seeking or holds as a priority. Then make sure that your offer or counter-offer addresses that priority. This does not mean giving them everything they ask for, but rather showing them how their goal is still met through what you offer. For example, if a seller’s priority is the highest price, demonstrate through your research that you are offering the highest price that is reasonable for that particular market situation.

Remember that the self-interest persuasion principles can be applied to your own self-interests as well. If you are competing with lower-priced agents for a client, use the self-interest persuasion principle to show how your services will help the client get the best possible results. For example, if your advertising is more comprehensive – and costly – than another agent’s, demonstrate to the seller that your services will benefit him by bringing in more qualified buyers or closing the sale in a shorter period of time. Always focus your presentation on the client’s benefits, not your costs.

Successful real estate negotiation often makes use of many negotiation techniques. The next post in this series will be exploring the Uniqueness Persuasion Principle.