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Negotiate Better – 5 Critical Skills to Master

Negotiate Better – 5 Critical Skills to MasterAs a property management business leader, you are constantly negotiating, whether it’s with new hires and existing employees, vendors and suppliers, or prospects and long-term clients. Unfortunately for some, negotiating doesn’t come naturally and for others it’s particularly difficult to master. The good news is, it’s something you can learn and develop – provided you focus on the following five key things.


It may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many people enter a negotiation without a clear picture of what their desired outcome actually is. To negotiate well, you must be able to clarify your goals, which you can do by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the best possible outcome?
  • What’s the least acceptable offer?
  • What’s your best alternative?

And the more important the negotiation, the more clarity you’ll need. Even if you’re not entirely certain of the answers to these questions, you should at least have an idea of what they might be before coming to the table.


Good negotiators know how to position their argument so that it’s most effective. This is called having a core negotiation strategy (CNS). Creating this involves finding the best doorway through which you should enter the negotiation process. Whenever possible, your CNS should impact or appeal to the other party, as this will make it much more persuasive.

For instance, let’s say you are going to negotiate with the city where your property management company is located about the possibility of an easement that would eat up some of your parking area. Rather than approach the table with the argument that it will impede business for you, point out that if people have to start parking on the street, it could affect traffic flow – something that matters to the city.


A negotiation signature is the habitual way you approach negotiations. To hone this, start with your default signature so you’ll know what you’re working with. Are you a soft negotiator that gives in easily or a hardnosed, no-nonsense one that won’t give an inch?

Get to know your personality, style and preferences. Figure out the behaviors you’ve defaulted to in the past and determine what areas could use some attention and improvement.


Another important way to master the art of negotiation is to build your counterpart’s motivation. That is – figure out why they want to make a deal. You can do this by asking probing questions. For instance, let’s say you’re sitting down to discuss price with someone trying to sell IT services to your property management company. You might ask questions about why they want to work with you and what makes them better than the competition.

Asking questions like this helps you get a better picture of what you’re both trying to accomplish and start establishing those negotiating roots. When you have an idea of what motivates your counterpart, you’ll be better able to position your argument so that it appeals to them.


Research indicates that about 80% of the time, one party in a negotiation is eager and the other is reluctant. Your goal should always be to play the role of the reluctant party. This gives you much more leverage, improving your chances of getting what you want.

To accomplish this, try using your body language to project your lack of tension. Lean back and keep your shoulders rounded. Speak calmly and softly. Don’t show too much excitement. Instead, ask a lot of questions and pose challenges. Everything you do should be subdued and qualified. By taking on the role of the reluctant party, you’ll naturally shift the eager role to your counterpart and gain more leverage.

Are you a master negotiator? What tips or strategies do you use to get your way? Please share in the comments section below.

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