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Ask for More Than You Expect to Get Article by: Roger Dawson

You can get a much better price from the seller of real estate — and a much better result in any negotiation you engage in — if you remember a simple but powerful rule: Ask sellers for more than you expect to get.

Henry Kissinger, one of the top international negotiators of the 20th century, once said, “Effectiveness at the bargaining table depends upon your ability to overstate your initial demands.” Note that he says “ability.” In other words, how well you can do it.

This is a critical principle for many reasons, the most important of which is that you are creating an environment in which sellers can have a win as well as you. If you make your first offer your best offer, you have nothing left to give sellers to let them feel they won something in the negotiation. That is one of the key objectives in Power Negotiating — make the sellers feel that they’ve won too.

There are also many other good reasons to ask for more than you expect to get in a negotiation:

You might just get it. This is obvious if you’re a positive thinker. The sellers may just take the low offer! The only way you’ll find out is to ask.

It prevents deadlocks. If you are dealing with sellers who are proud of their ability to negotiate, the negotiations will deadlock unless you leave room for them to have a win with you. Let’s say that the sellers are asking $100,000 but they’ve been trying to sell the property for several months and haven’t had an offer anywhere close to that amount. Now they need to sell and might even be willing to accept $85,000. If you make them a take-it-orleave- it offer of $85,000, the sellers will be reluctant to accept it because it would make them feel that they lost. Offer them $70,000 and let them negotiate you up to $85,000, and they will feel much better.

It gives you some negotiating room. You can always go up on an offer to buy, but you can’t go down. Giving yourself some negotiating room makes it easier to get what you really want. This simple rule is probably the most consistent of all the negotiating principles. Track every negotiation you’ve ever been in and chances are, the more you asked for, the more you got.

Source: Adapted from Roger Dawson’s audio programs The Weekend Millionaire’s Real Estate Investing Program and The Secrets of Power Negotiating.


Learn more about Roger Dawson and his bestselling audio program The Secrets of Power Negotiating.

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