3 Ways to Improve Your Negotiation Skills in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

As a commercial real estate agent or broker you will be challenged and tested when it comes to putting together each and every deal.  Every transaction will be a debate requiring skills and positioning.  You can convert more listings and deals by practicing your negotiation skills with your team at every sales meeting.

Before I go too far here, I should say that when negotiating we should be very aware of the importance of the client in the equation.  Understand what they are looking for and how you can help them.  Don’t push a property deal to the detriment of your client; they will quite likely shut down the transaction and you will have nothing to close on.  Some new agents think that the deal is the ultimate target.  Whilst that deal may be a factor, you cannot negotiate without a client and a property.  Respect both of those things in the transaction or negotiation and the outcome will be easier to achieve.

So how can you improve the outcome of your negotiations?  Understand your market segment and your property specialty.  What are the challenges that you have today with clients and transactions?  Prepare for your challenges by practicing responses and interactions.

Commercial real estate is quite different to that of residential property in that the people that we serve and negotiate with are likely to be quite experienced in business and commerce.  They are familiar with diplomacy, arbitration, and debate.  They are likely to have determined their limits of negotiation before they meet with you.  Any variance that you may offer to them as part of a property transaction must be supported by relevance and logic.

Common Negotiation Problems

Here are some examples of common daily negotiations:


  1. The commission that is to be agreed as part of a listing.
  2. Obtaining marketing funds with a new listing.
  3. Converting a listing to exclusivity
  4. Recommending a method of sale or lease that best suits the market and the property
  5. Reaching agreement between the parties when it comes to closing on a deal.
  6. Taking a property to the market in the best possible way.
  7. Reaching agreement on an exclusive listing.
  8. Taking inspections with qualified parties.


If you struggle with any of these things, then you will struggle with the commercial real estate business generally.  That being said you can also improve your skills with these things quite easily through deliberate effort.

Ways to Improve Negotiation Outcomes

Here are some strategies to help you improve your negotiation skills:


  1. Spend the first 30 minutes of each day, quietly practicing your dialogue. You can do that at home before you leave for the office.
  2. Understand your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to negotiation. You can lift your strengths through practice and resolve your weaknesses in the same way.
  3. As part of the weekly team meeting, compare notes with your peers regards recent listings and meetings. Ask about client responses and influences in recent listing activity.  Ultimately there will always be reasons for a client response or agreement.


Good negotiators in commercial real estate are usually the people who have practiced their skills over time and in ways that relate to the property market challenges.  Take the time to understand your clients and their property before you negotiate.  Look at the alternatives that could influence their choices.  Go to every meeting with 3 alternatives to negotiate.  Most clients will agree to something if they have a few choices.

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