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Distinctive Negotiation Strategies that Really Work in Commercial Real Estate

The process of negotiation in commercial real estate brokerage is both traditional and predictable. You can learn from other listings, clients, and brokers when it comes to the negotiation process. It should be said that you can never really know everything when it comes to a property transaction and what the client may be thinking. You can however control 70% of the communication process yourself through getting all the facts ready for the discussion and the desired outcome.

Understand the people, the property, the market locally, and the motivations of all involved. Delve into the motivations of each and every person involved in the transaction before you get down to the final elements of dialogue and agreement.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

Setting Negotiation Leverage

Here are some rules to help you work with most property transactions and negotiation requirements:


  • Investigate the client’s situation before you start so that you can look at the alternatives that they may have currently or be working towards. When you can understand their position, you can research the market facts and give them some alternatives to work through. It is easier to close on a negotiation when you can provide some logical alternatives and market evidence.
  • The particular property can be inspected again as part of encouraging discussion and communication. If things seemed to have stalled, meet the parties at the property to walk through the issues that they are seeing or requiring.
  • Some other competing local properties may be frustrating your particular property transaction or the ultimate ability to encourage an offer. This can be a common problem when there are plenty of listings on the market at one time. Client conditioning and market evidence will help you move through the problems of competing listings. Price adjustments will also help and encourage an offer or transaction.
  • Look at the points of difference that apply to the listing and the client situation. You can always make comparisons to show where advantages are available between property types and locations. Local market evidence will always give you leverage in any property transaction.
  • Use plenty of visual material to engage the other parties to the transaction. That visual material can be a combination of statistics, charts, photographs, and checklists.
  • Put yourself in the client’s situation so that you can relate to their concerns and challenges. Don’t rush the process of communication if there are significant factors of concern and weaknesses to be addressed. Many clients or prospects will back out of a deal at the very last minute if they are not completely happy with everything that they are seeking within the property listing and the location. Don’t lose a deal simply because you have not spend enough time on the parties, the property, and the market evidence.
  • Make sure that you have your correct documentation available for use in closing the deal or the transaction. Only start a negotiation when all of the necessary property facts and title details have been checked and searched. When in any doubt about the facts available, stop the deal and look at the things that are missing or omitted. Many agents are sued for negligence and misrepresentation simply because they have overlooked the necessity to obtain and provide accurate information.
  • Always clarify things when there are any concerns or doubts existing. Restate the concerns of the other person to show that you fully understand their position. You can then work through the available solutions in any sale or leasing transaction.


Given all these factors, you should also watch the physical body language coming from the other person in the discussion. The movement of the eyes, the positioning the body, and the gestures will give you some advantage in understanding what they’re saying and thinking.

Top Agent Practice

The top agents of the market today are generally very experienced when it comes to putting a transaction together and negotiating through issues and problems. I go back to the point that you can never really know enough about property negotiation; practice is required at a personal level in an ongoing way.

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