Difficult Negotiators – Part three in a Three Part series

Written by Suze, February 09th, 2017

In our final article in this three part blog about difficult negotiators, we will examine the Intentional Hard Bargainer –or as I’ve called them in our MCNE courses – the Well Trained Competitive Negotiator.

This builds on the last two posts,  The Accidental Hard Bargainer and The Reluctant Hard Bargainer.

The Intentional Hard Bargainer is the negotiation counterpart who truly believes that being manipulative, coercive, and aggressive will lead to the best outcome.  They may try to manipulate you by using anger, hurt feeling and even psychological instability to get what they want.   Manipulative negotiators are often quite effective at convincing their opponents to agree to their demands.  Research shows that many negotiators will actually back down in the face of highly competitive tactics so it is imperative that we learn how to deal with this type of negotiator.


As real estate professionals, we get paid to negotiate on behalf of our clients so it is our fiduciary duty to be skilled at negotiations; especially when a difficult opponent is on the other side.

We don’t have to like them.  Dealing with difficult negotiators doesn’t mean we like them or even agree with them but it does mean acknowledging that you understand their point of view.  If you don’t want to shake hands with the devil, you shouldn’t take on the job of negotiating on behalf of other people.

Whether your aggressive negotiation counterpart is dangerously angry or mildly annoying, the same skills are required to get the best outcome for your side.

  • Don’t React –manage your own emotions. The competitive negotiator is often deliberately trying to get you to react and throw off our ability to negotiate strategically.  Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage our own emotions in the moment and this is an essential skill for the negotiation expert.  Watch out for surprises.
  • Listen actively.  This is more than just hearing the person and nodding your acknowledgment. You need to hear what is said, what is not said and most importantly, to make your opponent feel heard.  This means proactively interrupting them to paraphrase what they are saying, asking powerful questions to understand confusing statements and acknowledging not only their viewpoint but their often highly charged emotions.
  • Acknowledgment of their views, their challenges, their needs and their emotions is essential in bringing your opponent into a collaborative problem solving state of mind.
  • Reframe the negotiation and change the game. They want you to see it their way but if you can offer a metaphor, on alternative choice response to change their perspective, you’ll be one step closer to a collaborative solution.
  • Help your opponent save face. Often the intentional hard bargainer has an enlarged ego that can get in the way of problem solving.  Don’t use language that enflames or causes defensiveness.
  • Find solutions that meet their needs and be diligent in communicating these solutions in ways that your counterpart can hear and understand.

Nothing will work every time and there are some situations that you just can’t solve but preparing for tough negotiations in advance and using these valuable tools, you should be able to bring most skilled negotiators around enough to get the deal done.

2 Responses to “Difficult Negotiators – Part three in a Three Part series”

  1. Eddie G says:

    Interesting perspective….

  2. Kim Donaldon says:

    These 3 Blogs have been great, Suze. I have saved them and have finally read them as I have a client who is the toughest one yet. Although your Blogs have been written to address counterpart agents, they can be used to parallel client positions, too. My client is crazy! haha… real old school and values every screw, bolt, nail…you name it! He is not rationale, increases his pricing with no logic that I can understand, and just does everything his way. I love him dearly as we have become friends in the past year but he is impossible. I am not really sure where he falls in your type of negotiator but I am going to use some of these approaches that you outline and see wha success I will have. After 4 years on the market (not all with me!), I have an offer on a property that he has and he is not playing ball.

    I have my work cut out for me!

    Thanks for your help with blogging!

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