Closing the Gap Between Sellers and Buyers

2 min read

How to get Sellers and Buyers Expectations to Align with the Market.

Written 100% by Suze – No AI.

 “I can’t make them understand.”

I nominate this as THE phrase for 2023.  I heard this one a thousand times.  

When markets transition and prices adjust, sellers and buyers often have trouble making good decisions. Sellers are attached to historic prices; buyers are biased by their hopes of a larger market correction; and agents are left with a gap that can be difficult to close. 

Most agents try to convince and persuade their clients to do something they don’t want to do.  “You should lower your asking price.” “You’ll need to offer more to get a home.” “Now is the best time to buy” and so on.   If the agent is determined, they’ll use some more advanced persuasion techniques like visual props, mirroring, social proof, scarcity theory and so on.    I’m not knocking this approach but mostly, it doesn’t work when the client is stuck in their viewpoint.  

The truth is that to unravel these positions, you need to help your clients change their perspective, and this is an interesting and complex bit of psychology.

People see the world a certain way and, in most cases, they are deeply attached to that perspective. Furthermore, they often believe that others see things the same way they do.  This attachment and unilateral belief, makes it very tricky to help them change their view.   The more you “tell” them how things are, the more they will defend their perspective and position and the more entrenched those harmful beliefs will become.

If you want people to see things differently, you need to create the space for them to shift.  This space is an emotionally and intellectually safe space where they don’t feel pressured, judged or shamed.  (I know you don’t try to make them feel these emotions, but it is often the result of some of our older school sales techniques)

There are 8 steps to create this space.

  1. Understand their perspective.  They don’t see things the way you do.   It is your job to understand how they see things.  It doesn’t mean you agree with them, it just means you understand.  This is professional empathy.  It is a learned skill that comes from a mindset of curiosity.
  2. Acknowledge their perspective. When they feel that you understand how they see it, they can stop defending their position. This creates the safe space for them to consider other possibilities.
  3. Ask well-crafted questions that invite the client to reflect and think.  Ask questions that don’t activate defensiveness.
  4. Listen deeply to their responses. The response is the portal to the next powerful question.   
  5. Ask one question at a time, don’t give them multiple choice answers (yes, most of us do this), and let the silence hang. This allows them to think, reflect and perhaps, see things differently. 
  6. Use direct communication but be sure you words are free of judgement, agenda and coercion. 
  7. Use factual information about market conditions, economic news and real estate pricing.   Never make it your opinion.  
  8. Be patient.   It’s not easy for someone to change how they see things and if they feel pressured or rushed, they are less likely to change.

There is no magic bullet that will always work in real estate negotiation but when you use proven negotiation principles, and practiced communication skills, you will be able to help more people make better decisions.  This will lead to better results for them and for you.