Negotiation is what you get paid to do, so being excellent at this is crucial to your success.  You don’t get to choose your negotiation counterpart, so it is our responsibility to have the skills to facilitate the best possible outcome, even when the other agent makes it seem impossible.

Last week I shared part one, The Accidental Hard Bargainer.  This week we will dig deep into the Reluctant Hard Bargainer and next week we unveil the secrets of The Intentional Hard Bargainer, also known as the Skilled Competitive Negotiator.

The Reluctant Hard Bargainer is typically being heavily influenced by some outside power.  This could be his client or an advisor for his client.  It could be a deeply held unconscious bias or belief that the negotiator holds.  I have even seen situations where an incompetent coach or mentor has influenced an agent to take stands that are counter productive to a negotiation.


The reluctant hard bargainer is irrational, stubborn, closed minded and it often seems impossible to get a deal done but let’s take a look at some strategies that you can use to help move these types of negotiators towards a more collaborative process and get a successful outcome for your client.

“Joe, I can see that you are deeply committed to representing your client and that’s excellent.  I meet so many agents that are weak and it’s great to see a real professional.  Why don’t you tell me about what is keeping you from negotiating, and maybe we can move on from there.”

In most cases, he will be willing to open up about some of his motivations behind his demands with this approach.

“Joe, I really hear you about the closing date and if we can meet that we will –  but if my side can’t close on that day is it a deal breaker?”

And then listen to his answer, deeply.

“Joe, we’ve been arguing over these points for a while now.  Let’s step back, take some time to reflect and revisit this tomorrow.  How about I call you in the morning around 10am – does that work?”

When you reconnect on the phone the next day, engage in a conversation about something other than the negotiation.  I find that sharing something personal that shows a little bit of vulnerability often goes a long way to making a valuable human connection that can soften their approach to the negotiation.