Five Essential Skills of Dealmaking Today.

3 min read


Making Deals in a balanced market requires a different set of skills than you needed in the COVID-induced sellers’ frenzy. The market has changed and negotiating transactions must change if you want to stay viable. Deals are happening and if you feel you could be getting more of your share, consider focussing on these five skills.

Gather and contextualize information. People who need or want to buy or sell real estate in this transitioning market often have trouble making decisions. They are concerned that they will buy too high, sell too low or make some other significant mistake that could negatively affect them. The information they need to help with decision-making goes beyond comparable sales and market trends. While no one can predict accurately where the market is going, a foundational knowledge of macro and microeconomics, and world news can help contextualize their possibilities. Also, understanding the psychology of the marketplace, which includes buyers, sellers, lenders, and other real estate agents, can add some valuable perspectives for your clients.

Perspective taking and perspective changing. Being able to see a situation from another person’s point of view is essential to understand their position. Many sellers are stuck on a price that is no longer obtainable, and many buyers believe they have more power than they do. These are both predictable perspectives, but both can harm your clients. By gaining the skill to see things how they see them, you will gain an opportunity to help them shift their perspective and make better decisions. Agents may also benefit from a heightened ability to shift their own perspectives.

Building and Maintaining Trust. In this market, people buying and selling real estate often operate in an environment of fear, duress, and uncertainty. Their BS radar will be on high alert. If you want to be a trusted advisor they respect and listen to, you’ll want to be very deliberate about building both head and heart trust. For the heart, being honest is critical but also being authentic, empathetic, and discreet. For the head trust, you’ll need to deliver valuable information (see step 1), respond intelligently to inquiries from them, and be honest about what you know and, equally as important, what you don’t. Oh, and having the courage to deliver valuable information even when it’s hard goes a long way to building the long-term trust essential to dealmaking today.

Communication skills. Yes, they are always crucial for advisors like yourself, but in this environment, their importance is ramped up significantly. High-level communication skills are embedded in a mindset of curiosity and humbleness. Excellent communication skills will go a long way towards getting deals done that are in your client’s best interest. These skills include being present, active listening, awareness of your biases and assumptions, and the ability to ask the right questions.

Principled Persuasion skills. It’s human nature to procrastinate on making big difficult decisions, and right now, real estate is full of these sorts of decisions. Principled persuasion skills are ways that we can help our clients work through their resistance and concerns and move forward with decisions that are in their best interest. Much has been written about persuasion techniques designed to coerce someone into a decision. These tricks will fail miserably in this market as they erode trust quickly. Principled persuasion is transparent and authentic. The six elements of persuasion that are emerging with business thinkers currently are: Power of generosity, personalization, authentic and uncommon similarities, legitimate authority, social proof, and contextualized information.It’s going to take longer to put deals together in this market. You’ll also be spending time learning new skills, but it will all pay off. In the short term, you’ll help your clients make good decisions and you’ll earn some commissions. In the long term, you’ll have a database of skills that will serve you into the future and you’ll have an enhanced client base that see’s you as the professional that you are.

“Collaborative dealmaking can improve your odds of finding common ground and closing the deal compared with simply exchanging a series of proposals.”

-Harvard Negotiation Project-