Power in negotiation refers to your ability to influence or persuade the other side to accept your proposal or offer.

When power is overused, it can create a negative tone to the negotiations.

“Be careful of overusing power.  Just use enough to meet your goals but not more.  The use of power, too often causes retaliation, harms relationships and costs credibility.”

Stuart Diamond

Professor, Wharton Business School


At the same time, not knowing what your power is and what power the other side of the table holds, will significantly disadvantage you in the negotiation process.

There are many sources of power in a real estate negotiation.  Here are a few that show up regularly:

Skillful negotiators are keenly aware of their power and the other side’s power and they work diligently throughout the process to increase theirs.

Let’s take a look at each source of power and how we could increase it for our benefit.

Walk Away Power:  This is also known as BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement).  This term was coined by The Harvard Negotiation Project and it describes your next best option if this negotiation fails.  The stronger your BATNA, the easier it is to walk away.  Knowing your BATNA not only helps you negotiate from a stronger position, it also helps keeps you from making poor decisions. Ideally, you want the strongest BATNA possible when going into a negotiation.  An obvious example in real estate would be more than one offer on a listing but other examples might include:  a price guarantee from a relocation company or a buyer who is also interested in another property.  As a realtor, if we have a large number of clients that want us to represent them, it makes it easier to negotiate a fair service fee as a result of BATNA.

Knowledge and Expertise Power:  This refers to your skills in building trust and rapport, gathering information about the other parties’ situation and managing the negotiation.  Trained negotiators have a distinct power advantage.

Market Power:  Skilled negotiators have strong market knowledge and are able to speak professionally about buyers’ vs. sellers’ markets, market absorption rates, micro and macro economics.  This information is out of our control.  Some aggressive competitive negotiators will falsify market information. This makes it critical for skilled negotiators to have a solid knowledge base and the confidence to speak up and disarm these harmful tactics to protect their clients.

Planning Power:  Planning and preparation will help the skilled negotiator anticipate situations, prepare the necessary information and arrive at the negotiations with all the necessary knowledge and confidence to create a collaborative win/win outcome.

Sound Logic:  You will be more persuasive and more successful in your negotiations when you are able to use sound logic and deliver it in a way that makes sense to the parties.  The use of graphs and other visuals is often extremely powerful.


In summary, know where the power lies, do what you can to improve your negotiating power and don’t overuse or abuse the power you have.


Become a Certified Negotiation Expert ® (CNE®).  Click here for dates and locations.

Ajax or Oakville/Milton (scroll down the page to find CNE).