Dear Zuess,

I have been working on a stubborn deal for a couple of weeks now.  It’s a good property for my client but every time we get close to a negotiated deal, he finds some detail he wants to change and the seller is getting fed up.  There are so many variables involved that it feels like we can never agree on all of them.  What are some negotiation tools that I can use to get these two parties to agree?


Hi Tom –  I want to commend you on not giving up.  Sometimes negotiations are tricky and if we stay with them, think creatively and continue to build collaboration,  we then earn the right to call ourselves professionals.

There are several possibilities for this scenario.  Firstly, I would check for the buyer’s motivation.  If he is simply using details to avoid a commitment – there is not a lot you can do until he becomes more attached to the transaction.  If however, he is truly having trouble seeing the best outcome, I would try the Alternative Scenario Approach.

If you have done a good job of gathering information, understanding both side’s needs and their BATNA, you likely can see two or more possible solutions that would work for both parties.  People inherently like choice so if you can lay out two or three alternative packages rather than a single final offer, you are much more likely to have a successful outcome to this negotiation.