The better negotiator you are, the more deals you close. Negotiations do not start when you make an offer, negotiations start with the first contact you have with a potential seller.

I am going to lay out a technique that I learned many years ago and I’ve used since, to close over 7,000 units in my 18 plus years of real estate investing. I call it… The Safe Island Technique.

Imagine you are going to have a major operation. When talking to your doctor, the doctor doesn’t tell you, “show up tomorrow morning and we will remove that spleen and you’ll be as good as new in a few days.”

If he did, how would you feel? You would feel very anxious because you have no idea what is about to happen to you. You just know something big is going to happen and you are very nervous.

This is the same way a potential seller of a property feels when meeting you for the first time. The seller knows you are an investor; he or she knows you are interested in buying his or her property; and thinks you are going to try to “steal” it for a low price.

By the way, whatever you are buying or selling, whatever industry you are in, you can simply substitute “real estate seller” or “real estate buyer” for your situation because these foundational techniques work in all industries.

To relieve the fear a patient may have, the doctor takes the patient step by step through all parts of the operating procedure. From what to eat and drink the night before, to who the patient will meet at the hospital upon arriving in the morning, the pre-operation routine, the operation prep routine, the actual operation, the post-op and finally the recovery process.

The Safe Island Technique, Step by Step

Here are the steps to using the same technique for your seller—the purpose of which is to put the seller at ease and therefore help with the negotiation process.

Step 1

Greet the seller at the door with a friendly smile and a warm handshake, realizing the seller has watched you as you have gotten out of the car and walked up to the door. The seller is looking at how you are dressed, the car you drove up in and the way you walk.

Dress appropriately (business casual), drive a car that is not a junker but also not a luxury car, and walk confidently to the door.

Step 2

Head to the way to the kitchen table. By the way, always sit at the kitchen table, never the couch. People entertain on the couch; they do business at the kitchen table. On the way to the kitchen table, give a sincere compliment on something you see in the house or saw in the yard as you drove up. This is the start of the rapport-building process.

Step 3

Take everything out of your brief case you are going to use to close the deal—Folders, forms, calculator, pen. Do not introduce anything new during negotiations and especially after you have closed the deal. The introduction of something new startles the other side, even if he or she doesn’t show it. The seller will immediately pull back and start having “seller’s remorse” or worse, kill the deal.

Step 4

Ask the seller for permission to explain everything that is going to take place during your visit. You are looking to get a “yes” here. You know, the more “yes’s” you get during the process, the more committed the seller is and the more likely you will be able to strike a deal.

Step 5

Proceed to tell the seller what you are going to do during the visit.

“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, the first thing I’m going to do is ask you a few questions. Some I may have already asked you on the phone but I’m just going to confirm some answers. Then I’m going to tell you about myself and my company, our history and what we do. Then I’m going to ask you to show me around the property so I can take some notes. And after we are done with that, we will both have a decision to make. You’re going to decide if I’m the type of person and my company is the type of company you want to do business with, and I’m going to decided if you are the type of people and if this is the type of property that I’d like to do business with…”

There, you just laid out what is going to take place during your visit. You took the seller to a safe island and they now are less anxious about what is about to take place, which is good for you because it creates even more rapport. And, as we know, people do business with people they like. Rapport equals like.

You have also done something very important for your negotiations, you’ve told the sellers they may not be the type of people or this may not be a property that you are interested in doing business with! WOW! They thought you came to steal their house, and now they don’t even know if you’re going to want it!

This is called a take-away technique and you just changed the power structure in the room so that it favors you.

Author's Bio: 

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Dave Lindahl offers a different point of view on real estate investing by showing you, through education and coaching, how to start making money from right where you are, taught directly by him.

Contact RE Mentor at: 800-649-0133 or 781-878-7114. 100 Weymouth Street, Bldg D, Rockland, MA, 02370.