Negotiating for Sellers

By Susan Lassiter-Lyons | Real Estate

Ever play the position of keeper in soccer? The keeper, or ‘goalie’, is much like a seller in real estate – it’s a fascinating concept, bear with me.

Those viewing the US Women’s National Team from the stands or on TV tend to consider Hope Solo, their rock star keeper, the last line of defense.

And, those wandering the halls at an open house or scanning MLS for real estate deals pretty much feel the same way about a seller.

Both Hope and a seller are positioned to protect the front door from a bad deal.

However, World Cup Champions like Hope, and multi-million-dollar real estate investors like myself, think about the position from a different perspective.

At this level of play, a goalie and a seller considers herself the first line of offense.

You’ve heard the line the best offense is a good defense…

Case in point

June 30, 2015, the USWNT plays first ranked Germany in the World Cup Semi Finals.

This goes down:

There is a penalty kick opportunity for Germany that would give them the win.

Germany’s star,Célia Šaši?, sets up to take the kick only to find Solo…Busy. She’s not on her line, fiddling with her gear, and apparently not too concerned about Šašic.

After the game, Hope let out a bit of her strategy to reporters…

“Hope Solo admitted she stalled to mess with Célia Šaši?’s head before she shanked a critical penalty kick. Surely, her missed kick will not be received well by German media or fans. As for Solo, she should be careful about admitting to something like stalling. But it didn’t matter anyway because the only game left for the Americans is the World Cup.” DeMario Phipps-Smith wrote in the Chicago Sun Times after the international upset.

Hope Solo negotiated her way out of a German goal.

She set the tone and controlled the play.

So, my proposal to you as a seller is to…

Negotiate Like Gold Medalist, World Cup Champion, and International Bad Ass – Hope Solo

Here is Hope with the coveted Golden Glove – Awarded every two years to the best goalie in the world. She’s won it twice and is the only American to ever hold it.

I should make a Golden Seller’s Glove…

This is part three to our Negotiating to Yes series.

If you missed anything before this installment, check out Negotiating to Yes and Negotiating for Buyers. My goal for you is to use this blog series, study it, and implement the strategies into your real estate investment business.


I’ve hosted several classes on Getting the Deals and my students always tell me that these tips to negotiating are key to their business.

In Getting the Deals we cover over 65 ways to get real estate leads. Now, that is awesome, but what do you do with those leads after you get them?

Well, if you want to make any money in this business, you are going to have to turn those leads into deals and negotiate those deals to yes.

When I say negotiate to yes, I mean structure the deal through principled negotiation techniques so when you sit down with the decision makers involved in a sale YOU guide those involved to say yes to YOUR deal.

You guide them to say yes to your terms.

Like a powerhouse keeper…

Listen, Hope is not perfect. She’s made some mistakes. But, she has never let her personal life and feelings interfere with how she plays the game.

She always keeps personal feelings and problems out of her professional decisions.

That’s hard work, but it’s what separates the amateurs from the professionals.

Similarly, it’s harder for sellers to keep their emotions out of the deal than it is for buyers.

Sometimes sellers forget the strategies of principled negotiation because sellers are protecting an entire property from an onslaught of buyers trying to make a buck off of them.

(Remember – you don’t make money in real estate investing when you sell, you make it when you buy)

All eyes are on the seller just like all eyes are on the keeper.

The trick in selling is to NEVER take it personally by…

Keeping your plays close to the hip and being armed with ways to negotiate the dirty tactics buyers will throw at you.

10 Buyer Negotiation Shots and How to Turn the Play Around

Left at the Altar

This is when a buyer backs out of a deal just before you’re ready to complete the agreement. He is hoping the tactic will bring you closer to his position.

This often yields last minute concessions for someone who is not an Olympic Champion.

What Would Hope Solo Do? (WWHSD)

Don’t fall for the bait.

Let the deal drop and go to a quiet period. Think of it as half time. Try resurrecting the deal after no less than 30 days or when the seller calls you.

At that point, it will be your turn to get concessions.

You can set the play like a boss.

Making Balloon Futures

To try to rattle your cage, the buyer will forecast proforma cash flow or value during negotiations.


Base your decision or price only on actuals. Don’t fall for the fake.

Calling a Higher Authority

The buyer says he is unable to make a final decision or won’t tell you who the final decision maker is.


Stop negotiating until you are discussing directly with the final decision maker. You are wasting your time and energy defending against someone without the ball.

Crunch Time

The buyer attempts to apply a lot of pressure during negotiations and says something like, “I need your best price now.”

Give a good flinch move. A little nonverbal communication like Hope here. You can see she is shocked and amazed by what is happening.

(Kind of like you would be if someone just suggested you didn’t spend a ton of time researching comps and actuals to come up with your best asking price)

Then, simply repeat your asking price with firm justification.

Bring in the Dancer

The buyer talks for a long time without saying anything of relevance.

This is usually intended as a distraction technique.

Also a snow-job attempt to bring unnecessary data to support his position.


Go straight for the ball. Ask “What, specifically, does this have to do with what we are talking about?”

Repeat several times if necessary.

Re-Trading the Deal

The buyer attempts to reopen points from the negotiation after agreement has been reached. This can also be thought of as the “conveniently forgotten issue.”


Blow the whistle on them.

“No. You are breaking with our agreement here.”

Huntley and Brinkley

The buyer brings in a side kick and attempts to team up against you.


You have options here.

If you’ve structured your team like a champion, call someone back to join you in defending your deal. Or, if you prefer to go one-to-one, ask to negotiate with just one decision maker and send the other out for take-out.

The Walkout

The buyer walks out of a negotiation to show disinterest.


Let him go. (Sing it with me)

If he doesn’t come back during the time it takes you to adjust your keeper gloves, leave. Do not call him for a month.

Turning Soviet

Some buyer and listing agents can just be mean.

They don’t care if you get anything out of the deal and may refuse to entertain your asking price or proposal as a tactic. This is the opposite of the win-win principles we are after.


Ask for someone else to negotiate with.

You might get a nonverbal look like what you gave the buyer during his crunch time pitch, but you’re letting him know that if he wants to play this game he’s going to have to step on the field or get a sub to play for him.

Roaring Brains

These buyers talk – a lot.

Sadly, they have no idea what they’re talking about. They most certainly belong in the junior league, but here they are, facing off against a true champ, with an offer for you to consider.


Do the research so you have the facts to question their experience and data. Think of this exercise as a nice summer camp you’re putting on for the JV team.

Teach them how to play the game and then seal the deal.

The Woman Card

Real estate investing is often called a man’s world.

(Interestingly, so is soccer. Did you know the Men’s US National Team makes four times the amount of what the women make? Anyway, the champs are negotiating this issue in the courts now – we’ll see how that plays out)

Back to real estate investing…

It’s tough, unapologetic, and facts based.

That is not to say there are not some pretty amazing women bringing it in this industry (ah- hem).

But, there is nothing a buyer (both men and women) likes better than to face off against a ‘lady’ seller and attempt to exploit all of the stereotypes women fall into when it comes to negotiation.


Ladies and gentlemen, look at this face…
Does this first line of offense AND last line of defense look like she would EVER do any of the following:

Apologize for her price, property, appearance, negotiation…

Use the words “I feel” to rationalize her positions.

Be afraid to say NO.

Then you shouldn’t either.

Sell IT

Like a champ. And believe in your deal, your purpose, and your business. Your confidence will make millions. Trust me.

You have nothing to fear. You are qualified and trained to play in the big leagues. But, if you want some support, I am here. Check out Getting the Deals to add another level of play to your business. For example,

I can supply you with over 65 ways to find deals to apply your new negotiating skills. Yes, 65.

Next week we’ll wrap up this Negotiation to Yes series by zeroing in on the one type of player we all just can’t stand. The player that jams up deals and attempts to sabotage both your business and theirs.

I am talking about…

The Liar.


Don’t worry, I know how to defeat them too.

Until then…

Have fun. Create value.

Leave a Comment:

(1) comment

Through principled negotiation price might not be the most important interest to solve for like in the case of a foreclosure. Have you best alternative to a negotiated agreement ready so that you can walk.

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