Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation

UK Property Investment news and comments from Mark Harrison of YourPropertyExpert.com

Archive for the ‘Negotiation’ Category

Property Negotiation – Slides now available on-line

Posted by markharrison on November 21, 2007

Following the feedback about putting my Negotiation for small businesses slides online, I’ve updated my “Property Negotiation” slides.

These are from the 45 minute version of the talk I’ve given for organisations like the National Federation of Residential Landlords, and others.

If you run a networking event, and would like me to come and give this presentation (or any of my other presentations, please get in touch.)

You should be able to read the slides online here, or download them to your own PC.

And finally, thanks to Chris Brogan for his brilliant idea of using Flickr to find photos licenced under Creative Commons for use in this slideshow. Thanks also to the photographers (credited in the slides) for sharing their photos in this way.

Posted in Investor Psychology, Negotiation, Negotiation Presentation, Property Negotiation, Training course | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

My slides for “Negotiation for Small Businesses” are now available for download

Posted by markharrison on November 15, 2007

Last week, I gave a speech for the Surrey Business Club about negotiation. Now, while I’ve given a lot of talks about Property Negotiation, I’d never given one about general business negotiation. So I offered them a choice. Did they want the “Property Negotiation” talk that I’d written a year ago, and since given to over 3,500 people… or did they want the “Small Business Negotiation” talk I’d written at 5pm, and read through to myself. They chose the latter.

Either they are incredibly gracious, or there is some good material there, but they asked for the slides.

Following some discussion with Nik Butler, I discovered SlideShare.net

The Powerpoints I used as a memory jogger can now be found here. (You can either view them in a web browser, or download them.) I ought to stress that I was speaking WITHOUT a screen, so the slides were written for ME, not for looking at by the audience, but the request was made, so here you are.

Pictures taken by Club Photographer, Peter Searight of The Remarkable Studio

Posted in Negotiation, Negotiation Presentation | 2 Comments »

New dates for Property Negotiation 1-day training course

Posted by markharrison on August 2, 2007

Two new dates for the course have been announced:

  • 6th October 2007
  • 24th November 2007

Both courses are at Gatwick. Click here to book.

Here’s what some past attendees have said about the course:


Picture of Abz
One of the most useful one day seminars I have ever been to. Mark's sincere, simple, humorous and down to earth approach really helped me in thinking about every negotiation opportunity that we come across every day. It's actually embarassing for me to admit how much I have saved by applying these simple techniques where ever I can including in real estate negotiation... Probably thousands
- Abhishek Mani, Property Investor, London

Picture of Parmdeep 'Deep' Vadesha
I have been involved with property for about four years full time, and have known Mark Harrison for two years. I would say the Negotiation tactics like that heard today are better than the books I have read or American course tapes I have listened to simply because he's experienced the pitfalls and it's all based on real experience, is specific to the UK Property market, which is the most important thing which I haven't seen elsewhere, a great course and I definitely recommend it.

- Parmdeep Vadesha, Property Investor & Author, Vadesha Properties, Leicester - http://www.property-course.com

Posted in Negotiation, Property Negotiation, Property training, Training course | 1 Comment »

Mini Book Review – Building Agreement (Fisher and Shapiro)

Posted by markharrison on July 9, 2007

About 15 years ago, partway through by MBA course (which I never finished!) I read a really interesting book that changed the way I thought about negotiation. The book was Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton. One day, I’ll finally get around to reviewing that book.

However, on Friday I got my hair cut (think 50th anniversary of John meeting Paul tribute style!), which involves going into Crawley. Don’t get me wrong, I like Crawley, but the parking is awful, so what I tend to do is get dropped off, and then call for Mary (wife) or Dona (PA) to pick me up when I have the new look.

The great thing about this arrangement is that it allows me about 15 minutes to wander round Waterstones.  Now, I’m a big Amazon fan – I was importing books from them in the US several years before they set up in the UK, but I still like the feel of a bookshop, and in particular I like the way I can meet interesting books that I wouldn’t have obviously found on the web. There’s a rabid economic efficiency part of me that wants to then go and buy them online, but I tend to rationalise that I’m paying a voluntary tax to help support a local community service.

Anyway, to cut things short, I stumbled across “Building Agreement”, by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro. Remembering “Getting to Yes”, pretty much clinched the sale for me, and last night I read the book. (It’s about 230 pages, and I speed-read quite well.)

Roger Fisher teaches negotiation at Harvard Law School – which pretty much establishes his academic credentials – helped design the process used by President Carter in the Camp David negotiations, helped the white Cabinet and the ANC in South Africa prior to the talks that led to the end of apartheid, and helped (then) President Mahuad of Ecuador in the successful negotiation of their treaty with Peru that closed of a land dispute that had been running on and off since 1532! One of the chapters of the book “On Using These Ideas in the Real World” is written by President Mahuad.

The book’s subtitle is “Using emotions as you negotiate”. This is something I cover, up to a point, in my own book / course, but Building Agreement takes it much further. The book uses the 7-point “Elements of Negotiation” framework from the Harvard Negotiation Project and goes beyond it, to develop, in depth, many of the problems that strong emotions can cause during a negotiation. The book then goes on to give a range of techniques for dealing with these problems.

It is hard to find anything to criticise with the book from where I’m standing. About the only thing to flag up is that it’s not particularly focussed around Property Negotiation, but that would be missing the point. If you are serious about improving your negotiation skills, this is a must-read for the bookshelf.

Posted in Book Review, Negotiation, Negotiation Book, Property Negotiation | Leave a Comment »

Property Negotiation, The Book – almost there

Posted by markharrison on April 18, 2007

The difference between a book and an ebook is that a book has to be PERFECT. With an ebook, you get the opportunity to make tweaks as you go along.

I finally sent “Draft 3” off to the publishers – hopefully I’ll be happy with the results, and “Property Negotiation” will be on Amazon in the next few weeks…

… there again, I’d thought that “Draft 2” (about 6 weeks ago) was going to be the final cut, but when the proofs came back, I found a glaring mistake 😦

On the bright side, Dona (my editor) made about 200 changes prior to “Draft 1” going off, and “Draft 1” had a further 40 changes, so only finding one problem with “Draft 2” makes me hopeful.
As an aside, the changes WILL be rolled into the ebook – and assuming that Draft 3 hits the spot, I’ll be sending out updated ebooks to all previous customers at that point. Thanks to all of you who’ve already bought (and particularly to those who’ve come back to me with great stories about how much money the techniques have made them!)

Posted in Negotiation, Negotiation Book, Property Negotiation, Property Negotiation Book | Leave a Comment »

When should you stop pushing hard?

Posted by markharrison on January 18, 2007

At a talk I gave last week, I was asked a pertinent question – “when should you stop pushing hard?”

The question of how hard to push in a negotiation is one of balancing risks. On the one hand, you have the risk of pushing so hard you lose the deal completely, on the  other, you have the risk that you will leave rather too much on the table.

The answer has to do with whether you’re in the ZOPA or not…

A ZOPA is a “Zone of Possible Agreement” – though it’s worth noting that some authors use it to stand for  “Zone of Potential Agreement.” Whichever acronym you use, it means the same thing… the RANGE of values in which both parties would be happy to do a deal.

Let’s consider that Alice wants to buy a house, and Bob wants to sell his (to buy a bigger one.)

Bob has done his sums. In order to get enough money out to afford the house he’s now looking at, he needs to sell for a minimum of £165,000.

Alice has done her sums. In order for the property to meet her investment targets, she can pay at most £172,000.

The ZOPA is therefore the range £165,000 – £172,000. Potentially, Alice and Bob could agree on any number within that range.

Obviously, though, Bob would like more than £165,000, and Alice wants to pay less than £172,000. Hence there is a range of £7,000 in which the negotiation skills of the two parties will come into play (along with whether Bob has other interested buyers, and how many other deals Alice is looking at.)

If the parties had made a series of offers, leaving Alice offering £166,000, and Bob moving his asking price to £171,000, then I’d recommend that Alice start weighing her options very carefully. She’s now within the ZOPA (though, of course, she doesn’t know yet that Bob WOULD in this case, be able to accept her £166,000.)

However, the risk is that by pushing too hard, by giving away only £500 on the next offer (and asking for something like curtains to be left in return), she runs the risk that Bob may walk away. It’s at this point in the negotiation that observational skills really come into play – trying to “read” Bob could cost or save her £5,000 here.

The difference is obvious – if Bob were demanding £180,000 still, a sum way over what she’d be prepared to pay, then that IS the time for a hard-nosed low offer, and some tactics  to be deployed.

Posted in Negotiation, Property Negotiation | Leave a Comment »

Custom version of the course launches- “Negotiation with Investors for Estate Agents”

Posted by markharrison on January 15, 2007

Following the success of the “Property Negotiation” training course over the last year, I have agreed to launch a custom version “Negotiation with Investors for Estate Agents”, aimed at help estate agents deal specifically with investment buyers.

At present, this course is not available “just to book”, but is only delivered in-house to estate agencies.

The course costs £2,500, including 10 sets of hand-outs if I deliver the course at your offices in the home counties. Travelling expenses and one night’s accomodation are extra if you need me to come further afield.

Please contact me if you are interested and for more details.

Posted in Negotiation, Property Negotiation | 3 Comments »

What’s on the one-day course (5 minute video)

Posted by markharrison on January 5, 2007

My friend Ranjan Bhattacharya phoned this morning to run through some things to do with an event at which we’re both going to be speaking.

Anyway, we ended up talking for almost two hours, and spent quite a bit of time going through the different ways we record our seminar video content and then host it online.

He came up with a fantastic idea – why don’t I record a 5-minute video explaining what’s covered in the training course!

So, here you are….

Posted in Negotiation, Negotiation Video, Property Negotiation, Property Video | Leave a Comment »

Confidence / Belief / Call it what you will, it works…

Posted by markharrison on January 1, 2007

I don’t know why, but today, I had this odd flashback to a deal I negotiated for an (IT) client a few years ago.

Basically, they were unhappy with the service that a supplier had given them, and wanted compensation. They thought that somewhere between £10-20,000 would be reasonable.

I was asked to represent them in the meeting with the supplier. We held this at my client’s office, and there was a member of the client’s finance team, briefed to initially back me up no matter how outrageous I got (but to step in to over-rule me at the second meeting if it looked like we were approaching an agreement, but needed a concession.) The supplier had, likewise, sent in a couple of people.

So, based on a client’s expectation of £10-20k, I decided to ask for ten times that. I asked for £210,000 in refunds.

I don’t want to make it sound too maverick – this wasn’t an “off-the-cuff” figure. Instead, I had about 150 individual documents as backup, and a spreadsheet summarising the work that this supplier had done, referencing the documents, and  detailing how I’d arrived at the figure of £210,000.

The supplier was, to put it mildly, a bit surprised. We spent about 20 minutes going through my calculations. All the time, I “kept congruent” – I stayed calm and professional, and acted as if asking for £210k was completely reasonable.

After that 20 minutes, they asked if they could “have time to concur”, so the client’s finance manager and I said that we would pop out of the meeting room for 10 minutes and get coffees. We went downstairs to the next floor, and at the bottom of the stairs, the finance manager burst out laughing. “I can’t believe you did that, Mark” she said, tears rolling down her eyes.

We went back in, and the supplier had a counter-proposal. They would agree to £150,000 of the concession in cash, disputed £10,000 of the calculation, and offered to make up the additional £50,000 in credits against future services. (This was a smart move on their part – it meant that my client would be locked into still using them.)

Now our turn to confer. Important lesson here – despite the fact that the cash element alone of the offer on the table was over seven times what my client had been expecting, we were NOT going to accept straight away. Instead, we asked for permission to pop downstairs, and present their offer to the client’s FD. As you might imagine, he was more than happy, but also understood the importance of making the other party believe that they’ve won. He agreed PROVIDED that a cheque for the funds was issued that day.

We went back upstairs with the offer, which was accepted, and a courier and the cheque arrived that afternoon.

Several important negotiation lessons there:

  • Match the sizes of your teams
  • Feel free to make an “outrageous” opening offer – you never know what they’re expecting
  • Never present yourself as the ultimate decision maker. Always leave yourself room to be over-ruled (in either direction.)

.. but most importantly:

  • Act confidently. Make sure that you DON’T act nervously, or as if you feel you are making  an insulting offer. Always act as if you feel you are asking for something entirely reasonable.

Posted in Negotiation | 2 Comments »

2007 dates announced for “Property Negotiation” training course

Posted by markharrison on December 15, 2006

The dates are as follows:

  • Saturday 20th January
  • Saturday  3rd March
  • Saturday 28th April
  • Saturday 16th June

See www.yournegotiationexpert.com for more details, and for the free mini-course.

Posted in Negotiation, Property Negotiation, Property training, Training course | Leave a Comment »