In negotiation, the power of a “considered response”

The following negotiating tip comes from Chester Karrass— he’s the guy that advertises in airline magazines with a smug look and the pitch, “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.”

Negotiating–Using a Considered Response

When you are negotiating, learn to discipline yourself not to provide quick responses. When a buyer makes an offer, even if it’s acceptable, don’t respond to it with a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Instead, take your time to considering the offer. A typical offer to purchase allows at least 24 hours to respond. Take that full day and use silence and time to your advantage. Even if you find the offer immediately acceptable, you will have better footing with your buyer if you create the appearance of considering his offer before accepting it.

When you do provide a response, be it a yes, or a no, or anything else, your ‘considered response’ gives greater weight to your answer. A ‘considered response’ also commands more credibility and respect.. If you accept the offer, your “yes” to the buyer has become a more thoughtful “yes.” If you counter, the buyer will know you took time to evaluate the offer before coming back at a higher price or less favorable terms.

Coming back with a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ often forfeits the opportunity to create a better, more satisfying deal for both sides. In a soft market like this one, buyers and sellers can suffer from chronic second guessing. If an offer or counter offer is quickly accepted, the other party is left wondering if they should have held out for a better price. This is not a good way to establish trust and can make bumps in the road during escrow more difficult.

Let’s say, for example, a buyer and seller go into contract, with each party believing they could have struck a better price, After escrow is opened, the need for repairs is revealed during inspections. At this point, each side could quickly dig in their heels in an attempt to drive the deal they think they forfeited. These kinds of stand-offs can jeopardize a transaction, with neither party getting what they ultimately want.

If, however a buyer or seller takes the time to thoroughly evaluate an offer or counter before saying yes, it tends to enhance the satisfaction of the other side. When considered responses are employed during a negotiation, and this same need for repairs comes up, there is a higher likelihood that the parties will return to the table once again take time and care as repairs and their costs are reviewed and negotiated. Once a credit or repairs are agreed to, the escrow can move forward again, with the basis of trust between the parties still intact.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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