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What can investors learn from this ex-FBI agent?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

CREDIT: Northwestern University

Change is a familiar state for property investors.  Tenants churn, the market waits for no one, policy-agenda shifts depending on where we are in an election cycle, lenders' appetite never stays the same - in short, things change.  Change is great. Change flushes out new opportunities and gives us space to grow.  But not everyone is a happy beneficiary of this perpetual state of flux we exist in, some thrive while others tank.  The question then becomes: How do we engage with change in a positive way that adds to our success?

In the context of property investment, I believe the answer lies in negotiation.  Our ability to resolve conflict and find commonality with our tenants, lenders, contractors, regulators and other portfolio stakeholders speak to our chance of success.  Negotiation is one of those soft but specific skills that go hand-in-hand with being a good investor and a good landlord.  

If your negotiation skill could do with some polish up then Chris Voss' latest Iconic Tour talk is a must-watch. Voss is the founder and CEO of The Black Swan Group, a negotiation and business communication consultancy that was borne out of Voss' 24-year career with the FBI, the final years of which as the agency's Lead International Kidnapping Negotiator.  His questions assumptions we have long-held about negotiation (no, it is not about getting people to say yes) and really is a masterclass in empathy.  Voss points out the false equivalency we suffer from when we look at our counterpart's business.  Our perception of the business/situation does not matter nearly as much as our counterpart's perception.  Understanding how your negotiating counterpart sees his/her business is the first step to a successful outcome.  

Take a look:

At the end of the talk, he reminds all of us that a successful negotiation is a lot more than the immediate outcome. It is about creating the start of a long-term relationship by making people feel respected and good about dealing with you that they leave the door open for future engagements/opportunities.

Are you a good negotiator?  What are some of your go-to tips to engage with your rental stakeholders and get the most of our their relationship with you?  Comment reply below. 


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