Are you a great negotiator? Do you LOVE car showrooms and “doing the deal” with the sales manager? Some people are just good at it! Most people are not. Even if we know what to do/so, we just don’t like doing it. But, you can be a much better tele-negotiator if you follow these rules. These are best practices that I have learned over many years of tele-negotiating for foreclosure workouts like short sales, loan mods and debt settlements.
Number 1. Be sure to Control your ego Be sure to Listen twice as much as you speak. After all, that is why you have two ears and only one mouth! When talking, you give away information. While listening, you gain information and knowledge. Ask questions leading to lengthy responses and listen to the answers.
A role model for this is Lieutenant Columbo, the famed TV Detective. “Do a Columbo” on these guys by avoiding their mind games with questions and listening.
Don’t be a wise-guy. You know what I mean. Think of the other party like your son or daughter. Do not be condescending and don’t embarrass them.
2. Do not let rude behavior offend you. They try to offend you. They try to distract you and put you off-guard to make you want to get out of this situation at any cost and fast. Understand? Don’t succumb to it. Simply hang-up in the middle of a sentence. That is better than to lose your temper.
I’m often amazed at how much well-mannered people struggle with just hanging-up on a collection agent. Most people try to bring the conversation to a amiable, friendly close. That’s what we are trained to do from our youth. Forget that – when you need to end the call, just hang-up before you say something dumb.
3. Prepare before each Call *Understand strengths/weaknesses of yours and the opponent *Be clear about what is motivating your opponent *Understand what your alternatives are and what their alternatives are *Make goals for each encounter…just before the call *Time is on your side, so remember that. If you control the monthly payments, you are in control.
Number 4. Be sure to Be willing to “Fold-em”. I mean that you have to accept that sometimes things will not go your way and be willing to accept that and end the conversation poorly.
Negotiate until the deal is right. That’s when you will get the best settlement.
5. Pay Attention to your Opponent’s pressures and needs. Don’t focus only on your own needs. The Agent needs to produce results and needs to keep making other calls. So, be efficient and offer to fax or email to their personal numbers. Be prompt and complete on your responses to them. You should want to help them.
Don’t intimidate or condescend. I find that these folks are easily offended and get defensive…I guess that comes from working with stressed-out, pissed-off people all day! Be nice.
Number 6. Always get something in return if you must give up something. Consider each item of every offer to be “won”, and don’t let go of any without getting something in return. The opponents record every item of the negotiations, and so should you.
7. Ask for what you want. I recommend asking for a specific dollar amount. Create some rationale around it (i.e. “it is 31% of my gross household income, or, it’s 31% of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah).
Number 8. Be sure to not Lie. Enough said!
9. Keep good records. An old negotiator saying is that “he who has the information wins.” So, keep good records of who said what when. Use the Journal in this Book to record details of each conversation.
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