oc | Friday 10th April

How To Negotiate Very, Very Well

Welcome to our 3 Part Series on

Part 1 – Negotiation Noise

Part 2 – What’s Really Important in a Negotiation

Part 3 – How to Well


Hey you, what would you know about negotiation?

You’re reading this article because you’re desperate to pick up a free morsel from me; the master, who has already beaten over a hundred agents in one on one dealings – you are a loser without me and you know it.

3 deep breathes please.

I really appreciate your time and you know what, I think I’m going to get more out of this discussion than you – you can teach me a lot. We’ve got a tough row ahead of us, working together to make this happen – but with your determination and our experience, I really think we can……..

Just pause… How did you feel about each of the above statements?

How would you have reacted to me with each one?

How you react is crucial in negotiations and to negotiators.


This happened at the Yacht Club, a few years ago, when speaking to a group of 100 high net worth individuals.

We showed these two pictures.


Then we gave a very concise story about this off market sale above.

Offered a beautiful bottle of champagne as a prize and appealed to each individual ego in the audience to be the winner.

In less than 5 minutes, under exam like conditions;

90% of the audience valued the homes at $3m to $5m

We added new piece of “evidence” and;

90% of the audience valued the homes at $5m to $6m

A new piece of “evidence” added again and the rules changed;

90% of the audience valued the homes at $6m to $7m

These massive negotiation differences in 90 of the 100 “buyers” were due to engagement and framing processes and the skilled application of them.


No, not sure what I mean and how relevant this is to Melbourne home buying negotiations.

How about this?

I am with a buying client – I can tell whether or not the female likes the home in less than a minute. The female makes the decision on the home 9 times out of 10.

I can plant a $ figure within the mind of the male ensuring his attachment to the home, matches the female’s; monitor his reaction, raise that figure depending on how he reacted to the first figure; and have the male comfortable he has a handle on price and a view on the home, which matches the female’s commitment.

I can do that without either the female or male saying a word and it’s done in 60 seconds.

That’s why you need a James Buyer Advocate in negotiations.

You don’t like to hear that do you? There feels like there is ego, even arrogance on my part and you feel I am a person who manipulates.

Ok what if I rework it?

The selling agent, the one with that smile; can tell whether or not you like the home in less than a minute. They say that you as a woman, will make the decision on the home 9 times out of 10.

The selling agent then plants a number within the mind of your husband – the selling agent monitors his reaction, raises that number depending on how your husband reacted to the first number and has him comfortable he has a handle on price; and a view on the home matching your commitment.

That’s why you need a James Buyer Advocate in negotiations.


Above are several key aspects in negotiation:

  • Tone
  • Buy-in
  • Perspective

But all this is chicken shit in the scheme of Melbourne negotiations for sellers.

Mal – You can’t say that, you are a high end buyer advocate who works for buyers and you’ll lose prospective clients, by speaking like this, as they will feel uncomfortable.

You’re right – I’m genuinely sorry.

Can I talk with you some more please – can I talk candidly? (I hate that line, by the way).

Can I ask these questions, because it has always intrigued me?

Why do you do, what you do as a seller?

For instance, in real estate the majority of sellers tend to only deal with those who regularly contact them; rather than for instance, those that will give them the best long term outcome.

Why does a seller naturally gravitate to an agent, who has rang him or her up twice a year for five years and spoke or listened for a minute or two, about one of the seller’s .

Why, because its human nature to do so and the best listing agents are experts at human nature.

But is that skill relevant? It may be? What do you think?

Do you really “owe” the agent who rings you – are you obligated to deal with him? Why?

See I am trying to do it now – because I don’t ring you, I’m trying to manipulate you to think that by giving you this information, by raising these doubts, that in fact I am trying to be your confidant, somebody you can trust and therefore you should be guided by me, instead of the selling agent – but do I really care?

Is caring about you more important than – if I was incompetent – or going on holidays during the four weeks of your auction campaign?

So many people choose their negotiators on …….. imagine if you ran a business like this.

Time for a change of tact:

Ok, you should use me as your negotiator as I’ve bought over 1000 homes, I developed and patented the James Home Ratings system and in the last month, our team has saved a collective $4.5 million off asking prices in our off market dealings.

The above is actually true, but how do you feel, is that credible?

How about this then?

Ok, you should use me as your negotiator as I’m a vegan, I meditate regularly and I’ve got minimal assets by .

Bit more radical? Is it relevant – what do you make of that!

If I told you that not being full of sugar, having a superior concentration span and not being as attached to financial outcomes was important – what would you think?

I’ve engaged you haven’t I? That’s part of my job as a negotiator and I’m a lot better at it than many think and you’re a lot better in deals with me than against me or without me – that we call a Wet Fish Slap argument – designed to arouse a response.


In the past 3 minutes of reading you’ve been moved up and down your emotions scale and I’ve negotiated with you very powerfully – so much so, that you are actually thinking about how all this could help you – and for many, you’ve never met me.

So what are you like with a selling agent and $3,250,000 in your pocket (of your money) – when they say one certain thing in a negotiation to you. I’ll tell you – you are dangerous.

This is not what you expected in the first of a series on James Negotiation is it?

I suppose I could have asked how’s the weather, your football team or your kids – that’s standard fare for some selling agents, I’m not sure how that helps you in a negotiation – but I know how it hurts you if you think it’s important.

Over the next few weeks, if you choose, you will be shown a way (one way, not the only way) to navigate your path between your ears, in a manner that makes your negotiation a way to your desired outcome – rather than your negotiation being a way to the selling agent’s desired outcome or just any ‘ol outcome.

If you can benefit from what is on offer here, then you will be further along the road as a successful negotiator.

If you can’t, then the negotiation noise of the above 1143 words, is all you will hear.

It’s all many Melbourne homebuyers hear – negotiation noise.

Negotiation noise designed to manipulate you, to pull at your heartstrings, to get you to do what others want.

Hope you enjoyed the roller coaster, thank you for your time – and what feels like aggression above, may simply be truth, not revealed to you like this before.



What’s really important in a Negotiation – what is really important to you?

Last week in the first of our three-part series on Negotiations we covered the negotiation noise around you.

This week, in part 2 What is really important to you?, we are covering the negotiation noise within you.

In negotiations, for some of us, noise (you know stuff, any stuff) is all we hear.

For some of us noise becomes the entire negotiation game – the noise around us (from media, agents and….) and the noise inside us (our mind….).

If we can’t learn to manage that noise, then we reduce our chances of getting what we really want in a negotiation.

Why is that?

If we feel a greater priority on trying to get away from the negotiation noise, by any means, with any result, rather than seeking what is really important to us, then our focus will move to that – getting away – especially when stress is involved.

Alternatively, if we choose to stay and fight – ie, we try and win within the negotiation noise; then our focus will move to that – the fight – especially when stress is involved.

Behavioural sciences show us that – we have a higher chance of achieving what we focus on:

* In practical terms if our home buying noise focus is: not spending above $2,800,000 rather than buying the home we want, then we have a greater chance of purchasing any home at $2,780,000, rather than the home we wanted at $2,830,000.

* In practical terms if our home buying noise focus is: 800 sqm, 4 bedrooms in by end of the month, rather than time with our children, then we have a greater chance of making that happen, eg, 11 hour work days instead of 8, meaning less time with the children as they grow up, but in a “WOW” Hawthorn home.

In practical terms if our home buying noise focus is: beating the competition from Asia, outsmarting the agent and being an auction hero rather than a quiet deal from left field, then we have a greater chance of ……..

In practical terms on all of the above, we have been “successful” as we have achieved our mission, we have achieved our focus. But have we moved away from, or possibly not even discovered; what is really important to us in negotiating a home?

Being in the “Negotiation Noise” with an unclear mind, is very much like falling into an icy cold lake – we struggle to think clearly – we just thrash around wildly hoping that we can survive.

In our minds, during negotiations where we perceive we are not doing so well; things become hazy, things become some way off, things look like they are being taken away —- and after a while, as our stress levels build, it becomes irrelevant whether these things are actually important to us or not —- what becomes important is that we focus on something – because as humans we instinctually narrow to what we perceive as the “danger”, so as we can avoid it or destroy it.

But those “dangers” in our negotiations, the things, we at times focus on  …………..  are they the things that are really important to us?

We are walking into a crowded auction scene, we are a player (maybe) – we see something and it makes us think, yeah that’s it ……. before we know it, suddenly whatever it was, we are doing and we are going hard…..

Its early morning, we are ten minutes into our walk  (phone free) and we are thinking about a “maybe buy” home we saw on the weekend. Into our mind pops – that’s it….. that’s really the issue – but we have no pen and so we repeat it for a while and then our walk is over – but we can’t remember it. For a time afterwards we know we know something, but we can’t remember what it was and ………into the abyss….….. it goes.

Are we in the noise of Melbourne Homebuying – the noise around us and noise from within us – or are we focused on the things really important to us?

Generally speaking, if you are a negotiator in noise, you very quickly get to the next port, the next station – called Dollars or Money or Costs.

It’s the noise negotiator’s default, the “go to” for many of us, when we are not clear on what it is we really want.

We can all revert to our default when buying homes, when dealing in our businesses or when involved in family matters.

A little stress, a small loss of focus – can quickly lead to a lack of and then by instinct some almost unrecognisable element of fear; and then we scan for a “safe” position. The money question, in the negative, can anesthetize any further thought on a difficult matter.

So what is really important to you?


Is it working in a hospital in Tanzania?


Hiking in Patagonia.


Going to a block buster in New York.


What is it you really want in your life – what is meaningful for you? On the family farm in Outback NSW

 or playing soccer with locals, when your car breaks down in the middle of Rajasthan.


What do you want in your homebuying life or out of your homebuying life? (double entendre, hey).

I find it best that by knowing what is really important, then one can begin to know what their biggest purchase should look like.

By knowing what one really wants, we will be able to work through a proven process with better clarity, better focus and fewer mistakes.

By simply doing this, one will be able to begin to negotiate well.

That’s the end of this Negotiation Part 1 and Part 2 – What’s really important to you?

Next James Market News is Part 3 on the mechanics of how to negotiate well.

Let’s put the noise to one side and look at the mechanics of negotiation.

Let’s consider you are in the icy cold lake, but let’s find a boat, rather than thrashing around harder, faster, better.


What a load of rubbish Mal, don’t try and put your onto me – you’ve completely let me down.  I read this article for answers to negotiating a home well and you served me up this trifle. 

I haven’t got time for this – I need to find a home and stock is limited and prices are going up.

I want answers, solutions and I want them quick smart, as I’ve got things to do, emails to check, phone calls to return.

I just want to spend $4m and if you at James Buyer Advocates can get that $4m for $3.5m, then your fees – which I would like to say right off the bat are a lot of money – actually forget it, I can do it all myself.

Mal, I don’t have a lot of time for this – I’m pretty stressed and time poor. I don’t get to see much of my kids and so I want easy access to the freeway.

Mal, I need to find something at $4m that I can buy at $3.5m, with easy access to the freeway, so as I can get to work quicker, because I don’t spend a lot of time with my kids and it’s stressing me?

Mal, I’ve got to go – if I need to borrow an extra million, I will – and to be honest, I expected you to give me some clear cut answers and a few takeaway hot tips for auction bidding.  I don’t really see your proposition – I’m going to look on the internet for a special home and I’ll call you if we can’t get something at $5m – I’ll be able to borrow that – thank you for your time.

Below is our 3rd and final instalment in our series on Negotiation.



Mal, don’t start with the Noise again.

We all want to negotiate well, to improve our position, to feel we are in front of where we were before.

A few of us like to negotiate, if improving our position does not hurt others and a few of us like to hurt others in improving our position. However most of us have some flexibility in the position of others, so long as it doesn’t hurt us and preferably helps us.

Over the years we have found there are a number of ways to negotiate well.

There is not just one way to negotiate well and there are a number of ways to negotiate poorly.

The method and measure we use for good negotiations is via question and answer.

What is it you really, really wanted to achieve and did you do that?

Good negotiators answer this question in the affirmative.

Poorer negotiators we find:

  1. Don’t ask the question or;
  2. Ask the question, but then realize they were unclear on the answer or;
  3. Ask the question, know the answer and realize they were influenced away from their desired outcome. Their desired outcome was changed or influenced during the negotiation ……….… by N   _   _   _   _. (fill in blanks) or to be brutally honest you were influenced away from a successful negotiation by Y _   _

This question and answer is this article’s focus on Negotiations. It could be subtitled what is really important to you and how do you best get it.

In particular we are going to concentrate on where you will get the greatest bang for buck – where you can have the greatest influence – where you can become a great negotiator within a very short period of time.

It’s easy to do but difficult to achieve.

Some of us at this point maybe thinking – nope, not was I was after – I wanted some wham-bam, beat them over the head, no risk, easily measurable, winning, knockout, negotiation strategies.

Apologies you want some Negotiation Noise – don’t you?

Your question and answer interchange will be a lot more succinct.

How much were they asking, what did I pay, what have others paid and what do others think of what I have paid?

It’s easily measurable and there are clear winners and losers – (in your mind).

That’s ok, and when we say Negotiation Noise in this context, we are not implying this is not a legitimate way to think.

We live in a capitalist society, in what is regularly stated to be the best city in the world; we live in relative peace and growth/money are the measurements, many in our society use to determine winners and losers.

So how many dollars and what do others think are legitimate questions – the answers for you are clear-cut … you have won or lost in the negotiation?

The next two slides maybe much more to your liking.


or these graphics are what you are looking for in “How to Negotiate”.


These are James internal training slides – so clearly we believe there is a place for tactics and strategy.

There is a place for Noise, we use it at times and we spend a lot of time trying to recognize it in our clients and in the other side.

However we promised you, in the series, that we would show you how to Negotiate well.

How to make major gains in your negotiation abilities.

Big Picture.

This is a structure for you to negotiate well and to do so from today and to do so in any future negotiation.

1. What is it I really, really want?

2. Is this it? 

3. How best do I get it?

These are really simple questions, yet for all of us at times the answers are difficult to find.

Our James Ratings, which we patented over 10 years ago, is based on these three powerful negotiation ingredients.

This is how you negotiate really, really well.

This is where the real bang for you buck is.

This is what any of us can do – irrespective of the forces on the other side.

Three more questions of you, before we finish.

1. What is a great negotiator’s tool of choice? _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ (s)

2. Often, who is your greatest challenge in a negotiation? _  _  _

3. What is the biggest issue that great negotiators recognize, but still have to deal with in the course of any negotiation. What is the thing that makes the really easy a lot more difficult? _  _  _  _  _

To help you with the answers;

Answer to 1 has eight or nine letters (singular or plural) and the adjective would be good.

Answer to 2 has three letters and no the answer is not Him or Her.

Answer to 3 has five letters.

What is it I really want?


Is this it? 

How do I best get it?

That’s it – that’s how you can make major strides in your negotiations.

Oh, and is it appropriate to write ring James Buyer Advocates on 9804 3133 or does it diminish this article?

We agree with you, very tacky.

Let’s finish with the following slide instead;


Apologies to Madmen for grabbing one of their “Noisy” advertising photos and planting my big ugly head on the top.

3 characteristics of a great Negotiator …

What is it I really, really want?

Is this it? 

How best do I get it?

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