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The Indispensable Agent: “A dose of strategy, a dash of inspo, & a few tall tales.”

Questions hold the answers… 

I want to wrap up this 3-part series with one of the most important communication topics that we could ever discuss – questions.  If you want to be a great communicator and a great salesperson, you need to learn to ask great questions.  Asking great questions and then remaining silent so that your question can do the work it was crafted to do will open up an entirely new world to you. If you put these habits to practice, you will never look at negotiations or relationships the same way again. 

Great negotiators ask great questions. Then, even more importantly, they shut up and wait for their counterpart to answer the questions. Open-ended questions that keep your counterpart talking will reveal much about their motivations and what it is going to take to get a deal done. 

I have learned a great deal from former FBI Negotiator Chris Voss. Chris is an author and the founder of The Black Swan Group.  His books and his Masterclass videos have taught me an enormous amount and brought an entirely new light to this topic of negotiations and asking powerful questions.  Chris is a master at controlling the dialogue while keeping people calm and cooperative using something that he calls “Calibrated Questions”. In this blog post from his website (The Black Swan Group), this is how he defines a Calibrated Question:  “Simply put, Calibrated Questions are questions that begin with what, how, or, sometimes, why. There’s something about the way these questions hit the brain that actually makes people stop and think. Your counterpart won’t be able to provide a one-word answer to a question like this: How are we supposed to do that?”

As I have reflected on how to use Calibrated Questions in our real estate work, and after reading Chris’s books, I came up with a short list of 7 that can greatly assist you in your day to day negotiations (there are some more in this blog Post as well): 

  • “What about this is important to you?”
    • For Example when a buyer or seller is giving you the list of criteria they look for in an agent to represent them (when they interview you). This is a question you can ask them about a specific criteria or desire in order to get the why, the story, behind the criteria. 
  • “How can I help make this better for us?”
    • Maybe you and a seller have hit a tense period in your representation of them or negotiations with another agent seem to be more elevated or tense then they need to be. This is a great way to “defuse” the situation and put the control back in their hands (or so they think). 
  • “How would you like me to proceed?”
    • You and the seller are going back and forth about how “unfair” the offer is that they just got from the buyer OR your counterpart is going on and on about how unreasonable your client is being.  You can use this to bring the conversation back down to planet earth and find out something actionable and tangible. 
  • “What is it that brought us into this situation?” 
  • “How can we solve this problem?”
  • “What’s the objective? What are we trying to accomplish here?”
  • “How am I supposed to do that?” 

If this topic is interesting to you and you would like to know more, I highly recommend you dig into Chris’s material and specifically his book, “Never Split The Difference” as well as his awesome series hosted on Masterclass. 

Lead Generation – Investor Groups & Investment Classes 

Last week I outlined a proven approach to putting on classes for first time home buyers.  Well you can take a very similar approach and put together classes/seminars for real estate investors that are also very successful. Here is a link to the article where I outline the approach to putting on these classes: Must-Win Real Estate Negotiations (Part 2 – Negotiations).  One additional note to the seminars for investors is that these lend themselves well to creating ongoing meetings or investment “groups” that continue to meet periodically beyond the one-day seminar.  Because investment is a living and ongoing process, it can work very well to make yourself the host and the organizer for these groups, meeting periodically and bringing in lenders, insurance professionals, economic advisors, seasoned developers, etc. 


When you meet with a new prospect, how much time do you spend talking vs listening? How many questions do you ask them and how curious are you, genuinely curious, about those answers?  

A Quote To Ponder

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” – Francis Bacon