Negotiations Now: 4 Tips For Deal-Making Via Email

Negotiations Now: 4 Tips For Deal-Making Via Email photo
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It’s good to have friends in times like these.

Not just for the conversations and support they provide, but also for their insights.

Since the world changed, I’ve already called on a friend of mine named Greg Markov from the Real Estate Negotiation Institute twice to share his expertise with our coaching members.

On the most recent webinar he did for coaching members and members of our new Pivot program, he talked about how negotiations are a totally different animal when you can’t get face to face with someone. (We’ve also done marketing webinars with Jason Pantana, a scripting webinar with Bill Pipes, training sessions with our top coaches on tech you should be using today, and more – all geared toward keeping you and your business moving forward during these unprecedented times! Check out how to gain access here.)

Today I want to share with you a few tips from a fantastic presentation Greg did on Effective “Distance” Negotiations… basically how to negotiate now when you can’t get face-to-face with people and email is the desired medium.

Before we dive into his four tips, a caveat…


BONUS TIP: Do Not Negotiate via Email If at All Possible

This might seem like a weird tip before diving into instructions on how to do exactly what I’m telling you not to do… but Greg says if you can avoid email-based negotiations, do so!

Use Facetime or Skype or Google Hangouts, or pick up the phone whenever possible.

Why? Because you’ve probably heard me talk about this before – Only about 10 percent of communication is in the actual words we say. Tone accounts for another 30 percent, while body language or visuals make up the remaining 60 percent.

Greg very astutely pointed out that if you choose to negotiate by email, 90 percent of your skill set is being wasted. So look for those alternatives when available.

But the reality of today’s situation is that you might have to conduct negotiations through email. So here are the four tips Greg shared…

One last quick note: Keep in mind these tips don’t apply to all emails you write… we’re talking specifically about negotiating via email in this blog.


‘Distance’ Negotiation Tip No. 1: Master Your Language & Writing Skills

Greg admitted that “mastering” your writing skills might be a far-fetched goal for some.

But his point remains…

Tone can be very difficult to convey in an email, so people have a tendency to interpret things in the most sinister, negative light possible.

Yes, that’s a bummer. And yes, that’s also reality.

So they’re going to judge you for spelling and grammar errors.

They’re going to misconstrue any unclear message.

They’re likely to take offense at things that weren’t intended to offend.

So how do you avoid this predicament?

For one, use tools like spellcheck or Grammarly to ensure what you write would make your English teacher proud.

Then, before you send anything, be sure to read through it for tone and clarity. (Among writers, this is sometimes referred to as conducting a “sweep”… you read through looking for only one thing at a time, like tone. Then do it again for clarity, and again for spelling, and again for grammar, etc.) Make sure to devote the time required to do those sweeps!

Finally, if you want to improve your writing skills, Greg shared what might seem like an unexpected but interesting exercise. Do “copywork” by writing out things already written by people you admire. He said this trains you to emulate their style and grow your own skills.


‘Distance’ Negotiation Tip No. 2: Make It Look Good

I’m sure this has happened to you…

You open an email and it looks like a wall of grey text as far as the eye can see.

Two things can happen at this point:

One, if you know it’s something important you absolutely MUST read, your heart sinks a bit while your shoulders tighten, and you reluctantly begin reading what feels like an assignment.

Or two, you simply and quickly close the email and move on to the next.

So what’s the moral here?

When negotiating via email, keep your message short!

And more specifically, remember the numbers five and one… Restrain your email to no more than five sentences, and keep it focused on only one topic.

Here’s a good analogy Greg shared… When something looks good, you’re eager to eat it. And when it doesn’t, you’re not. The same is true for email, except substitute reading for eating. Make your email look easy to digest, and they’ll eat it up!


‘Distance’ Negotiation Tip No. 3: Manage Anxiety

The last thing we need right now is more anxiety in our lives, right?

Especially because anxiety is a ruthless deal-killer.

But here’s the problem, Greg says – we, as humans, are genetically wired to communicate face-to-face.

So using a medium like email naturally creates anxiety right from the start. We’re not used to it and it’s awkward.

Here’s another great analogy he shared: As soon as you hit ‘SEND’ on an email in a negotiation, you’re essentially flipping an hourglass – but instead of sand falling from one vial to the other, it’s anxiety. The longer it takes for either party to respond, the more anxiety builds up on both sides of the negotiation.

Which can be dangerous.

It’ll cause you to get in your head and start fabricating stories about why the other party isn’t responding. And oftentimes, those stories create far worse circumstances than what’s happening in reality.

So here’s Greg’s solution… To avoid that build-up of anxiety, make a quick call or send a text to check they received your email and keep the communication flowing.

Whatever you do, do NOT get adversarial about it… “Why aren’t you replying to my email?” will do more harm than good.

Manage the anxiety for both sides and you’ll have a much more productive negotiation.


‘Distance’ Negotiation Tip No. 4: Manage Relationships

Greg says in a standard, pre-quarantine negotiation, one of the best things you can do is spend a few minutes talking about a common interest or some other form of chit-chat to build rapport BEFORE jumping into numbers and negotiations.

But that doesn’t work in an email, and we already told you to keep the email to five sentences or fewer… so what now?

Simple… Start with a different form of communication – a quick phone call or Facetime is perfect – and then after you establish rapport, mention that you’ll write it up and send it over shortly.

He also said even the small things you might not often think about are important in this process because you are literally “the faceless other.” Things like your email address and your email signature block can help “warm up” the other party – or done poorly, they can have the opposite effect.

Finally, don’t forget to demonstrate one of the most important elements in all communication right now: Empathy.


Get Greg’s Text Tips, Checklist and More!

Greg also went on to do some Q&A about how these rules apply to texting, whether or not emojis have any place in professional communications, and more. He also shared his notes and a checklist that’s available for Pivot users.

If you haven’t checked out Pivot yet, it’s our low-cost, month-to-month program designed to help guide you through these difficult times – doing everything possible to keep your mindset focused and your business moving forward. We promised two webinars weekly, but so far I’ve been reaching out to so many thought leaders and industry heavyweights, it’s been more like four or five every week. (I’m excited to have Gino Blefari lined up for one tomorrow, Friday 4/2!)

As a Pivot or coaching member, even if you miss them live, they’re in the On-Demand section for 24/7 playback inside our coaching platform, illūm.


I hope you found value in these email negotiation tips and really hope you put them to use immediately. People are out there who need to move right now and I want YOU to be the one who steps up to serve them with safety, grace, and innovation.

Also, let me know your thoughts or any current topics you’d like covered in the comments below!


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