Conducting Negotiations Via E-mail

When face-to-face negotiations are not possible given busy schedules or geographic proximity, e-mailing back and forth may be your only option. In fact, because e-mail is probably most convenient for busy clients on the go, most negotiations you handle will be conducted in this way. Learn how to shine when all you have is a computer screen or smart phone to guide you:

  • If the person you are e-mailing calls you to respond to your message, e-mail is probably not that person's preferred medium.
  • Leverage the anonymity of e-mail to ask questions you might not be comfortable asking in person.
  • Be sensitive to time. Using e-mail indicates you expect a fast response and will give one in return.
  • Try to establish some “human” contact by making small talk during an e-mail negotiation. Again, if the other person never responds in kind, discontinue the practice.
  • Use a framework to analyze clients' motives. Are buyers seeking prestige or financial security from their home investment? Are the homeowners trying to raise capital quickly to secure another investment? Use this information to craft your negotiating strategy.
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