Trust and Rapport
Building rapport in a negotiation is important. Photo – Canva.
  • Bushy Martin explains how to build rapport in a property negotiation
  • Three key components: hopes and dreams, uncertainty and trust
  • Great negotiation is actually great collaboration, this requires trust

In his second article in the series, investor, founder, author and media commentator Bushy Martin discusses the science and art behind property negotiation.

Last time, the topic of property negotiation was introduced by explaining how you may need to change your outlook

In this piece, Bushy discusses the importance of building good rapport…

Retired FBI Lead Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss provided some innovative negotiation approaches in his book ‘Never Split the Difference‘.

Voss sums it up beautifully when he says that “negotiation is the art of letting the other side have your way”.

And how do you do that?

We have two ears and one mouth, and we need to use them in those proportions.

Ask questions and listen

From the outset, you should continuously ask questions and make affirming statements that allow the other party to talk freely.

In this way, rapport grows, trust develops, and you gain a much greater understanding of exactly what their needs and preferences are so that you can then create solutions that satisfy them as well as you.

It’s about building emotional equity and what Voss calls ‘tactical empathy’.

In simple terms, people prefer to do business with people they like, so if the other negotiating party gets to know you and like you, they are more likely to trust you and then more likely to negotiate favourably with you.

The magic happens when you ask questions and provide reassuring prompts that allow the other party to come up with solutions that they feel are their idea, but are really in alignment with what you are wanting to achieve.

The main drivers of a negotiation

1. Hopes and dreams

Most negotiations are about helping to fulfil each parties’ hopes and dreams. It’s about how each party imagines what life is going to be like when they negotiate those things and how their lives and wellbeing will improve.

In this regard, most negotiations are emotionally driven, and the bigger the perceived value and investment, the bigger the emotional investment and expectation, which tends to cloud rational judgement and gets in the way of objective decision making. I’ve found the best way to avoid this is to get others to negotiate on your behalf.

2. Uncertainty

The key to a successful negotiation is to eliminate or minimise the uncertainty for all parties. Uncertainty and fear of the unknown generally results in emotionally-driven responses and the instinctual fight-or-flight reactions can shipwreck negotiations.

The key is to eliminate uncertainty with good, clear and regular communication on who is doing what by when and why. This means that in addition to you finding out as much as you can about the other party, you also share the right information about yourself that’s going to be conducive to the outcome of the negotiation.

3. Trust

How can you be trusted? How can you trust the other parties?

As discussed in my book ‘The Freedom Formula’ and outlined in detail in Charles H Green’s ground-breaking book ‘The Trusted Advisor’, trust is built on the integrated combination of four key criteria:

  • credibility – which is what someone has done and said,
  • reliability – which is someone repeatedly doing what they say they will do,
  • intimacy – feeling comfortable with someone, their openness and honesty, and,
  • self-interest – the degree of impartial independence versus the level of vested interest of the parties involved. This is often the most important ingredient.

There are two simple, yet proven and powerful tactics you can use in tandem to build trust with almost anyone you meet. Great negotiation is actually great collaboration, and collaboration requires trust between two people.


The next article in this series will be on ‘Mirroring and Labelling’.

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