Most people hate negotiating! Do you? Some people are actually good at it, but most people aren’t. And, most of us do not like doing it at all. But, when your home is at stake, like when you are negotiating with the bank for a loan modification or other workout solution…it’s critical. And, you can be a much better tele-negotiator if you follow these nine rules. These are good practices that come from many years of tele-negotiating with opponents about foreclosure and debt settlements.
1. Reign-in your ego Listen 2X more than you talk. That’s the reason God gave you two ears and only one mouth! When you talk you give away information. When you listen you are gaining knowledge that can help you. Ask leading questions constantly and listen your opponent into submission.
Be just like Lieutenant Columbo, the TV Detective. Avoid playing THEIR mind games with this game of your own…question and listen your opponent into submission. “Do a Columbo” on ‘em.
Don’t be a wise-guy. You know what I mean. Think of the other party like your son or daughter. Do not be condescending and don’t embarrass them.
Number 2. Be sure to not let offensive remarks offend you. That’s right, they actually try to offend you. They try to distract you and put you off-guard to make you want out of the situation fast and at any cost. Do you get it? Don’t let them get to you. Hang-up in the middle of a sentence. That’s better than losing your temper and saying something you will regret later.
It always amazes me how difficult it is for well-mannered people to simply hang-up the phone on a collection agent. We keep trying to bring the conversation to a cordial close…that’s what civilized people do, right. Reject that notion. When you need to end the call, just do it with a “click”. Do it before you lose your cool.
3. Prepare before each Call *Understand strengths/weaknesses of yours and the opponent *Be clear about what is motivating your opponent *Understand what your alternatives are and what their alternatives are *Make goals for each encounter…just before the call *Time is on your side, so remember that. If you control the monthly payments, you are in control.
4. Be willing to “Fold-em”. By this I mean that you have to accept that sometimes the conversation will not go your way. You must be willing to accept that and end the conversation poorly.
Understand what your alternatives are so that you are not negotiating from a desperate position.
5. Pay Attention to your Opponent’s pressures and needs. Don’t focus only on your own needs. The Agent needs to produce results and needs to keep making other calls. So, be efficient and offer to fax or email to their personal numbers. Be prompt and complete on your responses to them. You should want to help them.
Be sure not to condescend to your opponent. Most people do. The agents sort of expect it, and, frankly often deserve it. Remember that they deal with angry and frustrated people all day, so be nice to them. It will help you be effective (plus, it’s just the right way to treat people!).
6. Don’t give anything away without getting something in return. Count every item offered to be “won” and do not allow any to be taken back without a concession in kind. They will carefully document every offer. You should, too.
7. Be clear about what you want. Ask for a certain dollar amount. Build rationale around your request, like “that is 31% of my household income,etc.
8. Never lie. It’s too hard to keep track of things that way! Plus, it’s just wrong.
Number 9. Be sure to write things down! “He who has information wins.” Keep great records of all things said…by whom and when.