Commentary

Did Winning The Deal Just Kill The Relationship?

The experience of selling our house has been a good reminder of the importance of goodwill in the negotiating process.

We were fortunate to get a couple of offers. Hearing feedback from our neighbors and realtors, we learned that one couple with young children really loved our home, especially the trampoline in the backyard!

As we responded to the offers, we made it clear to the realtor that we really wanted the family with the young children to have the house. Our children, now in college, were a similar age when we first bought the house. The neighborhood was a great place to raise kids, and we thought it would be nice to complete the circle.

And that’s when the trouble started. Our counteroffer made it clear that we were negotiating in good faith, trying to meet the couple in the middle.  Except they didn’t see it that way. They stood their ground, forgoing the traditional compromise approach to pursue a “we win, you lose” stance.

As the emotionally charged seller, I can confirm that this tactic did not go over well.

The disconnect was that we were selling a home full of memories that we wanted to pass along to another young family. As the buyers, they were just making a purchase decision at the best price possible. It was a just transaction to them, one that they wanted to get at their price.  

And with that strategy, they took out all the goodwill. In this case, it may have been worth more than they saved.

For example, the family was moving to the area from out of town. We’ve lived in the area for 30 years, 14 years in our current location. There are things that would have been helpful to know about our home, our neighborhood and our community. Insights from a resident on teachers, coaches, neighbors are usually helpful to someone new to an area.

Because they changed the rules of the game, we conveyed none of that info to them. The relationship had been killed.

Think about that when you’re negotiating a business deal. Deals are made between humans, so emotions are involved. In the end, you may get your price — but at what cost? What goodwill may have been lost? What could the seller tell you that could help with implementation, use of the product/service, etc.?

The secret to a good deal is that both parties feel like they gave up something, but that they also got something in return. You may feel good about the short-term gain — but by making the other party the “loser,” it might cost you in the long run.

7 comments about "Did Winning The Deal Just Kill The Relationship?".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 15, 2018 at 3:48 p.m.

    What do you know about the "other" party ? it sounds more like a one sided conversation.

  2. Catherine Mann from Media Help, June 18, 2018 at 2:22 p.m.

    You need to take any emotion out of any negotiation.

  3. Scott Gillum from Carbon Design replied, June 18, 2018 at 2:44 p.m.

    Unfortunately, that would take out the humans. Emotions are part of the buying process. As much as we like to think of ourselves as rational decision-makers,  research is now showing us that we're not. We make purchase decisions emotionally and then later justify them rationally. 

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, June 18, 2018 at 7:56 p.m.

    You are correct Catherine. Even if a little shines through, your memories are not someone else's and they do not have your value of them. They little extra advise they could accrue from being friendly with the new neighbors is not worth the thousands of dollars more than you think it is. There are people in Las Vegas who would love to play poker with you, Scott.

  5. Kim S from Media, June 19, 2018 at 5:40 p.m.

    Understand completely what you're saying Scott, I have unique perspective to this conversation - negotiated millions in TV over the years, currently selling our own home, and married to a realtor...WAY more emotional negotiating on behalf of yourself and the place you've created memories and raised children.  IMHO realtors have a much harder job dealing with all the human emotional connections than media buyers working with client money, not their own.
    Catherine and Paula I disagree, if you take a close look at those at the top of the mega-buying shop holding companies, their experience and tenure would never have been maintained these many years if every negotiation didn't involve some human emotion.  No one, clients or agencies would benefit all these years if a negotiation were simply winner v loser transaction.

  6. Scott Gillum from Carbon Design replied, June 20, 2018 at 10:41 a.m.

    Thanks, Kim. Appreciate your thoughtful comments. 

  7. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, June 21, 2018 at 12:32 a.m.

    You are missing points of a one and done sale.

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