Automation is a legitimate disruptor, but here’s one thing computers can’t do.

No matter how much the real estate industry changes over the years, one thing will always ring true: Negotiation is an art—not a rote task. Somewhere along the way in the mid-2000s, digital technologies came along and started making our lives a lot easier. We shifted from signing carbon-copy contracts in person to using email and DocuSign to make real estate transactions more efficient… but at what cost? 

“If streamlining the transaction is our only goal, we will not like where this road leads us.”

The act of driving to meet with your clients and sitting down with them for an honest, kneecap-to-kneecap conversation during one of the most stressful moments of their lives had major value. Negotiating offers in person provides further tangible value. Sure, DocuSign is way more streamlined, but if streamlining the transaction is our only goal, we will not like where this road leads us. 

If you’re an agent who strives to cultivate expertise and achieve peak professionalism, it’s imperative that you improve your negotiation skills. Many agents have major skill gaps in negotiation; all the data and smart contracts in the world won’t help clients negotiate great deals. This requires proficiency and intuition that can only be developed by a human mind through face-to-face interaction. Take courses, read books (such as “Never Split the Difference,” by Chris Voss), and commit to negotiating in person, or at least via video conference. 

I hope you found this perspective engaging. If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other real estate topic, just give me a call or send an email. I’d love to hear from you. 

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