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“You Get to Be the Hero” as a Negotiation Tactic

In real estate negotiations, concessions can be won if the opposing agent feels that he or she is getting something special – that they can return to the broker as a triumphant hero. Similar to the scarcity persuasion principle, the hero negotiation tactic lets the opposing agent perceive that he has won something hard to get.

If your clients need to stick to a certain price point, for example, offer the opposing agent concessions that appear to weigh more heavily in his clients’ favor such as closing dates, furnishings and appliances, or other items of value.

Demonstrate that the opposing agent will be a hero to his clients by gaining these advantages. Emphasize how good it will be for the other party to agree to your proposal or solve your problem. Reinforce that if agreement is reached, then that agent has negotiated one heck of a deal.

When the hero negotiation tactic is being used against you, an effective counter is to shrug off the offer of heroic stature. Put the burden back on the other agent with phrases similar to, “I would love to help … but I need to solve my problem first. Will you help me?”

Give your problem to the other party to solve (the Problem Transfer tactic), and resist accepting the mantle of the hero. Delay discussions of a specific point until the opposing agent is ready to focus on your clients’ stated needs, not his offered distractions. Position someone else as the final decision maker, so that you cannot possibly accept the “hero” concessions for yourself. React uncertainly, as though getting side tracked from your main objective might actually endanger the negotiations.

The hero negotiation tactic is generally a positive approach for both sides, as long as you are careful to be certain of what you have agreed to in exchange. It is a negotiation tactic that is worth developing.