A Gilt-Edged Negotiating Trick!

By Ayman Alashkar – Founder & CEO – OVERWRITE.ai

Greed. Fear. Love.

You need to know what you’re up against. This gilt-edged negotiating trick will improve your deal-closing success rate, everytime.

“I want to show it off to my friends” he said. I couldn’t believe my ears. It had worked! Although I wasn’t an estate agent, I’d just sold my first residential property and it was a TROPHY.

I was a 29 year old private banking real estate specialist. My job was advising the Ultra High Net Worth Individual clients of the bank I worked at, on their real estate assets. And here was one, a Forbes Billionaire no less, telling me that he wanted to buy one of the largest apartments in the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest tower – at the time nearing its much anticipated opening), for the bragging rights.

He’d not seen it. He didn’t even plan on living in it. In fact during his visits to Dubai he preferred to stay in an apartment just across from it; with a view of it.

None of that mattered. He had his reasons. The logic of his decision was summarised neatly, and candidly, in that single sentence. “I want to show it off to my friends”.

I certainly wasn’t going to argue. So I negotiated the sale, agreed a few off-market terms with the developer and transferred the funds. Deal done. That evening we celebrated.

As I watched him and his aforementioned friends consume the contents of some of the most expensive bottles I’d ever seen, I learned a valuable life-lesson. One that I use to this day to inform my negotiating strategy. And it has served me well, enabling me to close more deals, more often.

I’m certainly not claiming to be an amazing closer. Nor am I going to analyse the behavioural science behind this negotiating trick. I just know what I know; and I know this trick is gilt-edged.

A Gilt-Edged Negotiating Trick

In the case of the Burj Khalifa buyer, his writing was on the wall. He was motivated by fear. The pressure to keep up appearances, evidence his wealth, project his social stature.

What better way to do it than buying one of the largest apartments on one of the highest floors in the tallest tower in the world? So I floated the idea. I knew money was no object. The rest is history.

Not every client you get is going to behave the same way. Everyone has their button. All you have to do is figure out which button to press; Greed, Fear, or Love?

Sometimes its obvious. Almost telegraphed. Like the young couple looking to start a family. You just know they’ll be putty in your hands IF you have the good sense to offer them a property with a baby-room they can fall in love with.

Other times you have to dig deeper to uncover a client’s true motive. Like the new client who may at first seem as though they’re incentivised by capital upside (greed) or proximity to work (love). You offer them an attractively priced property or something near their office, only to find they demand (often impractical) conditions and threaten to jeopardise the deal if not delivered. In that instance its neither greed nor love that drives them; rather a risk intolerance (fear) you perhaps missed. Focus your strategy on providing information and transparency, even legal advice if relevant. The more you can inform such a buyer, the more aware and confident they become.

Put it to the test

Greed, Fear and Love. You’ll find them exerting their influence in all of your transactions. Learn to identify them. Once you know what you’re up against you can equip yourself with the optimal negotiating tools needed to close your deal.


An AI Implementation Strategist accredited by the prestigious MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ayman also has a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from the world-renowned Queen Mary College, University of London, and a Masters in Real Estate Investment and Development from the University of Reading (UK). With 20 years’ experience working in real estate, banking and artificial intelligence, Ayman is the founder and CEO of PropTech platform OVERWRITE.ai.

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