On the morning of Tuesday, October 18th, one hundred real estate professionals gathered at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP for an interactive conversation with a panel of five seasoned negotiators to hear tips and advice for negotiating successfully in real estate. The panel was organized by the Women’s Leadership Initiative of ULI Washington and was moderated by Professor Charlie Craver of The George Washington University. Professor Craver is an accomplished attorney and author of several publications on negotiation. The all-star panel included Lynn Bennett, Senior Vice President at Coakley & Williams Construction, Krista Di Iaconi, Senior Vice President and Senior Chief Officer at Regency Centers, Laurie McMahon, Vice Chairman at Cushman & Wakefield and Bruce Pascal, Senior Vice President at Vornado/Charles E. Smith.
Panelists discussed major negotiating tactics such as making the opening offer, preparation and role play and drilled down to specific tips and tricks. All panelists agreed that preparation was key to negotiating effectively and many suggested doing background research, practicing to oneself and with others, and volunteering to observe negotiations to gain a sense of the tempo. Other effective negotiation tactics discussed include being willing to walk away (politely), asking probing questions to encourage the other party to explain their position, and taking a break if things get heated, among others. Another hot topic was communication and negotiating effectively over the phone and by email. Ineffective tactics such as threats and lying were discussed as well. All panelists agreed with Bruce Pascal that “your reputation is the only thing you take to your grave.”
Professor Craver quoted studies that show that women tend to be just as effective at negotiation, unless it is on their own behalf and panelists suggested thinking about a personal negotiation as if one were an agent for herself. Male and female panelists agreed that gender has not been a factor in their experience; the best negotiators are the most prepared.