How To Raise A Deal From The Dead

In a perfect real estate market, the interests of both the buyer and seller would fit together like a Mini Cooper between two Cadillac Escalades. 

But the real estate market in which you operate will never be perfect. You’ll usually find yourself hoping that closing doesn’t feel impossible. 

A moving market flows like the streets of New York itself, with things aligning so easily only rarely. Too many deals are left for dead by agents less determined than you. 

You can make the move happen with even the most contentious of deals. You can take an opportunity that seems almost impossible to maneuver, and turn it into a win. 

It’s taken me years to learn how.

Here’s what I do to resurrect a deal from the dead.

1. Follow up relentlessly

Err on the side of abundant clarity and overcommunication, even when you’re pretty sure you heard the flatline drone. As a broker, it’s your job to make sure both parties have all the facts available from the other side. In turn, this will give you as much information as possible to work with. 

Know every aspect of this deal — dead or not. Knowledge is power, so gather all the power you can. If something were to change on either side, you stand prepared to swoop in and turn things around. 

For example:

Sometimes when the market adjusts in the middle of a prospective deal, a buyer will get cold feet. But then shortly afterward, upon seeing more properties and realizing that there isn’t a better deal out there, they have a change of heart. In a situation like this, you can take your client’s reservations to the seller and say, “Hey things have changed and my buyer isn’t interested anymore, but might still be if…”

2. Don’t take “no” for an answer

Anytime your client presents an objection, you should be suspicious. Of course, not of your client — of the objection. Take the time to listen and get to the bottom of what’s really being said. Some objections are reasonable and indicate that this deal is not the right fit. Other objections are just plain absurd. It’s your job to keep asking questions. 

For example:

I once had a client who rejected a place because there was an explicit policy against noise disturbance. After a pause I asked, “What is it you want to do?” I can’t think of any place that explicitly says you can have ragers or host the Foo Fighters for a live show. They realized it really wasn’t a problem after all. 

3. Keep a log of all showings

The more notes you take, the more angles you have to approach the client with later. Write down what you noticed, what your client noticed, and any emotions expressed. You might notice common themes, complaints, or compliments about the property — things you can leverage later on.

For example:

“Remember that woman who really loved the apartment but never called us back? Maybe she’d be interested now that we dropped the price.” 

4. Let the bad news breathe

As a broker, you’re not just the go-between, you’re also the filter, the buffer, the message-softener. Sometimes the only thing that stands between your client and a dead deal is you. Sometimes people on either side want to act hastily out of disappointment or anger. You might be able to keep things alive by waiting a moment longer before relaying the message. 

For example:

If you’ve just been handed some deal-breaking news, take some time, and give them some room to rethink their decision. Think of it like an irreparable crime. “Before you commit this murder, are you sure you want to do this?”

5. Always remain calm and upstanding

With every interaction you have, with buyer or seller, maintain your composure and integrity. (Why do you think I meditate?) We cannot control the actions of other human beings, but we can control ourselves. If circumstances change suddenly, you want to be in a position where you can get someone back to the negotiation table, so to speak, without worrying about having to apologize first for the less-than-stellar way you treated them the last time you spoke.

Just because someone tells you a deal is dead does not mean it is. Keep the CPR going! You never know what you’ll get back to life. 

Share this article with your community: