How to Say Less and Get More in a Negotiation

Negotiation is a key part of working in real estate. From ensuring both the buyer and seller can come together to get what they need or working productively with your team or brokerage, it’s a skill that can always be improved.

Fotini Iconomopoulos, nicknamed “the negotiator” as a child, is an internationally recognized high-stakes negotiator. She joins us on Episode 44 of REAL TIME to discuss some of her more unconventional tactics for negotiation. Throughout her career, Iconomopoulos has helped Fortune 500 leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs use these core principles to achieve their goals and gain a competitive edge.

Here’s a few points that stood out to us after getting to know Iconomopoulos.

Have a strategy for dealing with ghosts

According to Iconomopoulos, how we communicate can impact our ability to negotiate. Specifically, the importance of things like the words we choose, the tone with which we present them, the mediums we use, and how we incorporate the strategy of saying less, to get more. No one likes to be ghosted, and it’s often unintentional when using digital communications tools like text, email, and messenger. In the episode, Iconomopoulos breaks down the best and worst times to use these tools and how we can productively jumpstart a negotiation after it stalls.

Don’t be afraid to explore your emotions

There’s a lot to learn from Iconomopoulos; her book, Say Less, Get More gets into more of her personal experiences, whether negotiating high stakes deals for her clients or teaching her MBA course and dealing with confrontation-driven anxiety. She explains, studies on emotions and their impact on performance suggest fear and anxiety often impede desired outcomes. One study referenced, found a simple self-talk exercise reframing anxiety as excitement, led participants to better performance on math and speech tests – not to mention better vocal performances when singing in front of a crowd.

In the episode, Iconomopoulos also explains one exercise that she often does with her students. You can easily try it out while listening!

Value the relationship

For negotiations to be most effective, Iconomopoulos says preparation is key. What some don’t realize, however, is the groundwork you lay out to start a conversation is just as important as the preparation you complete before arriving at the negotiation.

We learn spending even a few minutes talking about things unrelated to your negotiation can have a positive impact on the outcomes. One study found 90% of those who spent a few minutes getting to know each other before opening the floor to the negotiation at hand, managed to close deals, compared to 55% of those in the group who got straight to business. The group who spent those extra few minutes also closed deals 12% greater in value.

She explains how digging deeper, finding the ‘why’ behind the things people value, and trying your best to remove some of the fear of the unknown from the equation, can make a world of difference.

“…the whole point of my life is to not have arguments. Negotiations don’t have to be arguments. They can just be really simple conversations between two people.”

Fotini Iconomopoulos

Keep your negotiation skills sharp

Whether you’re just starting out in real estate, or you have years of experience, Iconomopoulos provides valuable tips for preparing for a substantial negotiation. We even walk through an exercise to determine your default tendencies when it comes to business and self-awareness.

You can listen to this episode and others, wherever you listen to podcasts, or at

Dawn Faithfull is a Communications Advisor at CREA. Find her BTS of the REAL TIME podcast, on socials, or writing content for CREA and Dawn has previously worked in marketing, communications, and event management everywhere from national restaurant brands, to international events and entertainment companies. If she isn’t working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, reading, or outside enjoying everything from water sports to cycling.

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