Often it is the unspoken conversation that carries the most weight. For example, say you walk into a store and talk briefly to a salesperson about the weather outside. You are really testing out the salesperson at the same time, the unspoken questions being, “Can I work with you? Are you going to offer me a fair deal?” The questions and answers to these unspoken conversations are often unconscious.

In real estate investing, an awareness of unspoken conversations will improve your dealmaking abilities. The following negotiation techniques might just sway real estate deals in your favor.

This is powerful information, not to be used to take over small countries or take candy from children. Lady Karma has a way of catching up with all of us, so consider yourself warned.

Comfy seating

Our first example was published in Science. Researchers simulated the negotiation process by having participants imagine shopping for a new car. They noticed there was a difference in behavior between those who were sitting in a soft, padded seat and a hard, unpadded seat. “Buyers” were more likely to increase their offer up to 40% while in the cushy seat. (Think of the implications!)

The chance of a 40% increase will make anyone double check for soft seating arrangements around a negotiation table, right? Just make sure your seat is cushion-less so you stay firm on your numbers.

A hot drink

Our second example demonstrates the powerful effect of a hot cup of coffee or tea. Researchers Lawrence Williams and John Bargh suspected that there might be a connection between physical warmth and regarding someone in a warm way.

They proved their theory by asking people to hold a cup of coffee for a short time as a favor to the research assistant. The participates had no idea that holding the cup was part of the experiment. Some cups held iced coffee and others held hot coffee. The participates were then asked to rate a total stranger’s personality.

Williams said, “what we found was that there was a significant difference between the two groups, and their ratings of person A on the warm traits, such that participants who held the hot coffee cup saw person A as being more generous, more sociable. The people who held the cup of iced coffee saw person A as being less generous, antisocial, selfish.”

So, the take away is that physically cold objects promote psychological coldness and by the same principal, physical warmth promotes psychological warmth.

How can you use these negotiation techniques? Make sure to bring hot drinks to the table while getting to know potential clients.

A light touch

The third study focused on physical touch. Researchers at the University of Mississippi and Rhodes College ran an experiment studying the effects of interpersonal touch on tipping in a restaurant. They had waitstaff briefly touch customers on the hand or shoulder as they were returning their change. The waitstaff who touched their customers earned much larger tips than the ones who didn’t touch their customers.

I discounted this study at first, crediting the effects of flirting, but then reread the fine print. The waitstaff touched some of the customers on the shoulder so lightly it was considered barely noticeable. Researchers concluded, “The tipping rate for the two types of touch did not differ from each other and did not differ according to the customer’s gender. Both tipping rates were significantly larger than a control, no-touch condition.”

It was concluded that touch effects can occur without awareness. In further investigation, I found similar research studies have come to the same conclusions.

Use commonsense

I want to stress that unwanted touch can be considered harassment and completely creepy, so please take this study with a grain of salt. Use this information in the context of your situation.

Subliminal touch, what I am referring to, occurs when you touch a person so lightly that they barely notice. For example, tapping someone on the shoulder or touching their back can make them feel more positive toward you.


Now you have 3 negotiation techniques to sway real estate deals in your favor using the powerful, unconscious sense of touch. So, for your next deal bring hot coffee, choose a smart seating plan and greet your prospect with a handshake as well as a slight touch.

Learn more:

The Art of Negotiation: Six Simple Rules

10 Scents that Work Magic in Apartment Marketing and Leasing

The Art of Collaborative Competition


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Theresa Bradley-Banta writes about investing in real estate while avoiding the pitfalls that plague many new investors. She is a 2017 PropTech Top 100 Influencer and winner of 14 American and International real estate awards for her website and real estate investing programs. As featured on: The Equifax Finance Blog, AOL’s Daily Finance, Scotsman Guide, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, Stevie Awards Blog, Rental Housing Journal, and Investors Beat among others.

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