Domain Negotiations: The Art of Being Nice


You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, an old saying goes. Any negotiation that involves interaction between two individuals is governed by this very "law" that defines the benefits of being cordial to the other person.

The Internet might have brought millions of people closer, but it has also created a protective layer for those that really need to polish their communication skills.

Typing from behind a screen and a keyboard takes away certain benefits of conversing via the phone, or in person. Most of the time, the written word does not convey well the intended tone, particularly when business inquiries are involved.

Domain names can be made available for sale or lease, just like real estate. The fact is, that the general public lacks understanding that very similarity, and quite often tension builds up.

Seasoned domain investors grow a layer of thicker skin as time goes by, but not everyone has the stomach to deal with insensitive queries. We're human after all, and might slip up when replying to a domain name inquiry, in a way that is misunderstood, or in a brash and rude manner.

Being reactive has no room in domain sales, and the Uniregistry Brokerage team receive extensive training about how they respond to prospective buyers that get out of line.

Experienced domain brokers and domain investors are able to utilize a positive attitude towards inquiries and responses that lack it. After all, the idea is to achieve a sale, not to blow up all chances for a deal. Imagine if real estate professionals, such as Realtors, addressed insufficient offers or queries in a manner that defied dignity and lacked professionalism ⁠— they would quickly lose their pool of clients, and even their license.

In domain negotiations, the art of being nice is the ability to deflect incoming negativity, instill a positive attitude, and clear the atmosphere even when it becomes very toxic.

So what type of responses should someone use to deal with domain buyers who might not be nice themselves?

The first and most important part of dealing with a communication that was out of line is to give yourself space and time away from it.

Sometimes, this means physically walking away from the medium that delivered that message ⁠— your phone, your laptop, your office computer. The idea is to let these words lose their immediate effect, whether that was intentional or accidental. By stepping away from the fire, you let it consume its own oxygen, and not yours.

The second step involves responding to the inquiry, and this is your time to shine. Plan out your thoughts, and write the response as if the initial communication carried no toxic undertones.

Is it an email demanding a cheap price for the domain, or a counter-offer that went sour because the other party gawked at the price? Focus on the facts, and deliver a factual response without any emotion or reference to the heat you received.

Remember, that heatwave has already dissipated, as long as you gave yourself time and space away from it. In fact, you can reverse that heat with your own "cool" wave of nice words: Thank the other party for contacting you, or for pointing out their frustration. Turn the mirror on them in a way that they lose the intensity of their argument, and help them understand that the channel of communication is open.

Pro tip: Open your statement with a thank you phrase, and acknowledge their argument by saying that this is a very good question. Proceed with explaining the facts and rationale of your quoted price, or the use of your domain name. Seek their feedback, thus passing the ball back to them.

A few months ago I was taunted by a potential buyer who did not like the plain fact the domain is already registered. It was one of these cases that a person or company believe that their idea is unique, that their chosen brand should not exist already, and question the motives of me owning the domain in the first place.

Instead of antagonizing my prospective buyer, my response was to indicate how great their idea is, and how it'd grow better under their management. I also shared my motives of domain investing in a manner that was not imposing on their pure lack of understanding how the secondary domain market works. Instead of being pedantic, I was sympathetic to their "agony" and demonstrated my willingness to listen to their plans about the brand.

What did I gain with this approach?

The prospective buyer became much less defensive with their responses. I gave them time to rethink the quoted price under a fresh light: their brand choice is great, and it needs the matching .com domain in order to shine. My use of the domain was different, and by acknowledging that their idea was better, I complimented them enough to move the sale forward. End result, a good sale that would not have occurred if I had told them to go away, or if I had returned the amount of heat I received.

Conclusion: Being nice does not mean you become a mat for others to step on. It's a strategic, effective technique to help you reshape bad communication that will head nowhere, into a breath of fresh air that disarms the other party, redefines the rules of engagement, and hopefully leads to a successful domain name sale.

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