I’m the Shark, all class in an expensive suit. I project confidence. I’m aggressive, but I’m also a chameleon who pays attention to all players of the game. People’s business styles fascinate me. It’s like watching a wildlife show on the Discovery Channel. Some agents are all boast and bravura, thumping their chests as if they are gorillas, while others attempt to draw you in, all affection and excitement, like puppies.

Don’t confuse their styles with their abilities to close. The deal is the deal no matter how it’s delivered. But understanding the difference between style and substance is key to the Altman Close.

Sometimes, as I’m getting to know my counterpart, I use the mirroring technique. I might be running around and an agent yells, “Josh, I’m sending you an offer on Wilshire today, man!” I yell back over my shoulder, “Thanks, man! Can’t wait!” I’ve matched the off-hand tone and we both keep moving. I might encounter another agent, a “dot the i and cross the t” type who says, “I’m submitting an offer by 4 p.m. I’d like to hear from you immediately.” With that style, I might push back a little, reaffirming leverage. “I’m looking forward to it. Lots of action on that house” and walk off. I like to leave that type hanging.

If you study business styles, there turns out to be a label for just about everyone. Labels are bad in negotiations because if someone knows your “type,” they’ll turn it against you. So it’s easy, don’t have a “type.” ...

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