It may have been the chorus line in the memorable song from the 1951 hit musical “The King and I”, but it also happens to be the foundation of a solid broker-client relationship in commercial real estate.
If there is one thing I have learned in my 8 years of real estate experience, from Washington, DC to Frederick, MD, it is that no two clients are alike. Even if they have the same type of business or size requirements, I can promise you, their deals will be different.
Getting to know your client is one of the most important steps in finding the perfect space for them. Knowing my clients helps me think outside the box and follow through with those “gut” feelings.
So, why is it important to get to know more about our clients? First off, trust. Let’s face it, the market has been doing well over the last few years. This means that there are even more agents (residential and commercial) coming into the market. Tenants and landlords have their pick. This is why it’s even more important to gain trust and build a rapport with your client. Tenants want to know that they are working with someone who cares about their needs and is not just collecting a commission check. Ironically, landlords are looking for the same thing.
We all know the old saying “patience is golden”. Everyone’s parents have said that to them in their life at least once or twice.
The better you get to know your client, the more invested you become. If an agent is invested, then they are willing to wait the time it takes to find you the perfect property. This has proven to be true for me in the last few deals I’ve worked on. For example, there are two deals that recently closed that I had been working on since February. Ironically, both came to me around the same time and both closed around the same time. Twice during the search process, we thought we had found “the one”. As an agent, it would have been easy for me to just tell them to sign the deal and get it done. However, I knew that neither of these clients was fully happy. Both would have been settling if we had chosen to go for these first base properties. I wanted them to hit home runs. This leads me to that “gut feeling”.
“Gut Feelings” AKA Agent Experience
Ah, the “feeling”. While I’d like to believe it was all based on a feeling, the reality is that agents with experience can use just that—experience. Using the same clients as the example, once I had the opportunity to understand these clients and their businesses, that old feeling kicked in.
For example, one client originally came to me with a short timeline (2 months) and looking to for about 2k-3k SF. They wanted to sign a short-term lease (3 years) and then try to make a more permanent move following that lease term. While I knew they needed to get into something quickly, I did not want them to feel like they were just settling. Nor did I want them to spend money on a buildout and a space they weren’t happy in, just to move in three years. My “gut” – experience—told me to not let this client settle. I knew the perfect property for them, but also knew it would not be easy getting it to the finish line. Regardless, I pitched it to the client.
After the second showing, they told me that this would be their “forever” space. From that moment, I knew I needed to do everything in my power to make this deal. After nearly 4 months from showing, Letter of Intent (LOI), lease negotiations, and a few “fun” monkey wrenches thrown in, we made a deal! The client ended up in just under 8k SF and a much longer lease term.
The moral of the story is taking the time to get to know your client or your agent is key to accomplishing a successful real estate relationship. Trust leads to patience which leads to trusting your agent to make the right decision for you. However, in order to accomplish this, you have to start with the pre-step: Enlisting an agent for representation!
If you would like to learn more about this story or if you’re looking for representation, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashleigh Kiggans, Sales & Leasing Associate, joined the MacRo team in 2015. She plays a key role within the organization, assisting the leadership team across a wide range of initiatives, including market research, data analysis, client communications, and marketing while assisting with the sales and leasing transactional process.