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•;You can’t ask the right questions unless you
know the right questions to ask.
•;You have to listen.
•;We speak to our clients less about real estate
and a lot more about business objectives.
John Barker Jr., SIOR
John Barker, SIOR and Andrew Zezas, SIOR are not your typical SIORs. Barker no longer does much in real estate broker ing and is instead senior vice president for develop ment of Red Rock Developments in Charlotte. Further north, Zezas sits in the corner suite as CEO of Real Estate Strategies Corp. in Somerset, New Jersey. Technically, RE Strategies does tenant repre sentation, but Zezas likes to say his firm’s specialty is corporate advising. What Barker and Zezas have in common is a suc cinct way of explaining how good real estate deals get prepped through the right line of questions.
In essence, to be successful as a broker, tenant
rep, developer or whatever, you need to ask the right
Both Zezas and Barker suggest the right questions
are not always about real estate.
“The fundamental question that we are often too
scared to ask is, “What is driving your project?’”
says Barker. Ask yourselves, “Why is the client doing
this? And, what is the client trying to accomplish?”
Zezas adds, “I find too many real estate people
only speak real estate; they care less about the drivers
of the deal than about the real estate transaction. But,
they need to know more about the financial, opera
tional, and strategic objectives driving that real estate
David Cook, SIOR
By Steve Bergsman
Andrew Zezas, SIOR
Here are some of their best lines:
The Right Stuff
It’s all about motivation — what is making the
client to sell, buy, or lease? To come up with the right
solution, it helps to know the answer. Otherwise, as a
broker, you could find yourself running all over town
for months on end in a fruitless quest for the right
It’s not always easy to elicit the truth from the
David Cook, SIOR, a managing director for
Sperry Van Ness in Dallas, Texas, offers this hint: the
first answer you get is the one that sounds the best, it’s
just not necessarily the true motivation, or even the
“Sometimes you need to ask the question two
or three different ways because the second or third
answer you get is the real answer,” Cook says. “The
first answer sounds good, but if you keep digging you
"To be successful as
a broker, tenant rep,
developer or whatever,
you need to ask the right