A client is considering you for a job because he or she has a real
estate problem that needs to be solved. Now this is the tricky
part: As a broker, you have to ask the hard questions to get at the
reasons for the deal, while at the same time you have to know
when to shut up.
“If you are truly a problem solver, you have to find out what the
problem is before you can solve it,” Mills says. “I ask a litany of
questions tailored to elicit the response I’m looking for; however,
you need to let the client talk, “he adds. “If you keep talking, you
are not listening. You have to be a listener to be a problem solver.”
Spend time figuring out motivation, says Karen Spake, SIOR, a
senior associate broker at CB Richard Ellis/Sturges in Fort Wayne,
Indiana. What Spake likes to do is chat with the client and have a
presentation ready. However, once she learns through the discussion
what the motivation is for the client to lease, sell or buy, she can then
tailor the presentation to whatever that motivation might be.
“We go into initial meetings with the objective to find out why
they are doing what they are doing,” says Spake.
Barbara Johnson, SIOR, CCIM, a first vice president with
CB Richard Ellis in Salt Lake City, Utah, recently got the listing for
a downtown Salt Lake City office building by combining prepara
tion and problem solving.
The building was underleased in an Alocation, mostly because
it needed to be refurbished on the interior and exterior.
“We talked with the owner about what was happening in the
market in terms of competitive buildings,” says Johnson. “We
identified other buildings of the same class and status, especially
buildings that were older and were remodeled to attract tenants. We
talked about what refurbishment needed to be done in this particu
lar building. We provided the owner with a pro forma of what to
expect in the market.”
Johnson adds, “When you are going after a landlord or agency
listing, you have to come in with strategies to maximize value. It’s
not easy because there is more space available for fewer tenants,
but you have to be clever and creative.”
Johnson likes to do a preinterview with prospective clients. “I
ask them what their goals are, and what it is they are looking for in
terms of a listing agent. What do they expect? What can they do or
not do? I ask a lot of questions before I even make a presentation.
Then everything in my presentation and package is geared to what
they are trying to accomplish. I try to address everything in the
context of what they are trying to achieve.”
To separate themselves from the rest of the market, some brokers
like to present themselves as specialists in certain categories or
This is one way Spake competes for business in the 11 northeast
Indiana counties surrounding Fort Wayne.
“I pick out areas or specialties that I go after,” Spake says.
Recently, she brokered the sale of “a couple million dollarsworth”
of former farmland to an Indiana county.
“That land deal worked out very well, so I’ve been going after a
lot more land,” she says. One assignment she and her CBRE team
Bender Industrial Group
Jeffrey R. Bender, SIOR, CCIM