In the real estate brokerage industry, we thrive in great part based upon the quality of the relationships we build. This of course includes our clients, vendors, and other alliance partners. Yet, many in the business tend to avoid expanding this mindset to competitors and in the process, miss out in a variety of ways.
Communication & Trust Leads to Future Business
Trust is the cornerstone of all successful relationships, and our industry is no different. As advancing technology and the clients who depend on it demand even more from brokers, the need to increase your lines of communication is inevitable.
Don’t underestimate the importance of breaking bread with your competitors. The largest deals I ever completed were with brokers from other firms that knew me, my related expertise, and what I stood for as a professional. Building those close working associations takes time but are key to growing and sustaining a highly successful career.
Learning from Your Competitors
Whenever I talk with real estate’s top industry leaders, I am always inspired by their infectious optimism. They are also keenly aware that our business is constantly changing – now more than ever.
This elite group has developed an obsession with continual improvement, the ability to think on a long-term basis and an extraordinary skillset to convert today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities.
They also understand that interacting with the right people who productively talk about ideas, issues and relevant trends brings inherent value. This includes learning from their direct competitors. If they are doing this, why wouldn’t you?
Burning Bridges is Costly
Real estate can be a challenging industry that often requires difficult conversations to complex situations. The power of your connections and inner circle has a massive influence in your day-to-day dealings. The lack of that same network can also be costly.
In my first year in the business, I had an unfortunate run in with a senior broker from a competing firm. Being new and not fully understanding the intricacies that go along with deal making, I placed blame on him and in the process – burned a bridge. The karma side of our industry became apparent to me 3 months later when I required different information from that same individual.
To his credit, he took my call and gave me what I needed. In the process, he taught me how to be a better professional. Over the years, he also became one of my closest allies. I was fortunate – not everyone would respond with such kindness and class. Remember that in any negotiation, it is much easier to be harder on the problem and softer on the people.
If you are not already meeting and building closer alliances within the brokerage community, start today. You will not regret it.
There is one other important piece here. For those of us with tenure in commercial real estate we have a tremendous responsibility to set the example – being of service to others and upholding the standard of excellence within our industry.
Giving back to the next group of real estate professionals is critical, whether in our own firm or a competitor. Together, we can help bring in a whole new generation of innovators who believe in integrity, hard work and the importance of maintaining positive relationships across our competitive landscape.