By Ben Eisenberg
As commercial real estate properties, investors, tenants, consumers, sources of capital, and technology evolve, the industry’s professionals and how we work must change as well to ensure ongoing success.
In the past, a commercial real estate broker could be a successful independent operator. Today, our work has become more about helping people solve problems strategically than it is about selling or leasing space. With clients demanding more consultative services today, many professionals realize the benefits of providing client-focused services over traditional brokerage and, thus, seeking opportunities at multidisciplinary firms.
When leasing space on behalf of a landlord, getting the desired results takes more than waiting for a potential tenant to come to you for the deal. Owners want to know that your team can generate and utilize accurate market research, creatively market space, maintain and capitalize on quality relationships, advise and execute on attracting and retaining tenants amidst competition, and negotiate all aspects of a deal, always with the ultimate goal to enhance the value of the asset. Rather than one broker, the job requires a team of specialists to assume the various roles. The same goes for investment sales, development, asset services, and so on. And, in many cases, clients with multiple assets and wide-ranging needs require teams to collaborate across service lines (e.g., leasing and asset services or capital markets and investment management).
In addition to having members of diverse knowledge, skills, and talents on specific teams, a firm’s ability to offer expertise across property types is imperative. Increasingly, investors and developers are dealing with several property types as well as mixed-use assets. If clients have the option of selecting one firm to service the differing needs of all their assets, whether industrial, office, retail, or mixed-use, they will experience much greater value. Moreover, collaboration across property types internally can reveal new strategies and opportunities.
As corporations expand to connect with clients and consumers spanning the nation, geographic coverage has become vital to a successful partnership. Numerous corporations today seek service providers who can handle their real estate needs in those various markets. A firm with offices and collaborating teams in several markets (i.e., port markets, major metro areas, and/or key distribution hubs) add additional layers of value and can better assist clients in discovering opportunities and achieving economies of scale in portfolios. Trends often spread from market to market. Multiple market reach allows firms to alert clients to prospects in one place based on what’s happening in another and continue the relationship as the client’s geographic focus shifts.
Lastly, as your firm and teams within reflect diverse expertise across disciplines, services, property types, and markets, so should your team members as individuals. Age, gender, and cultural diversity in the business world matter today more than ever before to build relationships in quality, quantity, and geographic reach. Also, with more generations and cultures represented in every industry and level of the U.S. workforce, a diverse team can better communicate in multiple ways – whether in language, cultural practice, or type of communication – to a broad range of clients.
Transwestern is a diversified real estate enterprise that serves the diverse needs of the professionals who work at our firm and the clients we serve. Technology and access to information have undoubtedly changed the commercial real estate industry. Rather than viewing the shift as a reason to catch up to what’s happening, it’s better to see it as an opportunity to stay ahead.
Ben Eisenberg serves as Executive Managing Director of Transwestern’s Florida operations and specializes in industrial services.