Friday, September 20, 2013

"How to" lose a commercial real estate deal...and like it!


I provide Location Advice to owners and to occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...AKA, I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984.

I HATE to lose and if you relish losing, you will not be terribly successful in the commercial real estate game as a silver medal doesn't pay very well...like zero! I recently lost an assignment that I should have won (but don't we believe we should win them all?).

Once the shock of losing wore off, I became philosophical and would like to share that with you.

As one of my partners said to me..."you actually may have won and don't know it". So how do you lose a commercial real estate deal and like it?

Consider why you lost: Were you the right choice? Why? Was the assignment in your "wheel house", could you sight several examples of SIMILAR transactions that you have completed? Did you have a relationship with the decision maker or was the interview your first introduction? Were you dealing directly with the final decision maker? Was the fix in and you were just a "folder filler" to justify hiring someone else?"How to" like it: Courteously engage with the decision maker after the decision is made and ask what you could have done differently to earn the business. See if you can glean the "real reason" that the choice was made. LISTEN to what is said and respond accordingly. The next time you compete for a similar assignment, you will know the deficiency and can prepare accordingly. Hint: My experience has indicated that the larger the RFP, the higher the likelihood of losing. Someone is "adding value" by making you compete. The one chosen will have some angle...trust me!

Why did you compete? Some of the largest and most complicated commercial real estate transactions I have  completed required NO competition for the assignment. That sounds counter intuitive, I know, but it is true. In many cases, I have forged solid relationships with owners and occupants so that once my services were needed, there was no interview...I was already hired...because over the course of building the rapport with the client my capabilities were understood and my value was realized. "How to" like it: Relationships that begin today may lead to transactions in the future...so keep meeting, greeting, and learning how you can help the relationships that you build. Hint: People do business with those they know, like and trust. Sounds simple but rarely will this code be broken. You may the most likable and trustworthy candidate but if they don't KNOW you...forget it!

Be gracious in defeat: Jack Nicklaus, probably the greatest golfer ever and one of the fiercest competitors of all time won 20 major championships and 73 professional golf tournaments. He finished second in an astonishing 39 major championships! Jack Nicklaus is the sport's greatest champion but also was a quintessentially gracious loser. He would immediately congratulate the winner and compliment them on their victory. "How to" like it: Find out who won the assignment, contact them and congratulate them. Offer your assistance. If you don't know the person who received the assignment, strike a relationship with them. You lost an assignment but you can win a new relationship. Hint: The victor will be "blown away" that you acknowledged the victory and will remember that you are a "class act"...they might even share some insight as to why they were chosen.

Losing is always tough but remember you can still like it and good things are ahead...and you may have "won" by not being selected for the assignment. Small consolation today...big benefits tomorrow.