Friday, October 25, 2019

5 LOVE Languages of Commercial Real Estate Brokers

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 My wife, Carla and I were introduced to Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, in 2011. This classic easy read was originally published in 1995 and contains the keys to a successful relationship - by understanding your mate’s love language and learning to speak it!

If you are unfamiliar, as was I, with the five languages, they are touch, time, affirmation, gifts, and service. It is quite coincidental that we discovered the book while on a forty-five day road trip around the US. Carla’s language is time and mine is affirmation - so the trip was time spent together with some affirming words to me that we wouldn’t go broke as we abandoned our day jobs for a little R and R.

The book caused me to reflect recently on the five love languages that we experience as commercial real estate brokers - so I decided to spend some time in your service, touching the keys to exercise my creativity in producing this gift to you. Hopefully, at least four or five of you out there provide me with some affirmation - whew! Got ‘em ALL.

So, in no particular order, here are the five love languages of Commercial Real Estate - AKA, what drives us.

Money. You will know this guy’s language straight away if you get in the way of a money driven broker and a dollar bill. He will bowl you over to get to the greenback. This broker will sacrifice his client for the commission and is looking for the quickest way to the paycheck. Doing what’s best for the client? - only if it results in the largest
fee - not my favorite guy with whom to negotiate.

Relationships. Golf, Laker’s games (well maybe in the early 2000’s), cocktails, lunches, gifts at Christmas, gifts at birthdays, gifts for gifts - this guy is ALL about the relationship and keeping the client happy, healthy, well fed and well watered. Generally, his clients are his friends as well. Dining with spouses, vacations - why not invite a client/friend to join. 

Analysis. Sometimes referred to in the biz as the “over broker”, this practitioner’s hallmark is the spreadsheet. Lease vs buy, effective rent, amortization, termination penalties - you name it, he spreads it - he spreads even your thinning patience. Done in the name of “what’s best for his client”, this broker is a frustrated engineer. Let’s just zoom back here and see the deal for its good points, shall we?

The “Deal”. AKA, the deal junkie, this guy is all about making transactions - big, small, it simply doesn’t matter - he just enjoys watching two parties say yes. He would have been a justice of the peace but the hours suck. Generally, this guy is creative and has myriad transaction experience from which to draw. If you move on past his listing, he will hound you until you place your occupant in another building - then he will hound your client.

Drama. Proportions are blown with this fellow. The simplest item becomes a federal case and you wonder if he even consulted his client before he blew his stack. Yelling, screaming, and constant F-bombs are a steady diet. A smooth transaction is out of the question - what fun would that be?

Well, there you have the minimum. But I thought of a couple more - Bonus Languages.

Networking. Provisors, BNI, Chambers of Commerce, RBN, SIOR, CCIM - this guy is EVERYWHERE! Sometimes I wonder when he finds time to transact amidst this flurry of swapping business cards. His elevator pitch is honed, rarely delivered without passion, and with scant regard to the setting. Yep - even at his daughter’s dance recital!

Legalities. Few of us are lawyers but many of us get our Perry Mason on when negotiating a contract. Let’s leave the waivers of subrogation, mutual indemnities, and liquidated damages to those with ESQ following their names - shall we?

So, what is your Commercial Real Estate love language? I would really appreciate your comments.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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