expert opinion | the difference makers: 7 skills of every excellent tenant representative
August 31, 2023
The Difference Makers: 7 Skills of Every Excellent Tenant Representative
Author: Elyse Welch CCIM
Retail commercial real estate is a complex and constantly evolving field. Representing best-in-class retailers requires a specific set of skills. The below are my seven difference makers: the skills that separate the best from the rest.
Market Knowledge: The best tenant representatives have a deep understanding of their market (or any market they cover), including current trends, market conditions, major employers, shopping patterns, and target customers. Market knowledge comes from time in the market, understanding traffic patterns/submarkets, and utilizing data and analytics tools to help understand who lives, shops, and works in your market.
Strong Listening Skills: Listen. Read it again. Listen to your clients. You cannot learn anything when your mouth is moving. When you listen, you learn. Of course you need to communicate the market, but the listening comes into play when you hear them sharing their thoughts and feedback on a site or a market. Listen when they share their pain points, sticking points, or parts of the internal processes where you can provide additional support.
Strong Communication Skills: It almost goes without saying that the great ones must be able to communicate effectively with their clients, as well as potential landlords, sellers, and all other industry professionals. This includes being able to present opportunities in a compelling way, writing effective marketing materials/Real Estate Committee Packages, and being able to clearly explain complex financial transactions. Remember that there is no bad news. News is news, and do not wait to give news that could change the trajectory of a deal. Pro-tip: unless it’s Friday afternoon. No bad news on Friday. Over-communication is almost enough!
Your Reputation: They always say it’s not what you know, it’s who. The same applies to Tenant Representation. Great relationships with your brokerage network are critical. Your network creates your sphere of influence which will either give you the opportunity to be the first to know or not. (If you are not first, you ARE last. No in-between, according to Ricky Bobby, and I agree). Always be honest. Act with integrity and understand that the brokers who are on the other side of a deal today could be on the same side of a deal with you tomorrow.
Strong Organizational Skills: In order to get a deal done, you have to know where the deal is for everyone: where it is in the world. Where it is in the deal cycle. Where it is in the approval cycle. Organize your deals. Organize your clients. Organize your calendar. Find a solution that works for you and your clients. We have found Smartsheet to be one of our most effective organizational tools.
Provide Value: Providing Value is probably the most important of all these skills. Providing Value can look different depending on the client and situation, ranging from catching a missing detail in a transaction, anticipating needs/questions before they arise, or negotiating great deal terms which accomplish clients’ goals, to as simple as being a fun tour guide while on the road or remembering a birthday.
Adaptability: The retail commercial real estate industry is constantly changing. Great brokers are able to understand and adapt to new trends and market conditions so they can stay ahead of the trends. They should be able to think creatively and be open to new technology, ideas, and opportunities in order to successfully represent their clients. Technology is just the science to the art of deal making.
While the above seven are certainly not the only skills that are required, these seven skills are the difference makers. Why be good, when you can be the Expert?