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Who you know matters. Are you in with these 4 CRE partners?

Nov 3, 2016

black-and-white-city-man-people-761171-edited.jpgSuccess and failure in commercial real estate often comes down to who you know.

While cold calling and targeted marketing can produce viable leads, many of your best clients and deals come from word of mouth. The “I know a guy” game is strong in CRE, but it’s not all take, take, take. Commercial real estate karma is at play, too, which is why it’s important to build a strong network of tertiary contacts who can assist your clients in ways you cannot.

Providing access to useful service providers not only puts you in the good graces of your clients but also fosters appreciation and reciprocity among these complementary industry contacts. So the next time you’re out at a conference, networking event or simply scouting for new leads, be on the lookout for a solid backup band. A successful partner can garner you future business from existing clients, client referrals and professional referrals among those supporting industries.

Maybe you need to form new connections or strengthen existing ones, but it never hurts to check in with these four players and make sure your network is where it needs to be.

1. Lender

Most commercial real estate investors are well aware of their current financial state and access to funds, particularly if they’re in the throes of a deal. There are times, however, when having a strong lender contact to recommend can be really valuable. We’ve all seen deals fall apart at the 11th hour, which is when a trusted lender source can save the day.

Lender sources are also great to have at the ready when you’re checking in on existing clients or following up with new leads. Many deals have been killed by the phrase “I can’t afford it” or “I just don’t have that liquidity right now.” If that’s really the case, there’s not much you can do. But providing an honest contact within the financial world can bring peace of mind to you and your potential investor. Some investors are unaware of the loan products available to them, opening up a window of opportunity once these financial avenues are uncovered.

2. Architect and interior designer

Buying a space is only part of the battle. Owners also have to worry about current tenants, vacancies, improvements, deferred maintenance, best use and, eventually, their return on investment. While some properties can be handed over turnkey-ready with long-term tenants secured, others will need some help.

Read: Your next steps when a deal falls apart

Your job may be done once the sale closes, but providing this little bit of extra help in the form of a talented architect or designer recommendation can foster immense goodwill, compelling the property owner to work with you again in the future.

3. Contractor

Architects and designers tend to go hand in hand with builders. It’s nearly impossible to have one without the other. Be sure you have a reputable contractor in your rolodex to hand over to your client once it’s evident that work will need to be done on the property. It’s little help for an architect to provide stellar tenant improvement proposals if they can’t be executed on time and on budget.


Because these two professions share such a symbiotic relationship, you can also leverage your contacts in one industry to obtain valuable names from the other. Chances are high that great interior designer has a favorite contractor who works well with him. Chances are equally high that the contractor who just completed seismic retrofits for one of your other clients can probably name a local architect who produces beautiful, competitively-priced work.

4. Lawyer

Credible legal advice is paramount in the world of commercial real estate. Your clients potentially have millions of dollars on the line, and they need to be protected. As with lenders, a client probably already has legal representation that he or she can fall back on during an active deal. However, as with lenders, even these relationships can fall through. Remember, too, that people retire, change firms and relocate. You can be the one to save the day for a potential client if you’re able to provide a strong legal source who is knowledgeable about that particular type of deal’s complexities. 

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Topics: Best Practices

The Apto Team

Written by The Apto Team

Apto, the commercial real estate software company, is the #1 CRM and deal management platform for commercial real estate brokers, with more paid users than any other service. Apto was built by and for brokers to help them manage contacts, properties, listings and deals from anywhere, on any device. Apto customers include thousands of independent brokers around the world, as well as multinational brokerages CBRE, JLL, NKF, Cushman & Wakefield and others. Headquartered in Denver, Apto is one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., as ranked by Inc. magazine three years in a row.

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