Ever wonder what executives are looking for when selecting a broker? The Howard Hughes Corporation/The Woodlands Development Company asked three top executives their take on brokers in a special Q&A session. Joining us were Mr. Klay Kimker, Retired VP of Administration for Devon Energy Corporation, Mr. Timothy Jeffrey, Corporate Real Estate at Kiewit Corporation and Mr. David Bradley, President & CEO of Nexeo Solutions.

 

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES YOU LOOK FOR WHEN SELECTING A BROKER?

Kimker:  The most important attribute of a broker is integrity. He/she must always do the right thing, no matter what. In addition, a broker must have complete knowledge of the market, a firm grasp on the economic terms acceptable to different landlords and an understanding of landlord requirements. What are the deal breakers for each landlord? Who will waive specific requirements? Who will not? In addition, it’s important for a broker to have a respectful relationship with multiple landlords. While a broker has to negotiate on our behalf, we still expect him/her to do so in a tough but respectful manner.

Jeffrey:  At Kiewit, we place most importance on the individual versus his/her agency affiliation. We look for an individual who is articulate, earnest, experienced and knowledgeable in the market, and one who participates in problem solving.

Bradley:  I appreciate a broker who demonstrates credibility and efficiency by understanding and aligning to my needs. Don’t waste our time and yours with a sales pitch that isn't relevant.  Insure the pitch is on-message, keep it crisp and you'll retain our attention.

 

WHAT MAKES A BROKER PRESENTATION STAND OUT?

Kimker:  Everyone has a different style and presentation ability. Some are more articulate, some are better behind the scenes and some are more confident. Practice, be prepared and have an understanding of expressions and hand gestures. In addition, incorporate pictures into your presentation as pictures are worth a thousand words.

Jeffrey:  A professional presentation that is succinct will stand out amongst others.

Bradley:  When done well, a sales presentation can help build a connection and distinguish your business from competitors.  Captivating your audience involves being prepared with relevant information, and a pitch that actively includes the prospective client in the discussion. Companies and executives have access to enormous amounts of information, making it challenging for brokers to offer a fresh perspective on why their business provides something that cannot be found anywhere else. 

 

WHAT'S THE BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN A PRESENTATION THAT YOU HAVE SEEN?

Kimker:  Having an economic model that can be changed instantly to review various financial scenarios would make a positive impact during a presentation.

Jeffrey:  Technology is not important.

Bradley:  Using sophisticated technology for the sake of technology can take away from a presentation versus enhancing it. In such a competitive marketplace, brokers need persuasive information to convert an opportunity into success. Craft a set of messages that push us to think about our challenges and environments in a new way.

 

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST MISTAKE A BROKER CAN MAKE WHEN PITCHING FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Kimker:  Be confident -- not arrogant -- have humility and listen. Be accurate and know how to operate your computer and run your presentation.

Jeffrey:  A big mistake is to overpromise.

Bradley:  Not projecting a customer’s reality, but trying to create their own. It is no secret that customers respond most to who solves a current problem. A successful sales pitch will acknowledge that problem (via research) and provide a solution. Each pitch should speak to the unique challenges of the business you are pitching.

 

BROKERS OFTEN COLD-CALL PROSPECTS. WHAT WOULD CATCH YOUR EYE AND PIQUE YOUR INTEREST IF SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW IS REACHING OUT TO YOU?

Kimker:  Have something interesting and relevant to offer like a market study or article to catch one’s interest. Ask penetrating questions and empathize with the tenant for their needs.  Follow-up with persistence but don’t be pesky.

Jeffrey:  Referrals are very effective when cold-calling. 

Bradley:  Don’t cold-call. Spend time creating relationships wherever you go, then map into companies through your relationships.

 

AFTER A BROKER WINS YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THAT BROKER?

Kimker:  We want a broker to continue advising us and to maintain contact. Call and have lunch to discuss how things are, what’s coming up, any issues in the building, etc. Keep the personal contact and build a long-lasting relationship.

Jeffrey:  Our expectations are for a broker to be professional and assertive, and have great detail and follow through. The broker must engage in the transaction beyond the mere match-making scope.

Bradley:  Always have the contract and full knowledge of every detail in the contract. If anything extra was offered, or points of value were included, it should be written down to show your client what they get when they make a decision with you. This is important with the execution of the agreement.