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 negotiate 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 that 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
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
Bradley: Not projecting a customers’ 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 is 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
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