Whether it’s leadership or doing deals, I have seen no better indicator of success than communication and alignment of goals. I’ve never heard anybody say, “Whoa, you’re over-communicating here… I don’t want to know your objectives.”
As brokers, we can either be brought into the fold and provided transparency to the client or we can be treated as a tool to be deployed as the client sees fit. While I have worked in both situations, an open line of communication and transparency has always resulted in a smoother process while achieving an optimal outcome.
I worked on a large headquarters project for a consumer goods company last year. At the project outset, the client was very open about his goals for the project, his board’s expectations, and what his staff needed to be successful. From there, we set out to establish a blueprint for success including milestone dates, identification of key deliverables, and buy-in from other stakeholders.
The deal went about as smoothly as they can go. While it wasn’t an easy deal, there were no surprises and each hurdle was tackled appropriately. The project was a success and everybody was thrilled with the outcome.
By contrast, I had an industrial client that kept their project objectives close to the vest, doling out information only has he saw it. While he understood the need for a broker, he felt that if he kept us at arms-length, he would be able to manage us and by extension the deal. It left us struggling to communicate his needs to the landlord and constantly going back to him for more information, which he would spoon feed as necessary.
Every hurdle we encountered took additional time to clear and it required much more back-and-forth and was really necessary. While the project did end with the client securing the space they needed, everyone left feeling frustrated.
I understand that it’s sometimes difficult to determine what should be shared and what should be reserved. But when in doubt, a frank conversation and open communication will go a long way towards creating a cohesive team that generates a positive outcome.