Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: A Balancing Act

Real estate professionals must be well-versed in scripts and skilled in improvisation.

Marc Allen of Transwestern.

Who was the greater musical genius, Bach or Coltrane? Neither—or, that is to say, both.

Bach was a composer who mastered the creation of beautiful music while adhering to the “rules” of Baroque composition. Coltrane, on the other hand, was a master of improvisation wherein he thrived on the interaction between other members of his group.

To be successful, a real estate adviser must be both a composer working from a set of rules and scripts as well as an improviser able to move fluidly from one solution to another, one client industry to the next, and so on. More specifically, those of us tasked with communicating to clients, vendors, and consultants must strive to excel at both composition and improvisation. Each is necessary depending on the situation.

For example, when preparing to demonstrate the benefit of certain products or services to a potential client, it would be ideal to “compose” the conversation beforehand with an opening, support for the argument, and a closing. Since meetings of that type rarely go as planned, there’s a good chance the client may lead the discussion down an unanticipated path. Skilled communicators and brokers must improvise with the same fluidity from the original, well-planned conversation.

Demonstrating equal facility in both preparation and adapting to change will set real estate advisers apart from those who thrive on only one discipline or the other.

Some do a disservice to their clients by determining too soon which solution suits their needs best. Should they relocate or renew? Should they build or buy? In reality, advisers need to spend more time understanding and assessing a client’s objectives before considering these and other questions.

The relationship is a balance of composed scripts and creative improvisation.

Take time to listen to both giants of music, Bach and Coltrane, with an ear searching for how they mastered their form. It is an inspiration on how to bring the same elegance to any situation you may encounter in your work.

Marc Allen is a principal at Transwestern.