CRE Collaboration: Service Partner Relationships

February 6, 2023 | By: Dusty Muck

Andrew Carnegie once stated, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Vendors and property management teams, everyday work to improve operational efficiency, environmental sustainability, tenant care, and more. Working together is integral to the success of our commercial properties and their organizational objectives and often lead to uncommon results, just as Carnegie defined. I sat down and discussed property management and vendor relationships with Jansen Trentham, Shane Froman, and Shawn Benjamin. Here is what they had to say.

Growing Relationships

Jansen Trentham, General Manager, Core Property Capital, knows about collaboration with service partners. This teamwork approach has helped his team execute quickly and with precision.

“Having that ongoing relationship helps so much with being able to collaborate and take action quickly. Items that are large spend capital projects are going to have months of planning.”

“You are going to have to figure out who you are going to work with, what is going to fit where, and when you have a relationship with someone who is familiar with your property, who doesn’t have to have that lead time to get you more accurate answer on what the needs of your property are going to be and you can evolve with the needs of your tenants and take a more proactive approach to problem solving.” Trentham explained.

“In this industry, the more you have these working relationships, and you have that back-and-forth communication, that is a huge increase in time savings and tenant satisfaction. As a property manager that is invaluable.”

Shane Froman, Senior Vice President, Lincoln Properties, has had years of work with vendors to produce uncommon results for tenants.

“If there is an open dialogue and open discussion you have the ability to have very upfront and frank conversations whether it is good or bad and that allows you to head-off moments of time that can be uncomfortable. By collaborating constantly, you are advancing the industry by having open communication which allows us to move forward faster. An example of this is with Shawn Benjamin, Atlantic Paper, and myself.” Froman discussed.

“He keeps me aware of where we are in pricing aspects and real-life scenarios. We need information from all our partners. We are all in this together to create bottom line value for our clients.”

Building Value

So where does Froman find the most value from his vendor relationships?

“That is easy: knowledge. Management has always been expected to know a little about a lot of different things, so we are very dangerous when it comes to each of those topics individually. Whatever it might be: HVAC, electrical, janitorial or whatever. We know a little to be dangerous and enough to be smart about it and learn by trial by fire in many ways.”

“Where the vendor partner comes in, and I can speak on many companies, like Shawn, where I reach out on a regular basis and say give me the scoop on this. Give me the knowledge and how is this going to affect x, y, and z. It is their specific knowledge of their particular industry or trend in that industry that is helping me move forward in that particular area.” Froman explained.

Trentham expressed a similar sentiment. “Often, as landlords, we look property by property and don’t realize that a solution that works at one, may work in all the buildings. It is a way to make a more solidified portfolio.”

Working With Vendors

“Working with vendors that you trust and who have that expertise that can recommend products, that I, as a property manager, know next to nothing about, who can bring my level of understanding up to somewhat close to theirs.” Trentham explained. “They can bring my understanding to a level where I realize what the benefit or value is and how it is going to drive change for our tenants and what I can communicate, most importantly, so they can see what is being done on their behalf. I think that is just such a huge way to build those relationships and it is a super valuable one to have.”

As a vendor, supporting the Commercial Real Estate Industry, Shawn Benjamin, Account Manager, Atlantic Paper, takes a very proactive approach to help his customers.

“For years, I tried to put myself in the shoes of a Property Manager or Owner and try to understand what is their pain point, what are their daily struggles and understand where my value is at. And how do I bring whatever I can, whether it is product, knowledge, or a service to them?”

Collaboration in Commercial Real Estate

“I try and take one of the hats off these professionals, so they take care of their other tasks. I think true collaborations allow the CRE professional to be successful, the vendor partner to be successful and it’s easier to understand when you have these conversations. The best collaboration is developed over time.” Benjamin continued. “I was thinking about Shane the other day and how we got to know each other. We both had similar interests and through the years developed a deeper relationship.”

“So even when Shane left the Property Management side and went to the vendor-side, we still maintained that relationship. When he got back into it, he felt a comfort level and he trusted that I have his best intentions at heart, and that stuff doesn’t just materialize overnight.” Benjamin, with years of experience, has had the opportunity to guide others in their journeys around the CRE industry.

Growing a strong relationship with your vendor partners can have immense and positive effects on your property. They provide industry knowledge and are able to answer specific questions at your own property. Open discussions of pain points, as well as the solutions vendors can have to them, can enhance the experience for both tenants and managers. Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision, and the partnerships between management teams and their vendor partners can make all the difference in achieving those goals.


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