Relationship Building in CRE: Communicate Consistently

July 3, 2023 | By: Jenifer Wright

The commercial real estate industry relies on strong relationships between property managers and vendors to achieve optimal results. This article will discuss the importance and benefits of relationship building in commercial real estate, with a focus on communication as a crucial component of successful partnerships.

The Importance of Relationship Building

In commercial real estate, fostering solid relationships between property managers and vendors is essential for achieving successful outcomes. Effective collaboration can lead to improvements in operational efficiency, environmental sustainability, tenant care, and more. The partnership between Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, and Structural Restoration Solutions, a specialty contracting company, exemplifies the benefits of establishing strong connections in the industry.

Cushman & Wakefield and Structural Restoration Solutions collaborated on a parking deck rehabilitation project at 3379 Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia. This complex, $1,000,000-plus project presented significant challenges, including noise issues and logistical phasing. To overcome these hurdles, the two companies maintained regular communication through weekly meetings, project updates, and a two-week look-ahead schedule. This constant flow of information allowed them to collaborate effectively, address problems, and ensure that the project stayed on track.

The project’s success hinged on the strong relationship that had been built over time through prior collaborations. The rapport established between the two companies meant that they could trust each other and work together more efficiently. This trust allowed them to address challenges creatively and collaboratively, ultimately leading to an award-winning result.

Best Practices for Relationship Building

To foster strong relationships and reap the benefits of them, you must invest the time in your peers over time. Relationships are more than just a phone call. Get to know one another beyond just the work environment. Get to know about their kids, their family, what they do for fun. Find out what you have in common outside of the office. Then make those connections outside of business hours. Grab dinner or a drink, schedule an activity that you both enjoy. Connect! Building a strong relationship with your partners in CRE can ensure numerous benefits, and here are a few tips to help you foster strong and effective vendor-manager partnerships.

It is important to start small with your projects. Begin by collaborating on smaller projects to build trust, demonstrate expertise, and establish a solid foundation for future collaborations. This approach allows both parties to learn each other’s work styles, strengths, and weaknesses, setting the stage for more complex projects down the line.

Communicate Consistently

One of the most crucial aspects of relationship building in commercial real estate is maintaining open and regular communication. Clear, consistent communication allows both parties to manage expectations, align goals, and work collaboratively to overcome challenges that may arise during a project.

A constant flow of information facilitates the development of creative solutions, ensuring that all parties stay on the same page and work towards the same objectives. Make sure you maintain regular communications, outside of projects or proposals. Don’t be a person your property managers hate to hear from, be a friend, not a salesperson.

During a project, share relevant information openly and honestly with your partners, even when it may be challenging or uncomfortable. Transparency is key to building trust and fostering a collaborative environment. This open communication will help prevent misunderstandings, manage expectations, and enable effective collaboration.

Be proactive, not reactive

Anticipate challenges and potential issues and develop contingency plans to address them. Taking a proactive approach can help minimize disruptions and ensure the project remains on track. At 3379 Peachtree, we knew traffic pattern changes would require extensive planning, as well as at the entrance/exit locations.

Clear and constant communication was necessary to ensure there were no injuries or accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. Our teams collaborated regularly to prepare for the what ifs so we can make sure to avoid them. As you complete your projects, acknowledge, and celebrate the achievements of both parties. Recognizing each other’s contributions can strengthen the relationship and foster a positive working environment. This can be as simple as a handwritten note, or even a call after the project.

Never stop learning and growing. Reflect on completed projects and identify areas for improvement. A continuous learning approach can help both property managers and vendors to refine their processes, improve collaboration, and achieve better outcomes in future projects. Have monthly check-ins where honest feedback is given, where it highlights both the good AND THE BAD, so things can be corrected early as needed and positive momentum can be strengthened.

Strong relationships are critical in commercial real estate, and open and honest communication, proactive problem solving, and investing in each other, are all important parts of building a foundation of excellence.

Cushman & Wakefield and Structural Restoration Solutions received the 2022 Excellence in Collaborative Service Award from CRE Insight Journal. This award recognizes an exemplary partnership between a real estate product or service provider and a single property or real estate management company. Here’s how you can apply for the 2023 CRE Insight Journal Awards now.

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