Friday, April 9, 2010


From what I'm hearing, it seems like the 'cloud' is starting to lift over the institutional real estate industry.  Pension funds, endowments and foundations, some of which have been dormant for up to two years, are starting to talk about maybe putting new money into real estate sometime in 2010.  Clearly, the challenges are not over yet.  Issues regarding placement agents, uncalled capital commitments, valuations, the need for rescue capital and where in the world do you put your money are all things that continue to weigh on the minds of investment committees.  And, the institutional real estate world today, more than ever, is one that requires extreme patience, perhaps more than ever before.  And those who have the patience will be the winners; it's just that in a business that is built upon the intoxication of the deal, whether it's raising capital or spending it, patience has never been a trait that is universally found with certain companies or certain individuals.  But we're dealing with a new world order and you either play by the new rules or you find yourself another game to play.  
Relationships have always been important to me.  Actually, throughout my business career, I have probably spent more time on building, maintaining and growing relationships than I even spent on trying to lease space in distressed shopping centers.  And, over the years, I have read articles and books on such things as 'relationship selling.' I've never had any formal training.  But, what I was really doing all along was building relationships based on trust and reliability and consistency.  It has always been pretty much second nature to me.  So when I read a instruction book on the importance of relationships, well, there's a lot that I already do.  So, having said that, you may wonder why I recently read a book called "The Relationship Edge in Business?"  I bought it used on Amazon a couple of months ago and have forgotten where I heard about it but like most things, I found something of interest and offer it to you:

I.               Thirteen ways to gain respect
a.     Be genuinely interested in the other person
b.     Do what you say when you say you will or say nothing
c.     Be knowledgeable, be inquisitive or be quiet
d.     Control you emotions; anger manages everything poorly
e.      Be honest and straightforward
f.      Be objective and avoid appearing biased
g.     Be persistent but never aggressive
h.     Be a learned person with some expertise and share your knowledge when appropriate
i.      Be courteous to everyone
j.      Always listen to the other person intently
k.     Seek to understand other people and their points of view
l.      Do things that demonstrate your unselfish nature
m.   Find out what people want and help them get it

Sometime in your life you have seen or heard of a fireman climbing up in a tree to save a cat, right?  Well, I have a little story that goes several steps beyond.  On a beautiful sunny day a couple of weeks back in New York, I'm sitting on the front stoop, eating a tuna sandwich, and when I look up I see this fire truck stopped just a few doors down.  Six full dress firemen get off the truck but they don't seem to be in much hurry.  I can't figure out what's going on.  So, some of the neighbors are outside now and looking up at something in a tree.  I'm trying to figure out what the heck it is when I realize it's the cushion from a deck chair.  Why, I ask myself, is a NYC firetruck and team taking time to respond to this call.  Well, when the 'mission' was starting, one of the firemen was doing 'crowd control' on the sidewalk and I asked him what was going on.  "Someone called in an 'emergency' and we had to respond."  Emergency!  Who has that kind of audacity to make a call like that over something like this.  But the firemen, did what they came for, although it took them a good 45 minutes as the cushion was not too cooperative and they had not had this kind of training at the academy.  Anyway, I guess what got me was the idea that someone would make this kind of call and take this fire company away from something really important.  What a world!

On the road....
April 12-14:  Dallas for the UBS Client Conference
April 15:  New York
April 16-21:  Vacation in Tuscany

April 22-23:  Venice for the INREV annual conference

May 13-15: North Palm Beach, FL for the annual Homer Hoyt Institute/Hoyt Fellows conference
July 13-16: Laguna Beach to attend the NMS Real Estate Roundtable

Service of the week:  Life History Books helps you record personal memories, anecdotes and family history in a customized oral history book accented by your photos, recipes and other mementos saved through the years. For someone sentimental like me, and maybe you too, this is a great idea.

These are my views and not that of my employer. 

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