Friday, January 25, 2013

Real Real Estate / China Real Estate / Friendships, Networking, Relationships / It's More Than Customer Service

Real Real Estate

Asset management of commercial real estate continues to be more and more important.  Great asset managers are able to generate ‘opportunity income’ from their properties.  It may originate from discovering that a space was measured incorrectly and the tenant should be paying more rent; or realizing that a space that had been used as storage can actually be rented. Regardless, there are only two ways to increase profit:  increase revenue or decrease expenses and the asset manager, working with the property manager, is on the line for this.

How are you going about discovering and reaping as much revenue as you can from your properties? What are you doing to increase rental and ancillary income?  Are you finding new ways to reduce operating expenses without jeopardizing the integrity of the property and the service to your tenants?  And how is what you’re doing today increasing the value of the property so that you can achieve or exceed your expected return upon sale?

Next week I’ll be attending the NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) Acquisitions and Asset Management Winter Meeting.  I’ll be moderating a double panel session where these important topics will be discussed and dissected.

Overheard This Week

The other day I overheard two real estate people talking and just had to share this with you: 

Q.     “So what are you doing now?”
A.     “Anything to make a lot of money!”

China Real Estate: What’s Going On?

Real Estate Foresight Ltd. is the company started last year by Robert Ciemniak.  They’ve just published another interesting Scenarios white paper titled “Conditions for Real Estate Markets in China 2013-2018.”

One section of the report particularly intrigued me. It’s called “Wildcards.” Here’s a portion of that:

“WILDCARDS are not our focus here, though history suggests these happen more often than expected. The following deserve a mention:
  • Environmental disaster
  • Natural catastrophes like earthquakes
  • Tibet or tensions with North Korea; social unrest
  • Economic crisis wildcards – what if Europe disassembles in disorderly way, while the US defaults on debt?”

Intrigued?  Robert gave me permission to share the link. Have a look. 

Friendships, Networking, Relationships

Years ago someone told me, “To have a friend, you have to be a friend.”  I’ve always remembered the simple power in that statement. But I also remember another definition of a friend:  it’s the person you call at 4:00a.m. when you need help of some sort and they are there for you, no questions asked.  How many people do any of us have in our lives that would do that?  Which is what I’m getting at.  It’s not the number of friends you have; it’s having a friend who is always there for you, no matter what is going on in your life.  And you are there for your friend. The underlying theme here, I think, is one of quality vs. quantity. What’s more important to you? The number of friends you have (or think you have) or the quality of those friendships?

We talk about networking and relationships in business and, yes, at times some real friendships do develop from that (I’m fortunate to have that experience).  But perhaps more of those business connections are acquaintances, which are also important as they become part of our network.  All of these different types of relationships require attention and nurturing.  With a long time personal friend, we can allow some years to slip by due to, well, who knows what.  With our network of industry acquaintances, however, we need to stay in touch on a more regular basis to maintain and develop the connectivity that benefits both parties. 

As the author of this blog, it’s always great to hear from you – my own network.  Last week’s column brought a number of emails to my mailbox focused mainly on the ‘leadership’ and ‘first impression’ sections.  That makes me happy as it shows we’re on the same wavelength.  We’re connecting.

It’s More Than Customer Service

A friend took me to the Metropolitan Room this week, an ‘intimate concert venue’ as described on its website.  We saw a show called “Boys Night Out” which celebrates the music of The Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.). It was the first time to this Chelsea location for either of us.  Even so, the hostess treated us as if we were loyal customers and made us feel immediately welcome. 

When we were shown to our seats we asked if we could possibly sit in one of the booths instead of the table she showed us. The hostess, without a minute hesitation, said, “Yes. There is normally an extra charge but we’ll wave that because it’s your first time here.”  Wow!  And the booth was in my favorite location – back corner against the wall, able to see everything. 

After the show ended, the performers were hanging out at the bar and we were chatting them up.  We learned that the hostess is also a performer; that the ‘star’ of the show often works in the coat check; and one of the other performers works for the club as well.  “If it weren’t for performers, the New York City restaurant / club business couldn’t exist,” said the hostess referring to the number of performers who make a living working in the industry while they work at “making it.”  There’s something to be said when the actual performers are the people welcoming you at the door.   The entertainers have a vested interest in your enjoyment. We will be back to the Metropolitan Room, and can recommend it highly.


Bill Krauch joined Bentall Kennedy as Senior Advisor.

Peter Slatin launched The Slatin Group, which is focused on the hospitality industry and provides a flexible, modular training program for businesses and organizations seeking to improve their interactions and communication with special-needs clients.

Ned Thomas launched his own real estate recruiting business in Chicago called Pearson Street Advisors.

On The Road…

Note - While New York events are not really ‘on the road’ for me anymore I will continue to include them in this section as you may see something that strikes your fancy.

Jan. 30 – 31:  NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) Acquisitions and Asset Management Winter Meeting, Dallas, TX.

Feb. 20 – 21:  IPD (Investment Property Databank) U.S. Investment Property Forum / Launch of PREA / IPD U.S. Fund Index, New York, NY

Apr. 28 – May 1:  CRE (Counselors of Real Estate) Mid-Year Meetings, New York, NY (To include jamming with the CRE Rock ‘n Roll band, Sound Counsel).

June 4 – 5:  PERE Summit (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine), London, UK

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