Learn how one KW Commercial associate protects clients and their businesses through tenant representation.
KW Commercial associate and Managing Director Darrell Nevin of the Greater Howard County (Md.) market center began his career in commercial real estate 31 years ago and has worked as a tenant rep broker for 21 years. He is a member of the Agent Leadership Council for the Columbia office and Commercial Leadership Council for the Maryland – D.C. region of KW Commercial. Nevin completes 40-60 deals each year and he knows what it takes to develop long-term relationships with clients.
There are many aspects to being a tenant rep. Nevin finds that many businesses enter into commercial transactions thinking they will figure it out along the way. However, what they need is to be focused on running their business, not their lease. His role is to protect business owners and their businesses.
“There can be 150 moving parts in any given lease transaction,” Nevin said. “Most spaces need to be renovated to fit the business needs of the tenant. There are codes to comply with such as how many parking spaces are needed per square foot. There is a lot more than any business owner should negotiate and juggle on their own. To get in the right lease, they need a high level of representation.” “Tenant rep agents are active in our communities; we love interacting with people,” Nevin said. “This role is important in developing trust with your clients through relationships you develop outside the real estate industry.” Nevin has several tips for developing trust and winning clients for life.
Commitment to the Community
Potential clients want to know you are committed to your community, go beyond the call of duty to help others and are trustworthy and accountable. By developing relationships in the community through involvement in committees, being active in the Chamber of Commerce and serving on nonprofit boards, people develop an opinion about you and your character. The result: When they have a commercial real estate need or question, they go to you. “It takes time, but it is priceless when it comes down to who they are going to call,” Nevin said.
Seer of the Future
Tenant rep agents are the “Seers of the future.” Knowing what is happening in the community you serve is important and invaluable to clients. “Clients want to know what is going on not just in their building, but in their area,” Nevin said. And they don’t just want to know what is going on today; they want to know what to expect during their lease-term.
Your Initial Appointment
When meeting with a client for the first time to talk about their needs, come completely unarmed and bring a business card. “The initial conversation is about being relaxed and identifying what their needs are,” Nevin said. By entering the meeting with the goal of helping the clients, not selling the client, you plant the seed for trust and a life-long relationship. “It is important for developing a good rapport with your potential client,” Nevin said.
One complimentary service to perform with new clients is a review of their existing lease and pass-throughs to find any potential issues. This is something no other broker Nevin knows does and it is one of the many things that set him apart from the competition. It puts the client’s needs at the forefront of the conversation and starts the relationship off right. Nevin also suggests “wearing the architect’s hat” and evaluating the space plan to look for ways the area can be made more efficient and require less construction. This is an important “value add” to bring to the table as your client wants to know that you understand this aspect of the process.
Be Available and Be There
Make time to visit the site with your client during renovations. Know who the project manager is and help make sure that renovations are on schedule. Clients like walking through the space with someone who knows what to look for and who to talk to. Once construction is completed, Nevin attends the final inspection to help his clients walk through the punch list and make sure everything is completed to satisfaction. Once the lease is signed, construction is completed and business is open, Nevin makes sure to block time to visit his clients periodically throughout the duration of the lease. These visits are helpful for maintaining the relationship. Regular communication with your clients provides insights into how the lease is going as well as what their future plans are.
Nevin joined KW Commercial in 2014 and has found that access to commercial training and education has been very helpful to his business. “Understanding that education never stops and keeping current is critical to all agents, both commercial and residential,” Nevin said.