Brokers Are From Mars and Managers Are From Venus

   (credit to Linda Day Harrison)   When times are tough, brokers tend to want to manage. When times are good, managers tend to want to do brokerage! It happens with every phase of our industry’s economic cycle.

That is fascinating to me, and very logical. We all want to follow the money and each side of the industry makes it appear to look easy to the other side. Why? Because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!

But, there is one problem here. Brokers are from Mars and managers are from Venus! I am using the title of the well known book, entitled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, because it paints the picture so vividly. What I mean by that is simple. Brokers are deal makers and promoters, while managers are analytic and detail oriented. Now, I can also argue that we have much cross over as well, but generally speaking, managers are not risk-takers and brokers are not happy doing the nitty-gritty of property management, IMHO. That is a very general and stereo-typical view, but I believe as human-beings, we do what we do for a reason. It is born into us and then through education, mentors and experience we build on that.

Now, take the reality of our industry and add it all up. What happens is that we all look for ways to increase our sales or add properties. We see the other side making money during their cycle upswing or we have clients who ask us to do more! Now it seems we should jump into that other side and do it. For some, it can work. In those cases, I believe it works via partnerships. For instance, if I partner with a property manager and we join forces, for example. The reason this happens is because, locally, there are only so many properties in our markets and typically when properties trade hands, it is the opportune time to pitch the new leasing or management assignment. I find it intriguing so I decided to poll our audience and discuss this topic to hear what others have to say.

The question becomes, if you are a broker, do you add management to your service offerings and if you are in management do you offer brokerage? Or do you consider simply outsourcing or forming strategic alliances? Here is the question I posed and I am so pleased to share their responses:

Q. As a broker or property manager what advantages do you see in outsourcing your services to another firm that does not provide any competition to what you are already doing?
A. Lance Langenhoven – The Commercial Professionals
I see benefits to both parties providing the service and I see benefits to the client especially as they get the professional service they deserve instead of someone simply “doing the minimum” to cover that area of operation for the client. If  both parties go into this with a “giver’s gain” attitude instead of a “what can I get out of this” then I think the rewards will ultimately come through better & more referrals between the two service providers.

I think it’s crucial for those commercial real estate service providers, not fully vertically integrated, to form strategic alliances such as these.  More and more, as a manager, we’re finding value in our ability to reach into our network and refer trusted service providers to our clients to meet their assets’ needs which fall outside of our realm of expertise.  That said, while both the brokerage and management groups receive a windfall of new business, I think the biggest beneficiary from these alliances is still the client.  Both the brokerage and management spend their resources developing and honing their respective crafts to become true experts and market thought leaders.  When these specialists align, the client receives the best possible solution rather than working with an integrated company which might be “thin” in one or two concentrations.
What do you think about the advantages, or disadvantages? Remember, if your firm only performs one service, what would be your approach to solving this demand or client request? Thanks to Lance and Doug for their thoughts and time.
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