Giving customers what they ask for is a quick way to not creating a relationship.

There is a truism in CRE: all clients’ needs change over time. Sometimes overnight. Sometimes over a month. Sometimes over a year. But their needs will change and often dramatically.

CRE is by its very nature a reactive industry. We react to the needs of the business because no one takes real estate in a market before there is a business need for it (even if that business need is down the road by 5 years). We react to market conditions by renegotiating when favorable or relocating because new construction has changed the landscape. We chase after labor markets that are shifting based on where the population center moves to.

Customer requests typically involve their pains from yesterday or today. Or they are trying to figure out something that is coming based on a perspective influenced by their experiences yesterday and today. What they are really asking is for someone to come in and help them really understand what needs to happen for them to be successful. It’s a difficult question to ask because its premise is based on a lack of understanding that few will openly admit to.

As a partner our job is to help them succeed. That may mean ignoring the problem they think they have entirely to focus on something more critical or urgent that will then later solve the problem they have or make it irrelevant. Yes, sometimes we have to bandage the wound first and solve things out of order but when we do that it is important to make sure they understand the root causes at the same time.

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