Stop for a moment and think about your advisors. Who are they? What do you look for when selecting them?
Most of the business owners and executive clients that we’ve worked with over the years have a team of advisors that typically include:
- Financial Advisor
- Insurance Advisor
Few, if any, have a real estate advisor. It often amazes me that while real estate is typically one of a business’ top three controllable expenses, there is no one connected to the business strategy to support real estate decisions.
Even when the time comes to hire a broker, I’ve learned that most people judge their satisfaction on whether they like the person, or think they’ve done a good job. The real estate world is very complex, and the decisions you make carry significant risk associated with them.
What should you look for in an advisor or broker? Focus on these seven attributes and you’ll see significantly better results:
- Business Acumen – you need to hire a businessperson who can support your real estate, facility and/or space needs, not a real estate person who can support your business. When you interview advisors make sure they understand business in general and your business specifically.
- The team behind them – the one-man superstar agent may still play on TV, but in the real world, life is simply too complex. Make sure you understand who the team is behind the agent and how the agent/advisor is supported.
- Who will do the work – in addition to understanding the team behind them, make sure that you are clear on who will be doing the work. Understanding everybody’s role is critical to creating the success you desire. Remember, that most agents spend the majority of their time finding new business and it’s the people behind them that do the actual work that you are going to rely upon.
- Integrated Services – real estate is a complex ecosystem. It’s important that the agent/advisor you work with understand and be directly able to support every aspect of the process. Make sure your agent/advisor has the understanding and ability to support construction management, vendor negotiation, facilities management and negotiation.
- Conflicts – the real estate industry is fraught with conflicts, both hidden and otherwise. It is absolutely critical that you ensure that your agent/advisor provides a fiduciary level of service to you and your business.
- Investigative abilities – How good is your agent/advisor at finding what isn’t obvious? When they review a lease do they see only what’s written, or do they understand how the landlord’s business is structured with the ability to connect those dots to a favorable negotiation position for you? This is only one small example of how this ability is important.
- The network behind them – How good is the network of advisors, vendors and influencers behind the person you are hiring? Remember, these are the people your advisor learns from and goes to when addressing your needs.
The next time you need to hire an advisor, use this list as a guide and you’ll find the cream will clearly rise to the top.