By Randolph T. Mason, CCIM, SIOR, Managing Partner for Commercial Realty Specialists
So, this article was inspired by various clients. It’s a funny thing. I find that attorneys tend to utilize the services of a professional negotiator more often than other business owners. This got me wondering, and helped guide me through questions that needed answers. A client of mine broke it down very simply. “Why would I ever want to negotiate against somebody that negotiated commercial real estate transactions on a daily basis and fed their family utilizing skills, strategies, and tactics that I use at best once every three or five years or so.” An attorney explained that during a divorce, a client who is trying to achieve the most favorable results in the negotiation always needs to have their own representative in the negotiations to ensure the client’s best interests are being served.
Without proper counsel, one party can be taken advantage of by the other side. I find that there is a strong similarity between what an attorney does for his clients, and what we do for our exclusively represented clients. In any negotiation process, both parties need their own separate specialists in the field of what is being negotiated, and that is where professional negotiators come in.
When using a representative to renegotiate your commercial office or industrial space, you need to have leverage in the negotiation. If the landlord believes, or knows you want to stay in your existing location, there will be no serious negotiation taking place. The landlord has you. Alternatively, if the tenant knows that the landlord does not want to lose them as the tenant, the tenant has negotiation leverage. If the tenant believes that the landlord is ambivalent, or has other opportunities to backfill the space, the landlord is in a position of negotiation leverage. By having an advocate on your side of the transaction, this helps facilitate strategic discussions to maximize the best terms possible.
As a property owner myself, I thoroughly enjoy negotiating directly with my tenant. I am able to ask questions and receive responses that a well-trained and astute representative would never give me answers to. It’s almost as if you’re playing poker with a finely trained gambler. Having alternatives is also an excellent strategy in negotiations; whether actual or perceived. Alternatives create leverage, and leverage helps create success in a negotiation.