So you made it past the headline. Good for you. Thanks for having an open mind.
I made a trip downtown to the Roudebush VMAC Indy to visit a family member who is into his ninth month of a long recovery from heart surgery. If you saw a picture in my Twitter stream of a hospital bed and wondered what is was, well as I stated “Everyday is Veterans day.” If you have spent anytime in a VA hospital at all…….well you know what I mean.
Walking into the parking garage I zip up my jacket. The air cold crisp and the pavement dark and damp. Pulling on the door handle I slip into the seat and feel around for the phone charger. Why does that thing always find its way in between the seats? I turn the car on and check the clock, plenty of time. This is downtown Indy after all. Traffic what’s traffic? I turn onto tenth street east and then right on Indiana avenue. Left at the light on New York street and then to Mass Ave as the locals like to call it. I find a parking spot right up front and look for the Bazbeaux Pizza sign. One of these days I will try some other pizza in this town but this place is just too good. I turn to look down the street and don’t see too much foot traffic. It’s pretty windy out and people must be staying inside. I slip inside the door and stand waiting for my lunch friend to show up.
The email the phone call the invitation. “If you have some time” ” I have read almost all of your articles.” ” I would love to buy you lunch.” ” Oh, you live here when is a good time?”
Thru the window I see a man white shirt dark tie tight dark suit about the same height as me and just a bit leaner. He opens the door and I walk forward and extend my hand, he reaches back. ” Duke you are Duke Long. I recognise you from your pictures online.”
” Yes, I know I am much prettier in person so let’s get past that shall we?”
He leans back with a big smile and says” I think I will be able to manage. Let’s get a table and order are you hungry?’
” Do I look like I have missed any meals? This is one of my favorite places.”
We sit and I already know what’s going to be on my plate so need to even look at the menu.
” You don’t waste any time do you?”
” I’m kind of a pizza professional.”
” Let’s split a large and if we don’t finish it we can take some home.”
” Good luck with that. Let’s give it a shot.”
The waitresses smiles picks up the menus and turns away.
” So you mentioned on the phone that you may be in he market for some new space?”
” Yes, things are looking very positive for us and we are looking for something that we can make a long-term committment to.”
” You must be working with somebody or there must be somebody pitching you to get your business.”
” Well, yes but not really. We are getting pitched and our last experience with hindsight was not that positive.”
” Ok, I get that so why meet with me? There are probably twenty people out there dying to get your business.”
” We had a quick internal meeting and decided that this time we are going to be better prepared before we even engage anyone.”
” Sounds smart and simple. How can I help?”
” We thought that you might be able to give us a different perspective some intel an angle we didn’t get the last time.”
” I ‘m not sure what you mean. I don’t have any super secrets of commercial real estate. Everything is pretty much out there these days.”
” We love the way you lay it out there raw and open for everyone to see. There is little that you hold back and we want that.”
” The attitude or the knowledge?”
” Both. Tell me what we need to be doing before now before we start.”
” Well if I were going to sit in front of a broker today and I am a paid up member of the state commercial board by the way, I would want to first know what their business credentials are. Get online and dig deep. Look past the bullshit glam photos and bios. We all went to school and we all belong to some kind of trade organisation within commercial real estate. So what. Look for more personal information. Can’t find any? What are they hiding? Do they just want you to do business with them and nothing else? They will always hang their hat on the ” our business is a relationship business ” line but what relationships do you see that they have now? Is it a couple of logos from companies they did a deal with four years ago and a link to a dead website? Is that good enough for you? Is that how you do business?
” We spent an ungodly amount of money to enhance our online presence and we monitor it just about every second. It’s paid big dividends for us so I get your point. It’s not that hard to see once you look and compare.”
” That gets to my next point. Transparency. It has to be everywhere. The details of the deal, the data that you have access to the names numbers and personalities and why not. It’s your money and it’s your deal. Demand it. Get it or walk away.”
” Deal details. Could you get more specific?”
” Sure, ask them and demand lease operating expenses, key terms and language and have them explained in plain english. What is the negotiation strategy?. Are they dicks just because they want to be or do they push you way from that part of the deal like you are a two-year old? Find out who evaluated the space, how it was measured and by who? How accurate was the measurement? Believe me if three people measure the space it will be three different numbers. I know you would think in this day and age. Oh and double or triple check the common area space and how it gets paid for. Trust me when you find out make sure your ass is covered. ”
” This brings me to another point. Legal representation, yours and the potential landlord. Get your legal person on board now and don’t get some junior punk with a class in torts “looking it over” or you will regret it.The landlord will have his legal side lean mean and tight. It’s part of what he does for a living. It’s what makes him money.”
” I think we have the CEOs father in-laws firm on board right now. I will need to check.’
” Who is your CFO? How involved is that person going to be in this deal? If they want to look at the numbers and “glance over and sign off” you are in big trouble already. Involve them in every aspect of the deal. It will save you potential thousands. Every decision involves dollars. Short term and long-term dollars. If your CFO is worth a shit they will see this and see it as a priority project. That means it will help get it done and on a budget that the company C suite approves.”
” That might get interesting. Not sure where our CFOs head is at right now.”
” Let me get back to the broker side for a minute. This is something a quality broker handles everyday. None of the things I’m telling you should put any of them off. As a matter of fact they will most likely disclose any and all. But beware if your last experience was a bad one and you didn’t know it until it was over so state that up front and let them answer those questions then and there. Oh and I have a big one for you. Look the broker in the eye at the end of the interview and ask him this question. What part of your presentation was a lie? He may just stare at you in shock but persist. Tell him you will give him one lie if he just admits what it was.”
” Wow, never thought of that. Have you ever personally got that question before?’
” No, but the best pitch meeting I was ever in the potential client asked that question and blew everyone away. You want the truth ask for the truth.”
” Hey it doesn’t look like there will be any to go boxes for us this afternoon.”
” I told you I was a professional.”
” I really appreciate the time and the lunch. We need to do this again.”
” Hey, I appreciate your time. Do you have anyone specific in mind yet?”
” No not really. Do you have some suggestions?”
” I sure do. Let me go back and I will send you three people I think you should meet. These guys are some of the best period. It will be worth your time to meet them.’
” Are they going to know that special question will be coming?”
” I won’t say a word.”
We head for the door and the wind hits us and we shake hands. I find my car open the door and turn the key. Putting the car in gear I pull out and wonder………..
Can I Eat It? Can I Have Sex With It? Will It Kill Me? Is It A Tenant?
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeetzjones/955579994/