Be obsessed with this in commercial real estate

Sep 30, 2021
Stop obsessing over your fee forecast sheet and instead be obsessive about the quality of your relationships

Have you ever been obsessed with your fee forecast sheet?

Have you ever calculated commission and spent it in your head before the ink has even dried on an engagement agreement?

I did this as an agent even though colleagues warned me it was bad juju!

Whether or not it's really bad luck, I can see now it's bad practice.

It's far more productive to obsess over the quality of your relationships with clients and prospects.

Because when you have amazing relationships with people, everything else in commercial real estate tends to fall into place.

Episode 55 of CRE Success: The Podcast is all about the importance of obsessing over client relationships.

It includes a method you can easily implement to track the quality of relationships with clients and prospects over time.



Episode transcript:

Today, I'm going to do everything I can to make it worth your while to stick around by covering why it's a mistake to be obsessed with your fee forecast sheet, and I'm going to tell you what you should be obsessed with instead.

Hey there, welcome to episode 55 of the show. My name is Darren Krakowiak.

I equip commercial real estate professionals with proven client attraction and retention systems, so they can save time, earn more, and be top performers in their market.

It is my pleasure to be speaking to you today. Thank you so much for spending some time with me.

Today's show is brought to you by Re-Leased. In 2020, Re-Leased launched CREDIA to provide market insights based on data from 10s of 1000s of commercial properties globally, to help customers better manage their businesses.

A quick update about last week's show before we get started and really into today's topic.

Last week, I was talking about prospecting and how to deal with being ghosted by prospects and talked a little bit about the importance of being persistent but not being a pest.

And I wanted to share that I've got a whole resource on this called The A to Z of CRE Prospecting, where you can grab yourself 26 ideas on how you can prospect at a higher level if you're in commercial real estate.

If that sounds like it would be of use to you. Go to and grab your free copy of the The A to Z of CRE Prospecting.

Okay, let's get into today's topic.

And being obsessed with your fee forecast sheet is something that I used to be guilty with. I used to probably love a little bit too much looking at my Excel sheet and looking at when revenue was going to land.

And I think I felt it kind of kept me motivated and was a way for me to keep projects on track and just to know where things are at.

But I've come to realize that your fee forecast sheet is actually a reflection of what you want, it's about the future that you want to happen.

And it's really more relevant to you than it is relevant to your clients.

Yes, you have to produce certain outcomes for your clients in order for the revenue to land.

But a better way, I believe now, to measure your success is to put your attention on your clients and to instead obsess over the quality of the relationships that you have with them.

I think it's worthwhile to remove the attachment that you have from your fee forecast sheet.

You know when a deal gets delayed, or revenue doesn't land when you expect it to, and you can kind of take it to heart and rather than having something which you have less control over because of course, if revenue does get delayed, often it's beyond your control.

Rather, I'd like to have attachment to things that I have more control over.

And certainly, you have more control over the quality of the relationships that you have with people taking away the attachment that you have to short term revenue results means you're thinking more long term.

And really focusing on the quality of relationships that you have will mean that you're not going to have any feelings of sorrow or disappointment when a certain revenue event gets delayed slightly because the relationship that you have with the client is still intact.

And you'll have some level of confidence that you'll be able to continue to do business with that client into the future.

And I think not thinking about your fee forecast sheets means that you're not looking at prospects or clients or existing transactions or projects that are underway or scheduled to begin in the context of achieving a revenue target.

You're looking at the people behind those projects and prospects and thinking about how you can have a better relationship with them and how you can add value to them rather than how you can get paid by them.

And you know, this relates to emotional intelligence, which I revealed recently as the one thing that I believe sets apart top performers from the rest of the pack in commercial real estate.

And having empathy for the client and thinking about things from their perspective is really going to help you put yourself in their position.

It's going to help you understand them better, and you're going to be able to serve them on a higher level.

So, if we're thinking about our fee forecast sheet when a client expresses some apprehension about taking a certain decision or moving a project forward, then we might fall into the trap of bullying them to make a decision that we want to happen.

Because we've got all this attachment to a certain event happening at a certain time.

Because our fee forecast sheet says that if we're more focused on the quality of the relationships that we have, we're going to be able to accept that the fee forecast sheet might get a little bit off track from time to time.

And really, we're going to be picking up a lot more opportunities to serve our clients better when we're making events that happen during a process about our clients as opposed to about us and what we want to happen.

So, I was thinking about this topic, because recently, I've been doing a series of workshops.

Here in Australia, lockdowns have been happening for quite a while in the second half of 2021, particularly in our two biggest cities, Melbourne and Sydney.

And as a result of that, in my desire to serve my clients better, I put together a workshop called level up during lockdown.

And it was all about 10 productive projects that commercial real estate professionals can tackle during lockdown.

And one of the ideas that I presented in that workshop was to remove attachment from your fee forecast sheet, because a lot of people who are working in certain sectors, particularly in office, and retail are seeing projects delayed.

And I've said, don't worry so much about that, worry more about the quality of the relationship that you have, and everything will take care of itself.

And I wanted to share an email that one of the participants from the workshop shared with me after I presented that, and this is what the email said.

I won't say his name, but because he's kind of famous, but I will tell you what he said.

"I have found over many experiences that I will take on the job, sometimes without a fee agreement formalized. But my priority is the client. At the end of the job, invariably, the client will call me to ask about the fear. And I will ask, 'what was it worth to you?' Nearly always, the fee suggested is equal to or better than what I had in mind. So, spot on, when the client believes you have a genuine interest in its outcomes beyond the fee, the rest will look after itself out."

I said he's kind of famous. So, he has a profile in the market, which means that maybe he's able to move forward and have confidence that clients will pay even if he doesn't have a fee agreement in place when he begins a project.

I'll leave that up to you whether that's a good idea or not.

But the bigger point is that when you focus on the relationship and serving the client, then everything else, including the fee is more likely to take care of itself.

So really, today, we're talking about having the fee forecast sheet as second order to the quality of the relationship.

I'm not saying that you should get rid of your fee forecast sheet and flow out your CRM sales pipelines, but try and let go of any attachment that you have to the revenue being delivered on time because things can get delayed that are beyond your control.

And if you're getting upset every time something gets delayed, then you're going to have a very unhappy time in commercial real estate.

A better thing to actually have more attachment about is the quality of the relationships that you have with your clients and prospects.

Now make a list, if you're looking for something to do, make a list of all your clients and all your prospects that you're dealing with.

And then maybe grade out of 10 how good is my relationship with each of those clients and prospects.

And for the ones where it's not at the level where you want it to be, have a think about what you could do to make it stronger.

And instead of putting a revenue number against them every quarter, you might just want to check in every quarter and see, did the quality of your relationship with that client or prospect improves stay the same or deteriorate in some way over time?

And you can track what it is that you're doing and what you need to do in order to keep those relationships strong.

And when you find that relationships are deteriorating, then that is something to really concern yourself with, I believe.

Because the quality of your relationships is something that you should really care about.

Don't get upset when you lose a deal or it gets delayed (or don't get too upset) you're allowed to be upset.

But take it a lot more seriously when a client loses trust in you or you find your relationships with your clients or prospects deteriorating.

So, your fee forecast sheet as I said, it's really all about you.

Whereas if you make it about the relationships that you have with other people, and focus on the clients, the names of the people behind the clients and your faithful cache and really obsess on the quality of the relationships that you have with them, I think that revenue is likely to follow.

So, I hope that that idea is helpful. Maybe you'll actually go out and after this episode, write down a list of all your clients and prospects.

And instead of putting numbers next to their name, which are revenue numbers, put something which signals the quality of the relationship.

And you can really have a lot of control over your ability to improve that relationship by the time and effort that you put into improving it.

Now, it is nearly time for us to wrap up. But I mentioned in there about lockdowns.

And I'm starting to regret the decision to also film these episodes while I record the podcast because I haven't been able to get a haircut for a while, and it's starting to show.

But if you're still in lockdown, and you feel like getting a handle on those 10 productive projects for commercial real estate professionals to tackle during lockdown would be helpful for you, well, the workshop is available, it's called 'Level up during lockdown.'

It's available for 20 Australian dollars. So, if you have US dollars, it's more like about $13 or something in US dollars.

But yeah, very, very reasonable compared to what I would typically charge for a corporate client for a workshop.

So, if you'd like to watch that, if you feel that you're not getting everything that you would like to get done during lockdown, there's heaps of great ideas about what you can do to make sure that you stay motivated and stay productive.

While you're not able to do everything that you would like to do because of any restrictions that exist, that workshop is available as recording at

So, go there. Pay your 20 Australian dollars. And you can watch that workshop again and again.

And hopefully it will help you with more ideas just like the one that I've shared today on the podcast.

That's all I've got for you today. Thank you so much for being here, and I will speak to you soon.

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