Learning To Ask The Tough Questions And Close Deals With Ted Blank At NAR 2011

What is your client’s motivation?

This not-so-simple question is often overlooked in commercial property dealmaking, and it can cost us dearly as brokers. Getting a listing is one thing, but getting a buyer is something else entirely.  How do you know where to look for a buyer if you don’t really know why the owner wants to sell, what the owner would take to make the deal, what terms are on the table and which ones aren’t?

Unless you ask some tough questions and provide your client with some counseling, you won’t find out, and it will cost you both.

In today’s session at NAR 2011, Ted Blank CCIM, SEC, EMS led a group of majority commercial practitioners through the wide range of ways that brokers can maximize client benefits. Client benefit certainly includes the sale of a property, but the risks of focusing on selling, on pursuing a cash deal are great.  Ted says “Bad economic times make counseling more important.  10-15 years ago we controlled the information, so we would get the phone call first.  Now people use the internet.  You can get data and information on the web, but you can’t get knowledge and information, so that means we have to focus on the people side of the business.”

Ted says that counseling means brokers should want to know:

  • Why do you want to sell this great property?
  • What are the benefits of owning it?
  • What’s wrong with owning it?
  • What is your client going through personally?
  • What is your client going through professionally?


“A tough question is not a confrontational question,” says Ted.  “It’s not one that upsets them or gets them to reduce the price thanks to our questioning skills. Tough questions are tough because we’re willing to step out there and gather the info.”  Because it’s this knowledge, Ted says, that shows the full range of ways to close a deal.

Is cash king?  Not necessarily.  Ted points out that cash is popular, but not the only way to get a property sold by a long shot – and it can be the most costly.

“You may be looking for a buyer, but what you really want is a taker.  If a cash deal is the only deal we’re considering, then price can only fall as we try to make it happen.”

Among the alternatives to cash deals:

  • Buyers with notes
  • Buyers with property
  • Buyers with property in distant geography
  • Adding cash or notes to equity – even up to the full amount of the price
  • Professional services in exchange


All of these are ways of “talking about our clients’ wants, needs and abilities.
Get the details with a copy of Ted’s full course at PlaybackNAR.
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