Personal Connections Trump The Virtual World – Shopping Center Business
In today’s technology-dominated business environment, a focus on relationships often gets lost in translation. Client recruitment and ultimate business success is about creating one-on-one connections. There is no form of technology that can yield this type of success.
Founded in 1987, The Greenberg Group is a real estate advisory firm that specializes in providing market research and analysis, sales forecasting, site selection and deal negotiation for several of the nation’s premier retailers. The firm exclusively represents retail brands nationally, acting as the tenant representative during negotiation with landlords.
There are seven key ingredients in securing new retail clients:
- Live the product – personally visit and shop the retailer’s stores. Understand the brand, as well as the culture of the company. Believe in the brand and the prospect of your firm representing it. Recruit new clients that are aligned with your beliefs and way of doing business.
- Quickly highlight why they should hire you in 10 words or less. Speak in the CEO’s language – focusing on increasing sales, profitability and return on investment. Differentiate your firm and its approach from competitors. For The Greenberg Group, we spend considerable resources on a research department that can forecast sales within 6 percent. Once you have his/her attention, demonstrate how you will solve unaddressed needs.
- Attend conferences that cater to your target audience. Network creatively. Be “in the know” when it comes to the industry and changes within it. Be educated on trends and what’s ahead next. Where’s your next opportunity for growth? Often, in-person connections are the best way to get this information. For us, we became pioneers in placing our clients in outlet centers, which helped them drive sales through a previously untapped revenue stream. This came ahead of their competitors.
- Avoid e-mail – deals happen in real time, face-to-face. We all get thousands of emails each week. This mode of communication clearly is oversaturated, even more so for a top executive. Visit stores in person. Plan trips in connection with important events like fashion week. Read media outlets such as Women’s Wear Daily, or industry blogs, which will discuss upcoming venues that may attract CEO attendance.
- Know what is on the CEO’s agenda. Who is in his/her inner circle? Research and comprehend the company’s business strategies – both short- and long-term, as well as domestic versus global. Which new customer segments are they seeking to reach? How can they expand their footprint? What are platforms for growth?
- Research the company to better understand management style and changes. Clients expect you to know their business almost as well as they do. How has the retailer’s history and success evolved? What is their mission statement? What challenges have they overcome? Analyze their real estate portfolio to determine both successes and errors.
- Keen intuition – be in the right place at the right time. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Know which clients are a good fit for your business, and go after them. Create opportunities by being proactive and passionate. Identify the decision maker and just do it.
There are certain intangibles that are irreplaceable to the process of landing a meeting with a high-level executive who may have no idea why he or she needs to immediately hire your firm. It does take some luck – but there clearly are ways to make your own luck.
— Louise Greenberg is the CEO of The Greenberg Group, a Hewlett, N.Y.-based real estate advisory firm. Her role is to specfically expand the company’s client base by generating new clients that meet The Greenberg Group’s criteria to represent on the real estate front. For more information, visit www.thegreenberggroup.com.