Top 7 Things Clients Look For When Selecting a Commercial Real Estate Broker

What's the difference between a client and a customer? Well let's take a look at the definitions (from

n. cus·tom·er
1. One that buys goods or services.
2. Informal: An individual with whom one must deal: a tough customer.

n. cli·ent
1. The party for which professional services are rendered, as by an attorney.
2. A customer or patron: clients of the hotel.
3. A person using the services of a social services agency.
4. One that depends on the protection of another.
5. A client state.
6. Computer Science A computer or program that can download files for manipulation, run applications, or request application-based services from a file server.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin clins, client-, dependent, follower; see klei- in Indo-European roots.]
In real estate legal terms, a client is someone with whom a brokerage has entered into an agency relationship wherein they agree to provide certain professional services and owe certain legal obligations to the client. In reality, the client relationship, at least a good one, goes far beyond a mere legal obligation. While a customer is treated fairly and honestly, they don't get the same level of advice or counsel that a client gets, nor do they realize the long-term benefit of a true client relationship; they're just there to buy something and move on.

In my opinion the key really is the relationships. As much as new technology has made the job of finding property and property details easier, and much as it has made the task of marketing and finding real estate quicker, it cannot replace the human connection that face to face relationships build. I don't care how much you Twitter or write in your blog or how much time you spend on Facebook! These are good tools to start the conversation, but the connections, the relationships are the ticket.

Given this, it's no surprise that #1 on the list of things most valued by potential clients is the relationship with the broker. If the client doesn't feel a connection and doesn't feel that they can trust you, nothing else you do will ever turn them into true clients for life.

Without further ado, the Top 7 Things Clients Look For When Selecting a Commercial Real Estate Broker:
  1. Relationship with Broker
  2. Prior experience/performance
  3. Reputation of firm/brand identity
  4. Understanding of their business/objectives
  5. Personalized approach/solutions
  6. Fee structure
  7. Knowledge and advice
I'm always interested in varied opinions, so let me know what you think. Do you agree with this list? What would you change or add to it?

Watch for my next post on this topic: What frustrates brokerage clients most!

Source: CEL&Associates Inc.


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