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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hervey

Navigating Difficult Conversations in Commercial Real Estate


As a commercial real estate professional, you're bound to encounter challenging situations and difficult conversations with clients and tenants from time to time. Whether it's negotiating lease terms, addressing maintenance issues, or discussing rent increases, these conversations can be sensitive and require a delicate approach. However, with the right strategies and communication skills, you can effectively navigate these conversations and maintain positive relationships with your clients and tenants. Here are some tips to help you avoid potential pitfalls and handle difficult discussions with finesse:

  1. Active Listening: Listening attentively is the cornerstone of effective communication. When engaging in a challenging conversation, take the time to understand the other party's perspective fully. Let them express their concerns or grievances without interruption, and acknowledge their feelings and opinions. Active listening fosters trust and shows that you value their input, which can help deescalate tense situations.

  2. Empathy and Understanding: Demonstrate empathy and understanding towards the concerns of your clients and tenants. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their perspective. Showing genuine concern for their well-being and needs can help create a more collaborative atmosphere and pave the way for finding mutually beneficial solutions.

  3. Prepare and Anticipate: Before engaging in any difficult conversation, thoroughly prepare for the discussion. Anticipate potential questions, concerns, or objections that might arise. Be equipped with relevant data, information, and documentation to support your position and demonstrate your expertise. A well-prepared approach can instill confidence in your clients and tenants that you are addressing the situation thoughtfully.

  4. Stay Calm and Professional: Maintain a calm and composed demeanor during difficult conversations. Emotions can run high in such situations, but it's essential to remain professional and avoid reacting emotionally. Take deep breaths if necessary and focus on maintaining a respectful tone and demeanor.

  5. Offer Solutions: Instead of merely pointing out issues, come prepared with potential solutions or alternatives. Collaboratively explore options that address the concerns raised by your clients or tenants. Offering viable solutions demonstrates your commitment to finding resolutions and can foster a more constructive discussion.

  6. Set Realistic Expectations: Be transparent and set realistic expectations regarding what can be achieved. If certain requests or demands are not feasible, explain the reasons behind it clearly and offer alternatives. Being honest and upfront can help manage expectations and prevent misunderstandings down the line.

  7. Follow Up: After a difficult conversation, follow up with your clients or tenants to ensure that their concerns are being addressed and that any agreed-upon actions are being implemented. Regular communication can help reinforce your commitment to resolving issues and maintaining positive relationships.

In conclusion, handling difficult conversations with clients and tenants in commercial real estate requires a blend of empathy, communication skills, and preparedness. By actively listening, demonstrating understanding, and offering solutions, you can foster constructive discussions that lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. Remember, difficult conversations present opportunities for growth and improvement, both professionally and relationally. Embrace these challenges with a positive mindset and a commitment to maintaining the trust and respect of your clients and tenants.

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