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Friday, June 05, 2009


Real Estate...and Other Things of Value with Yossi Feigenson

When the lights go out whom are you going to call? This phrase was quite popular back in the day. When we are in the need of a product or a professional service, who are we going to call? My guess is for the most part, we will call someone we trust. Obviously the person needs to provide a good service or product. What is less obvious are the underlying, subconscious reason why we choose who we choose. In many instances it will be a company or individual with whom we have a prior relationship. Or, you may ask a friend for a recommendation.

We naturally gravitate to things that make us comfortable. This certainly applies when it relates to people. The person who can put us at ease is getting our business. Think of your doctor, your lawyer, your accountant; would he be entrusted with to your deeply personal and private matters or your well being if you didn’t trust him or he didn’t make you feel comfortable?

Every system in our universe has its opposite. If this rule applies when we are looking for service then it should apply when we are looking for clients. It is inherent in the DNA of any good salesperson to go after each and every possible lead. What we often don’t do is take into account if this person is right for us and the probability of success. In an environment when clients and costumers can be hard to come by this seems a bit counter intuitive, but I feel that to properly build any business with loyal clients this is an important message.

The holy grail of any business is its loyal customers. We want people to be loyal to us; who will refer to us their friends and family. That can’t happen without a strong human bond.

I believe that to experience any measure of success; in business, or any other interpersonal relationship, there must exist, on various levels, a commonality on which the foundation of the alliance will be built.

What does finding common ground mean? Is it a mythical mysterious link or an extra sensory signal we should be looking for? How do we know when a person is the right fit?

The answer is not all that complicated. It manifests itself in the very way we transmit who we are to the world around us; via our interests, ideas, associations and beliefs. Let’s explore this a bit further.

Sharing a common interest is the most simple and basic path of connecting with another person. If you like what I like then there is a better chance of me liking you. How else can you explain 55,000 people screaming with the shared passion and fervor at a sporting event? These people all care deeply about the same thing. We all have the weather in common (at least most of us do, I love rain.) Golf, running, reading, popular cultures are among the many common interests and activities that operate as a natural link between people. I enjoy jogging in the park. Whenever I come in contact with another runner, we instantly bond over running stories and goals of running marathons.

Another connecting element is shared associations. Mutual associations are powerful ways of creating a comfort zone, more than most of us realize. Recently I walked into a prospective client’s office and noticed that her last name had a familiar ring to it. It turns out I was familiar with her son’s activities. I mentioned that I had heard of his work. The woman was honored and flattered. Needless to say, she became a client, and we continue to be friends.

Then there are the more delicate and sensitive subjects that are usually off limits early in any business relationship, and should only be broached when the relationship has advanced. These are issues of faith, ideology, political affiliations and personal religious belief systems. Unless the information is blatantly offered it is not one's place to ask. However, if the opportunity presents itself and you find yourself discussing these topics, they can go a long way to creating powerful connection.

Another concept that I would like to bring up is at the core of interpersonal relationships, yet, is often overlooked: The ability to carry a conversation, share thoughts and build a rapport. It is almost impossible to get anything constructive done between two people if they cannot carry a conversation. I believe that in prospecting for clients it’s a good habit is to engage people in conversation. I guarantee you that if you are interesting and you show the ability listen, people will not only give you a few minutes of their time, but will thank you for adding some light, levity and a breath of fresh air to their day. And it may very well be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship. It’s important to step outside of the business at hand and talk about other topics. Often the off topic discussion can lead to far greater opportunities.

The final idea I want to mention encompasses all or most of what we discussed; that is mutual respect. It is of utmost importance to have a degree of respect for people with whom we interact and do business, and to be respected in return. If you get the feeling that you are being disrespected and your time and effort is not being valued and appreciated, then most likely this is not a good candidate for you. Don’t worry about the lost business opportunity. The habitual disregard for you will rear its ugly head at some point in any transaction. Have the courage to cut it off.

There is no one universal method of seeking creating connection. How you go about it will depend on your personality, background, interests and conversational skill. But it’s crucial to find the link. As for what is a good fit for me, I value the human experience in every encounter (at times to a fault). I’m open to share ideas, and, more importantly, to listen and learn from others.

Every interaction amongst people is an interview of sorts. Be conscious of it the next time you meet someone new and be open to the possibilities.

Yossi Feigenson is the managing partner of ORB Real Estate Professionals, a firm that specializes in office and retail leasing. They primarily represent tenants looking to either relocate into larger space, or new companies opening their first office. Yossi’s specialty is working with professional firms and small business owners across the entire spectrum of industries. He was formerly a partner in a risk arbitrage fund, specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions. Yossi is an avid reader and runner, and an aspiring writer. Yossi can be reached at

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The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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