A tale of two clients: how needs dictate performance

Two of my clients are looking for the same thing, but in very different ways.  First, let’s review what they have in common:

  • Seeking office space in the central business district (CBD) of their respective city
  • Know how much space they need
  • Need access to rapid transit and dining options for their employees
  • Desire a short-term (~2 year) lease

As you can see from the above facts, they have quite a bit in common.  However, there is one major difference that influences how we go about advising each client, which I will explain shortly.  Prior to that, it is worth noting how the experience of touring spaces has been profoundly different.

Client 1: On Wednesday morning, I braved the Edens Expressway (I-94 NB) to drive to Milwaukee, where we had pland to view seven sites that – at first review – met all of the key requirements of the client.  Because of traffic issues, we began the tour of spaces shortly before 11:00 am.  Since I began my trip back to Chicago around 4:30 pm, we spent roughly 5 1/2 hours touring seven sites, which was an average of 47 minutes per site.

Client 2: On Thursday afternoon, I departed the CoreNet luncheon The Need for Speed: Navigating Real Estate & Facility Needs at Record Speeds and drove up to Skokie to pick up my clients for a tour of four buildings (six spaces total) in downtown Evanston.  We began at 2:45 pm and I dropped my clients back at their current office by 4:15 pm.  Four buildings in 1 1/2 hours averages to 22.5 minutes per site.

How was it that Client 2’s site visits took roughly half the time of Client 1’s tours?  The major factor is the sector in which each client practices.  Client 1 is a federal government agency; Client 2 is a private technology firm.  This fact is not an intuitive justification for the different time needs, but the additional requirements imposed by the federal government standards are.  Full accessibility compliance (formerly ADA, now ABAAS for US GSA-leased space) demands that a number of measurements for entry/egress, lavatories, and fire/life safety be accounted for, whereas the private sector does not face ADA-compliance unless a potential employee has specific needs that must be accommodated.  Because of this, spaces for private sector firms can often be viewed much more rapidly and receive the “eyeball check” with a quick Yes or No to result.

Why am I sharing this with you?  First, as I am deeply involved in my first group of transactions for the federal government, I’m learning quite a bit about how they approach their strategy and execution – as you can tell, it’s quite different and a bit more extensive than the typical for-profit tenant.  Secondly, it’s a testament to how we must remember that every opportunity and client is unique and it is worth taking the time to provide each one with the best service to meet their requirements.  Our industry is not a one-size-fits-all kind of business and it’s worth reminding ourselves.  I hope that you have found this post interesting; if you have any comments of questions, share them below.

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One Response

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptTwo of my clients are looking for the same thing, but in very different ways. First, let’s review what they have in common: Seeking office space in the central business district (CBD) of their respective city Know how much space they … […]

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