• Art of the Deal Includes Personal Touch
  • February 17, 2014 | Author: Robyn Jarvis Askew
  • Law Firm: Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C. - Knoxville Office
  • Woody Allen is credited with the quote: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

    If you show up, you are letting people know that you care, that you consider them important and that the details matter.

    With the technologically connected world we live in, it is easy to simply hit “reply all” and tell yourself that you are engaged. I have found, however, that face-to-face communication is critical for the successful conclusion of most business transactions. While it is not impossible to enter into and conclude a contract to acquire, sell, lease or develop property without face-to-face interaction, the result will not be as easily reached, nor the long-term relationships enhanced.

    Those of you who work in development know that the world of commercial real estate can actually be quite small. We see one another in deal after deal, year after year, regardless it seems, of the location of the deal. Our relationships with one another matter.

    Even with our instant means of communication, sitting down with a client allows me to document a transaction more accurately and quickly than relying on email and phone calls alone. Face-to-face meetings save time and misunderstandings, and allow parties to more readily get to an agreement on the deal points.

    As a deal progresses, it is often advantageous to meet with the other side and their counsel to review the status of the transaction. Again, this can result in amicable resolutions to issues and hopefully alleviate a last-minute closing crisis. People can, and do, infer meanings into emails and texts that often were not intended. Without the face-to-face communication, small matters can escalate into an expensive war of words or a lawsuit.

    As attorneys and real estate professionals, we have to listen to those for whom we work, try to understand their goals and learn as much about a transaction and its impact on the client as possible. For example, many times my initial thoughts about the structure of a transaction have been moved 180 degrees once I knew where the client wanted to be in five or ten years from a cash-flow position. Most good leaders, lawyers, and real estate professionals are good listeners.

    Of course, sometimes litigation is the only recourse, but if one is able to resolve issues and get to closing without a legal battle, that is likely the most financially and emotionally satisfying result. Face-to-face meetings tend to resolve matters more easily than firing off letters and emails to one another.

    While it is rare that both parties do not “leave something on the table” at a closing, it is my experience that getting to closing is far better than investing tremendous time and energy into a deal only to have it dissolve into legal proceedings.

    All of the forgoing is not to say that email, texts, voice mails, and yes, faxes, are not useful. Of course they are. In fact, we could not conclude most deals without them. My point is that the personal interaction of a meeting is still the best way to get to a favorable result.

    In the world of real estate, relationships are critical. Relationships are made, and maintained, with personal contact and with listening. For me, that cannot be done solely with emails, scanned documents, voice mails and texts.