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Building Stronger Teams For Better Business

Justin Fenn and Dan Yozwiak are commercial real-estate brokers at Marcus and Millichap, a leading real-estate investment firm. Having worked together successfully for the last few years, the pair joined Negotiate Anything to discuss the most important elements for building a high-performing team.

3 Hallmarks of a Great Team

Whether you’re embarking on a new business venture or looking to strengthen an existing department, prioritizing teamwork is essential. According to Fenn and Yozwiak, successful teamwork comes down to three things: trust, open communication and mutual goals.

“Align yourself with a teammate where you both have the end goal in mind,” Yozwiak shared. “Once you do that, everything else takes care of itself.”

For Fenn and Yozwiak, the end goal is all about what will best serve the client – ​​an approach they believe is largely responsible for the success they’ve amounted to over the years. Second to that is ensuring that goals are not only mutually shared but measurable.

“You have to have guidelines and goals that are not only something you can define, but can also be measurable,” Fenn shared.

Disagreeing Amicably

Conflict and disagreement are natural for any team or partnership. The key to overcoming: honesty.

“Justin and I aren’t afraid to have honest conversations,” Yozwiak shared, adding that both will acknowledge when the best effort isn’t being applied to an opportunity. From there, they take time to brainstorm solutions separately, and then come back to the table to identify which idea is best.

“It’s so much more effective to let people arrive at their own conclusion instead of forcing a decision onto somebody,” Fenn elaborated.

Another important reminder: embracing difference can be incredibly beneficial to the success of a team.

While both experienced real-estate brokers, Fenn and Yozwiak come from two different niche backgrounds: office and retail. Rather than viewing this as a disadvantage, the pair capitalized on their diversity by taking careful analysis of their combined strengths and opportunities for improvement.

“If you have the ability to anticipate where things are headed, where there is an underserved area and where you can provide the most value to clients, you have an advantage over the guys who aren’t thinking that way,” Fenn explained.

The Best Negotiation Advice for Real Estate Brokers

When it comes to successful real estate negotiations, the first conversation brokers have with their clients is the most important. As an agent or broker, this interaction has the potential to demonstrate how well you will advocate for your client out in the field.

“One of the most important negotiations is with the client when you are negotiating commission,” Yozwiak shared. “You really set the standard for what you are going to be like when working for your client.”

While discussion commission, the pair recommend a simple strategy. In the most matter-of-fact (and confident) tone possible, state your commission percentage. Then say nothing else and wait for a response.

Yozwiak continued, “Say what you need to and don’t over-talk because the more you talk the more stuff will come out that you didn’t mean to say.”

Presuming that a counterpart’s silence means they are dissatisfied in some way, we take it upon ourselves to keep talking until we believe the right thing has been said. This approach, while natural, is counterproductive to successful negotiations.

The truth is, we can’t be sure what another person is thinking when they are quiet. Because of this, it’s best to remain silent until they clearly communicate what’s on their mind.

This ties directly into another key negotiation tip from the pain: meet in person when possible.

“Whether you are dealing with a partnership negotiation or somebody who is buying your products, you want to be face to face so you can see their reaction when you present that item,” Fenn shared.

Face-to-face interactions give negotiators the advantage of reading non-verbal cues. When you present an offer, it will be easier to tell how your counterpart is responding. These questions can inform your response.

Finally, both Fenn and Yozwiak advise listeners against giving something up without getting something in return. This is critical advice for those in real-estate, as it’s common practice for people to negotiate for more or less time and money.

Advice for New Partnerships

For those joining a new team or embarking on a new business partnership, Fenn and Yozwiak have some useful advice:

“Be willing to have the tough conversations about what you really want out of a partnership early on,” they shared. “If you’re willing to have those conversations when you’re starting out – you’re setting yourself up for a more comfortable, happy and honest partnership years down the road.


Follow Justin Fenn and Dan Yozwiak on LinkedIn. Click here to listen to the full episode.

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