SEASON 1, EPISODE 9

ProDeal Team: 3 Simple Tips for Closing Deals Effectively (+ Efficiently!)

Release Date: September 2, 2022

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Did you know our Customer Success team here at ProDeal used to be out on the ground closing commercial real estate deals? That's why in this episode of the Closing Table podcast by ProDeal, we dive into three habits we think are most important for closing a deal efficiently and effectively.

What’s discussed: 

0:00 - Intro

3:00 - Setting expectations at the beginning of the transaction

4:33 - The compounding effect of having multiple deals being down

6:15 - Why you need to be organized

8:18 - Tech vs. documents for organization

10:00 - How to become a well-oiled machine

13:05 - Making things as simple as possible

Transcript:

Intro: 

You are listening to the closing table by ProDeal, the Commercial Real Estate Industry Insiders podcast. Closing deals is what separates the good from the great in this business. That's why we pick the brains of the world's best lawyers, lenders, developers and brokers. With a reputation for getting the deal closed, stay tuned for insider tips on how to succeed at the closing table and bring your business to the top. Now let's start closing some deals. 

Welcome back to the closing table. I'm your host, Ian Group. And this week we have a special guest. It's my colleague on ProDeal’s Customer Success team, Kimberly Justin. So what's unique about Kimberly is that we both used to close deals before coming   to produce our team. It produced a customer success team, specifically works with lenders, sponsors, law firms, title companies, all of which are using Pro Deal to organize and track their due diligence as part of their closing process. And Kimberly and I are constantly discussing best practices and ways to help our clients better at what they do. And while Pro Deal plays a part of that, there are universal tips that don't necessarily involve technology. So get out your paper and pen or open up the notes app on your phone and get ready for some actionable advice and tips from previous customer success team to be better at your job and help you close deals more efficiently.

Ian Group:

 So this week on the closing table, we have an internal profile episode for you. And if you don't know this already, I'm in group. I run the customer success team at protocol and I'm actually a lawyer. I was a former real estate attorney that my colleague Kimberly on. I let her introduce herself. 

Kimberly Justmann: 

Hi, I'm Kimberly Jasmin. I am now a customer success manager here at ProDeal. But in my previous life I was a transaction manager in commercial real estate, specifically with investment sales. So I've spent a lot of time processing deals and getting deals closed and going through all of those hoops that it takes to get there. 

Ian Group:

Yeah. And that's like it's one of the things that I think makes ProDeal unique in that Kimberly and I are both former people who were closing deals and we love having that experience and then also working with customers. Now we're using our software to close deals, but we draw a lot from our experience and all of the conversations that we have. And so Kimberly and I were talking about some best practices as you were closing your deals. We wanted to put together just a couple of actionable tips and things, really just ways that you can sort of look at closing deals and staying organized and, you know, best practices around transactions and hopefully take these and apply them to your own career.

Kimberly Justmann

Yup. Awesome. The first step that we discussed after we kind of took a look at our past experience and thought, you know, what makes somebody or a whole team good at doing deals in real estate? And one of them that I think I can honestly say I really picked up from my last position, which was multifamily investment sales was really setting expectations at the beginning of the transaction. So in my previous role, I took over the transaction at really the moment it went under contract and due diligence kicked off. And it was really helpful for me to get all parties involved on an email chain and kind of tell them what the process was going to be from here on out. Due diligence is a clock starts and everybody wants to get the most out of their time and make sure they're getting as much diligence and in that time frame as possible. So to be able to say, okay, guys, we're hosting the documents, here's where you're going to go to get them. You know, I've already added all the people we know about. Let me know who else you need to add and just saying these are the next several steps and I'm the gatekeeper. That is like a huge help to let everybody know to come to you for questions and that you're taking the reins. And it's not just kind of willy-nilly after that. 

Ian Group:

Yeah. And and when you think about sort of the compounding effects of having multiple deals going on at one time, I mean, it's impossible to stay organized without kind of having a set workflow in a transaction. And I think the way you describe it is, is really great if anybody here is struggling to kind of, I guess, stay organized throughout a deal or kind of keep things in line, maybe you're getting overwhelmed with emails, you know, setting those expectations early on as to how the deal is going to flow. It's just going to go it's going to go a long way. Do you remember the first time that you did that on a deal?

Kimberly Justmann

Certainly in my last role where that was a big part of our process. I'm sure it took me a long time to finalize that email and actually get it sent out because, you know, like it's really like any job the first time you email a client or contact the client directly, like an outside party, that's different than sending an internal email. And so it was not only that, but compounded with the fact that this is like an official, you know, we call it a deal kickoff. It was you know, the deal for us started earlier, but due diligence was getting kicked off. So I don't think I made any mistakes on that one. But that's also one of the things that makes real estate so high stakes, like what you said about having multiple deals at the same time. It's like, what if I put the wrong, you know, buyer on the email for a different property? Like it's not really bad. So, I mean, it's something that you really need to pay attention to. And like keeping yourself organized really matters and has a huge ripple effect, which actually leads us to our next point. Honestly.

Ian Group: 

Go for it. Why don't you talk about it? 

Kimberly Justmann:

So the next thing is simple. You probably hear it with a lot of jobs to be organized, but if you're a transaction manager or if you're on a deal team, if you're the one that's helping drive a deal to the finish line, being organized makes all the difference in the world, and it really can set the tone for everybody else involved. So, you know, I liked to do we had a lot of processes kind of like keeping a contact list for every deal so that you can easily go and find any contact you need for a specific deal. Keeping a schedule of like when on site inspections are happening, obviously you have a due diligence list, which is a whole other, you know, a longer process to be had. But just knowing that, like I said with the last set that you're that you're the one setting the tone at the beginning of the process. And really, you're the gatekeeper of like all of the information for a transaction if you're on a deal team where you can be the gatekeeper, right? So if you're organized, everybody that will help everybody actually look to you when they do have questions and it'll help everybody want to lean on you, which is which is ideal. 

Ian Group:

I completely agree with you in terms of being the gatekeeper. I think there's definitely some overlap between being organized and setting expectations at the beginning of the transaction. They really go hand in hand. You know, I think a lot of organization used to be manual. I love that technology helps. You know, we have customers at Pro Deal for example that and you know that's that use pro deal but then also have project management tools that work sort of side by side. And I think we're starting to see that a lot more, although I don't think it's it's really it's fully prevalent in the industry. I think people are still using checklists, you know, Excel based checklists and and emails to keep everything. I wonder if. Everyone knows of tools like ProDeal, like Monday or even Trello, which is a really simple Kanban board to track a pipeline of things. But I don't know. What are your thoughts on tech and staying organized?

Kimberly Justmann:

Yeah, I think that's we could just go ask any one of our clients and find out how many people are using just a document like run a lot of process practices within their deals. It's kind of crazy. I mean, luckily we come across some clients occasionally that are like, I hate this. I can't I don't know why we don't use technology more. But, you know, sometimes I think about how you always describe Purtill as, you know, tailor made for commercial real estate. And, you know, people that were doing deals before made it. And I just think of like a lot of basic say CRM is out there. I've worked for a number of different real estate companies and a CRM, just about everybody needs a CRM and there's a reason to use it, but it can be. To me, it's always pretty obvious that this is the seat. Most of the dreams are made for businesses in general, you know what I mean? They're really not tailored to real estate or commercial real estate. And that's where I feel like Perennial makes a huge difference. It's a software that you can actually log into and see that like someone knows a thing or two about your process and they designed for purpose. But sadly, you know that real estate is pretty reluctant to change. So that's that's what we have to, you know, find a way to break through.

Ian Group:

Did you have any specific things that you did to say organize when you write your last job? 

Kimberly Justmann:

Yeah. I mean, that's funny you say that. I feel like that's actually a question I've had in multiple interviews in my past. Like, oh, but just like, you know, almost any job I've ever had in real estate, we you have some sort of internal filing system, right? Really. I mean, most companies out there, they're going to have that. And so just like having a deal folder, a folder for every single deal and knowing these are your five steps, you should always have these these documents on hand that keep your information organized. That's a big help. I think streamlining that can really make you more organized as a deal team because the best compliments I have I ever got working in real estate was that the team I worked on was a well-oiled machine. You know, I think compared to just any industry out there with real estate, it's I say I've said this before, it's really wash, rinse, repeat, you know, like you're going to your deals. Every deal is a little different. Sure. But like, there's you're probably you're either, you know, originating loans or your what I was doing, I was doing investment sales. So we were selling properties. And there's just a process you have to stick to. And if everybody on your team knows that process and knows where they fit, then you can look like a well-oiled machine to the outside. And that really that gives better service, I think, to the people involved.

Ian Group:

Totally. I remember on a couple deals that I worked on, we didn't really have kind of like a a go to place for or docs for one of our repeat clients. And I was just thinking, man, why is there not like a central place to go to? Because everything was organized by client matter numbers. Why it was, why wise or not, like a central location for like all of their fund docs and all of their property or docs in one place. And I think that that's something that, you know, if you are working for an owner, operator, developer, you know, or a law firm or someone that has repeat clients, I mean, you can create kind of like repositories for docs. You know, you need over and over again and just have them in one place. I mean, it's something that simple, but I think everyone's just also so busy that projects like that are just kind of put on the back burner because you're trying to close deals not. 

Kimberly Justmann:

Actually, that makes me that reminds me part of, you know, just having a team that's tight knit and that has really thought about their process is know it like everybody on the team knowing, hey, we don't want to ever ask a client for the same document twice if we can help it. So always make sure to go back to this central repository where we've, you know, we've done deals with these people before. So like, let's always go check what we have before we ask them for anything. Like that's just part of knowing, knowing what you're doing really with the entire process.

Ian Group: 

I think that's a that's a mistake that a lot of junior employees make companies junior mid-level. I mean, I certainly made this is asking someone for something where you could have gone out to find that thing. I mean, Google is like a prime example of a place where you can go to pretty much find info on anything. People kind of look to ask others those questions before searching for those things. So I completely agree with you. While we solve some time, let's go over the last step, which I think is a really good one to make things simple and to do that around communication because everyone is super busy and yeah, people don't want to spend as much as people do spend time in email, they don't want to spend all their time on email. But tell me about your experience with that. 

Kimberly Justmann:

Yeah, well, I think you've mentioned this actually recently, and this definitely happened to me when I first just started working full time out of college, was getting the constructive feedback of, you know, your communication could be more concise. You don't have to write a three pair email every time. Right? And so I think that's a lesson that a lot of people learned early on. But I think real estate, commercial real estate especially is an industry where the people that you're trying to get information across to are going, I mean, just a billion miles. And, you know, they are they're going so fast. I mean, I think of especially investment sales, like it's similar to a lot of sales organizations, but even more so, I mean, those guys are hungry, you know, and they need to they need to close deals if they're going to get a paycheck. And so they matter. You know, those people, though, they they they can really affect decisions on a on a detail level. So you have to I had to learn to make things simple for them so that I could get what I need out of them, which I think was really helpful to actually get me to be more concise because it's not my, you know, I could be wordy if I if I want it to be, but I'm. 

Ian Group: 

The same way.

Kimberly Justmann:

So it's yeah, I mean, so part of that is I think learning to be concise like that with your communication, but also hand it to them on a silver platter. Like don't describe a problem and sort of ask the question and hope you're going to get what you need out of that. Describe the problem and then say, Would you like me to do this or this? You know, it's. 

Ian Group: 

Make it easy, yes or no. Completely agree. Keeping emails concise. I really, really always ask myself the question like, what is the thing that I want to get out of sending this communication? What do I need? What is the purpose? And by the way, I try to do that with meetings, too. We were talking about this just yesterday. How do you set an effective meeting? Well, set an agenda for have a clear cut purpose so that it's not a meeting just for a meeting. And by the way, if you experience as many calls that you have when you were closing deals that had so many erroneous people that were part of those calls, I mean, if I was back closing deals and in a leadership role, that would be one of the first things I look at is who needs to be on this call. It's like, you know, thousands of dollars getting spent on calls with people that don't need to be there. So keep it simple. 

Kimberly Justmann: 

Yeah, for sure. So I just keep learning, you know, learning to be really direct with your communication and then also extract what you need out of people so that you're wasting as little of their time as possible. I mean, that just that's going to help you. And they're going to they're going to like it also. They're going to be like, great. They're easy to communicate with. They're not wasting my time, you know?

Ian Group:

Totally. Well, look, that's all the time we have. This is a great conversation, and I would love for any of the listeners to give us some feedback if we'll post this on on LinkedIn. But if you want to give us some feedback on these tips and you want more tips because we've got a whole bunch of them, let us know. You can email us at success at ProDeal360 and maybe we'll make a part to. This was fun. All right, Kimberly. I'll talk to you later.

Kimberly Justmann: 

Thanks.

Outro:

Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of The Closing Table. The Commercial Real Estate Industries Insider Podcast brought to you by ProDeal. If you're ready to start closing some deals, I highly recommend checking out produce. Here's why it's a due diligence platform that helps deal teams streamline track and organize due diligence. It's especially helpful for big deals, portfolio transactions or shops with high volume, with endless amounts of documents, checklists and emails. Isn't it time that you and your team use it to a purpose built for your deals? For more information, please visit our website at ProDeal360.com and request a demo. Tell us you found ProDeal on the podcast and we'll give you 30 days for free. If you'd like to contact advice on how to rise to the top, please be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Now let's go start closing some deals. 

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