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Ten Clichés To Stop Using On Clients

March 2nd, 2013

By Nellie Day, Featured Contributor

There are certain lines that we rely on when making a point, particularly if it happens to be a selling point. While clichés will never disappear entirely from our vocabulary, commercial real estate agents seem to fall privy to these word traps quite often, particularly after the Great Recession. In the interest of your client’s sanity, here are 10 overused (and often misunderstood) business clichés you may want to lay off of.

1. Delay and Pray

Also known as “extend and pretend,” this cliché refers to the strategy some lenders have adopted in a down market whereby they hold commercial loans at pre-cash values instead of taking a loss on the books. This is done in the hopes that the market will soon turn around.

2. Main Street, not Wall Street

This phrase gained popularity during the Great Recession. Though there are many interpretations, it ultimately pits Middle America and everything associated with it against the “corporate greed” that many blame for the Great Recession. Agents often use this cliché when discussing the pros of a local real estate market. Others use it to emphasize the services in place that can help smaller or independent investors achieve their financial goals. Whatever the context, this phrase is as tired as “The Great Recession.”

3. Sitting on the Sidelines

The “players” sitting on the sidelines are investors who either take money out of the market entirely, or hold their cash during a downturn as they wait for one of two things to happen: prices to bottom out or a recovery.

4. Thinking Outside the Box

Since there’s no such thing as thinking inside the box, it’s probably not a great idea to bestow this decades’ old cliché upon your client. Chances are, they’ve gotten to where they are by doing exactly that – or they wouldn’t have the money to invest in commercial real estate to begin with.

5. The New Normal

This phrase was originally made famous on Oprah in reference to one’s life after a massive change or tragedy, such as death or divorce. Never one to let a good saying pass it by, the commercial real estate industry quickly grabbed onto it as a way of explaining the marketplace post-Great Recession, when many theorized that prices and appreciation would never again hit such levels.

6. The Other Shoe to Drop

After the subprime mortgage and residential housing crisis, all eyes turned toward the commercial market to see what it would do. Every ebb and flow left Americans on bated breath, but since no one would actually declare that the commercial market had collapsed, pundits began referring to any negative movement as “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

7. Location, Location, Location

Anyone who’s sold or purchased a piece of real estate knows this saying. Though it may always be true, it doesn’t need to be said time and time again. Clients understand the value of an address. They’ve probably known it since childhood when long summer evenings were spent playing Monopoly. Also, prefacing this cliché with “I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again” does not give carte blanche to use it.

8. Banks have Money to Lend

Of course banks have money to lend, that’s a big portion of what they do. However, if what you mean to say is that lending standards have become stricter, or that loans now come at a higher price, then that’s what you should say. Telling a buyer that they can go to a bank for a loan doesn’t make you sound any smarter, and it may make the client feel patronized.

9. Invest for Success

This is another obvious one. No one wants to invest in property with the hope that his money will be whisked away forever. Unless the main motive is taxes, all commercial real estate investors are hoping to see their property grow over time, even if it’s not at the same rate it might have been pre-2007. If you’re going to give investment advice, tell your clients about up-and-coming neighborhoods, building trends or exclusive vacancies that haven’t yet hit the marketplace.

10. Housing Bubble Burst

We get it: the inflated residential market got bigger and bigger until it finally collapsed under its own strain. While this is an easy way to refer to a much more complicated event, the phrase has been used to death. If you want to compare the residential market and the commercial market to highlight the advantages of commercial real estate that’s fine; just refrain from summarizing an event that took four years to create and more than five years to play out as simply a “bubble burst.”


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