“The most successful brokers are the ones that ask a ton of questions,” Sean Henrick, executive director and industrial broker at Cushman and Wakefield told RE Journals.
That’s something that Henrick always makes sure to do—he tries to understand not only what the client needs, but also why they think that.
He recalls a tenant who thought that he required 2,000 amps and had done the math. Henrick suggested having an electrician do an evaluation. What they both learned was that only that much power was needed if every machine was running at the highest capacity, which just wasn’t necessary. He ended up saving the client from doing a very costly upgrade.
“The biggest thing I learned along the way is that if you ask enough questions the client will tell you exactly what they need. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes you have to drill down to the bottom of it. If you stop asking questions then the process slows down and even more hurdles begin to show up,” Henrick said.
Henrick has spent most of his career, more than 10 years, as an industrial broker at Cushman and Wakefield. He was born in Evanston and grew up in Morton Grove with parents who both made a living as teachers. So when Henrick decided to study business and finance at Lake Forest College and go into real estate, he created his own path. Now he lives in Glencoe with his wife, Nicole, who is a teacher, and their 1-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
Part of Henrick’s interest in real estate began when he was growing up. His father had owned a few properties, exposing him to the residential industry, which he went into straight after college. Henrick said what hooked him was the chase and connecting directly with people.
“I’m proud of developing strong friendships with clients and my team. This is a relationship business and I love that. When I first got into the business I knew so little and everyone else knew so much which was difficult. But now I’ve reached a level where I can discuss what’s happening in the market with clients or call them up to play golf,” he said
After working in residential, Henrick knew he wanted to get into the commercial real estate sector. An opportunity to get into the industrial sector arrived and Henrick took it. Reflecting back, he sees himself as lucky to get into industrial because it’s complex and changes everyday.
Everything going on in the world with e-commerce, logistics and manufacturing is very interesting, and it’s not like other sectors where everything seems to be a little cookie-cutter, Henrick said. Depending on what industry the client is in, every detail of the warehouse or manufacturing facility could be different.
Henrick puts in a lot of long hours and hard work, something that he learned from his mentor and now partner Jason West, an executive managing director at Cushman and Wakefield. Henrick and West met at another company before they ended up on a team together at Cushman and Wakefield.
“The learning process is important, there are good and bad brokers and you always remember the ones that walk you through the steps. That’s what attracted me to Jason’s approach, he took the time to make sure that everyone was aware and communicating through every part,” Henrick said.
Even if you are meticulous, unexpected challenges can still pop up. Henrick has had something as small as an endangered dragonfly end up halting a project. Sometimes that’s just part of the process, but being prepared is important. Henrick received his SIOR and CCIM designation a few years ago, but he’s already itching to learn more. In order to be successful, you have to crave education and be naturally curious. “You never want to be complacent, that’s when you miss the boat,” he said.