How to be a Better Negotiator

How to be a Better Negotiator

The negotiation process can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be if you go in with the right attitude and information. Whether you’re looking to increase your salary, restructure part of your lease or save money on that new car, follow the tips below to get what you want and feel good doing it.

Know the market. When negotiating, specificity is key. Hone in on exactly what you want, and then provide reasons why you should receive it. For instance, when negotiating a higher salary, look up standard industry salaries for your position and take note of how your salary reflects that. Hard statistics strengthen why you deserve additional compensation. From there, put together a comprehensive list of your accomplishments, any projects you’ve managed and any initiatives you’ve been part of within your company, as well as any relevant outside qualifications you have. Use your hard work as leverage. A negotiation is never a time to sell yourself short.

Don’t be afraid of no. Ideally in your negotiating process you’ll get exactly what you walked in for, but the best negotiators also already have alternatives in mind. It’s essential for you to go into your meeting under the impression that you will receive your requests, but also find a few alternatives to your original offer that you would be happy with. For example, if you’re buying a home, but the realtor is not willing to budge on price, try asking for some repairs or upgrades to be covered instead. No matter what you’re negotiating, having a counter offer prepared will help ensure a successful negotiation.

If your boss doesn’t want to raise your salary and the conversation is stagnating because neither party will budge, you can offer up other ways in which you can be compensated. Try requesting benefits such as extra PTO, a gym membership or an end of year bonus. When you look at your total benefits and re-frame your requests from that perspective, your odds of a successful negotiation are much higher.

Listen. When the person you’re negotiating with is speaking, listen carefully. By asking open-ended questions and utilizing active listening, you’re setting the stage for an actual discussion instead of just a bargaining match. The more time you take to listen rather than just waiting to reply, you can get a better understanding of where the other party is coming from, and you can adjust your negotiating tactics accordingly.

The best way to successfully negotiate is to be mindful throughout the entire process – from the time you take to properly research before the meeting to the meeting itself. With the proper information and a good attitude, you’ll be able to take on any negotiation confidently and successfully.

How to Create a Chicago Center of Influence

Due to an influx in technology, Chicago is awash with small to midsize businesses trying to make their mark on the city. These companies may have great reputations in their home cities, but doing business in Chicago is its own beast. The key to setting yourself apart as a business owner in Chi-Town is to go the extra mile. Not only should you be providing top-notch services, but you should also be a center of influence. The longer you spend in the Windy City, the more you’ll begin to realize it’s a city founded upon community, tight-knit neighborhoods and personal recommendations. With all of that in mind, here’s how to get down to business the Chicago way.

Build an authentic network. Your network is a direct representation of you and your business, so it’s important to cultivate your professional circle with care. But how do you build an impeccable network? Make it personal. It’s obvious when someone is networking just to add another connection to their LinkedIn profile. Chicagoans build networks on authentic relationships which is why you need to not only take a vested interest in a person’s business, but also them as a person. When your intentions are genuine, your network will begin to fall into place.

Offer up your network. The first step in creating lifelong working relationships with a client or someone in your professional circle is to provide the best service within your industry. From there, you set yourself apart from your competitors by offering up the impeccable professionals you have in your network. Identify people in your circle who are great at what they do and refer them to people who need those services. In Chicago, the best way to get business is to send business, but you have to be intentional. Creating a solid reputation for you and your business is a marathon not a sprint, and there’s no better way to create a lasting impression than making a thoughtful introduction.

Show up.  Connections continually need to be maintained. Like we mentioned above, you won’t get anywhere in Chicago by creating surface-level relationships. Keeping a strong professional circle is more than just referring business to each other — you have to make yourself available. Represent your brand by looking up events and places your network is attending or hosting and show up. If you become an active supporter of your network, you can expect that same support to be reciprocated when you need it.

Utilize these tips to make the most of your business’ presence in Chicago, and if you’re in need of a new office space to get your move started, let us know how we can help.

How to Maintain Low Rent in Booming Areas

Up-and-coming areas can be a scary concept for some business owners. One day you’re paying low rent in a semi-popular part of town, then a few years pass and the area is booming, people and other businesses are flocking over and rent is skyrocketing. However, you don’t have to pay a fortune in rent or change locations if you take the right precautions. Here’s how you can hold onto your prime real estate at a fair rate.

Stipulate a Rental Rate

When negotiating the renewal clause in a lease, oftentimes there is a fair market value clause that leaves negotiation of rental rates open for when an area grows in popularity. But fair market value leaves too much freedom for the landlord to hike up the rates to match the new standard, which could end up being well above your budget. One benefit to using a good broker is that they know to negotiate for a specific rental rate based upon a finite escalation instead of relying on a fair market value agreement. This ensures that the you can afford the future rental rates and also reflects the increase of growth in the area.

Negotiate a Right to Terminate

The termination option is also an extremely valuable piece of negotiation leverage. A landlord will not offer this unsolicited. For leases longer than five years, it is very helpful to have a termination right. By negotiating this into the lease, should rates dip below market value, then you will be able to exercise the right to terminate and move or use this as leverage to reduce your rate. Conversely, if rents have skyrocketed, you can utilize the leverage of the termination right to extend your lease and keep your rates below market for the foreseeable future.

Sublease Your Space

Another option you can consider when the rent goes up is to sublease. As always, any business leasing a space should work with a broker to ensure that a sublease clause is included in the lease. From there, if the ability to sublease is allowed, you can move elsewhere to pay a lower rate while subleasing your original space to help offset the overall costs. This is especially beneficial if you are able to reduce your square footage as well.   

Maintaining your presence in a popular area all comes down to your lease. Working with a reliable broker to negotiate the correct terms can take the stress out of rising market rates and give you peace of mind about staying in your space.  

Executive Networking with Tenant Advisory Group

This Executives Breakfast inspired a number of great discussions and offered Chicago business leaders the opportunity to broaden their networks.

At the Executives Breakfast, attendees discussed “Is there a defining moment or decision you’ve made that has helped shape your career?” Here are the responses:

Jill Kushner Bishop, PhD, Founder & CEO, Multilingual Connections: Wanting to start a business for a while but had a comfortable position. HR director had made some unethical decisions and she spoke out and was given resignation later. Was Named Evanston business person of the year!

Jaclyn Moser, Partner, Harken Interiors: Was helping facilitate creative work and wasn’t getting the right fit from the current job. Wasn’t being fulfilled. Seeing the fruits of their labor.

Brian Black, Relationship Development Manager, Tenant Advisory Group: When he met Bill, he felt he was a genuine guy. When spoke with Mark Meyer he suggested a lane change for his career.

Matt Field, President, Express Employment Professionals – Used a recruitment firm and it was a terrible experience.

Chris Sommers & Jaclyn Moser, Founders & Partners, Harken Interiors: Getting paired up with Jaclyn and seeing how well they worked together.

Nanette McCarthy, Principal Partner, Griffin McCarthy & Rice: It started from previous employment and she met her partner there. She saw that the client’s best interest was not being met. She and her partners started their own firm to put their client’s best interests first.

Robert Natke, Partner, UrbanWorks: Just graduated from architectural school. He went back for an MBA and that changed his approach to architecture.

Max Adelman, State Farm Insurance Agent, Max Adelman State Farm: He was premed at home for break. His family told him to not be a doctor.

Joe Blandford, CEO, Greatline Communications: Had a job and got a new boss. His boss was a difficult person to work for and he left. After surviving cancer, he changed perspective. He has 4 daughters.

Cathy Jama, Executive Vice President, Tenant Advisory Group, LLC: Had a meeting with Bill and is now working with the TAG team. Surround yourself with positivity.

Laurel Bellows, Founding Managing Partner, Bellows Law Group, P.C. & Past President, American Bar Association: Met her future husband and current law partner. She wanted to be a trial lawyer when women weren’t allowed to be lawyers. He was looking to train a woman to be a trial lawyer. Who stands in front of a jury and builds a relationship within 30 seconds, a man or a woman?

Percy Haley, Partner, Black Rhino Financial GroupF: Decided to switch careers from banking. Prayed about it and he met his partner Darryl.

Jamie Horn, Partner, Digital Experience and Marketing Recruiting: Her dad never encouraged her to get into the business. She did an internship in commercial real estate and came out of school in a recession.

Chris Salvi, Co Founder, Salvi Media: Interviewing a glioblastoma caretaker. Made him realize the power of the story.

Amber Autumn, VP of Business Development, Summit Design & Build: Her dad was a brick mason and he took her to jobs. When she was 8, her dad said do you want to go to work with me or stay home with your mom and clean the house?

Dane Sanders, Director of Capital Markets, Black Rhino Financial Group: Wife, and 3 kids were the defining moment. A client said you really helped me.

Rick Sudekum, Managing Partner, Sudekum, Cassidy & Shulruff: when some younger partners came to him and convinced him to start a new firm. Living values. 10 commandments. Do unto others.

Mark Meyer, Founder, E&M Strategic Development: Was a banker at Associated. Had a cushy job. He was approached by someone to go to straight commission and left salary. He has started 7 different businesses since. He cames back to relationships and began doing the right things. Do what you say you’re going to do.

Ivan Vislavskiy, Co-Founder and CEO, Comrade Web Agency: inspired by his old boss. He loved him and thought very highly of him. He wanted to be like his boss. Decided needed balance in his life.

Chuck Gullet, Managing Broker, Best Chicago Properties: Has 13 yrs at Caterpillar. The moment of clarity was during Pearl Jam at Lollapalooza. Realized he needed to move to Chicago.

Cyrus Rivetna, Principal, Rivetna Architects Inc: Was doing everything for his business and took the plunge and hired his first employee. Changed his mentality that he can delegate. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you’re doing the wrong thing.


Guest List:

Max Adelman, State Farm Insurance Agent, Max Adelman State Farm

Laurel Bellows, Founding Managing Partner, Bellows Law Group, P.C. & Past President, American Bar Association

Tim Van Mieghem, Partner, Proaction Group

Dave Norris, COO, RedRidge Finance Group

Chuck Gullet, Managing Broker, Best Chicago Properties

Amber Autumn, VP of Business Development, Summit Design & Build

Laura Dribin, CEO & Founder, Peritius Consulting

Dane Sanders, Partner- Director of Capital Markets, Black Rhino Financial Group

Max Adelman, CEO, Max Edelman State Farm

Joe Blandford, President, Greatline Communications

Matt Field, President, Express Employment Professionals

Chris Sommers & Jaclyn Moser, Founders & Partners, Harken Interiors

Percy Haley, Partner, Black Rhino Financial Group

Jill Kushner Bishop, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Multilingual Connections

Nanette McCarthy, Principal Partner, Griffin McCarthy & Rice

Andy Mack, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, SnapMobile

Chris Salvi, Co-Founder, Salvi Media

Robert Natke, Partner, UrbanWorks

Rick Sudekum, Managing Partner, Sudekum, Cassidy & Shulruff

Jaclyn Moser, Partner, Harken Interiors

Brian Black, Relationship Development Manager, Tenant Advisory Group

Joe Blandford, CEO, Greatline Communications

Cathy Jama, Executive Vice President, Tenant Advisory Group, LLC

Jamie Horn, Partner, Digital Experience and Marketing Recruiting

Mark Meyer, Founder, E&M Strategic Development

Ivan Vislavskiy, Co-Founder and CEO, Comrade Web Agency

Cyrus Rivetna, Principal, Rivetna Architects Inc

Making Your Employees’ Needs a Priority in Your Office Search

Employees are the lifeblood of any business, and their productivity is directly tied to their happiness. Employees who feel their needs are being met are generally more productive and creative. It’s human nature, and finding a space that supports your team can mean happier and more productive employees.

Need: A Quiet Place

Open-concept office spaces are great for collaboration, but what happens when someone needs a private space to focus or make a call? Consider finding space with smaller office rooms that can accommodate the need for a place to think, a place to be productive and place for your employees to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle.

Need: A Place to Communicate

Whether your team is trying to complete that sale or they’re corresponding with a client via video conference, it’s important to have a designated space to take calls and video conferences. This room will need to have infrastructure that allows it access to the necessary technology.

Need: A Place to Gather

From social gatherings to team meetings to networking events, there needs to be space within your office for people to gather. Consider a multi-purpose space with movable furniture and partitions. This will allow you the freedom to use the multi-purpose area to gather when needed and utilized for other office functions when not needed.

Adequate spaces and layout should be an important consideration for your search. When your team feels supported and heard within the office space and structure, the results yielded will be boosted productivity, increased morale and an overall better work experience.

Need: A Place for New Mothers

Mother’s Rooms are one of the best ways you can support employees coming back from maternity leave. Not only are these spaces a great way to help the mothers on your team feel like their needs are being met, it’s also illegal to not have a private area for women who are nursing.

Where you work matters. That’s why we’ve partnered with an online software platform to make it easy to search for spaces that are specific to your needs. All you need to do is enter your informationhere.You will be given access to a database of office space listings complete with virtual tours, floor plans and all-in monthly prices. Finding the space of your dreams is only a click away.


Every month, Tenant Advisory Group hosts an Executives Breakfast and an Executives Luncheon to provide an opportunity for Chicago business leaders to build new, meaningful connections and discuss topics relevant to running a business.

During the Executives Lunch, attendees were prompted with the question, “Some of our best referral sources can be existing clients. What do you do to stay in front of your current client base?” Here are a few of the lessons shared in response:

Thanks again for taking the time to attend and please remember to follow up with those you might have synergies with. A rising tide lifts all boats!

Bill Himmelstein, Founder & CEO, Tenant Advisory Group, LLC: I have found that by offering value such as the opportunity to meet other business owners and potential clients, they will show up. Asking a business owner how you can best support them is a wonderful way to go from vendor to partner.”

Ian Stevenson, Partner, Straight North: Reminder in the calendar every 6 months to touch base.”

Morrie Elstien, President, MorrieCONNECT: How can I help you grow your business and who can I connect you with? Best way to get a payback is to give something upfront. They need to ask how they can help you back.

Randy Bridgeman, Partner, Perkins Coie: Getting out of your office and meeting your clients and going to networking events with them. Have a proactive relationship with your clients.

Barbara Best, Founding Partner & Principal, Capital Strategies Investment Group: Focus on what you can do to support other people. Do a value add newsletter and video. “What can I do to help you?”

Paola Meinzer, Partner, Manning Silverman CPAs: Leave an audience with something they can take with them. Get engaged with committees and organizations.

Jonathan Rothstein, Senior Vice President, MB Financial Bank: Making strategic introductions for clients to help them grow their business. I try to get together quarterly in person, but a phone call works if needed. Have speakers and host events.

Gary Parenti, CFO, Worsek & Vihon: guest of Jonathan Rothstein: Do lots of writing and put good information out there. Don’t do much electronically on purpose. Try to keep personal service as much as possible.

Tim Schumm, Founder & President, Lucas James Talent Partners: View yourself as a partner rather than a vendor. Bend over backward for each client and do whatever you can do for them.

Stefanie Jenkins, Director of Business Development, Vault Innovation Group: Have quarterly panel sessions for clients to speak in front of their other clients.

Ed Grasse, Managing Partner, Busse, Busse & Grasse: Stay ahead of the law and let clients know he is on top of it.

Rasheed Hammouda, CEO, BridgeFT: Need a scalable way to stay in front of clients. Need to consistently deliver value to clients.

Justin Frick, co-owner, AV Chicago: Reaching out to clients when new product offerings, new ideas and new clients who are doing something cool. Knowing customers and have that personal touch.

Jeff Asperger, Partner, Meltzer Purtill & Stelle LLC: Write blogs and small articles that may be of interest to them. Follow up with emails and telephone calls.

Stephen Beriau, Managing Director, Encina Business Credit: Stay in front with good information.

Erryn Cobb, CEO, Fetch IMC: 30% of revenue was from referrals from existing clients. Offer a referral fee to clients who refer them.

Eric Masi, President, Torque Digital Marketing: Post something on LI that’s both business and personal.

Ruth Minnick, Global Business Development Manager, Client Executive, Unispace: Make introductions for clients. Hosts quarterly events focused on different industries. Write articles and white papers. Reach out with a survey at each stage of the project.

Scott Simpson, Owner, Scott Simpson Builders: Have a 3-year warranty that keeps them in front of their clients.

Mark Mann, Managing Partner, Mann Weitz & Associates: In touch with clients once a month for advice. Give out referrals to attorneys, insurance and wealth advisors.

If you’re a business owner with 20+ employees who are interested in attending future TAG events, please email Bill Himmelstein at


Guest List

Gary Parenti, CFO, Worsek & Vihon – guest of Jonathan Rothstein

Dan Yost, Principal, Employee Benefit Consulting Group – guest of Bill Himmelstein

Mike Olson, Director of Acquisitions, DecisionOne Dental – guest of Bill Himmelstein

Mark Mann, Managing Partner, Mann Weitz & Associates – guest of Barbara Best

Scott Simpson, Owner, Scott Simpson Builders – guest of Morrie Elstien

Ian Stevenson, Partner, Straight North – guest of Morrie Elstien

Randy Bridgeman, Partner, Perkins Coie – guest of Morrie Elstien

Stephen Beriau, Managing Director, Encina Business Credit – guest of Morrie Elstien

Eric Masi, President, Torque Digital Marketing – guest of Ruth Minnick

Paola Meinzer, Partner, Manning Silverman CPAs

Ed Grasse, Managing Partner, Busse, Busse & Grasse – guest of Stefanie Jenkins

Justin Frick, co-owner, AV Chicago – guest of Jeff Asperger

Rasheed Hammouda, CEO, BridgeFT – guest of Tim Schumm

Erryn Cobb, CEO, Fetch IMC

Barbara Best, Founding Partner & Principal, Capital Strategies Investment Group

Jonathan Rothstein, Senior Vice President, MB Financial Bank

Tim Schumm, Founder & President, Lucas James Talent Partners

Jeff Asperger, Partner, Meltzer Purtill & Stelle LLC

Ruth Minnick, Global Business Development Manager, Client Executive, Unispace

Morrie Elstien, President, MorrieCONNECT

Stefanie Jenkins, Director of Business Development, Vault Innovation Group

Bill Himmelstein, Founder & CEO, Tenant Advisory Group, LLC

WeWork’s New Tenant Rep Service Offering Will Hurt their Business

When coworking companies came onto the scene, they quickly became a tool for commercial real estate brokers to help young and small business owners find a temporary space. However, this symbiotic relationship may be in jeopardy with the announcement of WeWork’s tenant representation services as brokers will be far less likely to bring their clients to a competitor. The coworking business’ move to diversify their service offerings may cause harm to their referral partners’ business and therefore, maybe also their own.

It is a common practice for tenant representative brokers to bring small business owners to coworking spaces while these entrepreneurs grow their company, as a coworking lease is a great short-term solution. Once the business grows to a certain level, the owner will want to find a permanent spot with their own branding and more privacy. However, instead of contacting the broker who brought them to WeWork, this entrepreneur may now decide to use a WeWork tenant representative.

Because of this conflict of interest, brokers will no longer be inclined to bring tenants to WeWork, as they will be consistently working against their industry referral partners to grab the business of these growing entrepreneurs. Unfortunately for WeWork, this could also contribute to a loss in business — one that would only add to the $900 million loss already reported in 2017.

Recently, Moody’s dropped its rating of WeWork from the lowest possible credit rating to six grades below its junk credit rating. The reason for its harsh assessment is due to WeWork’s $702 million of unsecured debt and negative free-cash flow, despite its growth from raising capital. According to Tenant Advisory Group founder and CEO Bill Himmelstein, the strategy to open up a new line of service is likely in response to its disadvantageous earnings and credit rating that hurt the company’s chance at securing a new round of funding.

WeWork’s idea for a new service line may make sense as a short-term strategy, but it overlooks long-term consequences that could have a catastrophic impact.

Bill Himmelstein Featured in Emagispace

The latest movement in office design is uniting the benefits of both the open floor plans and private offices. Emagispace reached out to Bill Himmelstein for advice on how to balance the two designs to create a space that promotes independent and collaborative productivity.

Read the articlehere.

Voyage Chicago Features Tenant Advisory Group

Voyage Chicago reached out to Bill Himmelstein to dive deep into the history of how Tenant Advisory Group began, and the foundation it was built upon. Click here to read more.

Bill Himmelstein Featured on Money Matters Podcast

Money Matters invited Bill Himmelstein on their podcast to share his experiences in starting his own business, as well as divulging tips to young people on how to advance in the industry. You can listen to the podcast here.