Building materials manufacturers run a complex business, but we are here to help you plan for the future. Whether you are launching a new product, rebuilding a brand, trying to get thoughtful communication strategies in place or everything in between. Here on Constructing Brands, we will be talking with leading experts in construction, architecture, engineering, marketing, and manufacturing to help make your building materials company stronger and more profitable. With 15 plus years of experience helping building materials companies succeed and grow, your host, Eric Lanel.
Good morning and welcome to Constructing Brands. This is the place where we help you, the person in charge of a building material company. Today, I’m so happy to have on Jeffrey Greif. Not only being a friend, Jeff is someone who I consult with all the time. Jeff is the Executive Vice President at First American Title Insurance Company, and just one heck of a knowledgeable guy. Jeff, welcome to Constructing Brands.
Thank you, Eric. Thank you so much for inviting me for this podcast. One of the things that I have found so invaluable is helping my clients to build their business. But we’re First American Title Insurance Company, we’re First American, we’re a First American direct operation. Most of the title agents out there are small. We are actually owned by First American, we’re a Fortune 500 multinational corporation. We have a tremendous amount of clout in the industry and in addition to providing terrific service for our clients, one of the things that I love doing is helping my clients to network with one another. And when I train my salespeople one of the most important things that I do is train them on being the connector. When I meet somebody who I think would be helped by meeting somebody else in the business, I’m very excited to make introductions. And I don’t know if you ever heard of the book Mr. Shmooze, maybe you read it. What I love about that book is that it starts off talking about business and how Mr. Shmooze was helping his business people to connect with one another, whether it be his associates or clients or prospects and helping them to meet one another and facilitate business. What ends up happening through the book is that he comes to realize that it’s more of a human element than a business element. So instead of just connecting clients and prospects, he starts helping friends and other people that he meets along the way. And then it becomes this tremendous synergy where you become known as the person to go to in order to connect in business or for personal as well. And that’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun for me. Not only is it good for business, but what I find is it’s so great just to help other people, to learn about their businesses, to learn about their families, what their interests are. And it’s kind of beautiful. I love it. And you know, you were just mentioning that with your clients, your construction clients and who are manufacturers of building materials. I’m involved with, as you were saying, this I’m involved with a couple of commercial real estate groups. One of which is IOREBA, which is a commercial broker group, high-end commercial brokers and NAIOP, NAIOP is a national organization, that’s really focused on developers and commercial real estate attorneys. And I would highly recommend any of your clients in this group to go on their website. IOREBA, I O R E B A and NAIOP and N A I O P.com and look up the website and see who’s involved with it and come to a couple of meetings and let me know, and I’d be happy to work the room with you and make introductions, would be very exciting. And I know that it would be helpful for their business as well.
So those are the folks that you’re mentioning are actually involved with maybe specking products that are going into the final phase of a build, of a commercial build.
Yes it’s people in the construction industry that need those construction materials to work on the specs that the developers and the investors and all the rest of them, the real estate attorneys. I was recently reading in any real estate transaction, there’s some 17 different entities that are necessary a team in order to develop it and invest. I know that any of your clients would be helped by getting involved with those organizations because they would meet the construction people and the developers, source business would be great.
That’s great. And I love the idea of introducing your product to people who don’t know about it and to keep it in where it might be specked out. There’s that other side of it too, value engineering is a big thing, right? We all know that if you haven’t presented all the reasons why you’re worth being on the plan, a lot of times you get cut off the plan because someone is going to do, working really hard to try to get on that plan.
So knowing the right people is never a bad idea and always a great idea. And so you address your business. So yeah, title insurance is what you do, but is it really what you’re doing?
Right. We make sure that the building that people think that they’re buying is actually the building that they’re buying or the property that they’re buying is actually the property that they’re buying. Right. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of difficult situations that we’ve helped clean up in the business which is wonderful. And in addition to that, to help our clients build their business, I love it.
And it’s amazing because you’re so aligned with our audience.
I find out a lot from my clients, my investor clients and developer clients. They’re always looking for partners. They’re always looking for vendors and they’re always looking to either divest themselves of property or expand their properties. And they’re always looking for people to meet in the industry to bring in value added. So I’m always happy to speak to somebody and see. I always keep a database and see who I can make introductions for. In addition to that, and we saw this between 2008 and 2010, there was a tremendous flight to quality back then. Before 2008, I would sometimes call on some large prospects and they would say, oh yeah, I’m using my small local agent because my sister went to junior high school with the guy. I didn’t hear that after 2008. There was a tremendous flight to quality. I’m starting to see that again, through this recent economic challenge is that professionals want to make sure that when monies are being held in escrow or being wired, or there’s some consideration for risk in acquiring a property or financing a property that they’re coming to an organization like First American for that advice. So not only, like I said before, not only do I enjoy connecting people in the industry but also I got a great group behind me, a great team to provide for that advice. We get involved prior to the transaction closing sometimes even prior to contract negotiations because our clients rely on us to give them advice on how to clean up whatever needs to be addressed, or whether it be easements or liens on a property, chain of title that may be clouded, or there may be some days it could be any number of situations where there are some concerns as far as title. We make sure that we clean it all up prior to the contract negotiation, certainly prior to the closing. So I would highly recommend people get in touch with me and see how I can assist.
So I’m hearing actually two big things out of what you just said. Just as a recap, one is, if I was looking to expand and I was looking for property or, you know opportunity to build out or take existing property, that’s built, what a great opportunity or a great thought that maybe I shouldn’t, maybe I don’t need to bear the full, full on risk of that, or the full on opportunity, maybe coming to someone who, like you, who knows people who are interested in investing in property, where I could find a partner to take on some of that risk. And I could be my own landlord along with a partner who sees that opportunity. What a great way to expand maybe, ahead of schedule, because you could take on that financing opportunity with a partner. Pretty cool idea. Something that, you know, that I normally wouldn’t maybe think about if I were thinking about expansion in a manufacturing space, but what a great way to do it.
Yes. I always have clients that are clients and prospects that are looking to meet other people that are expanding and see how they might be able to partner with them.
And the other is obviously if I’m in any type of scenario where I’m looking at a new piece of property to build on or one that’s already built need to get in touch with you to make sure that the property is what I think it is, and that it’s going to go as smooth as I hope it will.
Right? Exactly. We’re happy to review it, happy to have one of our title underwriters review of whatever the contract negotiations are involved and assess.
And the third thing that I’d be remiss if I don’t highlight it’s in the world, in which you play, you network, and you know, a lot of people who it would be really nice for if I had a product that was in the building material space that I want to make sure is potentially getting involved in different projects around the country, what a great opportunity to have. Maybe you connect me with some of the folks who are in charge of making that happen. So…
I’m happy to do that.
Great offering. Thank you. Thank you very much. So Jeffrey, if our audience want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?
Thank you. My cell number 973-610-5997. And my email address is [email protected] like first American, but just first am, [email protected] Thank you very much, Eric.
Thank you for coming onto our show. Jeff, appreciate your time.
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