With the opportunity in agriculture today, a top priority has become finding and keeping good rental ground. In conjunction comes the battle of what the land is really worth. This is due partly to landlords who feel taken advantage of during the prosperous times.
Some tenants feel their labors are not appreciated and that landlords don’t understand the uncertainty they face. This continues to compound disagreements.
With commodity and land prices in the news every day, one may simply think that what really matters is being the highest bidder. Sometimes that is the case. But what if we considered the possibility of gaining land without the ability to pay the highest rent? What things would matter? Reputation in the community? Agronomic practices? Stewardship? What else?
What truly matters will differ for each landowner. Sadly, some farmers have forgotten what really matters to the landlord. That’s where your skill as a relationship manager becomes a business advantage. Making the decision to understand what is most important to the landlord (in some cases helping them uncover that), communicating with them about that and finally delivering on that need, creates success.
One of our clients has begun doing a periodic, formal survey of his landlords to uncover what’s important to them, what he’s doing well and what he could be doing differently. How has he benefitted? Prior to this practice he was doing what he thought was important to the landlord but discovered through the survey what was really important to them. He learned he definitely wasn’t communicating well enough with them. By having an open conversation about what was important, their relationships have deepened and he is now more confident in the strength of their relationships.
So, if you couldn’t pay rent to earn or keep rental ground, what would you do? If your landlords were to score you on hitting the target of what is important to them, how would you fare? How would they score you on communication? Delivery?
Managing the landlord/tenant relationship can feel like a chore, but when you are delivering what the landlord truly wants, it is a mutually beneficial relationship.