Some of you may be starting out in commercial real estate, while others have been in the industry for decades. As competition grows, no matter how successful any of us may be, there are ways to continue growing one's career.
1. Be Passionate.
Being engaged shows you care about your clients first and not just your pocketbook. Chasing deals for revenue sake only creates stress.
2. Patience, Business Plans and Volunteering.
Respect your clients, listen to what they have to say and understand their problems. Deals can take a long time in commercial real estate, so patience is important. Developing a business plan at the beginning of the year with different levels of revenue projects also helps maintain focus. Serve on local, state or national committees—they need you and fresh faces are welcome! Working with other smart people to collaborate on great ideas has impact, which you can then apply to your business while gaining the trust of others.
Education is an investment in you. Education could be skill based or knowledge based but either way, pursing it is the key to evolving alongside our clients. Teaching a course counts for education too.
4. Branding by Word of Mouth.
Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger, keynote speaker at the recent SIOR Fall Conference, spoke about ways to build your company by growing your reputation via "word of mouth," which has a higher ROI than advertising. The 6 concepts he introduced included: social currency, creating a trigger, using emotions, giving away private information to the public, using practical value and telling stories. A clear value proposition is required in order for people to engage with you and pay for your services.
5. Leverage Your Time.
You can't do everything. Create a team in-house or with other brokers to share fees and time. Your time can be leveraged so that you can prospect for more work. Evaluate prospective clients/projects to see how "concrete" this project is to you.
What Advice Would You Give —
To Your Younger Self If You Were Just Starting Your Commercial Real Estate Career?
"I would have focused on a single property type. Don't try and work on every type of business that comes your way. Have the discipline to pass other types of work to others. That helps you become the expert in whatever you choose." — Louis Nimkoff , CCIM, CPM
"You don't realize how valuable your reputation is; protect it above all else. In life and in this business, you might be tempted to trade your values for something temporary: a deal, a new client, something that seems exciting and new. Today I value my reputation more than I do a deal or a client." — Kirk Buttle
"Network, network, network—you cannot network too much to spread the word on who you are and what you off er." — Bill Eshenbaugh, ALC, CCIM
"There is no short answer or short cut to success in the real estate business, but always focus on networking and giving back to your community and industry." — Charley Ray, CCIM, GRI
"Education is the key to a successful career in commercial real estate, as long as you keep in mind the central truth, which boils down to ‘see the people, see the property.' Once you're face to face with your customer, keep in mind you need to listen more than talk. Remember, it's not about you, it's all about the customer and the property." — Jose Maria Serrano, CCIM
"Pay attention to the life lessons and advice offered along the way. We don't always have to learn through pain and loss. We don't know everything." — Tedd Rosenstein, CCIM
"Being involved in the real estate business is like managing a daily train wreck. One call, email or text can quickly change the most organized day. Despite that, try to be present and prevent things that get in the way of you being focused on and present with your clients and customers." — Eugene Szpeinski, GRI, EPRO
"If I were just starting out, I would focus on fewer property types by specializing in one or two, and try to do fewer (but larger) deals." — David Choate
"Focus! It is very difficult to be the best at everything and while maintaining a competitive edge can be a struggle, remember that ‘mediocre' is not a motivating state." — Nick Zigic, CIPS
"While it's great to do lots of different kinds of deals, it's much easier and a more efficient use of your time to focus on a specific business practice or geographic area." — Wayne Caplan
"Ask as many questions as possible from senior brokers and never let them say that they're too busy to get back to you. Meet as many people as possible. Network, network, network. And when you are done, network some more. Today's young broker has to pick up the phone or meet a client, prospect in person and not just email or text." — Stephen Provancher
"Obtain all of the advanced education you possibly can in your area of specialty. They must provide important value. In addition to obtaining advanced education, the best practitioners know how to apply that education to get results." — Mark Macek, CCIM
"I would say to my younger self: you will get there, but don't forget to enjoy the trip!" — Alex Ruggieri, CCIM
"Keep the faith, success will follow, but remember you cannot do everything by yourself and praise those who are the basis of your success." — William H. Poteet, Jr. GRI, CIPS, AHWD