So You Want to Be a Commercial Real Estate Broker…
During the past four months that I have been writing Concrete Thoughts, I have received dozens of reader emails asking me to address the qualities and skills that I see in our industry’s most successful brokers. While there are many skills required, below is a summary of 10 characteristics that I have observed in brokers who have made it to the top of the pack. They appear here in no particular order.
I believe that in order to excel in our business-or any other endeavor, for that matter-you need to be passionate about what you are doing. Those who are really excited about what they are doing have the intestinal fortitude to “hang in there” when faced with the inevitable tough times that pop up. Passion for the job makes you look forward to waking up each day, and makes you feel like the day is simply too short. You want more time to be able to accomplish more. Passion will create pride in what you do, and the results you produce will reflect this. Loving what you do each day will lead to happiness and success.
There are many people in the industry who try to be all things to all people. They are a jack of all trades and a master of none. It is particularly important, especially when you are in the early stages of your career, to select an area of specialization and focus. This will afford you the ability to differentiate yourself from the competition and creates a significant and tangible competitive advantage. By selling buildings only in a particular area, or only one type of property, or leasing space only of a certain type, or focusing on just one narrowly defined segment of the market, you are able to become a distinct market expert, which gives you an advantage when pursuing new business opportunities.
3. Be proactive.
Being proactive means making things happen. If you have been in the business for more than a year or two, your schedule is probably packed, as you will be working on many assignments and trying to achieve a number of goals. It is very easy to spend an entire day just reacting to questions other people have for you and responding to a relentless flow of phone calls and emails. It is very important to focus on what your goals and objectives are and make sure that you set aside time to implement your business plan. Being proactive, as opposed to reactive, will allow you to move toward your objectives, as opposed to simply reacting to other people who are moving their objectives forward.
4. Hard work.
The real estate brokerage business is not now, nor has ever been, a 9-to-5 job. It is a job in which you could literally work around the clock and never get everything done that you would like to. We joke that at Massey Knakal, you have to work only half a day to be successful: It doesn’t matter which 12 hours you work, as long as you work 12 hours a day. The 12-hour workday is the minimum required to achieve success. You can be working almost all the time in our business. There are always clients or colleagues to have lunch or dinner with, and there are always administrative details of your brokerage business that can be worked on before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Luck is, indeed, an ingredient in the formula for success; however, I firmly believe that the harder you work, the luckier you get. It is also important to note that working hard, while critical, must be balanced with other goals and objectives in your life. Your personal life and responsibilities in other areas, such as being a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, a friend, a sibling or an active member of your community, must all be balanced with the effort that is required to be successful in our business.