Advice for Young Brokers From Me – Find Your Job Security

This week’s advice is very simple. If you want to make money in this business, get ahead, and have a great career, I have some very simple advice:

Know something that I don’t know.

When I started working in real estate, I had to bring my own computer. Can you believe that?  In 1998, Grubb & Ellis didn’t give their brokers a computer. Luckily, my father invested in my career and helped me with a desktop that the company allowed me to put in my cubicle and access their network.

While many of the brokers in the office had computers and knew some of the basics, I was considered a computer whiz. I could create my own PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and fancy Word documents. Since there weren’t many other junior brokers in the company, I was set apart from the pack because I had a skill most others didn’t.

In fact, I succeeded in the first account I worked on because I had a special skill. I could answer emails in a timely fashion. Hard to believe, right? But in 1999-2000, the fact that I had a computer on my desk and was attentive to my clients via email was outside of the norm.

In 2001, when I joined my current partner at Cushman & Wakefield, I created several documents for our team that we still use to this day. I also learned how to use other programs, enhanced my computer skills, and was among the earlier adopters of the BlackBerry, and later the iPhone. Every time I would save the day with my tech knowledge, I would say the same thing:

There’s my job security!

It was easy for me. I grew up with computers and those that were older than I didn’t. What can you learn that most don’t know? A lot.

-          How will driverless cars impact our society and our industry?

-          How will the changes to the FASB regulations impact our clients?

-          What are the latest design trends in office space?

-          What technology is out there that can make your job and life easier?

-          What technology should your clients be using that they aren’t?

-          How will building management change with the introduction of new technology?

-          What am I not thinking about that I should be?

It’s unlucky for you that I am obsessed with the topics above. But there are many in our industry who aren’t. Find something that interests you and become the expert. Use that expertise to enhance your value proposition to your clients, as well as to other brokers within your office. Wouldn’t it be amazing if senior brokers sought you out to help them on big assignments because you were the expert in something? It sounds better than canvassing, right?

I found my job security sitting in front of my computer. Where will you find yours?