While I was away on vacation, I asked my partner, Matt Wassel, to write a guest blog. Matt is close to completing his fourth year in brokerage and has a long, successful career in front of him. Enjoy!
Guest blog by Matthew Wassel, CBRE, Advisory & Transaction Services
The first mountain you must climb in brokerage is getting through your first three years, as the learning curve is steep and the race to get off your draw is ever-present in your mind. When you first come into the business, there is a tendency for long-standing veterans to bestow wisdom on you about how to succeed in brokerage. While I appreciated the different perspectives, one that always resonated with me was that there is no singular way to succeed in brokerage, as your success is relative to your goals, and people are driven in very different ways. With that in mind, I thought I would share a few of the ideas that have helped me the most as I near the end of my third year in brokerage.
1: Never Go Palms Up
A lot goes wrong in your first few years in brokerage, and as I made, and continue to make, mistakes, the voice of my college football coach rings in my head. “NEVER GO PALMS UP!” Whenever we made a mistake on the field or an incorrect call was made by a referee, the urge to throw our hands up to the side, palms up, in an exasperated fashion as if to say “what am we supposed to do now” was immediately halted by Coach Ritter screaming “Never Go Palms Up.” The point was not to allow your opponent to know that you were bothered and to keep a positive and forward-thinking attitude, and I always keep this in mind as I stumble along the way. Whether I’m on tour and a question about the building stumps me, or I finally get through to a target and am not granted a meeting, I remind myself not to go palms up. Stay positive and move on.
2: Become Multi-Lingual
Ultimately, we are in sales, but since joining my team, my senior partners have always preached that the less we can sound like salespeople and more we can be genuine and well-informed, the more success we will have bringing in business and winning the trust of our clients. The first step in doing this is getting comfortable with the language of the business and the terminology used by our clients. While terms like “Net Absorption” and “Open Plan” admittedly don't typically come up in everyday life, I have worked hard to make real estate-specific terminology innately part of my dialogue, and this helps solidify your credibility and relatability. If your client uses the term “atrium” instead of “lobby”, speak their language. It goes a long way.
3: Being Busy Isn’t the Same as Being Productive
One of the more common pieces of advice I received as I got into the business was that organization was of the utmost importance. While I am an inherently organized person, this advice made me focus on organization even more, often to my detriment. With the amount of emails received and deals that our team has active, particularly on the agency side, it was easy to stay busy during the day, even if this was at the expense of being truly productive. The workday is the time to contact targets, communicate with brokers on active deals, and achieve things that require the attention and responsiveness of others. It is essential to keep your targets organized, your emails current, and your “To-Do” list short, but to the extent that you can achieve these tasks once your senior partners are home with their families, I suggest trying to do so. 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM are best the times to write proposals, update and research targets, and keep yourself organized. During the day, focus on tasks that are only achievable during regular business hours.
Everyone has their own unique set of skills and strengths, so these three pieces of advice may resonate more with some than with others, but I keep them top of mind. Above all, I believe that working intelligently and efficiently is what we should strive for, and that hard work always prevails.
Good luck, and thank you for reading!