Lesson for Young Brokers – Tenacity Wins

They say time kills all deals. That’s simply not true.

Sometimes, deals do everything they can to die. Whether it’s bad luck, bad timing, or bad execution, deals can’t seem to get over the finish the line.

But sometimes, there’s someone involved who simply won’t let a deal die.

In Holmdel, Ralph Zucker tried to buy the building now known as Bell Works for over 10 years. He had a vision and he was relentless. He kept working and grinding… for years. He executed on his vision, finally, and reinvented an iconic asset. It’s not just a New Jersey success story; it’s a national success story that’s totally attributable to Ralph’s tenacity.

In the mid-90’s, George Steinbrenner started thinking about a new stadium. Camden Yards in Baltimore opened to rave reviews in 1992, and he was jealous. Attendance in The Bronx was down and there were talks about the Yankees moving to New Jersey or the west side of Manhattan. After years of negotiations and planning, the New Yankee Stadium broke ground in 2006 and opened for the 2009 season. Clearly, this was not an easy deal to consummate.

Our team is selling a unique office building in Central New Jersey. The sale was supposed to close this week, but unfortunately, it was delayed. The buyer has been working on the deal for a year and it’s the biggest deal of his career. The first time he walked the building, he fell in love with the asset and has been passionate about it since. He has worked with three different equity sources and didn’t give up, even as the deal seemed to be moving away from him. Fingers crossed, but it looks good to close next week.

Earlier in my career, I represented ADP. It was a relationship that started with one assignment. It then expanded to about 25% of their domestic portfolio, as they had four service providers for different regions of the country. From there, it expanded to 33% as we were one of three and later to 50% as they consolidated to two providers. Finally, we were doing their work coast-to-coast and my team and I completed over 150 deals on their behalf.

The first deal for ADP came seven years after I first met their real estate director.

There are countless other examples of deals that have taken years to close. They include developers who chased properties that they knew had unlocked potential, including my good friend Joe Forgione. They include creative solutions to complex problems or finding the right partner to get over the hump.

What you never hear about is the glory that comes along with giving up. Why? Because there’s simply no glory in giving up.

As brokers, we can’t decide if a deal is getting done or not. However, we can provide our clients with the necessary tools, support and encouragement needed to get deals over the finish line. Not every deal has a smooth road and finishes on time. Some are a bumpy road and others are a roller coaster. If you want to be involved in something special, the likelihood is that you will need a seat belt somewhere along the way.

By the way, wish me luck on my deal closing next week. While I may not need luck because of the buyer’s unrelenting tenacity, it can’t hurt!