Two Lessons from Bruce for Young Brokers

Bruce Springsteen has been been in the press the last few weeks, promoting his new album, High Hopes.  He has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, NPR, and appeared on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" as both the couch and musical guest.  He even played a third song that Fallon released as an online exclusive and did a Born To Run parody that's gone viral. After the public appearances died down, and before his upcoming shows in South Africa, Bruce stopped by the Light of Day benefit concert in Asbury Park last weekend.  It wasn't completely unexpected. Bruce has played this benefit many times in the past with his friend, Joe Grushecky.

It makes sense that Bruce brought his A-game to the interviews and Fallon appearance.  After all, he's trying to sell albums (does anyone other than me still call them "albums"?), and the interviews were widely distributed.

However, Bruce put forth his maximum effort in front of 1,600 people in Asbury Park.  He even showed up early in the afternoon to rehearse, debuted a song off of the new album, and his performance was tremendous, as always.

There are two important lessons for young brokers (and great reminders for older brokers) that were very present to me as I drove home:

- First, the same way that Bruce didn't treat this performance like a small show, there is no such thing as a small deal.  My team averages about 100 transactions a year, representing both tenants and landlords, and many times, the smaller ones are more important to the client than the larger ones.  The attention to detail needs to be present, irrespective if the deal is 1,000 square feet or 100,000 square feet.  

Obviously, Bruce's performance over the weekend wasn't about money.  It goes back to a quote from 1978 that has been on my cork board at work since it reappeared in Rolling Stone in 1999, "The whole idea is to deliver what money can't buy."  People, like me, come to see Bruce over and over again because we know that he will do everything he can to make sure that it's an amazing concert experience, whether it's in front of 50,000 people in Giants Stadium or a few dozen people in a bar down the shore.

As a service provider and trusted adviser, we need to do the same thing.  We need to deliver.

- Second, if Bruce Springsteen, arguably one of the greatest performers in the history of live music, can show up early to rehearse, so should everyone. When we make presentations, I'd like to think we do a good job of rehearsing beforehand.  My partner, Joe Sarno, likes to do at least one or two full run through's beforehand, making notes, typically on little yellow Post-Its.  Show up prepared and rehearsed, or don't show up at all.

For me, seeing a Bruce show is usually a bit of a religious experience.  Last weekend, it was a learning experience too.

JN