Five questions that new CRE brokers should ask themselves

Jim Breitenfeld

Guest blogger Jim Breitenfeld is president of Sidecar Commercial Real Estate LLC in Frisco, Texas.

A career in commercial real estate brokerage (CRE) can be incredibly rewarding, but not always. This potential attracts many young, ambitious professionals to the industry, but before reality comes a long time. Realizing lucrative financial rewards takes time, and even then success is not guaranteed. As many as 80 percent of new CRE brokers leave their company or brokerage profession completely within the first two years.

Looking back on my first years in the industry, I owe my perseverance to two things: strategy and focus. Here are five commented questions to maximize your chances of success as a new CRE broker and help you maintain these two basic elements.

1) Am I in the right company with the right people?

This includes both the company you choose to work with and potential mentors. Does your company have a supportive culture and training to support your development? Have you found a mentor who will invest time to identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you grow professionally? A mentor who not only teaches you but also fairly compensates for your efforts (allocation of commissions) can be invaluable at first.

2) How strong is my search?

Prospecting is more than a useful skill. Commit to it as the primary source for business development. Develop various tactics and cadences. You can focus by geography, product type or client type (tenant, landlord, investor, etc.). Stay consistent and focused.

3) Is my project channel sufficient?

Even if you are currently on track to meet your target revenue for the next 12 months, your channel may not be sufficient. In fact, it must be three to five times larger to take account of the unknown (for example, projects that fail, trades canceled or lost, or timelines delayed). Don’t risk missing your target for something you can’t control.

4) Who can I help and who can help me?

Both parts of this question are equally important. Keep going! As a team, you will accelerate your learning and market penetration and have the broader combined schedule / calendar and skill sets you offer your clients. Participating in a larger basket of projects will also cover pipeline risk and revenue. Just make sure you negotiate a fair distribution of work and compensation.

5) Am I building a network?

You need to go where your target clients are. These can be trade or industry associations, local chambers of commerce or non-profit organizations where potential clients serve. Get to know the communities of your target clients and your own.

Bonus: How will this client help me achieve my goals?

This next question comes with a warning: Choose your clients wisely.

The most likely transactions come from committed clients (ie those who sign exclusive agency agreements) with time-sensitive needs. Watch out for "zombie clients" with open desires. They are often extremely comfortable burning your time and gas without committing to you as their sole agent. Even if they commit, they will not make decisions in time or they will keep moving the goals.

Simply concentrate and be strategic. You set the course for the rest of your career. Make sure you follow the path that leads to long-term success.

David Berry

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