I’ve been involved in commercial real estate for more than 25 years. Since then, I’ve come to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the relationship between a client and their broker. I put together a list of 7 key traits for brokers to strive for, developed from my many years of experience in the field.
1. Brush up on your communication skills.
Communication is key to any successful relationship. It may seem simple, but it’s crucial to maintaining trust with a client.
If you’re a commercial broker, you need to be in contact with your clients on a regular basis.
Update your clients on new investment opportunities; be clear about what you are going to do once you take on the property as a listing; and inform your clients about the marketplace.
If you’re leasing a property for your client, generate a weekly report detailing activity, even if there is none. Don’t be afraid to explain why an office building, for example, leased in a certain market and not the one you’re representing. These conversations build trust and hold you, the broker, accountable.
The door should always be open.
2. Maintain professionalism at all times.
Sure, this may seem pretty straightforward, but putting it in practice is a different story.
As a broker, you should constantly be willing to learn. Be ready to go the extra mile.
I, for example, am certified with the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM) — only one percent of brokers hold that designation. It makes me stand out and gives me the skills to provide a unique and improved service to my clients.
Commit yourself to excellence and hold yourself to a higher standard. Do something that adds value to the client experience.
3. Be knowledgeable and prepared to answer questions.
Are you prepared to answer client questions? Do you understand the intricacies of the market? Are you capable of advising your client to achieve the best outcome?
These are all questions you should be replying to with a resounding “yes.”
Being knowledgeable is essential. My CCIM training, for example, taught me how to define a cap rate, calculate a ten-year cash flow analysis and internal rate of return. If you’re able to answer those questions, you have an edge.
More specifically to you, be prepared to tell clients how many properties you sold in the last year, your total dollar volume and other details related to your professional experience and accomplishments. If you specialize in a specific asset class, tell investors.
Understanding the industry and having a specialty is key.
4. Always be honest.
Being transparent with clients has been at the forefront of my business practice for years. Breaching ethical standards to turn a profit or make a deal should simply be off the table at all times.
Even if you make a mistake, be honest with your clients. It’s your responsibility to build a trusting relationship so apologize for your mistakes and make it right. Don’t make up a story.
Client’s appreciate a broker that strives to maintain a high level of integrity at all times.
5. Don’t forget to be tenacious.
Do you prefer to work from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. or do you like to get out and knock on doors? Going the extra mile makes all the difference.
Half of my sales come from properties that aren’t even listed — I’ve sold everything from a movie theatre all the way to a hotel on properties that weren’t listed.
As a broker, it’s your job to stir up deals. Inform the public about the market and make moves.
6. Entrepreneurship opens doors.
A mere 8 percent of brokers own a property outside of their own home. That means more than 90 percent of brokers don’t own an investment property. Run the numbers.
If you’re going to do business and encourage investment, you should know how to answer client questions from experience. That’s why I’ve invested in commercial real estate for years.
Not only has it generated tremendous opportunity for me, but it’s provided me with a unique insight that I can bring to clients. I know what it’s like to be a landlord. I’ve been in those situations and I can tell clients how I handled it on my own.
Being an entrepreneur demonstrates self-motivation and goes a long way in business.
7. Persevere when times are tough.
Transactions that take months to finalize are one of the most challenging aspects about being a broker, but you’ve got to stick with it.
Face it, commercial transactions take time. You have to communicate with your client throughout the process, even if it takes months. Remain up to date on the information and send your client progress reports. You’ll need to continue providing assurance to your client and others involved throughout the process, despite how long it takes.
To counter that, know when it’s time to cut your losses. It’s acceptable to identify that a transaction is not working. Inform your client and choose what’s best.
Learn to persevere and you’ll be successful in the long run.