my involvement in retail broker network

BY joey valenti

Retail Broker Network is a professional network connecting brokers in major markets throughout the US. It is a place where like-minded brokers can share information, network and refer business. The members of this group specialize in Real Estate Brokerage and the member firms can partner on real estate transactions.

I joined RBN about 12 years ago. The networking aspect of it was really intriguing to me. I joined and then restaurant council had an opening. I joined and have not looked back since. Getting people to be involved is something that I found I was good at. Of course, getting involved means working through the ups and the downs of preparations for speakers, events and conventions. The trick is to not get frustrated when someone drops the ball but to pick up and carry the ball. (i.e. finding speakers).

Currently this is my 4th year on executive committee and I am serving as the VP of Operations. It will be 3 years until I serve as president. My current role is in charge of helping plan ICSC Vegas, booth, board rooms, cocktail parties, RFDC and regional ICSC events. Our Executive Director, Tricia Law, handles 99% of all of this. Thank you Tricia!!! Collaboration with staff is key.

One of my goals is future planning. As the real estate market changes, we also need to plan for RBN’s growth for the future. The strategic growth of leadership needs to be considered and laying the foundation for expansion is crucial.

Why RBN matters as a network

RBN gives smaller boutique firms the opportunity to operate on a national scale. It is the largest network of brokerage firms in the country (58 companies) with 800 broker members. We are able to refer business, learn best practices, all from firms that operate similarly with small business problems and successes. We are able to learn a lot of ways to do business from each other.

For example, Centennial Retail Services is an office of 3 but there are 800 brokers around the country that know us and we can share business… It gives us a giant reach that we would have a hard time getting elsewhere.

Why organizations like this matter

Organizations such as RBN give small companies the opportunity to operate on a large scale. It creates a community that is able to share its knowledge base and to work with and on referrals together. RBN is able to have a very big booth at major conferences which gives smaller firms a presence at conferences. RBN members can then use the booth space to operate from. Only 2 out of 58 of the companies could afford a booth but they all get a very big booth and very large presence through RBN. It provides a network on a larger scale. I used to wander the Vegas ICSC convention from meeting to meeting and now I can have a set meeting location for people. It definitely gives small companies a large footprint.

In addition, it’s a great network because there are no rules – no defined territories, etc. We are a network of like-minded brokers that you know, like and trust. RBN is structured where you need to receive a yearly invite. If you don’t add value, you don’t get the invite.

Involvement is key. You have to be involved to get something out of the network! They work hard to encourage involvement of everyone! Also, it is the least expensive of all the networks in the country.

What I like about RBN

Attending Vegas ICSC can be overwhelming. Add to that trying to connect with people that do what you do well. Early on at Vegas ICSC I found that there was no group that met to discuss restaurant tenant brokerage so I started the restaurant tenant breakfast at ICSC. Guess who the first speaker was? ME! I have found making yourself available to everyone is critical. You have to let everyone know that sitting at your desk and hoping for business doesn’t work. 

Please learn things outside of your little world. Grow as a broker, network with other people, grow business. I have 21 years in the day-to-day transactions, the growth is the struggle. You have to keep growing! You have to keep changing!

A big part of RBN is the mentoring opportunity. I am younger than a lot of the older brokers even though I have been doing this for 21 years. Brokers in the business (5 years or less) don’t feel intimidate and will come and talk with me because I am younger (and louder and playful and goofy 😊). I am the only non-principal on the executive committee. I learn a ton being around older, experienced people.

You have to be involved to get something out of the RBN network! If you would like to find out more – I would love to talk with you about RBN!

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