BY Barry Hardwick, CCIM
Part of what makes the commercial real estate industry so special is the mentorship that is passed down from peer to peer to help new professionals learn the rules of the road and grow.
As someone who has been in the industry for over thirty years, I would like to share some tips that I think are crucial for young professionals interested in commercial real estate as a career.
#1 Self-Motivation is a must: If you have self-motivation, a drive for hard work, and enjoy all types of people, then this is probably the right career for you. You will have to work with all people and all personality types. While there are lots of tips to teach new commercial real estate professionals, self-motivation is a non-negotiable.
#2 Be prepared for hard work: These characteristics are critical because you will have to make about 40-50 calls a day, a difficult task for those that get easily discouraged or distracted. Though this may be a daunting job description, it is vital for survival in this industry. I cannot stress this enough – commercial real estate is not as easy as making one phone call and then simply cashing a big check!
#3 Nothing is guaranteed: If you are in a small brokerage firm, absolutely nothing is guaranteed unless you go get it.It is important to note, however, that if you want to go work for one of the larger brokerage firms (they have a lot of clients), this is a different ballgame.
#4 Practice Self-Discipline: New commercial real estate professionals need to have the vigor and discipline to get up and do the same thing every day. Consistency is key here, just as you would approach going to the gym. Are you going to do a little bit every day or are you going to visit the gym once a month? This means you need to pick up the phone and cold call on a regular basis.
#5 Avoid this important pitfall: It is important not to get so focused on existing business that you forget to work on new business. Time and time again, agents work their tail off on an existing transaction, but when they finish the deal and look down the pipeline, they see nothing. It is easy to focus on whatever is hot for the day, but do not forget to go back and do the regular mundane calls. Remember Tip #4 above and be sure to consistently look for new business.
#6 Mentorship matters. I have been in the industry for 30+ years and my current partners at Centennial have worked together for a decade. For new professionals coming into the business, be open to mentorship. It is different at small firms versus big firms, but no matter what, it is of the utmost importance. Oftentimes, an older broker might ask a younger broker to call businesses and talk to every retail venue on a particular street. A common notion expressed among mentors and mentees is: “You find the business and I’ll teach you how to work it.”
#7Embrace working as a team: I’ve been working together with the different members of Centennial for decades. We all have different personalities and different strengths, but we all build each other up and balance each other. I truly cannot imagine not going to work everyday. The small-team environment is something I would not trade for the world. My last and most important piece of advice for you is to aspire to have team members who are committed, trusting, and trustworthy team members.
Please feel free to contact Barry Hardwick, CCIM, author and Centennial Retail Services broker, to talk retail any time you’d like.
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