If you have read some of my other posts, you may know that I was an Arabic Linguist in the Marine Corps. One of the huge differences between English and the Arabic language is that Arabic is completely contextual. Words don’t have meaning outside of context. Said another way, the context gives meaning to the words.
Here’s what I mean. To say that I am a Commercial Real Estate Broker I would literally say: “I am a broker in the buying and selling of real estate.” The problem is that the word for real estate is also the word for illegal drugs. So, if you don’t know me or have any context to give you a clue, you would not know if I’m saying that I’m a CRE broker or a drug dealer. Context is everything.
So here is a story for you to give context. This post will spawn others as I unpack this story. My purpose in this post is to show how systems, the proper team, and technology work together. I want to demonstrate what is possible.
A few months ago, I was riding with my dad heading to a meeting in central Kentucky. We drove through a small town called Perryville where I saw a Dollar General Store.
Dollar stores are a core part of our business. Seeing this store gave me the idea to cold-call the owner. I opened the Dropbox app on my iPhone 4S and accessed my Kentucky Dollar Store database. Finding the owner, I looked him up in my mobile cloud-based CRM solution, ClientLook.
I recognized the name for the Perryville store as a man who was a former college coach in my town. That gave me the common ground I needed to connect with him.
I was fortunate to get him on the phone. By the time we had driven through that small town, I knew that he owned three Dollar General Stores – not just one. I also knew that he was in a partnership, that he would like to simplify his life, and that he was likely a seller.
He agreed to send me the leases so that I could do proposals on his properties for his partnership. He had one of his staff email me the leases. I forwarded them to my assistant. This all happened in 30 minutes, from a car in the middle of Central Kentucky, using just my iPhone.
The next day, my assistant used the leases to build proposals through BuildOut. She is able to quickly take raw materials and take a proposal to 80% completion. I then did the financial analysis, approved the comps, set a value, and pressed ‘print.’ Though I have a paperless office, I do print and bind property proposals. The quality is so high on these packages that I know property owners will not throw them away.
The next week, I was in the man’s office – one hour from my office – presenting proposals on his properties. Because we’d done our homework building a database of properties, had systems in place to be lightning fast, and used technology that made us mobile, we were able to instantly take advantage of an opportunity.
Over the coming weeks, I will take you behind the curtain of our business and unpack how we build databases, what systems we have in place, and what technologies we use. This post, however, was all about context. Never confuse the broker for the drug dealer!
Parting thoughts: do you use a database in your business? What systems do you have in place? What technologies do you use? Share a story from your business that will provide context for this conversation. Engage!