The One Marketing Tool You Need to Drive Your CRE Business – Free Webinar

I remember the first time I saw a real property package. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are beautiful. Maps. Demographics. Graphs. Comps. All branded beautifully and consistently. I was blown away.

I had been in the business for about a year before I saw one. Our firm was small town CRE. Not only did we have relationships, but we had them going back generations. Business walked in our door. We didn’t have to compete or present (not much, at least).

Businessman having stress in the office

But then I got called into my first dog and pony show. I was one of three brokers who would present to win the business. I knew the other brokers would walk in with these beautiful proposals.

I spent days trying to create the package that would stack up. It was futility. I was beyond frustrated.

I could tell you many more stories about frustrations I’ve had with different parts of the business. Entering data over and over again in different apps and listing portals as none of them talk to each other.

I remember the first time I tried to create a retailer map with Photoshop and google searches for logos.

I remember trying to merge documents into a cohesive pdf – just to find out I need one simple edit. Ugh! Start over from scratch.

I’m guessing you can relate to these frustrations.

Well I have a treat for you. On Wednesday at 3pm Eastern, I’m hosting a free webinar to show you the one tool you need to eradicate all of these frustrations from your business – and so many more. CRE tech has lagged so far behind, but Buildout is going to change that.

Claim My Seat!

Kris Krisco from Buildout is going to join me and demonstrate what Buildout can do. You will be amazed.

Here are 6 reasons you should attend this webinar:

6 Reasons To Attend My Buildout Webinar

1. Time – Time is the most valuable resource you possess. It is absolutely limited. Plus, high dollar activities in CRE are worth big bucks. Handling the marketing is not. Buildout will absolutely save you and your firm a ton of time.

2. Branding – Branding consistency is a huge deal whether you are a boutique firm or a big national. Consistent touch points reinforce trust, etc. Buildout makes this super easy and automatic. And their in-house designers handle everything.

3. Speed – Speed to market is a huge competitive advantage. I’m going to share a story on the webinar Wednesday about a particular deal where we were super fast. I still can’t believe we pulled that off – and all because we had Buildout.

4. Free access to your own information – We used to pay Loopnet to have the privilege of putting our listings on their site (one of the many duplicate data entry points). Then we would pay them again to have those listings on our website. And, Loopnet reaped the SEO for all of it. Buildout solves this.

5. Retailer maps – I can’t wait for you to see how long it takes to create a retailer map – seconds.

6. Magic fairy dust – I admit – a little over-the-top. I’m going to stop my list here. There is too much more. But we are going to show it to you on Wednesday. And some of this stuff looks like magic to me.

I have one more reason you should attend. I’ve negotiated the absolute best deal to offer on the webinar. You won’t be able to get this anywhere else.

If you identify with any of these frustrations or want to just see what Buildout can do, click the button below to claim your spot – space is limited.

So I hope you will join us Wednesday. It is going to be full of info you can use and could literally save you thousands of dollars.

Claim My Seat!

How You Can Become a Top Producer

So many settle for mediocrity.  I have done it myself.  I despise that place.  You can see others around you excelling at what they do – what you could do.  You may find yourself asking, “Is it even possible for me to have that kind of success?”  Good question.

The Four  Not-So-Secret

I started playing the guitar when I was 14 years old.  I was looking for something that I could be good at.  I had already realized it wasn’t going to be sports.  I took a few months of lessons and then kept playing.  By the time I got to college, I was OK at best.

Then Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds played a show at my college.  They were incredible.  Two guys with their acoustic guitars on stage playing.  No band.  Just them.

The Answer to the Most Asked Question – CRM’s

As I coach commercial real estate professionals, the most asked question is, “What CRM should I use?”

What is the BEST CRM

To answer this, I always tell them the same story. Over a year ago, my church hired a new senior pastor. One of the first things he did was change the pew bibles from one translation to another.

I remember him giving the congregation a heads-up in a sermon about the coming change.

He asked everyone, “What is the best translation of the bible?” When he asked that question, I cringed. I knew how passionate people can get over this issue.

I thought to myself, “This may not be a brilliant way to start your time here.” But then he gave his answer. It was brilliant.

He answered by saying, “The best translation of the bible is the one you will read.” Great answer!

[Video] Ask Bo – A Question from Brian Fleming

In this edition of Ask Bo, Brian Fleming submits his question.  Brian is a CRE pro from Fort Lauderdale and wants to know my take on all the new CRE tech apps that seem to come out on a weekly basis.

How can you remain productive if you are spending all your time trying to learn new applications?  Great question.

I share the 4 essential CRE applications (or software) you absolutely need to remain competitive.  And I also share a huge need that the CRE industry needs.

Be sure to connect with Brian on these platforms:

Links from the video:

How The Voices In Your Head Can Hold You Back

I heard a great story this week that has had my wheels turning ever since.  I’m going to share it with you in a minute.

But first, I want you to consider how you talk to yourself – in your head.  I think I’ve heard someone call this self-talk.

eye

Photo by David Meier

The way I talk to myself holds me back all the time.  My first couple of years in commercial real estate, it held me way back.  I would talk myself out of making a call.  I would decide for a prospect that they weren’t interested…before I made the call.

This self-talk makes a difference.  What does the talk in your head sound like?  Consider this story.

A rich oil sheik decided he wanted to learn how to play golf.  So he built one of the world’s best golf courses.  It was perfect – gorgeous.

The sheik then invited a US club pro to spend two weeks with him on his new golf course giving him lessons. The pro accepted the invitation.

So the Sheik sent his private jet to collect the pro and bring him to the Middle East.  Once there, the pro spent two weeks in complete opulence.   Everything that he could have wanted was available to him.

The pro loved the course and very much enjoyed teaching the Sheik.

After 2 weeks, the pro was boarding the private jet to go back to America.  The Sheik, being very pleased with his two weeks of lessons, offered the pro anything.

The pro responded and told the Sheik that this had been the best 2 weeks of his life.  His hospitality and generosity were payment enough.

The Sheik insisted, asking the pro if he collected anything.

The 30 Tools I Use For Productivity, Blogging, Social Media, & Travel (18 are free!)

I don’t know how many times I’ve said – “I wish I had more hours in the day!”

I’m sure you’ve had that sentiment as well.  Alas, 24 hours a day is all we get.  That isn’t going to change.  What can change is how much you can squeeze out of each hour.

30tools 3d cover

Before I go on, I want to make this point.  I’m not advocating becoming a workaholic – or even feeding that addiction.  I’m talking about getting more work done faster.  I’m talking about being able to have more time for what really matter.  Time for your family.  Time to take care of your health.  Time for self-development.  Time for care for your spiritual health.

Some of the most valuable posts I’ve ever read have been on the subject of productivity.  I consume that kind of information.  Everything I’ve learned about productivity apps has come from others or just tinkering with them.  All I’ve learned about traveling efficiently comes from experience and what others have shared with me.

So here is my resource list of the 30 tools I use on a regular basis to squeeze more out of every day.  I’m going to give you the highlights here, and you will be able to download it at the end of the post.

Productivity

When I did my reader survey last month, the subject of productivity was the number one topic of choice.  In this section, I give you my favorite free and paid tools for increasing your productivity.  And here’s a little hint – 1password and Tripit are completely awesome.  Awesome!

Blogging

Blogging has revolutionized my online presence.  It is not easy to do.  But it is so worth it.  The key to blogging well over time is to systematize it.  I have a few templates that I use for most posts.  It saves me a ton of time.  These are the tools I use to build my email list, optimize for SEO, etc.  These tools will save you a ton of time and allow you to maximize your ROI.

Social Media

I’m almost sick of social media.  I believe most people have accepted that social media provides value – sometimes a ton of it.  Though I’m sick of talking about, I use it everyday.  And if you’ve never heard or used BufferApp, you need to check this section out.

Travel

I traveled a ton for work last year.  I think I was on 65 airplanes.  If there is one thing I’m good at, it is navigating airports.  Traveling is a drain on your energy no matter who you are.  Being able to minimize the frustrations of travel while remaining productive saved me a tremendous amount of stress.  These are the tools I used to do it.

Bonus Section:  Recommended Books

As a bonus, I’ve included some of my favorite books in the following categories:

  • Platform building
  • Productivity
  • Business
  • Leadership
  • Stewardship
  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • And others…

These are books that I’ve read and personally recommend.  I’m no expert in any of these subjects.  However, these are books that have helped me grow in these areas.

To download your copy of this free resource list, simply click the button below!

Download Your Free Resource List

11 Benefits theBrokerList Provides the CRE Industry

TheBrokerList is a powerful and free tool for CRE professionals. I asked its founder, Linda Day Harrison to share with my audience its benefits. She has been gracious enough to do so. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

First of all, theBrokerList site is FREE to its Broker and CRE Professional members and is designed to provide a place for  Brokers and CRE Professionals to hang their “digital shingle”. Our site enables our  members to transact business with verified colleagues, supported financially by the tBL Marketplace Partners.  That is the win-win theBrokerList seeks to achieve.

ID-100170519

The database within theBrokerList covers all CRE segments, affiliations, organizations, practice focus types, corporate networks and geographic areas, plus theBrokerList permits the inclusion of any size national organization’s local chapters, no matter how small or large.  An organization simply provides us with their member list and those members are pre-approved! In addition to supporting the search for potential colleagues and deals in different markets, this enables tBL members of these organizations and networks to utilize the powerful broadcast email feature to share HAVES and WANTS of theBrokerList platform, with laser-pointed precision to only those colleagues who wish to receive those emails. This provides extensive benefits to local or even national organizations.

tBL-Icon-512x512To help provide B2B resources for leasing, brokerage, property management and consulting, you can find a wide variety of commercial real estate experts on theBrokerList within all of the industry disciplines.  The difference we make and the added value we bring is that we verify that our members are real people (not fake profiles), and verify those members are active in commercial real estate.

Our verification process protects the quality of our site and creates the only free resource of its kind that is completely focused on only commercial real estate.

11 Benefits Provided by theBrokerList

  1. Post your professional PROFILES (backgrounds, business focus, etc.)
  2. Post, Export or Upload HAVES ( your listings for sale or lease)
  3. Post WANTS (your targets, or your client’s targets, for acquisition or lease)
  4. Post TRANSACTIONS (your completed deals you wish to note for the record)
  5. Unlimited team members, admins and property posts can be added
  6. HTML friendly text fields, and YouTube embeds on posts
  7. Unlimited URL fields and types (hyperlinks to your company or personal website, blogs, Loopnet, Showcase, and all Social Media: like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, , etc.)
  8. Broadcast email lists automatically created for your Affiliations and Organizations
  9. HTML code for ease in posting to Craigslist, or any other online system
  10. tBL email message tool to enable selected contacts to be emailed
  11. Saved Broker and Search features

The benefits and advantages of these tools to help grow and expand the businesses of tBL members are numerous, and many of these functions have important meaning and correlate well with your social media plan and strategies.

For the more advanced social media and blogging members, direct access to the well-read tBL blog is advisable as our members can easily post their blogs on the site and be part of our exciting and constant flow of editorial content directed to a large audience of commercial real estate professionals.

A daily HAVES and WANTS email blast is also distributed, which  currently includes ALL of our member posts.  Our members’ listings are emailed to all subscribers of those lists as well.

tBL is very customer service focused.  We always answer our phones and do our best to help our members and Marketplace Partners.  We frequently discuss marketing strategies, and offer ideas on how our members can improve their image, their brand or any topic they wish to discuss pertaining to commercial real estate today. Let theBrokerList be your “BFF” and join us or ask your local organization or chapter to partner with us.  Once you do, make sure to use all of the features tBL provides to help you grow your business.

We look forward to meeting you and we kindly ask that you suggest our site to other commercial real estate professionals.  theBrokerList relies on word of mouth, and we verify all prospective members as we do not want non-CRE folks trying to join.  The more Broker and CRE Professional members we have, the more useful the site will be for everyone.  Our team is dedicated to doing the best job we can to keep our database accurate and our features useful to a wide group in CRE.

Photo credit:”Pack Of Money” by Gualberto107 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Results of the 2014 Reader Survey

Two weeks ago, I launched my first ever reader’s survey.  My goal was to better understand my readers so that I can provide better value in my content.  You have responded, and I am grateful.  Hundreds of you took the time to take the survey.

Young businessman

I am going to share with you the results by profiling my average reader.  If you don’t fit this profile, don’t worry.  You are welcome.  Frankly, I don’t fit this profile.  So let’s take a look at my average reader, and then I will draw some conclusions.

My reader is male (77%) between the ages of 45-64 (58%).  He has a bachelor’s degree or higher (78%).  He is most likely a CRE broker or business owner (69%), and he lives in the United States (95%).

He makes over $100,000 a year (63%) or even $200,000+ a year (27%).  He is predominantly Christian (80%) attending church at least once a week (59%).  His faith is very important to him (69%).  He does not have a blog (77%) and reads 1-2 books a month.  As an aside, my wife says that you need to pick it up a bit.  She read 144 books in 2013 – incredible!

It is no surprise that I just described the Commercial Real Estate industry.  It is dominated by 50+ year old white men who tend to be behind the curve when it comes to technology.  CRE needs more women.  CRE needs more diversity.   CRE needs more tech.

Observations

  • Main topics of interests in order:  Productivity (62%), Prospecting (56%), Personal Development (53%), Life Lessons (52%), and Creating Presence (50%).  I am very glad to hear that these are the top ones.  Most of the content I have planned for this year fall into these categories.
  • More content – The number one comment I received regarding improving my blog was to give more content.  For the first part of 2013, I was posting 3 times a week.  It burnt me out and I ended up taking the summer off.  That was a big mistake.  My goal for 2014 is one post a week.  However, based on the feedback I received, I will throw in the 2nd weekly post on occasion.
  • Videos– I had a surprising amount of requests for videos.  I’m not sure what to do with this.  Video isn’t easy for me to do.  I don’t really own the equipment.  I have a brother that can do it all, but he’s a cruise ship performer (tough gig!).  I would love to create video content, however.  If you have any suggestions on how I might look into this, please let me know in the comments.
  • Readability – Readability was the comment I received the most when I asked what you liked best about the blog.  I’m very pleased with this response as I try very hard to create content that is very readable.  
    My absolute favorite response to the question of what do you like best about my blog was:  “your my son whats not to like.” My mom is a grammar queen so thanks Dad! I love you.
  • Can’t please everyone – I don’t often get accused of trying to please everyone.  Frankly, I think it is futile, counter-productive, and impossible.  This is true with this blog as well.  Some people are asking for more pictures and links.  Some are asking me to take the clutter out.  Some want me to eliminate the talk about my faith.  Some want me to use more scripture.  Some love the variety of topics while others want me to focus on just one thing.  I can’t please everyone so some things I will just be going with my gut.

I’m so very grateful to those who participated in the survey.  It was so very helpful to me.  It has given me the data I was craving so I can create better content for you.

Question: Do you have any other suggestions? If so, I’m all ears! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Why I’ve Left Sperry Van Ness

With a new year comes new opportunities.  As 2014 starts, I have left Sperry Van Ness to pursue a new opportunity.  I want to share with you what I’m going to be up to and how it will affect my blog.

photo from iStock

photo from iStock

Before I do that, I want to share why I’ve left Sperry Van Ness.  Anytime you leave an organization of any kind, it raises questions.

  1. Was he fired?  No – I wasn’t.
  2. Did he see behind the curtain and hate what he saw?  Negative.
  3. Did he not like the people he was working with?  That is absolutely not the case.
  4. Did an opportunity fall into his lap that he couldn’t ignore?  Bingo.

I started my commercial real estate career the day after I got out of the Marine Corps in 2004.  I was literally fumbling around my dad’s office the following day.  In 2008, we franchised our business with Sperry Van Ness.  After nearly 5 years of proudly flying the SVN flag, I took the corporate position I just left as VP of Organizational Development.

That means that over half my grown-up career years have been with SVN.  I’ve generally strayed away from writing about SVN.  It seemed disingenuous since they wrote my paycheck.  As that is no longer the case, I want to share a few things about SVN.

The People

I remember when we franchised.  I was told that companies franchise for the tools and stay for the people.  I thought that if they were half right about the quality of the franchisees and advisors, I’d be satisfied.  They were right.

I could name dozens of business owners and top performers within SVN that were happy to help me, expand my thinking, teach me how they did business, and even mentor a kid from Western KY.  I will forever be grateful that I was associated with these fine people and can call them friends.

The Platform

I’m a techie – but just in the sense that I love to use technology.  I have no idea how any of it works.  I am much like the guy that can tell time but is in no way a watch-maker.

SVN has the finest technology platform that exists in commercial real estate today.  Admittedly, my experience is myopic so let me share with you why I know this is true.  A portion of my job has been to seek out and recruit preferred vendor relationships with the many outstanding CRE technology companies.  The comment I heard most often was that CRE is in the stone-ages technologically speaking and we wish the other nationals were more like SVN.

Our Their technology platform is cutting edge, cloud based, and brand agnostic.  It is designed with the purpose of making our the SVN advisors more productive and efficient – but ultimately more profitable.

The Model

SVN is a franchise model.  As such, all of our the independently owned and operated offices are led by entrepreneurs.  We generally compete with big nationals that are corporate stores full of employees.  There is a huge difference.  It is entrepreneurial spirit versus resources.

If you’ve seen The Patriot starring Mel Gibson, you will remember him leading a small group of militia.  Their job was to inflict as much pain on the British redcoats as possible.  The redcoats had overwhelming numbers and resources. They would line up in their perfect lines and fire away.  They also made great targets.

Gibson’s troop would use guerrilla tactics to outwit and outmaneuver his opponent.  This reminds me of the entrepreneurial spirit of SVN.

So What’s Next

I have bought into a start-up technology company in the food safety industry called Hollison Technologies.  I’m providing a link to the website, but please don’t go there.  It is dated and vague and one of my first orders of business.

Hollison has a patented process of collecting the air around particulate food (think pieces of food like dog food or breakfast cereal) to test for contaminants.  That may not sound very exciting or earth shattering, but consider what it will replace.

The method of testing now is random grab sampling.  It is literally taking a sample at random and testing it.  If the sample is contaminated, that batch doesn’t ship.  If the sample is clean, the batch ships.

The problem is you make a leap of faith that a clean sample means a clean batch.  You only have visibility into the actual sample, and you are hoping the rest of the batch is also clean.  In food safety, hope is a terrible strategy.

Our process continually samples and gives the food manufacturer visibility into 100% of the product.  We think we can literally improve the quality of food world-wide.  How exciting?!

This Blog

You won’t see much change.  My role with Hollison is not that different from my corporate role with SVN, though I will have more of a role in sales.

What I’m most excited about is all the growth and learning that will come with this new opportunity – and I’ll be sharing it all with you here!

Question: What will be different for you in 2014? New career? New focus? New commitment to excellence? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

How to Demonstrate Your Expertise by Blogging on These 4 Categories

At the end of this post is an exercise you can download to brainstorm a year’s worth of weekly blog posts in 10 minutes.

I remember the first day after I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.  It was the day I started working with my dad in the commercial real estate industry.  I knew nothing beyond what I picked up from growing up with two parents in real estate.  I didn’t have a license.  I didn’t have business cards.  I was as green as they come.  All I wanted to do was hide in my office.

Photo from istockphoto.com

Photo from istockphoto.com

I remember having the nagging thought:  “Who would want to work with you when they could work with your dad?”  It took me two years to get over that self-doubt.

It is one thing to gain self-confidence, and that takes time.  Your industry also needs to gain confidence in you.  You need to become known as an expert in your field.  I like to talk about this as dominant market presence.  Are you, your company, or your product the first thing that pops into potential clients’ or customers’ minds?

Additionally, if you still haven’t bought the idea that you should be blogging or need help setting up and launching your blog, read this post on the subject.

I believe a blog is the quickest way to gain this dominant market presence.  You can become known as an expert, gain dominant market presence, and cultivate the next generation of clients and customers by blogging in these 4 categories.

Blog on These 4 Categories

  1. Deal Stories – Stories are an incredible way to engage with your audience.  They often allow you to connect with your readers on an emotional level.  This invites your readers into your post and keeps them there.  Stories of real situations are also valuable to your potential future clients.  Plus, stories allow you to demonstrate your expertise without tooting your own horn.  Your deal stories should include these 3 sections:
    1. Situation – Give the context of what was going on.  Why were you hired?  What challenges was your client facing?  Giving the context allows your readers to relate.
    2. Steps – What did you do to solve your clients problems?  What did you do to help maximize your client’s best interests?  Share what happened, but be careful not to sound like a commercial.
    3. Solution – Here is where you describe the results.  This is the culmination of the story.  If done well, the reader will have a better understanding of the service or product you provide and how that product or service can benefit them.
  2. News – Blogging about the news demonstrates that you are in-the-know about what is happening in your industry.  However, the news can be boring.  You do not want to just regurgitate what your readers are hearing from other sources.  If a certain news topic is becoming a topic of conversation at the water cooler, you should blog about it.  Demonstrate your expertise and experience by giving your take.  A word of caution:  only blog about a news topic if it is applicable to your industry.
  3. Market trends – This topic can also be boring so be careful.  I would not blog about market trends more than once a quarter.  However, demonstrating that you are aware of market trends is important.  For some of your readers, this information will be valuable.  It puts you in the position to become a trusted resource for timely information.
  4. 101 Topics – In Commercial Real Estate, every successful investor did their first deal at some point.  Donald Trump did not come out of the womb as an expert.  He had to learn.  By blogging about the basics of your industry, you have the opportunity to educate the next generation of players in your industry.  In the next 20 years, we are about to see the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.  By educating the next generation of your future clients, who do you think will be top-of-mind when the next generation has a need for your product or service for the first time?  You will!

A huge hurdle for many beginning bloggers is the anxiety of knowing what to blog about.  As a bonus to this post, I have included a simple exercise I use with my coaching clients.  In 10 minutes, you can brainstorm these 4 categories and produce a year’s worth of blog topics.

Knowing what you will blog about for the entire next year is like a warm blanket.  This single exercise could lead to your success in building a powerful blog that increases your presence, solidifies you as an expert, and cultivates the next generation of your future clients.

Question: What are you doing to ensure the success of your presence campaign in 2014? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download Your Free Exercise