Top 5 CRE Posts of 2012

It is that time of year when we pause and reflect.  Over the remaining days of 2012, I will be posting my “Top Posts” of 2012 in the categories of Commercial Real Estate, technology, and productivity.  Even though I just started blogging in earnest in Sept, we have over 50 posts to choose from in these categories.

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Top 5 CRE Posts of 2012

The Difference Between a CRE Broker and a Drug Dealer – 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.  Read more…

The 8 Steps to a Killer Prospecting System – I want to clarify what I mean by prospecting.  Prospecting is a form of business development.  Networking and building a presence – or a platform – is another form of business development.  Their activities are similar.  Their purpose is completely different.  (To read about the difference between prospecting and networking, click here.)  Prospecting involves asking for the business.  That is its only purpose.  Read more…

The Difference Between Top Producers and the Others – In my coaching business with the Massimo Group, I have also had the great privilege of coach CRE throughout the United States and Canada.  From the catbird’s seat, I have gotten to see what top producers do that all the others do not. Read more…

The 12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!  Part 1 – The Commercial Real Estate industry – or any industry really – is often so different from the Marine Corps.  I’m specifically thinking about advancement – growth – achievement.  In the Marines, there was a formula for promotion – at least at the lower enlisted ranks.  I knew exactly how to earn promotion.  Read more…

The 12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!  Part 2 - Top producers are team oriented.  Top Producers are not loners.  They don’t try to do everything.  They understand the value of a team.  And not only just having a team, but maximizing the production of that team.  Rod Santomassimo discusses this in his best-selling CRE book – Brokers Who Dominate.  Beyond the fact that I am profiled – along with about 22 others – this is must reading for any CRE practitioner.  Read more…

As I began this post, this is the time of year to reflect.  What were your Top 5 most productive activities this year?  Please share them with us.  We’d love to learn from you!

The Difference Between Top Producers and the Others

If you have read this blog, you know that I am in the commercial real estate industry.  Since the crash in the CRE market in the second half of 2008, I have heard a lot of complaining.

In my coaching business with the Massimo Group, I have also had the great privilege of coach CRE throughout the United States and Canada.  From the catbird’s seat, I have gotten to see what top producers do that all the others do not.

The difference?

Prospecting

How many times have you heard brokers complain about how the market has sunk their business?  Maybe I’m talking about you?  You have heard the cliché, “a rising tide lifts all ships.”  The reverse of that would be, “a sinking tide sinks all ships.”  That seems to be the mantra of the CRE industry of the last four years.

Not so for top producers.

Many brokers prospect when they start their careers.  But then something happens.  They have success.  They become known.  They start to get referrals.  Business starts to find them.

Then they stop prospecting.

This somewhat describes the first 4 years of my career.  I walked into a family commercial real estate business where my father and grandfather had great success – for decades.  I inherited presence.  The “tide” was so high when I started in November 2004 that I was going to have success.  I never had to prospect.  Business just walked right through our office door.

Then 2008 happened.  All of the sudden, business dried up.  I realized that those who don’t prospect are hitched to the market.  If the market is great, you have a great year.  If the market is bad, you have a bad year.

You have no control of your business.

Top producers refuse to relinquish control.  They understand that the only way they can have consistent deal flow is to make prospecting the core of their business.  Having presence where business walks through your door is a blessing.  But it is also a trap.

Top producers come in all shapes and sizes.  Men and women.  Some with this personality and some with that.  Some are tall and good-looking.  Some are short with a bad hairline.  The one constant is that they prospect.  Every day.  They block out time to ensure they are doing the most important thing.

There is no secret sauce.  The one thing that can set you apart is right there in front of you.  Take it.  Refuse to be crippled by your fear of the cold call – of rejection.  Pick up the phone.  Then do it again – and again.

Now is the time to pause and reflect.  A new year is fast approaching.  Allow 2013 to be that pivotal year in your career when you break free of mediocrity.  Nothing is stopping you but yourself!

So what role did prospecting play in your business in 2012?  How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10?  Please share with us a quick story where prospecting led to a deal – it would be so encouraging.

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! Part 2

The path to success is not clearly marked.  It is muddled.  It is foggy.  You realize you have gone off the path as you get up from the ditch.  In this 2-part post, I want to help shed light on the path to success by sharing the 12 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!  In this post, I cover the second 6 keys.  (You can find Part 1 here.)

In my last post, I introduced the first 6 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!  Before I share 7 – 12, let me briefly review the first 6:

  1. Obtain Knowledge
  2. Become a Student of Top Producers
  3. Hire a coach!
  4. Go to Conferences
  5. Read!
  6. Systematize Your Business

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!

7.  Use Technology for its Time Management & Efficiency Benefits – I am not the tech geek that can explain to you how things actually work.  I just love using technology to squeeze more productivity out of a day.  Top producers are fanatical about time management and efficiency.  I have written posts that go into more depth about this:

8.  Build a Team – Top producers are team oriented.  Top Producers are not loners.  They don’t try to do everything.  They understand the value of a team.  And not only just having a team, but maximizing the production of that team.  Rod Santomassimo discusses this in his best-selling CRE book – Brokers Who Dominate.  Beyond the fact that I am profiled – along with about 22 others – this is must reading for any CRE practitioner.

Top producing brokerage teams are generally made up of a Senior Producer (Rainmaker), and Junior/New to the Business advisor, and an administrative assistant.  The key to the best teams is hiring/recruiting well and assigning tasks according to the strengths of the team.  The best teams run like a well-oiled machine (or the Colts offense in the 2nd half of Sunday’s game!).  They do so because everyone knows the plays.  They know their roles.  Systems and communication are vital.  Read more about systems here.

9.  Treat Your Business Like a Business – The alternative is treating it like a hobby.  You’d be shocked at how many brokers treat their businesses like a hobby.  I can look at your books and tell you in 30 seconds whether you have a hobby or a business.  The difference?  Brokers that treat their business like a business invest in it.  They spend money hiring a coach.  They advertise.  They go to conferences (see key #4 above).  They hire talented team members.  Brokers that have a hobby tend to whine about not having money to put in their business.  It is really that simple.  Top producers invest in their business.

10.  Focused and Positive – Top producers work while they are at work.  This seems so simple, but it is not.  Top producers don’t spend much time chatting with others in the office.  They are not found at the water cooler.  They never take an hour “off” for lunch.  They may have a lunch meeting, but they never shut it down for an hour in the middle of the day.

They also have unwavering positive attitudes.  PMA – positive mental attitude.  They choose to be positive – optimistic.  They understand the message of Dead Poet’s Society because they live it.

11.  Specialization – In retrospect, specialization should be #2 on the list.  Top producers are not generalists.  They specialize in an asset vertical or at least a geography.  (I have to throw the geography part in here because I am a small town geographical specialist – at least in part.)  This allows them to create presence as an expert – to be the go-to guy.  If you are the broker who will work on anything – stop it.  Pick a lane and become the subject matter expert in that lane.

12.  Passion – Top producers bleed passion.  It oozes out of their pores.  They can’t wait to get to work in the morning and absolutely love what they do.  Everyone has tough days, but passion is what top producers rely on to persevere.  Passion is the ingredient that brings the other 11 keys together into a sum that is much great than its parts.  Passion sells – it is obvious to your clients whether you possess it – or you don’t!

So those are my 12 keys.  Which one speaks to you as most important?  What did I leave off the list?  I encourage you to share your thoughts below!

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! Part 1

This post is the first in a two-part series on Top Producers.  You can find the second part here.

The Commercial Real Estate industry – or any industry really – is often so different from the Marine Corps.  I’m specifically thinking about advancement – growth – achievement.  In the Marines, there was a formula for promotion – at least at the lower enlisted ranks.  I knew exactly how to earn promotion.

Time in Grade – Time in Service – Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score – Education.  Add it all up, and you were ranked against all your peers.  You always knew where you stood.

Not so in CRE – or any other industry I’ve seen.  The path to success is not clearly marked.  It is muddled.  It is foggy.  You realize you have gone off the path as you get up from the ditch.

In this 2-part post, I want to help shed light on the path to success by sharing the 12 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!

  1. Obtain Knowledge – In the Commercial Real Estate industry, the best place to start is the CCIM Curriculum.  It is the best I’ve seen.  Additionally, regularly meet with and befriend commercial lenders, property owners, appraisers, and other agents.  They can give you key insights into your market.  Purpose to be the absolute market expert in your geography and niche.  You can do this quickly, but it is hard work.  Knowledge is what makes you valuable to those you wish to serve.  The following keys are meaningless without it.
  2. Become a Student of Top Producers – Find the top producers in your office or market.  Study them.  Ask them to meet with you.  Learn when they get to the office.  Dress like they dress.  Do what they do.  Read what they read.  How many calls do they make in a week?  How many meetings do they have?  Go and do likewise.  You do not need to recreate the wheel.
  3. Hire a coach – Nothing will speed your progress and personal growth faster than hiring the best coach you can afford.  All the best athletes in the world have coaches.  I have paid for a personal coach for 3 years now.  It is an investment in myself and my company and worth every penny.  It is like strapping a jet-pack on my back in my flight to success.  Here are 6 reasons why:
    • A coach allows you to learn from someone that has successfully walked the road that is ahead of you.
    • A coach prevents you from making crippling mistakes.
    • A coach gives you a fresh and objective set of eyes on your business.
    • A coach provides accountability for what you have committed to do.
    • A coach facilitates clarity.  This is huge and often so hard to grasp while inside your own business.
    • A coach evaluates honestly.  From an independent and objective place, a coach can critically critique or encourage according to the need of the moment.
  4. Go to Conferences – Go to your company’s conference.  Go to industry conferences like the CCIM/IREM National Conference or the ICSC.  These events can completely broaden your thinking.  You can expand your network and learn from the best.  I always leave a conference with new connections that I’m thankful to have met as well as great actionable ideas to move my business forward.  Here are some conferences I plan to attend in the coming months and years:
  5. Read – I’ve read and been told that once you’ve read 3 books on a subject, you are an expert in that subject.  Just 3 books.  Top Performers are constantly sharpening their skills by reading.  When I wanted to learn the sales process, I read the classic Tom Hopkins book How to Master the Art of Selling.  When I wanted to learn more about building a platform and blogging, I read the new best-seller Platform by Michael Hyatt.  When I wanted to improve my impact with an elevator speech, I read a great book Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect by Terri Sjodin.  And this can be so cheap!  Go check 3 books (or audio-books) out from your local library and be an expert in a month!
  6. Systematize Your Business – Systems allow you to break a process or procedure down into its smallest parts.  You then delegate those tasks to your team.  This allows them to operate in their giftedness (if you hired well).  You then do only the tasks that only you can do – HDAs!  High Dollar Activities.  I’ve written an entire post on this topic that you can read here.
Be on the lookout for the second post detailing the other 6 keys to become a top performer – faster!  In the meantime, what would you add to the list?