How many times have you gotten completely shut down by someone on a cold call?
There are certain biases and misconceptions about commercial real estate brokers out there. Some you may find based in reality, while others probably seem unfair. Yet for those who take the high road, work hard, and operate with integrity, getting blamed for others’ misconduct or laziness can be infuriating.
At Apto, we’re lucky enough to speak with commercial real estate professionals at the top of their game every day, and it’s the stories we hear from them that inspire us. Here’s how some of these brokers prove the stereotypes wrong.
Common misconceptions about CRE brokers...
1. Brokers are unethical
Lack of trust even within firms has plagued the CRE industry since its inception. When there’s a lot of money on the table, certain salespeople might blur the lines of ethics to get that commission. It’s why brokers are often so protective of their databases-—they don’t want anyone poaching their clients.
Of course, you don’t want to invest time, energy, and even capital into a deal only to have it stolen out from under you by a competing firm or a colleague. But how far can you really make it as a lone wolf?
Teams who find the most success are able to work collaboratively to lift each other up. According to Lee Wheeler, President of Wheeler Commercial, “To be a good team, everyone has to forget about ‘self.’ All things we do are for a higher calling and not for our own gain. When that concept is fully understood, the team functions well beyond what the mere individual or ‘team of individuals’ can accomplish."
2. Brokers aren't tech-savvy
When many outsiders consider a typical day in the life of a commercial real estate broker, especially one just starting out, they might picture a suit-clad kid walking from door to door, trying anything to land a meeting. But many of today’s most successful brokers are using technology to supercharge their efforts and get more bang for every door knocked and number dialed.
“In a typical month, I make about 1,000 calls. How could I keep track of that without technology to help? Recently I had one week where I made 600 calls. Especially at Marcus & Millichap, where you start with a territory and have to become an expert on that submarket, having a tool that puts your database to work is a game-changer,” says Joe Levy, Senior Associate at Marcus & Millichap, San Francisco.
3. Brokers are old school
Most brokerage firms likely have one or two rolodexes laying around, but that doesn’t mean all commercial real estate professionals are resistant to change. With the advent of smartphones, most of us can conduct our business from just about anywhere, and clients expect you to be mobile.
“Prior to Apto, I was on a desktop solution. I identified the need for a cloud-based platform because I needed mobile access...This led me to Apto, which is completely customized for the CRE industry,” says John Viggers, Director - Regional Vice President NAI Optimum | NAI Global.
Harnessing a mobile-optimized software to stay looped in can make a world of difference.
4. Brokers aren’t numbers people
Many brokers might get into commercial real estate because of their strengths in relationship building, sales, and persuasion, but in the age of big data, saying: “I’m just not a numbers person” is no longer an option.
According to Apto founder and former commercial broker Tanner McGraw, “There is not a salesperson out there who wouldn’t benefit from more organization, market knowledge, strategy and key performance indicator (KPI) tracking. If commercial real estate brokers can change their mindset and think of data as a powerful tool for growing their business, they will become even better at what they already do best: closing deals.”
Harnessing the power of data allows you to become more efficient, nurture relationships more effectively and serves as a serious value proposition when it comes to winning business over other brokers.
5. Brokers put their own needs above those of their clients
Yes, the ultimate goal of any broker it to make money, but successful brokers realize that doing so at the expense of their relationships will ultimately lead them to fail.
According to Dylan Simon of Seattle Multifamily Investment Sales, Colliers International
“I see Apto as a sales advantage. It saves time and helps us serve our clients better, which also translates into more revenue.”