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Irena Ashcraft

Irena is a freelance writer who works with innovators, educators, explorers, and changemakers. From brave nonprofits to frontier-straddling startups, she helps clients connect with their biggest fans through writing that's fresh, relatable, and fun.

Recent Posts

Broker insights: A passion project of a deal, and tips to get even the most challenging deals done

By Irena Ashcraft on Oct 9, 2018

mixed-use development-320x172We’re on to the third story series about brokers’ longest and shortest deals ever. So far, we’ve shared lessons learned from a two-year multifamily deal in Chicago and an assisted living deal that wrapped up with a mere four minutes to spare. Today, we’re sharing the story of a redevelopment deal that many developers had tried to win but failed—until one team finally made it happen.

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Terrible at golf? Try these 5 unconventional networking ideas.

By Irena Ashcraft on Oct 2, 2018

biz-networking-320x213You may not have much of a golf swing, but you know that networking makes a big difference when it comes to building new business. Good news: you can leave the golf attire at home and hit “snooze” on that 4 a.m. alarm, because we’ve got five not-so-typical networking ideas for getting your name out there and establishing yourself as your area’s go-to commercial real estate broker.

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Broker insights: What’s your longest deal? (Part II)

By Irena Ashcraft on Sep 27, 2018

Sclock-834484-editedeveral brokers have shared stories with us of their longest (and shortest) deals ever. You may have read about a multifamily deal in Chicago that stretched for over two years. This week, we’re sharing the story of an assisted living deal with a dramatic ending!

Topics: Interviews
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Broker insights: What was your longest deal? (Part I)

By Irena Ashcraft on Sep 18, 2018

broker-buildings 320x213We asked brokers for stories about their shortest and longest deals ever. What did we learn? Well, sometimes you just get incredibly lucky and a dream deal falls into your lap and practically ties itself up with a bow. And other times, well…the stories speak for themselves.

Enjoy the first in this 3-part series and learn how brokers keep momentum and stay organized when deals carry on for years on end.

Topics: Interviews
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Broker insights: What was your shortest deal?

By Irena Ashcraft on Sep 13, 2018

building-skyline-sunset-660981-editedWhen we talk to brokers, it’s the deal stories that generate the most emotion, whether good or bad. While we’re in the business of making sure you have an easy, repeatable process to prospect and work through your deals, we know that sometimes you just get lucky.

Today, we’re looking at those rare but beautiful moments when everything just falls into place. Here are the stories of some of the shortest deals our brokers have encountered.

Topics: Interviews
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4 underrated sales skills every broker needs

By Irena Ashcraft on Aug 30, 2018

adult-businessman-call-374008-118000-editedTo be a great broker, you’ve got to be great at sales: it’s how you build relationships, turn them into deals, and keep your business growing. But sales—as you already know—is about more than just making your way down a call list or blasting out an email. In fact, some of the most powerful sales skills are often very subtle.

Here are four underrated sales skills you should cultivate:

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4 reasons to share your data and turn your team into a real business

By Irena Ashcraft on Aug 16, 2018

broker-data-relationships-320x216-2What do you lose when you keep everything to yourself?

We know of brokers who are protective of their data as well as their relationships, and of some teams that are so competitive they’ll steal leads right out from under each other.

And in a way, we get that instinct to turn inward. It can feel like you’re laying all your cards on the table when you share hard-earned intel with people who may not understand what it took for you to get it in the first place—and who may run off with it the moment your back is turned.

But at the same time that some brokers are turning inward, others are turning that thinking right on its head. They’re discovering that when they open up and work together, they’re able to attract even more success for themselves, their team, and ultimately their business.

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15 places to find once-in-a-lifetime clients

By Irena Ashcraft on Jul 25, 2018

aspen-food-wine-classic-320-213Commercial real estate brokers spend a lot of time on small but dependable deals—do enough of those consistently well, and you’ve earned yourself a healthy living.

But every once in a while, a lucky broker lands a huge client: one that has an appetite for snapping up commercial properties, perhaps, or needs help moving those they’ve already got. Ask them about those clients, and they may simply say, “I was in the right place at the right time!"

Part of that is just luck, of course. You may be lucky enough to have a big client randomly sit next to you at your local sports bar. Or you can be the one who randomly sits next to them, wherever they happen to be.

For fun, we’re sharing the big-ticket annual events that draw the world’s most influential crowds—the philanthropists, tech investors, art collectors, celebrities, media moguls, entrepreneurs, and billionaires who have the power to make big business deals happen.

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Trend alert: The beautiful impact of biophilic design

By Irena Ashcraft on Jul 18, 2018

Etsy-green-space-320x213As we move towards a future of driverless cars, shrinking parking lots, and smart, connected buildings, there’s another quiet trend taking root: biophilic city planning and building design.

Biophilic design is bringing nature back into urban areas, balancing all that concrete and steel with more living plants, water, sunlight, and natural materials. It’s a way planners and architects are making public and private spaces a little bit wilder, greener, and healthier for the people who use them. Today, the trend is getting a high-profile boost from major tech companies who’ve incorporated it into their office designs, from Microsoft’s treehouses to Apple’s orchards.

Topics: Industry News
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4 ways to increase trust during any conversation

By Irena Ashcraft on Jun 25, 2018

black-and-white-city-man-people-761171-editedIt takes a lot to earn somebody’s trust, and it’s not something you can simply do with the wave of a wand. The hardest thing about it is that it is, well, hard: it means you have to invest the time, keep your word, and care about the other person and those things that matter most to them.

Ultimately, creating trust requires you to, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Be, and not seem.” That means that your actions have to come from a place of sincerity.

However, there are certain things you can do to build trust more quickly, and you can integrate them into almost any conversation. These are subtle psychological strategies that can help other people feel more at ease around you and more prepared to trust you.

You’ll still, of course, have to do the work of earning that trust. But these tips should make that journey a more productive and enjoyable one for both you and the other person!

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