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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

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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The busier you are, the more down time you need (here’s how to get it)

By Irena Ashcraft on Jun 19, 2018

broker-phone-outside-coffeeGreat brokers thrive on the energy that comes with getting things done, whether it’s meeting a new prospect or shaking on a new deal. But if you’re the type that keeps getting things done, we’re betting you’re also the type who keeps that to-do list topped up.

Don’t get us wrong—we love brokers who go out there and make things happen. But the more we tune in to the science, the more we’re beginning to understand how important it is for doers to spend a little time doing, well, nothing at all.

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[Infographic] How 5 top brokers structure their days for max productivity

By Irena Ashcraft on Jun 14, 2018

When you structure your day right, everything seems to flow more easily—from the hours to the deals. But get cluttered up with pointless emails, meetings, and other time sucks, and suddenly the day has gone by and you’ve got nothing to show for it.

Being in this business means figuring out how to structure your day for the most productivity—from how you schedule meetings to how you handle emails. Here's how 5 high-performing brokers do it.

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How to become the most valuable broker in your city

By Irena Ashcraft on Jun 7, 2018

blurry_city-320x202Imagine being one of the top brokers in your city. What would that look like? What would it mean for your business, your reputation, and your income? And how could you get to that level?

Marketing and business mastermind Seth Godin offers a useful place to start. He says:

“Focus on creating a reputation and a work product that others believe is worth more. The mistake we make is in not telling stories that create more value, in not doing the hard work of building something unique and worth seeking out."

Seth’s advice is geared to businesses in general, but let’s apply it to commercial real estate specifically. Here’s what you can do:

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Broker insights: The bad advice that just won’t go away

By Irena Ashcraft on May 21, 2018

men-suits-gambling-320x213When you’ve been in the CRE industry for a while, you encounter certain myths and pieces of bad advice that just won’t go away. This week, we reached out to brokers to find out the one thing that keeps being passed around as truth—but simply isn’t so. Here’s what they had to say:

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Broker insights: How do you spend your time?

By Irena Ashcraft on May 2, 2018

male-broker-laptop (320x212)There are only 24 hours in a day, but somehow the best brokers make it work.

“In CRE our golden hours are the normal business hours,” says Bob McComb, creator of Top Dogs CRE Training. “Brokers have about 1,860 golden hours to achieve their financial goals."

This week, we reached out to brokers to ask how many hours they typically put into each working day, and how exactly they spend that time. Here’s what we learned:

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Broker insights: How do you start conversations with prospects?

By Irena Ashcraft on Apr 30, 2018

brokers-suits-coffee-320x240As a broker, you spend your life striking up conversations with potential clients—whether it’s on the phone with a prospect or in line at the coffee shop. And if you’re one of the good ones, you know exactly how to keep the conversation going from that first hello to that first deal.

There’s a lot at stake from the very first words you use, which is why we asked brokers what they like to do to spark a connection and keep things flowing. Here’s what they had to say:

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