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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: How to work with challenging clients

By Irena Ashcraft on Dec 13, 2018

how_to_handle_the_first_meeting_with_a_client__ts-2This month, we’ve been looking at ways to keep clients happyno matter how difficult they (or the particular deal) may be. We also reached out to brokers to ask how they deal with challenging clients or situations, and this is what they had to say:

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Prospecting for brokers who don't prospect anymore

By Irena Ashcraft on Nov 8, 2018

how_to_handle_the_first_meeting_with_a_client__ts-2If you’ve been in the commercial real estate business for a while, chances are good that you’ve got a large network of repeat clients and referrals keeping you busy. So busy, perhaps, that you may not even remember the last time you actively had to prospect for new deals. You’ve put in years of hard work, and all of it is finally paying off.

But even though you may not need to drum up new business the way you used to when you were starting out, you still need to stay connected to your network on a consistent basis. Are you prospecting? Maybe not with the same hunger as in your early years. But are you talking to more people than ever? Definitely.

As your network has grown, you may have realized that you’re spending even more time on the phone than before. There are simply more people to get back to, more referrals to follow up on, and more longtime clients to stay in touch with.

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5 CRE data fails (and how to prevent them)

By Irena Ashcraft on Oct 25, 2018

frustrated-man-laptop-320x213Success in commercial real estate is built on great relationships. Some of the best brokers in the field are out there making phone calls, booking lunch dates, meeting new contacts, connecting with old clients, and networking with just about everyone. But behind every warm handshake, cold call, and hot lead is something that often gets overlooked: great data.

It may not be glamorous, but data is what makes things happen. CRE is full of data sets like property specs, financial stats, ownership history, and the number of cold calls you make each day. If you’re doing data right, you see a world of connections, trends, and insights that are invisible to everyone else. If you’re doing it wrong, all you see is a bunch of numbers.

Your data can be extremely powerful if you use it right. But if you’re making any of these 5 common data mistakes, you may actually be doing more harm than good. Here’s what you should know:

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What good is data if you don’t use it? Here’s how two brokers are making that easy.

By Irena Ashcraft on Oct 18, 2018

broker-building-phone-320x213You know that data drives commercial real estate. Contacts, properties, square footage, NOI, comps, listings...the list goes on. Even though relationships are the foundation of your business, data is the at the heart of every new connection, deal, and transaction. If you use it right, you have access to a world of insights and opportunities—and can provide thoughtful guidance to clients at a moments’ notice. If you use it wrong (or not at all) you’re adrift in a sea of numbers.

Read: Learn how a CRM organizes your data

This month, we asked two top brokers how they make the most of their data. Here’s what we learned:

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4 things Baby Boomer and Millennial brokers can learn from each other

By Irena Ashcraft on Oct 16, 2018

baby-boomer-millennial-320x212If you’ve been in the commercial real estate business for a while, you’ve seen the industry shift dramatically over the yearsespecially with the arrival of the newest generation of young brokers, some of whom definitely do things differently. From their ease with tech to their tendency to turn to LinkedIn and email for outreach, they’re relying heavily on modern tools to make life easier.

But you’ve been in this game for a while, and you know that timeless strategies like in-person meetings and follow-up phone calls never get old.

Meanwhile, if you’re a broker who’s never known a world before computers and cellphones, you may be wondering why some of your older counterparts do business in a way that seems to take more time and energy. After all, you can email 1,000 people by the time they finish one phone call with a prospect! But there’s a reason they’ve been in business this long, and that’s because their approach works.

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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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