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Russ Duncan

Russ is Apto's Director of Product Marketing and helps drive product direction through customer discovery, consulting, research and advocacy. Russ is a CRE tech industry veteran and has held several positions at Digital Map Products, including Product Manager, Customer Success Manager, & Solution Engineer. He's a serial observationalist interested in understanding the built and natural environments, systems of engagement and movement of information; and moreover how people use and interact with them.

Recent Posts

How to create call lists that make prospecting go faster

By Russ Duncan on Nov 8, 2017

A broker I know recently told me that, since adopting a new technology, “cold calls” have become “familiar calls.” That’s because as he churns through his daily prospecting calls, he has details about the contact on the screen in front of him so he can make a quick connection.

Here’s the story he told me:

“I recently called a landlord with a big business park out by the airport. In Prospect & Nurture, I saw right away on the map that there was construction for a distribution center nearby. I was able to reference that right away when we got on the call and ask how it was affecting his tenants. Just knowing what’s going on in the area makes it so much easier to make a connection with a stranger.”

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Vision, perception, reality: The key to working your deals is in the balance

By Russ Duncan on Oct 17, 2017

chicago.jpg&maxw=600&q=100&cb=20170310085211&cci_ts=20170310085206.jpegLike many kids growing up in a bucolic yet blue-collar part of the Midwest, I had to exercise my imagination when it came to more glamorous landscapes that featured mountains, oceans, or skyscrapers. Thankfully I had Chicago and its architecture to inspire me and ground my thinking about place.

That imagination turned to vision as I devoured movies and TV shows about places like Beverly Hills, Miami, and New York. The more I saw on the screen, the more I felt I understood, the more I felt some version of those cities’ realities.

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3 types of prospects that should be on your call list

By Russ Duncan on Oct 3, 2017

man-suit-tie-phone-320x256.jpgThe value of your services as a commercial real estate broker lies largely in your relationships—and by extension, the database that keeps them organized. To make meaningful connections with the important people in your market, you have to know who they are, their portfolios, their networks, their past behavior, etc. You have to be an expert on your market and all the properties and people in play.

There is so much information to track, and while there are a lot of data services out there to help you get started, they’re all imperfect. You have to gather and maintain your own data if you want to succeed.

The good news is if you’re diligent about building your database and keeping it up to date, it can pay huge dividends.

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[Video] Take a quick look at our new tool, Prospect & Nurture

By Russ Duncan on Sep 28, 2017

As a broker, your relationships are the core of your business. Your CRM handles the organization of these relationships, but leaves something to be desired when it comes to taking action.

Apto Prospect & Nurture has reoriented the broker experience on the actions needed to build relationships and grow your business.

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Know your stuff, show your stuff. Your next deal depends on it.

By Russ Duncan on Aug 22, 2017

broker_on_motorcycle-432428-edited.jpegA few years ago, my Honda Civic finally kicked the bucket and it was time yet again to go new car shopping. Some dread the task, but I was excited to put my years of reading Motortrend to work. I headed into the dealership armed with facts and figures, as well as the various opinions of automotive journalists in case the conversation got serious.

A sales guy started chatting me up right away so I threw him some softball question. I was looking to connect―all he had to do was react to what I said and display some semblance of knowledge. He didn’t do either of those things. He just sort of nodded and then started talking about the car in question and various “facts” that I was able to sniff out as falsehoods immediately.

I was out of there. He was out of a sale.

I hope you haven’t done this, or I hope you’ve only done it once. Once is all it takes to learn how important it is to know your product and your customer, and to have all that information on hand when it’s time to connect. Being able to have a smart, meaningful conversation is the key to being an effective salesperson.

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Product update: Take a look at Apto Prospect & Nurture

By Russ Duncan on Jul 19, 2017

Cold calling isn't fun. (Unless you’re one of those super intensely enthusiastic people who loves talking and doesn’t mind rejection.)

But prospecting for new clients—and keeping up with old ones—is vital to your business. It’s important to any business, but especially old-school sales industries like commercial real estate.

That’s why we wanted to make it much easier. New business outreach should be as simple as possible. Brokers need to be able to churn through high-value contacts quickly, and with the context they need in the moment to look smart and make a connection.

All this to say, we’re thrilled to introduce you to our latest product feature, Apto Prospect & Nurture.

Get a demo of Apto

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Introducing Apto Commissions, a better way to get paid

By Russ Duncan on May 25, 2017

The tasks and processes surrounding the close of a commercial real estate transaction can leave much to be desired for all the parties involved. I’ve seen the documents and forms many brokers use to manage invoices and commission payments, and it’s not always pretty.

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23 conversation topics to help you look smart when prospecting

By Russ Duncan on May 15, 2017

Finding new contacts and building relationships is the lifeblood of a commercial real estate broker. You need to know exactly who your prospects are, and more importantly, what to say to pique their interest and gain their trust.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: to capture a prospect's attention and earn their respect, you need to be interesting, relevant and timely. You need to offer them information from the start to convince them that you know what you’re talking about.

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Overheard in the boardroom

By Russ Duncan on May 4, 2017

boardroom-031786-edited.jpgOver the years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with many brokers and brokerage leaders from across the country. These are brokers at the top of their game—they know their market, they have solid relationships with prospects and clients, and they know the secret to their success is hard work.

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the insights I’ve heard while sitting in boardrooms with these brokerage leaders. These little snippets of wisdom have always inspired me, so I’ve included some takeaways and additional resources for you as well.

“You can stand atop the roof of your listing and chances are you can see the building whose owner will likely be your buyer.”

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[Infographic] Brokers, here’s how to turn someone else's deal into your opportunity

By Russ Duncan on Apr 12, 2017

Everyone loves announcing that they’ve closed a deal. It’s the time you get to tell your peers, the market, and prospects that you’re someone who can navigate―and more importantly, execute―the complexities of commercial real estate. It represents months of relationship building, acute and timely analysis, and persistence.

But what about a deal announcement that’s not your own? While nice (perhaps) to cheers your fellow brokers on their success, it’s nicer to see how you can leverage the news to further your deals―or create new ones.

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