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Do you have what it takes? 10 personality traits CRE brokers must have to be successful

Feb 27, 2017

broker-shaking-hands-224097-edited.jpgLet’s address the elephant in the room: Commercial real estate brokers get a bad rap sometimes.

And for some brokers, it’s deserved. Maybe it’s just sales people in general that often seem untrustworthy, but for every dishonest schmuck, there is a loyal, honest broker dedicated to finding the best possible deal for his or her client while forging a long-term partnership.

And guess what?

In the long run, integrity wins. Truly successful brokers embody a range of personality traits all centered around hard work and integrity. We’ll name a few here.

A great broker is...

1. Honest

Trust is the most important relationship element you can establish with a client. Before someone will refer you or work with you they need to be able to trust you. The process of building trust starts day one.

Take an inventory of your approach to building client relationships. Are you being honest and transparent in all communication? Are you providing advice that serves the client, even if it isn’t in your immediate best interest? Whatever monetary return you might see from pushing a client in the wrong direction will quickly be eclipsed by the damage done to your reputation if things sour. Keep this in the back of your mind and make credibility the cornerstone of your real estate philosophy.

2.Tech savvy

Adoption of CRE tech solutions is soaring, and tools like Mattermark, Real Capital Markets, LoopNet and WiredScore are making it easier than ever to provide quality service to your clients. Aside from all the obvious benefits of centralizing data or streamlining your sales process with a CRM, brokers who fail to get onboard with CRE tech risk appearing behind the times or inefficient.

If tech isn’t your thing, we’ve got you covered with a best practices library dedicated to helping you become a better broker.

3. Willing to say “I don’t know”

It’s a trap many young brokers fall into. They want to prove their expertise to clients, so, when asked a question they’re not sure on, they resort to BS. This tends to backfire quickly, making them not only look underprepared, but dishonest.

When challenged with a question you don’t know the answer to, it’s always better to simple say, “I’m not sure. Let me get back to you on that.”

Download: The 5 Biggest Mistakes New Brokers Make


Not only will you maintain your credibility, you will learn something new.


4. Hard working

Yes — technology has streamlined many of the processes that used to take brokers hours of manual work to complete. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the job of broker has become easier. If anything, technology raises the stakes.

Many brokers make this mistake when entering the field. They assume that by simply utilizing tools like LoopNet and Compstak, their working hours will be cut in half. But that’s simply not the case. Access to technology is forcing brokers to level up their skills, becoming not just relationship experts but data experts as well. Rather than looking at what technology can do for you, learn what you can do to improve your personal brand with the help of tech tools.

5. Passionate

Anyone who gets into commercial real estate for the suits or the fancy offices is sure to be disappointed. Yes there are perks, but before you ever have the chance to take advantage of them, you need to put in the work. And it’s a heck of alot easier to put in the hours when you feel genuine passion for what you’re doing.

Whether it’s a passion for helping businesses succeed in their physical space or a genuine interest in the makeup and design of your city, find the “why” of what do.

6. Specialized

There is certainly debate over whether it’s better to specialize in a specific niche, or opt to follow your relationships from product to product. What’s not up for debate is the importance of honing your expertise — wherever it lies. You want your clients to view you as an expert, not simply a cashier. The more knowledge you bring to the table, the more invaluable you become to the deal.

7. Perceptive

Successful brokers have mastered the art of listening — that’s a no brainer.

But what many brokers lack is the next-level skill of perception. True perception means listening to what your client needs, not just what they’re telling you. For example, they say, “We want an open office to attract millennial talent.” If you listen and ask questions, you might discover that it also means, “We like the idea of attracting younger employees, but don’t fully understand the potential drawbacks of going with an entirely open floor plan.”

Your job as broker, is to dig beneath the surface to uncover their true needs.

8. Disciplined

Successful brokers establish discipline early in their careers. Just take it from Colliers SVP Brandon Geraldo: “When I started, we had to make 150 calls a week, meet with 3 new clients a week and write one new proposal a week. If you don’t have a business plan, it’s hard to get momentum.”

If your passion drives you to maintain discipline day in and day out, you’re headed in the right direction.

9. Interested in personal growth

Today’s brokers can no longer get away with “not being a numbers person.” Businesses make decisions based on data and expect their brokers to do the same.  While you might a natural data nerd, you can certainly seek out ways to increase your skill.  

A successful broker seeks improvement in all areas — from sales skills, to marketing to data.

10. Innovative

If the phrase, “But this is just how we’ve always done things,” is in your vocabulary, then head for the door. Commercial real estate is not the industry for you. Advances in data collection and technology are changing the way CRE professionals work and innovation is happening left and right. A reluctance to break from the status quo may be the greatest indicator that you are not right for CRE.

Topics: Best Practices

Nell Gable

Written by Nell Gable

Nell Gable is a freelance writer who specializes in creating compelling content for CRE companies and startups.

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