There are many people that have a brokers license but there are fewer persons that obtain the skills and professionalism that is required to be a first rate office broker. If you are desiring to become one of the elite in the field of commercial office brokerage you need to understand that there are goals that you can obtain through study and experience. The other skills are based more upon your personality.
In my opinion some of the goals and characteristics that successful office brokers have mastered:
- Market Specialization
- Good Network
MARKET SPECIALIZATION Many of us know people that claim to know everything. Not only are these people usually annoying but their information is often average at best or absolutely incorrect. Now look at a real estate market as large as Dallas. There are many types of product for a real estate professional to broker. You have industrial, office, residential, retail and land to sell, lease or buy. Each one of these types of product have many nuances that require skills and knowledge that are acquired over time. Yes a seasoned professional may master more than one type of product but for the new broker it is best to focus your attention on one product type and understand it very well. By doing so you will help your client and yourself.
Along this same trend of thinking. In a market as large as Dallas you can specialize in a particular product type and a market. For example the downtown Dallas-Uptown market is a large area with over forty three million square feet of office space. There are one hundred thirty five buildings in this market and over a thousand tenants. A broker that specializes in this market can do very well by helping their clients get what they are looking for in this market alone. Be the best and earn the reputation as the expert in a particular specialty and market.
TENACITY The real estate business sounds glamorous and it can be but it is also like every other business with peaks and valleys. Unfortunately the low times in our industry can be very low because most office brokers are working on a commission basis. To be successful you need to have confidence in yourself and must possess the ability to stick it out through the tough times. I have many successful broker friends that are doing well now but there was a time when they were struggling.
If you are a broker that has the good fortune of making it through to the top of the industry never forget the times when you were struggling. Always be willing to extend a hand to somebody that is having a tough time and get them through it. You will be playing it forward because somebody did it for you.
COMMUNICATION This skill is vital to have a successful office brokerage career. You need to keep your client in the loop regarding your activities. I have found that my clients appreciate updates on my progress on their behalf. They like it when I share valuable information with them so they are informed and they have the ability to redirect my efforts if it is required.
You must also communicate with the other brokers and let them know what is happening in the transaction. The broker has a responsibility to treat all parties fairly and truthfully. So the best way to do this is to have open dialogue. It also helps a good broker put together a better deal for their client.
GOOD NETWORK A good network is something that an office broker develops over time. You need to know the various brokers in the business and form relationships of trust. This helps your future clients because they are looking at properties with you and the other side knows your reputation. They may not know of your client but they know you and because you are a good person your client automatically is given credibility.
Additionally, you need to build a network with professionals that support our industry. You must network with transaction attorneys, contractors, economic development offices, building standards staff, CPAs and architects. There are many other professions but I think you get the idea. You must build relationships with people that will help you give your clients the best possible service.
PATIENCE This can be one of the hardest characteristics for many of us including myself. We work diligently for our clients based upon what they express the need at a given point in time. Unfortunately we may have delivered exactly what they require. Then they get a call form the home office and the entire scope of work changes and we must start from scratch.
I know this is frustrating. However, it is life and why we get paid the big dollars. You must have the ability to look like an oak but bend like a willow. It is important to understand that we are in a position that everything around us if volatile. The space that is perfect for our client is leased to somebody else and we lost it because our client’s attorney dragged their feet or the size of the space needs to be reduced because of a new corporate policy. You just have to be able to understand that it isn’t personal and it is just the way it is.
There are so many more areas to discuss. I will follow up with more thoughts later but for now these are a good place to start. The office brokerage business is a fantastic career. You help so many people and get to make many new friends. I wish you well and a successful future.