BTI (Before the Internet), commercial real estate professionals worked their business the old-fashioned way, with reams of forms filled out in triplicate on an IBM Selectric and telephones wired to the office wall. (We’ll pause for a moment of silence while the Millennials roll their eyes.) Despite the lack of modern tools and technology, those brokers acquired clients, transacted business and built incredible networks that have thrived for decades. So before you dismiss them as dinosaurs, consider how well some of their old-school philosophies hold up in #CRE today.
1. Under promise. Over deliver.
It’s easy to get caught up in a moment, or misjudge the time required to complete a task, and promise a client or colleague something on a deadline you have ZERO chance of meeting. Don’t. do. it. Train yourself to take a breath, weigh the resources and requirements, and always be realistic in estimating what you can deliver and when. You’ll feel heroic saying you can turn something around in 24 hours, but if you fail, the cost is high. The loss of credibility is not always visible and inevitably weighty. On the other hand, if say you’ll get back to someone in 3 days and do it in 2, you have the potential to score a few well-earned bonus points.
2. Be 100% ethical and credible.
Don’t cut corners. Whatever short term benefit you derive will be far outweighed by the damage you do to your professional reputation. In this industry, the impression you leave with clients and colleagues spreads like wildfire. The best way to safeguard that perception is to value ethics and credibility.
In the words of TRI President Tom Martindale, a veteran industrial and office leasing agent in San Francisco’s SOMA district, “If you’re 100% ethical and credible with your clients, colleagues and competitors, you become the guy everyone wants to do a deal with,” If you’ve built a great reputation in the brokerage community, people see you as a trusted adversary, so you get better info and become more successful.”
3. Remember you’re the agent not the principal.
When you’re in the middle of negotiation, it can be difficult to know whether the agent on the other side of the table has cleared every detail with their client. Miscommunication can happen, but if a slip-up is the result of someone promoting their personal agenda over professional responsibility, then credibility and trust can be damaged. As an agent, your job is to advocate for the client. Whether you might have done things differently, it’s your job to adhere to their wishes. Remember, you’re the agent, not the principal.