Tuesday, January 15, 2013

5 Things I Learned in 2012

I provide Location Advice for owners and occupants of industrial buildings in southern California. I love this time of year...the holidays are behind us and the "blue sky" of a new year awaits with all of its opportunity. My company, Lee and Associates, also closes its fiscal year in January so if the previous year was profitable, a nice bonus looms in February. I am pleased to say that 2012 was profitable (second most in my 28 years with Lee). This time of year also causes me to reflect upon the past year and things that I learned. 2012 had a powerful learning curve for me! I learned five things that I would like to share with you with the hope that you benefit from my learning. The five things, in no particular order, are: Networking DOES work, Miracles DO happen, a completed Location Advice assignment positively affects the lives of many people, I don't have to be the KEY guy in a deal for the deal to happen, and a DEADLINE can be a positive motivator.

Networking DOES Work: The Chamber of Commerce, BNI, LeTip, Provisors, Pro Growth Group, NAWBO, The Orange County Business Group, Rotary, RBN, etc. are examples of networking groups. From July 2009 until October of 2011, My wife Carla and I were heavily involved in BNI. We became friends with the founder, Ivan Misner, his sister Lonie, and his wife Beth. We were active at the chapter and regional level. We became quite visible, eventually credible and ultimately profitable through our networking efforts. I am pleased to say that 30% of my revenue in 2012 (February 2012-January 2013) was from BNI referrals. If I include networking within Lee, networking with past clients, etc., the percentage soars to 75%. ALL in a sales profession should make networking a part of any business development strategy...IT WORKS! Thanks to Greg Beck, Nathan Phinney, Erik Dickerson, Tom Monaghan, Brenda Carr, Lee Greytek, Bill Edman, Clif Fincher, Tim Cronin, David Newton for your kind referrals this year!

Miracles DO Happen: One of my all time favorite deals (in my 28 years) occurred via a referral from a person I have never met. Lee Greytek knew of me by reputation through two of my BNI friends, Nathan Phinney and Albert Aizin. Lee referred a church friend of his to me in April of 2012. The requirement was right in my proverbial "wheel house"...the sale of an 18,000 square foot industrial building and a relocation of the occupant into a 40,000 square foot industrial building. The challenges were numerous including: multiple decision makers, a difficult building to sell (available for 16 months before we were engaged and terribly over improved for the area), a difficult building to locate (considerable office to warehouse ratio), and a deal structure that required certainty with uncertainty pending on the existing building...just my kind of assignment! The one suggestion that I made to DMG (the client) was that they consider finding a building to lease with an option to buy and to vacate their existing building. My rationale was that a vacant building would be easier to sell and the lease with option to buy structure on the new building would provide certainty (a place to conduct business) while we located a buyer for the existing building. Once we sold the existing building, we could exercise the option to buy and close the sale. I introduced the building for DMG to consider using the below video clip:


I am pleased to say the suggestion was heeded, the market cooperated and we completed both transactions before the end of 2012. Miracles DO happen! Thanks to the DMG team...Ron Sweet, Will Clark (Lee Greytek's church friend), Jerry Carpenter, Steve Weston, Victor Murphy, and Jeff Bulkin who made the transactions such a pleasure to complete.

A Completed Location Advice Assignment Positively Affects the Lives of Many People: During the home stretch of the above referenced deal, I visited the building that DMG would soon call home. I was amazed by all of the activity! It occurred to me that this one real estate transaction generated a tremendous amount of economic activity!



I Don't Have to Be the KEY Guy in a Deal for the Deal to Happen: The two transactions that come to mind are the Midwest Air Technology lease and the Illinois Tool Works sale. In both cases I was the third guy on a deal team of three. I had virtually no interface with the client as my duties were assembling tours, opening the building for due diligence items to be completed, etc. I am very much "hands on" and this new role was quite foreign to me. I was able to watch some truly talented veterans, Clif Fincher, CJ Kuehl, and Tim Cronin do their magic.

A DEADLINE Can Be a Positive Motivator: With tax laws potentially changing in 2013, December of 2012 was one of the busiest I can remember. The deadline converted many lease deals to sale transactions. I am fortunate that ALL that were supposed to occur in December did in fact occur.

So what positives will 2013 bring? I cannot wait to find out.