Monday, May 6, 2013

Are you wrong about us? Misconceptions about Commercial Real Estate Brokers

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California. As frequenters of this blog will attest, I have practiced CRE for a looong time...since I was a mere babe in the woods...pre grey hair, children (except for one), college graduations, weddings, meetings with Duke Long, etc. So, I pride myself on being an expert in the common misconceptions that folks have about people in my profession. I will recount a few of these in the hope that you may benefit from the understanding...lest you are looking to hire one of us OR be hired.

We are transactional and not relational: Ultimately our relationships must lead to transactions or we starve. Many of us ARE willing to earn the transaction through a relationship...however long that may take. Brokers that only focus on the transaction and not the relationship don't last very long. I enjoy repeat business from many, many clients...that only comes from valuing and fostering the relationship.

My needs are outweighed by your needs: The skilled among our ranks will tell you that if we ignore your needs in favor of our own...we get crushed! Good commercial brokers focus upon the client's needs first and foremost...the rest follows.

We are old school and don't embrace technology: Wow! I am the first to admit that our industry is slow to change its stodgy ways. Many of us, however, are early adopters of technology with Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, blogs, video, a dramatic online presence, etc. Google searches have become the new signage...would a broker market a building with no sign or represent a requirement with no notice to the brokerage community?...hardly! If the building you are marketing or the requirement you represent has no on line presence...the sign is missing!

We will only show you listings from our company: One of the most common misconceptions and one of the most untrue! Before the days of Loopnet, ILS, CoStar, AIR, 42 Floors, and other forms of computerized multiples, we focused on the easy mark...spaces listed with our companies. Now the occupant sees everything...absolutely! If we don't show it  to you, you have the means to find it your self.

We are paid a salary: Commercial brokerage is among the truest forms of capitalism...we eat what we kill. We are strictly commission, paid 1099 income, are largely responsible for our own expenses (including health care) and are incredibly thrifty (remember, we spend our own money). Some of you may be scratching your head at this point trying to reconcile the transaction vs relationship statement. Trust me, we have to spend our time and share our information wisely (as that is all we have to offer). We are very focused upon the relationships are too tough to garner.

All Lee and Associates brokers work for the same company: As with any major firm...we all are independent contractors and are in essence competitors with other Lee (or other firm) brokers. At  Lee we have a nice code of conduct...rules of engagement...that preclude us from poaching another Lee broker's client, etc...AND we are incentivized through our structure to refer business to other offices...BUT we are independent.

Once the transaction is done we are finished with you: We want your next deal, and the one following that one. We want for you to refer your friends, family, and business connections to us for location advice. We look for ways to add value to the relationship AFTER the deal is done. We value your phone calls asking for referrals to professionals within our network. As the last post examined, there are ways to add value with clients. Is your commercial real estate service provider finished with you? If so, we may need to chat!


  1. Great post my friend. A recent brokerage companies portrayal of the brokerage communities as practicing a policy of pocket listings, I thought was completely off base and a self serving marketing tactic. I am not saying it does not happen, but isn't rampant as they led you to believe. It rarely ever happens in the leasing market or user transactions and on the investment side just because an outside brokerage fee is not offered does not mean the listing broker isn't exposing the listing to the brokerage community or public.

    Yes, there are inefficiencies in the brokerage model but most successful brokers are transparent and skilled relationship builders. Sure there are quick buck artists, but they exist in every industry.

    1. Well said Coy! I hope you are well. My wife and son's fiance were in Houston week before last.

  2. Great picture, but the desk is too clean!


  3. Allen:
    Excellent points.
    We have to look at brokerage as a career, not a "one shot" deal.
    Like you, I rely upon repeat business from firms I have dealt with and referring brokers who have referred me deals since they are not licensed in Nev.
    I work extra hard for them so they will keep working with me.

    Thank you,

    Charles W. Witters, SIOR | Senior Vice President
    Lee & Associates | Las Vegas