Every business has it’s own tools which we need to learn to use effectively if we are to be successful. Commercial real estate is no different and with the dawn of technology, the proliferation of “tools” is amazing.
Since our business is one of “high-touch” relationships, use of a CRM system is of particular importance and for me, it has to be cloud-based which is why I’ve chosen to use ClientLook to organize, track and communicate with clients and prospects. Equally important is the ability to organize property information and present financial analysis data in an easily understood format which is exactly what the PowerBroker System by REI Wise does for my business. This tool actually won for me the Deal of the Month status at the REI Wise website this month!
As a CCIM Designee, I’m blessed with member access to Site To Do Business with some truly amazing tools that allow me to research everything from demographics to crime statistics to the names and phone numbers of every business around my particular site.
The most recent tool I’ve added to my toolbox is ProspectNow which allows me to research property ownership, loan status, tenants in possession and all while viewing an aerial of the property in the same place at the same time! It even provides me with phone numbers of owners and their email addresses in some cases. Talk about a time saver!
OK, there’s more including Google Apps for Business, Google Voice, DropBox, SnagItand others that I’ve come to rely on to make my life infinately easier. All of them work across the devices I use that include Android tablet, phone, laptop and desktops. Most are cloud-based so I have full access to my entire office from any location and on any computer that is connected to the Internet.
However, as we all understand, it is not the tools but the skill of the craftsman that make the difference in the results produced. Choose your tools carefully and then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE so you can be recognized as that skilled craftsman!
Launching a new commercial real estate brokerage company after 8+ years being attached to the “mother ship” of a national firm was both exciting and pretty scary three years ago. Thanks to a host of talented resources and loyal friends and clients, it has been a rewarding and memorable experience. One friend and fellow member of a BNInetworking group suggested that I download a video on the TED network by Simon Sinek, author of the book “Start With Why” and it was probably one of the most important suggestions I received during that time and since.
I’ve come to understand that discovering your “Why” is actually something that needs time (and no small amount of effort) to truly reveal. It has been like peeling an onion in more ways than one. For one, I tend to use many more words to express an idea as are ever necessary, so putting my Why on a diet was a chore. Second, it isn’t always easy to express WHY you do what you do comfortably to everybody with a straight face (wife, customer, new employee, priest, etc.). And finally, who among us is truly objective about ourselves?
Simon’s “Golden Circle” concept that helped me. Answering the three questions that define his circle forced me to define my What, How and Why I do what I do and now, I’ll share with you the results…
What do you do? - “I am a commercial real estate broker who transforms real estate problems into money-solutions so my clients can stop writing checks and start cashing them.”
How do you do it? - “Mostly, I engage marketing strategies and resources that help people to take action. Here’s an outline of how that happens…
S.W.O.T. analysis for a big-picture understanding.
Strategic planning to achieve a time-bound outcome.
Engage target market with proven resources.
Negotiate agreement among all stakeholders.
Manage the process to successful closure.
Why do you do it? - “I love bringing game-changing methods that achieve startling results.”
Now, what is truly enlightening about this that I hope everyone who reads it will take away is this… I did not arrive at any of this without asking for help from my current and past clients. I went to them and humbly asked them how they saw what I do and how they thought I did it. And finally, I asked them what they saw about me that seemed to make me the happiest in working with them. I found my “Why” when several of them said, “You just love solving difficult problems for people.”
In 2006, I got a lesson in (a) humility and (b) the value of relationships that has forever changed the way I see this business. As the listing agent on a property owned by a family in Williamsburg, Virginia, I thought I had proved my worth as a broker when I brought in multiple offers the the owner only to find out that the banks involved were unwilling to accept the contingencies of rezoning included in every single offer. When I called Louis Fisher in Florida to ask about how an auction might solve our dilemma, I truly felt like I was hoisting a white “surrender” flag over my brokerage office. After all, if I had to call in an auctioneer, didn’t that prove I wasn’t a very good broker???
Interestingly, the owners and the banks did not see it that way at all. They all congratulated me on thinking outside of the box to find a creative way to resolve the situation and resolve it we did! After a lot of work to assemble a complete due diligence package and a masterful job of promotion by Louis and his amazing assistant Mitzi, we received an acceptable offer only days before the scheduled opening of the sealed bids and the deal closed 60 days later.
The “humility-lesson?” - NEVER be afraid to look beyond the traditional tools of our trade!
The “relationship-lesson?” - We can NEVER have too many relationships!
Now, that same Louis Fisher is a team-member of what is arguably going to be the commercial real estate event of 2013. With sponsorship of some of the giants of our industry, AUCTIONPOINT2013 will involve over $350,000 in advertising expenditures and has broken the traditional code of only one brokerage or auction company to involve ALL qualifying properties and brokers from all real estate companies. Buyer premium charges have been reduced to half of what is normal and owners and brokers submit their properties at NO COST with brokers keeping 100% of their commissions and continuing to be able to offer cooperating shares.
I am very honored to have been invited to become an “AP13 Ambassador” to help promote this event here in the Mid-Atlantic area. As an Ambassador, I will be meeting with owners and brokers to assist them in participating in the event and while I am available to represent properties, it is absolutely not required. Please give me a call at 804.396.4050 or email me at Jim@NetWorksCRE.com for a FREE consultation and details on how to participate.
About three years ago, I learned about DropBox at a CCIM National Conference and it started a change in my business and my life that has been nothing short of amazing. Since then, I’ve found myself helping others to simplify their lives by moving more and more of their business processes and practices into cloud-computing resources. In October, I addressed nearly 500 agents at the Richmond Association of Realtors “REALTOR FEST” in the Richmond Convention Center for a presentation entitled, “The Cloud: Your Next Business Address.“
In 2011, we moved all of our office files to a DropBox account that synchronizes four computers as well as the off-premises/”cloud” backup which makes it possible for me to access anything in my office computer from my phone, tablet or from any computer anywhere in the world by using my email and password. As long as the hotel has a business center with computers (PC or Mac), I’m as good as sitting at my desk. We also moved our email server from the website hosting company to Google and signed up for Google Apps for Business which has been also pretty amazing. I create all of our marketing materials with REI Wise which automatically populates my website with the current inventory and this blog is automatically updated to our website homepage as well.
There is a lot written and more being written on the Web every day about the cloud and how rapidly we are moving away from desktop and legacy computing models to a more virtual, cloud-computing model. I find it exciting to think that we may soon all be choosing which Internet browser we prefer instead of choosing an operating system. Google got a little ahead of the rest of the world when they introduced the ChromeBook, but I firmly believe that it is showing us the way to the future we can all expect and soon.
So, when will you join me and the rest of the crowd in the cloud?
This fall, I was interviewed by CIRE Magazine, CCIM’s official bimonthly publication, to discuss how I learned to stop boring my clients with endless PowerPoint presentations and voluminous bound listing presentations and begin simplifying and summarizing listing presentations on a one-page, 11″x17″ “placemat.” You can read the article at this LINK and listen to the podcast of my interview HERE. If you have questions about using placemats and how to create them, give me a call or drop me an email at email@example.com.
0.5+/- Acre with 1,035 SF, two-story office building formerly occupied by Nationwide Insurance Agency available immediately. For Sale at $600,000, this location is unmatched for exposure to Midlothian Turnpike traffic. Across from major new and used car dealerships, this is a perfect location for any number of retail users including professional services such as insurance, legal, financial and service providers. Excellent lighted sign opportunity and easy access and egress to ample parking lot. Broker cooperation is always offered on NetWorks CRE listings and we encourage you to visit our website at http://www.networkscre.com to obtain a package of information on this offering.
21,228 SF Frozen/Refrigerated Cold Storage Central to Richmond-Norfolk Region
Insulated Panel Wall & Ceiling with Custom Temperature Control Floor
2+ Acres Allows Expansion of building to 30,000+ SF
Excellent Access to I-64 for Distribution to Richmond & Tidewater Communities
Available for Immediate Occupancy for Lease or Sale
For Lease or For Sale. Total building 21,228 built in 2002. Construction is fully-insulated metal panels (walls & ceiling) and custom, temperature control designed floor will maintain temperatures necessary to store frozen food products. Dock high loading with adjustable dock & door seal. Office and toilet facilities all in excellent condition.
Building is on 2.04 +/- acres permitting expansion of the existing building to approximately 30,000 square feet.
Location is on Rt. 33 approximately 5 miles north of the I-64/Rt. 33 full interchange. Excellent Access to I-64 for Distribution to Richmond & Tidewater Communities.