Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Brokerage Superstar?
Having attended the Sperry Van Ness® Broker Boot Camp in Chicago three weeks ago, I now know a little bit about what it takes to “make it” in the commercial real estate brokerage business. Full disclosure: I’m a marketing intern, so my experience as a broker is non-existent. However, since I had the opportunity to sit in on the first day of the Boot Camp, led by industry veteran John McDermott, I now have a pretty good idea of some of the qualities that differentiate a brokerage “superstar” from the rest.
To be clear, even being just a “good” broker isn’t as easy as you may think. (See my first Boot Camp blog post for some elaboration). To be a “superstar” in any field you need to set measurable goals, as my second Boot Camp blog post discussed. But for commercial real estate brokerage in particular, you must possess 4 specific traits to become a top performer.
The Intern’s Take on the 4 Traits of a Brokerage Superstar
1. You must be tenacious. As a broker, there are few times when it’s acceptable to simply take “no” for an answer. Brokerage superstars are relentless — when appropriate, they prod further with clients who seem to be shutting them down. Instead of calling it a day, a brokerage superstar asks questions when she is slammed with a “no.” For example, rather than ending the conversation when a potential client says he has no interest in giving you an exclusive listing, ask what his reservations are and listen to his response.
2. You must be a self-starter. As I already mentioned, brokerage isn’t easy. Perhaps the hardest part of commercial real estate brokerage is starting out as a brand-new broker. A budding brokerage superstar will jump on the opportunity as soon as she is hired by a brokerage firm by immediately starting to build her database, accumulate contacts, and practice key skills. This brokerage superstar doesn’t wait to receive help or direction. Instead, she takes initiative by doing everything in her power to succeed from the Day 1.
3. You must be self-motivated. From what I understand, brokerage can be a lonely business at times, because it is ultimately up to you as a broker to close your deals and earn paychecks. While it seems scary (in my opinion) to be relying only on commission for your income, a brokerage superstar sees this as an advantage. A brokerage superstar is fearless and confident in her own abilities to bring home the bacon, and doesn’t need outside motivation to stay fired up.
4. You must be able to make connections with the right people. This doesn’t mean you can just say “oh, I’m a social butterfly!” and spend your week chatting with your friends. A brokerage superstar doesn’t just work the room — she works the room with a purpose. She goes out of her way to introduce herself to industry leaders and research the local movers and shakers. Following any meeting or casual encounter, a brokerage superstar takes notes and catalogues this experience for future reference. As a broker, your business is built on knowing the right people, so you must be professional, likeable, and strategic in order to make worthwhile connections.
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