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Career Growth Is In Your Hands at SVN

We all have moments in our lives that can be considered “defining moments” — times when a certain thing happens that changes our life trajectory completely. The funny thing about these life-altering moments?

We rarely see them coming.

The Origin

For me, it was October 2017 in Chicago, and I was being interviewed by a person who would not only later become my boss, but also my mentor, role model, and most importantly, my friend. That person was SVN Chief Growth Officer, Solomon Poretsky. This specific situation was not brand new to me — I’d had my fair share of job interviews — but as Solomon sat there across from me and spoke about SVN and about the role I was pursuing, I couldn’t help but think, “this feels… different.”

As if cued by my thought, Solomon said something that will stay with me forever:

“Whoever steps into this role will be responsible for the livelihood of the clients they oversee… and these clients are more than just clients. They’re people who have dedicated their lives to this business.”

As a 25-year old just a few years out of college, this level of responsibility both shocked and thrilled me. I’d never come across someone with as much sincere devotion for the people they worked with as Solomon had. Solomon’s enthusiasm for his work and for his clients matched a certain “fire” I had for years recognized in myself but had yet to harness in my professional life. I soon realized my spirited ambition, zealousness, and passion for serving others made me the perfect candidate for the job.

A Culture of Accelerated Development

As the Business Development Manager for SVN, I was the single point of contact between SVN Corporate and our Franchisees. This was both a support role and a development role, as it was critical that I helped accelerate growth and expansion for our franchise offices.

As I grew in my role, I began to realize that my job was fulfilling in a way I never thought possible. I was having meaningful face-to-face interactions and building relationships with people who, as Solomon had revealed, truly dedicated their lives to their businesses. I quickly realized that these people – our clients – were so much more than that. I started to see in each and every person values that continue to drive the SVN brand today. In my travels I collected invaluable wisdom, insight, and stories from all different corners of the country. Like a puzzle, I began piecing together the shared values and beliefs that make up the SVN Core Covenants.

It was immensely rewarding to see new places, hear new perspectives, and understand firsthand why SVN is so special. Getting personal time with our clients brought the SVN Difference to life for me.

Being out in the field was intensely educational. I learned something new every day, and I appreciated being encouraged to apply my new knowledge to not only increase my personal impact but also to help other departments across the organization.

Something worth emphasizing at this point in my story: in my entire SVN career, no two days have been the same. For someone who thrives in a dynamic and engaging environment, this is why I am truly excited to come to work every day. My enthusiasm today is just as genuine as it was on my first day with SVN.

In my three years as Business Development Manager, I personally helped support our 200+ global offices. I ran hundreds of demonstrations and trainings on our platform, educated our Advisors on the advanced tools and resources available to them, and supported our franchisee offices daily. I helped offices build their websites, assisted in structuring an internal SVN onboarding program, and worked directly with our Franchisees and the SVN Corporate Development team to build comprehensive business plans to help offices grow.

Opportunities for Growth

Deeply rooted in the SVN culture is an emphasis on professional growth and development. Unlike other brands in the commercial real estate industry, SVN takes a modern approach to talent acquisition, retention, and development, and it didn’t take me long to understand that SVN truly “walks the walk” in this area.

SVN does this in a number of ways. Here are a few:

  • Role autonomy and flexibility, allowing you the freedom to use your unique strengths to deliver your best work
  • Ownership and opportunities to grow within & outside of your role, giving you control over your professional future 
  • Exposure to new challenges and an environment of continued learning & stepping outside of your comfort zone

SVN encourages you to be the architect of your own career. Because of this, I felt (and still feel) empowered to bring my best self to work each day.

Now, in my fourth year with SVN, I am eager, honored, and proud to transition into my new role as Sales Director. This promotion is a significant development opportunity for my career growth and something that was both encouraged and enabled by leadership at SVN.

It’s amazing that the very people who hired me have had a hand in every aspect of helping me grow personally and professionally. And Solomon was absolutely right during that interview in 2017 — our clients are so much more than clients; they’ve dedicated their lives to this business. And through the years of witnessing that firsthand, I realize that I’ve done the same.

After years of direct client support (often in-office), it is thrilling to jump to the other side of the organization and apply this knowledge to my work with prospective offices and partners. Anyone that knows me understands that I love the SVN brand and, more than anything, our clients.

We talk a lot about the SVN Difference at SVN. What the SVN Difference exemplifies to me, personally, is the audience reading this post today. The SVN Community, both the corporate team and our large ecosystem of offices, is truly a special group of professionals that care about the work they do and the people whom they work with.

I am thrilled for this next step in my career and grateful that SVN has opened so many doors for me, both personally and professionally. It’s an environment that fosters learning and growth and with this, I am both hopeful and confident that I can move swiftly from supporting our offices to expanding our footprint with more exceptional partners. This is what gets me so excited about the future of SVN, and our journey to building a billion-dollar brand together.

Something tells me this will be my next defining moment.

Planning for Post-Pandemic Success: Preparing for Commercial Real Estate’s “Next Normal”

With the global vaccine rollout now underway, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about an economic rebound ahead. As lockdowns end, restrictions lift, and new COVID-19 cases continue on a downswing trend, the commercial real estate industry can certainly expect some relief as we enter into the “Next-Normal.”

The CDC COVID Data Tracker (below) tracks daily trends in the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as reported to the CDC by state and territory. As the below Data Tracker illustrates, the COVID-19 surge trend appears to be behind us.

Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker

While we aren’t completely out of the woods yet, things are looking up for industry recovery. And although we still have many unanswered questions, we also now have the forward momentum we lacked for so long, which allows for the big-picture planning needed for success in a post-pandemic world.

The global pandemic upended daily life for more than a year. It has changed how we live, where we work, even what we wear on our faces. As a result, we are seeing major shifts in consumer behavior, consumption, and lifestyle, among other things. Data collected during 2020 and currently in 2021 shows that several sectors of the commercial real industry are certainly still feeling the weight of these shifts.

Sectoral Impact

RETAIL

The Retail sector took a significant blow as the pandemic made nonessential in-person shopping quite literally illegal for a period. As Americans sheltered indoors, everyday activities such as going to the grocery store were now weighed under a contagion risk analysis. Consumption that would have normally been completed in-person has quickly flowed into online orders. The e-commerce share of retail consumption has steadily risen for more than two decades, reaching 11.8% in Q1 20201, but as the full effect of the lockdown reached a fever pitch in Q2, the share ballooned to 16.1%. While the share came down to 14.0% through Q4 2020, reflecting some natural reversion, the familiarity gained by consumers cannot be undone, and the pandemic has permanently accelerated some retail activity away from brick-and-mortar.

At the same time, manufacturers don’t have the same options they once did: As governments enacted state-wide lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders to limit the spread of COVID-19, manufacturers across the globe — which typically operate with long lead times — were brought to a complete halt. The manufacturing sub-sector has since been fighting an uphill battle, but as market conditions continue to improve, there is hope that factories will have the capacity to gain back some of the productions they lost in 2020.

INDUSTRIAL

For the Industrial sector, particularly warehouse spaces, there was a period in 2020 just ahead of the pandemic and the rapid shift to record levels of online shopping when rent growth for the overall Industrial sector was pacing ahead of cold storage. (A cold storage warehouse is used to store fresh and/or frozen perishable fruits or vegetables, or any combination thereof, at the desired temperature to maintain the quality of the product.) Cold storage rent growth has been rising since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, rent for cold storage space averaged around $10 per square foot; currently, that number could vault to as much as $30 per square foot.2

As of February 2021, the Industrial sector has seen production drop by nearly 5%, compared to a year prior, while retail sales have increased by over 6%.3

HOSPITALITY

Hospitality was, and continues to be, among the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic. Some research suggests that recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels for the industry could take until 2023 or later. However, things already seem to be looking up for Hospitality: For the week ending March 13, 2021, U.S. hotel industry RevPAR was $53.45 — a decline of only 15.8% from the same week in 2020, which is mostly a function of easier comparisons, according to data from STR, CoStar’s hospitality analytics firm.4

Looking Ahead: The Road To Recovery

Economic recovery in a post-pandemic world depends on several factors. The economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt on a global scale, and with specific sectors more severely impacted, some may experience a quicker rebound than others once the crisis is behind us. Given the universal lifestyle changes people have had to make, and their subsequent effects on the economy, the COVID-19 crisis has pushed many industries to adjust rapidly… and continuously.

The recovery rate of various sectors will have a massive impact regionally over the next two years, according to a report by KPMG. And not all industries are equally affected: certain sectors of the economy will thrive once the pandemic is over, while others will face a seemingly endless headwind.

The Industrial sector seems poised for post-pandemic growth. A few sub-sectors are already beginning to see significant recovery:

  • Warehouses underlying e-commerce, such as cold storage space
  • Big-box retail selling essential goods, such as Walmart and Target
  • Office space in certain locations, such as suburban areas

In the long run, the Retail sector is likely to be the biggest casualty as we exit the pandemic. This sector was already struggling before COVID-19, with vacant suburban shopping malls and big retailers shuttering stores across the country. Since the pandemic hit, many well-known brands have all filed for bankruptcy. The weakness of the retailers themselves, the accelerated growth of e-commerce, and questions about how quickly shoppers will head back to the stores all weigh against a strong recovery.

If the laws of physics extend to commercial real estate, then 2021 should be a year of recovery in the Retail sector, especially as restrictions on density are further relaxed and the resumption of normalcy gains steam. Notwithstanding the short-term recovery, Retail remains in a period of secular reorganization, and the sector remains open to disruption for the foreseeable future.5

Like so many industries, Hospitality will also see both subtle and substantial shifts in the post-pandemic era. Oxford Economics reports that gross domestic product grew by 9% in the first quarter of 2021, which has positive implications for the American travel industry. Jan Freitag, National Director for Hospitality Analytics at CoStar, reported that the March 2021 revenue per available room percentage change was “very positive” at 34%.6

We are still far off from “normal,” though an accelerating vaccination rollout brings the promise of a more rapid return to normalcy. As the economy recovers, leaders in the commercial real estate industry must begin to turn their attention to preparing for opportunities presented in the post-pandemic world.

Seizing Our Opportunity

The Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) measures the effect of changing business conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation’s small businesses. According to the SBPS, companies are consistently marking up when they expect conditions to normalize. As leaders in the industry, we now have clear opportunities to re-strategize asset attribution and ultimately redefine what post-pandemic success means for commercial real estate.

Source: CoStar7

Looking at history, other crises and external events show that generally, the CRE industry tends to lag the trajectory of the larger economy. But with the far-reaching effects of this pandemic, the CRE industry has felt the effects much earlier. In many ways, the pandemic has accelerated trends already occurring. While there is no specific answer or one-size-fits-all solution at this time, organizations that are able to move nimbly through the phases of recovery and embrace the “next normal” will thrive post-pandemic.

As the economy gains momentum, we will begin to see a split: organizations built to last, and those that are not. Those built to last, like SVN, are using this time to not only learn and emerge stronger, but also to prepare for and shape the future of commercial real estate.

Catalysts to Recovery: The SVN Difference

There are several components of SVN’s DNA working together to pull the future forward. For example:

  • A strong and established brand, foundation, and community backing Advisors, attracting new talent and supporting local independent ownership
  • Information & Fee Sharing: Every Monday, SVN Advisors present new and featured commercial real estate property listings on SVN | Live®. This live property broadcast is open to everyone in the industry.
  • Product Council meetings and collaboration tools for all asset classes such as Industrial, Office, Self Storage, and Healthcare
  • Online and scalable training to expand teams quickly, such as our SVN System for Growth courses and digital onboarding support
  • Advanced digital recruiting tools, such as Mike Lipsey’s System for Success online training for Advisors
  • Consultation support for asset attribution to establish team development

SVN was built to be future-proofed. That’s why, from 2019 through 2020, SVN’s gross commission income grew 3.1%… when everyone else was down. When all publicly traded CRE brokerages were up against double-digit declines — some facing 30% or more in lost revenue — SVN had its best year in company history. Models like SVN, which embrace automation, collaboration and cooperation, are uniquely positioned to take market share in this era of change, as client behaviors and expectations evolve.

The SVN brand offers something completely different from what any local, regional, or national firm is offering. This is the SVN Difference. And this difference is what ultimately creates 9.6% more value for our clients.

The Future Is Now

There is significant hope that 2021 will be a year of earnest recovery. As of the March WSJ Economic Forecasting Survey, on average, leading economists expect the US economy to grow by 6.0%. If reality ends up matching expectations, 2021 will mark the fastest annual growth since 1984.

SVN Advisors are leading the way into the “Next-Normal,” pulling the future forward, enacting change where and when it matters most.

The future is here. Are you ready?

 

 

Endnotes

  1. Census Bureau; through Q4 2020
  2. https://product.costar.com/home/news/19461
  3. https://product.costar.com/home/news/848506453
  4. https://product.costar.com/home/news/1802437521
  5. SVN Asset Class Report, Retail, 2021
  6. https://www.costar.com/article/1537124142/recovery-of-us-hotel-industry-is-firmly-underway
  7. https://product.costar.com/home/news/848506453

Looking to the Future: The Disruption of COVID-19 and the Transition into the Next-Normal

Exactly one year ago, eight governors across the US took the initial move to close bars and restaurants, and the Dow Jones posted its largest one-day drop ever, finishing down a record 2,997 points. The world as we knew it was hitting the proverbial fan. New incoming information —none of which was encouraging — came across our screens at a frantic pace, causing our stomachs and portfolios to drop in tandem. 

With a full year now passed by in the COVID economy, the universe of uncertainty has thankfully compressed. While it was not an advanced degree that any of us had applied for, the pandemic has imparted a lifetime of lessons, offering clear clues about the future of commercial space demand and the ways we as humans interact with the built environment.   

Macroeconomy

Starting first with the economy as a whole, I know we have all become a bit numb to sideways numbers during the past year, but to dig ourselves out of this hole, it is important to understand just how deep we are. Early last year, while we were all still finishing our champagne and settling in after the holiday season, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimates of 2020 economic growth, serving as a reliable benchmark of where the economy would have stood without the pandemic. Actual output last year fell short of the CBO’s early 2020 forecast by $1.2 Trillion Dollars, good for an average loss of $3,560.06 for every American.

More workers filed for initial unemployment claims in the first nine weeks of this crisis than during the entirety of the 2007-2009 recession, and the unemployment rate hit a stratospheric high of 14.8% last April. Through the most recent Jobs report, it looks like we are once again starting to see some positive momentum toward an eventual recovery. The civilian unemployment rate ticked down 6.2% through February as the economy added back 379,000 jobs. We remain a long way to go, but between vaccination rollout and the onset of warmer weather, the W-shaped recession we have seen so far should have enough fuel in the tank to prevent another near-term downturn.   

Multifamily

An often-peddled refrain during the early days of the pandemic was that the multifamily, and apartment sector as a whole, would maintain its stability by the simple fact that people will always need somewhere to live. If anything, the same optimists argued that the resiliency of cashflows could actually improve as renters were spending more time in their homes due to involuntary quarantines. With a year of data available now supplanting conjecture, we find that residential rentals have indeed performed up to expectations. No, conditions have not been ideal, and distress is not too hard to find, especially in gateway markets. However, compared to worst-case scenarios, the apartment sector has lived up to its reliable bedrock status. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent tracker, which follows the performance of more than 11 million professionally managed apartments, 93.5% of renter households paid rent in February— only a 1.6% drop off from the same month last year. These data may, however, likely understate some sector-level underperformance, as they do not include vacant units or self-managed “mom-and-pop” properties. According to Freddie Mac’s latest forbearance report, we know that small balance originations, which tend to cater to the “mom-and-pop” investor class, make up 75% of loans in forbearance.1 

The CDC’s eviction moratorium remains a pressing challenge for the industry and an impediment to its return to pre-pandemic health. The market for rental housing is a circular flowing ecosystem between lenders, investors, and renters. There is no net-positive corrective policy that achieves more benefit than harm by breaking the symbiotic process, much as the moratoriums have.  The NMHC offers that moratoriums “fail in their purpose of addressing renters’ underlying financial distress” and “jeopardize the stability of housing providers and the broader housing market.” Despite two different federal judges ruling against the CDC policy in the past month, the ban remains in place. There are, however, green shoots forming, which could signal a return to more normal conditions in the near future. At the end of this month, the moratorium is scheduled to expire— a deadline that we should accept with a coarse-grained piece of salt. Nevertheless, the appropriations bill passed at the end of the year, and the American Rescue Plan of 2021 passed last week collectively set aside $46.6B for rental assistance programs. A CPPB analysis of Census Bureau survey data finds that roughly one-in-five renter households are behind on rent— a crisis that should see meaningful relief as funds are released.2

The permanence of COVID-induced migration will be a hot-button topic as more jabs land in arms. Taken together, the trifecta of New York, California, and Illinois, the states that are home to the three largest US cities, collectively lost more than 275,000 residents in 2020. The human density that has historically attracted demand toward superstar cities has had the complete opposite effect in the past year. Without accessible cultural amenities or the need to be in an office Monday through Friday, a significant share of the workforce became untethered to their home cities and have made their way toward the exit. According to CoStar, New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and Washington DC are all among the list of cities to post year-over-year declines in asking rents through Q4 2020. 

While the outgoing flow of residents has been lumped together as one homogenous cohort, there appear to be at least two major groups leaving. The first group of COVID-nomads is defined by those that already had eyes towards more affordable and spacious housing options over the next couple of years. Given the urban context in 2020 and the attractively low borrowing costs, many of these renters simply said, “Hey, why not now?” and moved up their progression timeline. These are the types of households that are more likely to be buying baby carriages before the next time they step on a subway, and their transition out of major metros is probabilistically permanent. The second group contains those who are transient, often early into their careers, working remotely, and still seeking the lifestyle amenities they had enjoyed pre-covid. Watching how this group behaves as large companies start calling workers back into the Office and cities look more like their pre-pandemic selves will be telling.   

Office

Today, there is no property type subject to more speculation than the Office.

Unlike multifamily, Retail, and industrial, where COVID has mostly magnified pre-existing trends, the pandemic has led to rampant reimagination in the office sector. Our understanding of how both firms and workers interact with physical office space to optimize productivity is permanently changed. According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, an estimated 38% of working American adults have transitioned to remote work in some capacity due to COVID. The share is even higher in large office markets like New York and Los Angeles, rising to 47% and 45%, respectively. En Masse, The American Workforce traded morning commutes for Zoom links, an illuminating natural experiment that has challenged the Office sector’s core-assumptions. When PwC launched its remote work survey in June, 44% of employers thought that the transition to remote work has allowed their teams to be more productive than before the pandemic.3 When the same employers were polled again in December, the share climbed to 52%, indicating that not only has a consensus emerged, but that efficiency has improved following the initial learning curve. The realization that companies can not only maintain but actually improve performance through a remote infrastructure is a ‘no turning back,’ Pandora’s box type of moment. It should therefore come as no surprise that, according to the same survey, only 21% Of US executives think that a full five days in the office every single week is the best setup to maintain a strong corporate culture. 

The likelihood that total office space demand will have a smaller footprint in the post-pandemic world is a consideration that we cannot afford to take lightly. A Fitch research report released just last week estimates that an additional 1.5 work-from-home days per worker would lead to a 15% reduction in property-level net cash flow— a development that would meaningfully recalibrate our understanding of risk and value. Given the long-dated lease structure common throughout the sector, it will take a few years for emerging preferences to filter through fully. Moody’s Analytics REIS forecasts that vacancy rates are likely to rise to near-record levels through 2023 before beginning a gradual recovery in 2024. 

Of course, not all metro-level office markets will move as one. Some of the migratory demand that is leaving large cities and contributing to localized weakness ahead will also lead to strength in other markets, particularly in major Metro adjacent suburbs. According to Real Capital Analytics, Central Business District-located Office properties posted a 0.2% decline in value for the year. On the other hand, suburban located office assets saw valuations continuing to grow at a healthy 6.6%.

Industrial

The industrial sector remained the undisputed top performer of commercial real estate through an otherwise challenging 2020. Secular tailwinds, such as e-commerce adoption, grew from a healthy gust to a sustained hurricane force. Over the past decade, online retail sales have increased by an average of 15.2% annually. Brick and mortar retail sales over the same period have only grown by an average of 3.4% per year. The share of total Retail sales satisfied by online orders has steadily risen, entering 2020 At 11.3%. In the second quarter, as nonessential retailers across the country closed their doors, this share skyrocketed above 16%. While the share has reverted down to 14%, the pandemic has permanently transitioned some in-person retailing onto online platforms. Online grocery delivery services, a concept that had faced greater consumer resistance than other E-platforms before 2020, stood uniquely positioned to benefit from the demands of a lockdown economy. According to grocery e-commerce specialist Mercatus and research firm Incisiv Projects, online grocers accounted for 3.4% of all US grocer sales in 2019, before swelling to 10.2% in 2020.4 Further, the same study estimates that online groceries will satisfy 21.5% of domestic demand by 2025. Surging demand for E-grocers also means an increased demand for distribution and fulfillment facilities in close proximity to consumers. In the most recent Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, fulfillment facilities ranked as the subsector with the best prospects for future investment and development opportunities. 

Another source of new industrial demand can be traced to the supply chain disruptions experienced this last year. The pandemic exposed critical sensitivities, and e-commerce retailers are looking to better safeguard their ability to match inventory supply with order demand. Doing so has meant a transition away from “just in time” distribution models in favor of “just in case” models instead. The latter requires excess warehousing space to stock contingent inventory. 

Retail

There was no shortage of pessimism surrounding the retail sector heading into 2020, even before there was a pandemic to contend with. Pre-pandemic, Retail was in the midst of what was widely expected to be a 10-year shakeout and a painful rightsizing process. As noted in the 2021 ULI / PwC Emerging Trends Report, the US retail sector had three major headwinds going into last year: the US has more retail square footage per capita than any other country in the world, an increasing share of core-retail activity has transitioned online, and domestic consumers have experienced a long-term stagnation of wages. Concepts that were on the path towards obsolescence, with hopes of maybe squeezing out a few more years of economic solvency, are those that have struggled the most during COVID— none more so than department store retailers.

While the outgoing companies will argue otherwise, a case can be made that 2020’s pain will help the retail sector pave a quicker path back to recovery. The sector has gone from Darwinism to ‘Darwinism on steroids.’ Though, before we can imagine a radical future where physical retail demand sits just a bit higher than supply, the existing glut of obsolescent space needs to find adaptive reuse. After all, not every struggling mall will be turned into an Amazon distribution center. Lifestyle centers, where fitness centers, housing units, and mixed Retail are blended together, are one of the leading concepts to aid in re-positioning and re-absorption. According to Real Capital Analytics, Lifestyle Centers have an average price per square foot that is almost three times higher than average assessed for Mall assets, reflecting some of the value that can be recaptured through re-positioning.  

As Retail continues to match physical footprints with the forward-looking consumer behavior, the short-term reversion back to normalcy will at least provide some much-needed relief. Cabin-fever-consumers armed with unspent stimulus checks should give Retailers a potent shot in the arm, even if the upside effects are only temporary.

Outlook

Whether it be the public health front, the economy, commercial real estate, our lives in general, or how all the above are inexorably linked, 2021 has all the makings of a year defined by recovery. The Federal government’s push to have vaccine availability for every US adult by May 1st means that herd immunity is not too far behind. 

Between the safe resumption of our pre-pandemic lives, the commitment by the Federal Reserve to maintain low interest rates even as inflation pressures rise, and the unprecedented level of stimulus in the hands of consumers, a perfect storm of economic momentum is brewing just offshore. If anything, there is increasing concern that the economy has the potential to overheat in the year ahead as too much fuel enters the fire all at once. According to the February and March iterations of the Wall Street Journal’s Economic Forecasting Survey, a majority of leading economists believe that this year will have more upside risk than downside risk, and more than 80% think that the newly passed stimulus will generate inflation higher than the Fed’s 2% target.

In many ways, we as an industry remain in wait-and-see mode, with questions over a return to the office timing and rightsizing are still swirling overhead. Although, overly conservative and reactive strategies rarely make winning formulas in Real Estate. Now is the time for landlords to engage tenants and companies to engage employees about emerging preferences, then execute on a strategy. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that the pace of change can accelerate quickly, and falling behind the curve of innovation is a costly and often un-correctable mistake.

 

Endnotes
1. https://mf.freddiemac.com/docs/January_forbearance_report.pdf
2. https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/housing-assistance-in-american-rescue-plan-act-will-prevent-millions-of-evictions
3. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html
4. https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/online-grocery-more-double-market-share-2025

Re-thinking Talent & Recruiting In Commercial Real Estate — And How To Do More Than Just Talk About It

SVN’s Leslie Bateman discusses how the talent and recruiting landscape in commercial real estate is changing, and how we can seize the opportunity it presents.

Rapid and continual advances in technology have been disrupting many of the sectors that anchor the U.S. economy, including the commercial real estate industry. However, the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has long been known to be slow to adapt, often “lagging behind” others when it comes to large-scale industry transformations. While other industries blaze forward to embrace technology and digital disruption, for the most part, CRE has only budged.

Experts suggest that this industry-wide delay in advancement is due in part to the age imbalance of the industry. This isn’t new information, as aging of the CRE industry is known and well documented: According to CIRE Reader Surveys and NAR Commercial Member Profiles, the average age of a CCIM member is 54 and the median age of a commercial Realtor is 60.1

In addition to age diversity, another area ripe for improvement lies in the adoption of new technologies. Much of the commercial real estate industry still relies on traditional methods of doing business, preferring the experienced and familiar over the new and risky. As a cyclical result, the industry has become less attractive to younger people, who often prefer organizations and job roles with a high degree of technology integration and support.2

What the CRE industry has now is an incredible opportunity — to harness new technologies, redefine its talent processes, and alter the trajectory for future success.

Digital Disruption, COVID-19, and CRE
Today, digital disruption is all-pervasive, leaving no industry untouched. Digital innovation has the power to change markets and economies, accelerate business operating models, and wholly reinvent the way business is done across the globe. While certain industries feel the profound influence of this digital transformation immediately, others – such as commercial real estate – are a little late to the game. With the surge of CREtech over the past two decades, CRE companies have begun building momentum by integrating technology with the built world and associated systems. However, at its slower pace and with nothing forcing it to move any faster, commercial real estate still largely remains behind.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global pandemic has changed the nature of office and work culture considerably, forcing all industries to adapt to remote work and rely on new methods and tools for virtual engagement and operations. Some companies (such as Spotify and Facebook) experienced cost-cutting epiphanies early in the pandemic, taking action after recognizing that the in-office concept simply won’t be necessary into the future.

While the pandemic has forced some CREtech innovations to flourish, it has also placed a magnifying glass on industry problems and shortcomings. For CRE, an industry still reliant on handshakes, years of experience and Rolodexes, the immediate shift to virtual work hasn’t been easy. The industry-wide disillusionment has accelerated the need for CRE companies to acknowledge, accept, and lean into major change. It’s not the catalyst we expected, but the pandemic has opened a large window of opportunity for the industry to make big strides toward a more prosperous future.

 

The Pre-Pandemic Talent Landscape
It’s becoming increasingly evident that, as CRE companies figure out the technologies required to support digitization shifts, they need to secure the right “talent” in order to accelerate the pace of adoption and implementation.

Prior to the pandemic, the talent landscape in CRE skewed heavily toward the Baby Boomer generation. There was little to no focus on recruiting Millennial and Gen-Z talent. In 2019, 45% of CRE employees were 55 or older compared to 4% in the 19–24 age range. In comparison, 24% of the workforce across all industries and 22% of the banking and insurance workforce were 55 years old or older.”2

This imbalance is both emphasized and continued as the industry prefers experienced hires, over-indexing on industry experience and comfort with traditional job roles. The outcome here is compounding: firms continue to contribute to the rift by favoring experienced hires and maintaining conventional practices; meanwhile, the industry becomes less attractive and less accessible to younger generations.

Preparing for the Workforce of the Future
To help companies attract and retain up-and-coming talent, reduce the demographic gap, and create a more fulfilling work environment, leaders will likely need to reexamine the talent function and its processes.2

As Deloitte Insights states: “The pandemic is expected to force a paradigm shift in the way the industry operates and how work is done. Digital transformation could play an important role as companies wrestle with liquidity and profitability in the near term and prepare for the post-crisis world. And so CRE companies should look at digital and talent transformation in tandem.”

While change is not easy and certainly not always comfortable, the sooner CRE companies understand and embrace the shifts they need to make, the better off they will be. Clearly, digital advancement is critical for CRE organizations’ success and relevance. The talent implications are vast.

CRE leaders must work to balance the talent landscape by rethinking and adapting to the way their employees work, embedding technology into their decision-making, and redefining skills, talent processes, and practices to meet new demands. The bottom line: Hiring younger talent is no longer optional, it’s essential.

At SVN, we often talk about “pulling the future forward.” This concept is so much more than a tagline. We live, breathe and practice this mentality daily through promoting a culture of learning, embracing remote work flexibility, hiring for location-agnostic roles, providing remote/online systematic training for new hires, and by believing in the powerful data on workplace diversity.

Diversity has long been a hallmark of the SVN brand and business model, and we strongly believe in the research proving that workplace diversity (e.g., gender, age, ethnic, cultural) leads to smarter teams and greater company success.3

Studies show that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability4, and we’ve seen this firsthand at SVN.

To further underscore our company-wide belief in the power of diversity, here’s an inside look at SVN’s employee base:
· 73% women
· 40% minorities
· 53% under the age of 45

 

The Opportunity of a Lifetime
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed unsustainable truths about the CRE industry’s approach to recruiting and retaining talent.

So now what?

If CRE firms want to find success in the future, many will need to step back to analyze and upgrade their current talent processes. Digitization, remote flexibility, and diversity should hold more weight in the talent landscape, and it’s time for us to do more than just acknowledge the known lags, more than just talk about where we can improve. It’s time for us to take action… to really make change.

In this challenge lies immense opportunity. For those in leadership positions, I challenge you to think about your own recruiting strategies, open roles, and growth goals. What adjustments can you make? Are some required skills now irrelevant with technology, and years of experience an arbitrary line in the sand? Are you willing to place your trust in the positive research on workplace diversity and prioritize it in your next hires? If these initiatives seem daunting, scary, overwhelming… you’re not alone. But just as we must trust in the data on diversity, we must also trust that great things rarely come from comfort zones.

As Virginia Rometty so eloquently states: “Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

 

Endnotes
1. CCIM Institute, “The Millennial Way,” accessed March 4, 2021
2. Deloitte Insights, “Preparing for the future of commercial real estate,” accessed March 4, 2021
3. Harvard Business Review, “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” accessed March 4, 2021
4. McKinsey & Company, “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” accessed March 4, 2021

SVN Advisor Spotlight: Golf and Resorts

The next video in our SVN Advisor Spotlight series features Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp. who recently sat down with Mike Fusek, CCIM, Senior Advisor at SVN | Rankin Company, LLC, Deena Zimmerman, Vice President at SVN | Chicago Commercial and Frank Jermusek, JD, President and Managing Director at SVN | Northco Real Estate Services to get their thoughts on different aspects of the SVN Difference.

Properties within the golf course and resorts sector of the commercial real estate industry tend to be more complex to purchase and/or sell. Often times when working with these types of deals, these properties can include numerous restaurants, bars, spas, and timeshares which in turn can cause some major confusion for both the buyer and seller when it comes to trying to calculate their bottom line.

Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp. discussed with Frank Jermusek the hurdles advisors can face when selling these properties as well as the importance and necessity of using a golf course and resorts specialists when working these types of deals.

The following is an excerpt from a recent SVN Advisor Spotlight Panel. The full video will be released to our Advisor base on The SVN Dashboard shortly.

 

“A full-service resort is so different than a hotel. A hotel and lodging are part of a resort deal. We have attorneys, accountants, finance and hospitality people that have worked these industries so our approach is really more like a mergers and acquisitions approach.”

-Frank Jermusek, JD, President and Managing Director SVN | Northco Real Estate Services

To find out more about what SVN has to offer you or your clients, please download our SVN Difference book, and visit our culture and career website pages.

If you are interested in franchise opportunities with SVN please visit our franchising page.

SVN Advisor Spotlight: The SVN Difference

SVN® Advisor Spotlight: The SVN Difference

SVN’s collaborative approach, transparency and dedication to maximizing value for our clients is what we refer to as The SVN Difference. The SVN Difference is about putting clients first. It’s about building trust with our clients and lasting mutual relationships with the entire brokerage community.  Most commercial real estate brokers still do not proactively market their listings throughout the brokerage community; instead, they choose to find buyers for their listings in their own local databases. This discourages competition, reduces eyeballs, creates fewer offers, and often causes a property to sell for less than their full market value but with a higher fee for the broker.

At SVN, we proactively market listings through our platform and to the entire commercial real estate ecosystem resulting in increased deal flow, shorter transaction times, and repeat business by satisfied clients.

But, don’t take our word for it, here’s what one of our top advisors says about the SVN Difference.

Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp. recently sat down with Mike Fusek, CCIM, Senior Advisor at SVN | Rankin Company, LLC, Deena Zimmerman, Vice President at SVN | Chicago Commercial and Frank Jermusek, JD, President and Managing Director at SVN | Northco Real Estate Services for our latest video in our SVN Advisor Spotlight series.

In this video we hear from Mike Fusek who gives his perspective on The SVN Difference and how the collaborative and efficient approach has created more value for his clients.

The following is an excerpt from a recent SVN Advisor Spotlight Panel. The full video will be released to our Advisor base shortly.

 “It’s about speed and exposure. Is it going to take 3 weeks to get your property to market or is it going to go through the SVN website and be done in 24 hours? Is it going to take 12 months to get in front of 100,000 brokers and buyers, or is it going to take 48 hours?”

Mike Fusek, CCIM, Senior Advisor at SVN | Rankin Company, LLC

To find out more about what SVN can offer you or your clients, please download our SVN Difference book, and visit our culture and career website pages.

If you are interested in franchise opportunities with SVN please visit our franchising page.

SVN Coffee and Culture Chat with Kevin Maggiacomo

Collaboration is a Key Contributor to SVN’s Culture

When SVN was first established in 1987 it was launched with the recognition of the tremendous inefficiencies, conflicts of interests and dysfunctional state of the commercial real estate industry. SVN’s goal at the time was to make changes to the broker-first mentality the industry was currently operating within and to develop a method that would always put the client’s best interest first. In doing so, SVN was able to build a culture of unparalleled transparency and trust among our colleagues, that gave us the ability to create the most value for the most amount of people within the CRE industry through a collaborative effort.

Kevin Maggiacomo , President and CEO of SVN recently sat down with SVN’s Chief Operating Officer Diane Danielson and John McDermott, Executive Director of SVN | Chicago Commercial to get their point of view on SVN’s unique collaborative business model.

“SVN strived to create a company built around a culture of cooperation and fee sharing. A culture centered around embracing and working with our competitors to market our listings to achieve higher prices for our clients”

-Kevin Maggiacomo, Presidente and CEO of SVN International Corp.

Creating a Culture of Trust in Commercial Real Estate – The SVN Difference

The “SVN Difference” originates in our business model, which is designed to place the client’s interest first – even when we don’t have to – to ensure a better outcome for the client. As a result, SVN is positioned to earn the highest degree of trust – from our clients, from our colleagues, and from everyone who is a member of our SVN Community. This creates an environment that is open and inclusive to everyone and empowering for all our advisors and their clients. Successful company cultures begin with trust, exist on trust and grow with trust. To find out more about what SVN can offer you or your clients, please download our SVN Difference book, and visit our culture and career website pages.

For Franchise opportunities, visit our franchising page.

 

SVN INTERNATIONAL CORP. & PATRONICITY LAUNCH COMMUNITY CROWDFUNDED PLACE MAKING PROGRAM

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Boston, MA – SVN International Corp. (SVN), a full-service commercial real estate franchisor of the SVN® brand, and Patronicity, a Michigan-based civic crowdfunding platform, united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and our communities, announced the launch of SVN | Communities, a collaborative effort where qualified SVN offices can use crowdfunding to help develop strategic projects in their local communities. The nationwide program will help fund place-based, community-driven projects – art installations, parks, bike trails, markets, and more – helping to revitalize downtown areas, neighborhoods, and community spaces. The SVN® organization will back successful projects with a matching grant of up to $10,000 per project. Communities, nonprofits, and other approved entities in eligible SVN markets can learn more about the program and apply at www.patronicity.com/SVN.

SVN is launching this program with SVN | Chicago Commercial, one of its top offices with a history of strong community involvement. Other qualifying SVN firms include SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury, MD and SVN | RICORE Investment Management, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH.

 “SVN is a commercial real estate brand that understands the value of having locally-based leadership invested in the communities where they both live and work,” says Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO & President of SVN International Corp. “This is why the Patronicity program, which invites the local community to participate, really appealed to our core values.”

This exciting and innovative program is geared towards supporting grassroots, community-driven place making projects by providing a matching grant to groups able to meet their crowdfunding goal. Selected projects will run a crowdfunding campaign with Patronicity aiming to hit their crowdfunding goal within 60 days.  Groups should then be ready to finish their project within six months of reaching their target. Successful projects must activate a new or underused public or community space with the program giving preference to permanent physical projects.

“We are thrilled to partner with SVN to bring this impactful brand of community driven crowdfunding to new cities across the country. We’ve seen the impact crowdfunded place making has on communities across the nation as real and long-lasting, and we’re excited to expand this impact with the support of SVN,” said Jonathan Berk of Patronicity.

 

About SVN International Corp.

The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues and our communities. The SVN brand is comprised of over 1,600 advisors and staff in more than 200 offices across the globe. Our brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation and inclusivity that enables all our advisors to collaborate with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients. SVN’s unique Shared Value Network® is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create amazing value with our clients, colleagues and communities.  All SVN offices are independently owned and operated. For more information, visit www.svn.com.

 


 

CLICK HERE to read the full press release.

 

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SVN | Communities

For more information on SVN | Communities, click here.

For information regarding the SVN | Chicago Commercial ‘Call for Offers’, click here. The application deadline is July 17, 2018.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Solomon Poretsky's CRE Road Trip Halftime Update

Catching up with Solomon on his CRE Road Trip

Memphis - CRE road trip
Memphis, TN

In case you missed my blog post last week, I’ll fill you in: Solomon Poretsky, SVNIC’s Executive Vice President of Organizational Development, has been on the road this July touring nine different states, visiting as many SVN offices as he can. Bringing his whole family along for the ride, Solomon has made some progress driving around the middle of the country, from Minneapolis to Memphis to Pittsburgh and more. So far, after visiting four SVN offices, Solomon has been enjoying his #CREroadtrip experience.

One of the interesting aspects of this trip for Solomon has been seeing how each office reflects both the “flavor” of the person who leads it as well as the feel of the region. For example, just the other day Solomon was sitting in an old historic downtown Pittsburgh building, versus a week earlier he was sitting in a suburban office building in Cincinnati. But it hasn’t been all about the differences for Solomon. “What’s equally amazing is the commonalities between the offices,” he says. The SVN work culture itself is pretty much the same across the board: from downtown Pittsburgh to suburban Cincinnati, Solomon has been noticing high levels of collegiality, Advisors who are extremely knowledgeable about the local markets, and a strong dedication to bring the power of our Shared Value Network to local communities.

CRE Coaching for Managing Directors and Advisors

Pittsburgh - CRE Road Trip
Pittsburgh, PA

During these CRE road trip office visits, Solomon has been making time to meet one-on-one with each Managing Director. Much of these meetings have involved working through strategic deployment planning, helping Managing Directors find ways to touch every part of the market. Through determining how many people to hire and which territories should be covered, Solomon and the Managing Directors are able to devise the best way to grow each brokerage business. Successful office growth calls for building a brand presence in the community, which is another topic Solomon covered on his visits with Managing Directors. In order to have a strong brand, Managing Directors must find ways to recruit new talent to the industry. Solomon emphasizes the importance of creating opportunities for those who would not otherwise have a chance to make it into the CRE industry, without compromising our high standards, of course.

CRE Road Trip
Meeting with Advisors in Cincinnati

Solomon has also been spending time meeting with individual Advisors at the offices he’s been visiting. Advisors are sharing their stories with Solomon, talking about the everyday challenges they face and how they can grow their business by serving clients more effectively. Other topics Solomon covered in these talks with Advisors include prospecting strategies, time management, personal branding, client service, and the vision of a successful business. “The most exciting thing that’s happened has been talking to young people at firms and helping them figure out ways to become full-fledged brokers,” Solomon says.

Solomon even spent some time on his CRE road trip talking to competitors and educating them on the benefits of being here at SVN. Solomon says: “Based on what I’ve heard, at least some of them will be joining us!”

Follow the chronicles of Solomon’s CRE road trip right here on the SVN Blog or on Twitter @SVNIC

[bctt tweet=”So far, after visiting four SVN offices, Solomon has been enjoying his #CREroadtrip experience.” username=”svnic”]

An Advisor's Take on ICSC: Noticing the SVN Difference

Experiencing the SVN Difference at ICSC in Las Vegas

Walls, doors, whispering and winks. All of these were present at this year’s ICSC convention. Not that these are in and of themselves bad, but it was these differences that I noticed between our SVN booth and most others.

Our SVN booth was not the biggest, definitely not the most extravagant, but it was packed, well-lit, there were no back rooms for private conversations, or doors to suggest that only someone more important than me can go there.

As I walked around, almost 2 years into a Commercial Brokerage career with SVN | Cornerstone in Spokane, WA and my second ICSC, it struck me, that’s another example of our SVN Difference.

Opening Closed Doors: The SVN Difference

SVN Difference at ICSC
The SVN booth at ICSC in May.

We aren’t about walls and doors or whispering and winks. We are about visible opportunities and “sky’s the limit” access to information with our culture of collaboration.

At SVN we have regular access to our top Executives, our Managing Directors, other offices who have done what we are trying to do and world-class technology platforms to do it well. And that kind of environment is exactly what our industry needs to attract future talent.

Professionals my age want to know we have a chance. We want to know that if we work hard we will have as good of a chance as any to create a respectable income for our loved ones. That if we don’t have access to closed doors and are separated by fancy walls, we still have access to opportunity.

And that’s a big part of the SVN Difference. Opportunity. And that’s exactly the opposite of what those walls, doors, whispering and winks produce.

We are a country founded upon the value of opportunity. If I can just get a chance, don’t give it to me, but give me a chance and I will out work the other broker.

That’s what SVN does. We get all the tools, the right culture and a chance. What else can someone ask for?

To learn more about the SVN Difference, visit the Why SVN page here.

[bctt tweet=”That’s what SVN does. We get all the tools, the right culture and a chance. #CRE” username=”svnic”]

Solomon Poretsky's Summer CRE Road Trip

Hitting the Road in the Name of CRE

Inside the Ultimate Commercial Real Estate Road Trip

CRE road tripHere’s something you may not know about SVNIC’s Executive Vice President of Organizational Development: Solomon Poretsky loves road trips. He likes them so much that he decided to spend most of July touring nine different cities on what we’re calling a “CRE road trip” – and he’s bringing his whole family along for the ride. From Solomon’s hometown in Minnesota to Pittsburgh to Memphis and more, SVN’s CRE training expert will be driving through nine U.S. states with the intention of hitting as many SVN offices as he can.

Making the Most out of SVN Office Visits

So what will Solomon be doing on these office visits? The answer depends on the office itself. Overall, the goal of these visits is for Solomon to support the individual offices by spending face-to-face time with Managing Directors and Advisors. Just like Advisors are more effective when they are face-to-face with clients, as a CRE coach Solomon is more effective when face-to-face with Advisors. Seeing offices in person makes it easier for him to identify individual strengths. For example, an office might be very strong in one product type and not realize how to leverage this strength. Visiting in person can make it crystal-clear which opportunities Advisors are missing and where they need to direct their focus. Even seeing the physical property signs throughout the neighborhood is an indication of how the business is doing.

Solomon Poretsky's CRE Road TripAnother benefit of the face-to-face aspect of these visits is that Solomon is able to survey the physical setup of the workspace. Helping the Managing Directors make the best use of their office space is important, because smart setups can be conducive to creating more positive and collaborative workspaces. By fitting more Advisors in a limited office space, for example, Advisors can work more closely, making collaboration and cohesion easier. The point is to create a community, including Advisors in a way that makes them want to be there, which can inspire more productivity than if an Advisor worked in an isolated cubicle.

Though Solomon will be spending one-on-one time helping Managing Directors solve specific individual problems, he will also devote time to meeting with Advisors. Some of this face time with Advisors will cover sales skills, such as how to get the person you actually want to talk to on the phone. Additionally, with Solomon’s lead, Advisors will discuss challenges they are facing in the market, and then Solomon will collaboratively help them find solutions to those challenges. Some of the questions that may be addressed are: How do you deal with owners that are not in the area? How do you explain the impact of new developments? How do you learn what a client really needs, understanding the client so you can really help them? No matter the level of experience, all Advisors have questions. Luckily, Solomon has the answers.

Follow the chronicles of Solomon’s CRE road trip right here on the SVN Blog or on Twitter @SVNIC

[bctt tweet=”All Advisors have questions. Luckily, Solomon has the answers #CRE #CREroadtrip” username=”svnic”]

3 Tips for Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Karen Hurd on Refining Your Elevator Pitch

Do you have your elevator pitch down? Do you have more than one elevator pitch down? As a commercial real estate professional, it’s important to always be ready to throw a pitch at a second’s notice. I know I always have mine armed, and furthermore I am constantly refreshing it to suit my audience.

Recently I was asked again to speak at a CREW Boston Speed Networking Event, an evening held downtown to kick off the CREW Mentor/Mentee program. I addressed the group about the very foundation of successful networking: the elevator pitch.

3 Tips For the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Since the elevator pitch gets your foot in the door to build relationships, I see it as step one. Your elevator pitch should be a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. It is an opportunity to capture the listener’s attention in 30 seconds to promote your personal, and company, brand.

This isn’t a lot of time, so you need to be succinct! The three parts of a successful elevator pitch always include:

1. Say Who You Are.

Do this is 10 words or less. Unless you are the Dali Lama or Donald Trump, it shouldn’t be that hard to condense your main intro to your name, your position and who you work for.

2. Say what your Company’s Product or Service Is. 

After you introduce yourself, introduce your service offerings. Instead of focusing on your skills, your elevator pitch needs to describe your company and the people you serve.

3. Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More.

Get your listener excited about what you do, so they want to hear more. Be prepared to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at the news, adapt to what is relevant and important to your customer. Revamp and refine and always end your pitch with a question.

3 Biggest Elevator Pitch Mistakes

  1. Describing skills rather than purpose
  2. Failing to tell an interesting story
  3. Not being prepared or rehearsed

Is your introduction ready to roll?

Make sure to practice!! Practice until you can introduce yourself and your business in less than 30 seconds, which is about how long most prospects will give you to grab their attention.

As you are out in the market every day meeting new prospects and relationship building, keep in mind:

  1. First impressions make a difference…be prepared! Handshake, smile.
  2. Make the focus on the person across from you, not yourself. Listen.
  3. You won’t connect with everyone, know when to bow out.
  4. Be prepared for your next meeting. Do your research.

I’d like to hear yours or help you refine your pitch. Contact me today if I can be of any help as you network your way to success!

The SVN Commercial Real Estate Cooperation Report

The Commercial Real Estate Cooperation Report Changes Everything

SVN CRE Cooperation ReportIf you read National Real Estate Investor, or follow the SVN Twitter feed (@SVNIC ), you may have noticed a recent piece that I wrote entitled, “When Brokers Cooperate, Sellers Net More.” The NREI article made a bold claim:

Deals sold through broker cooperation achieve a 9.6 percent higher price per square foot, on average, than deals that are double-ended.

In other words, everything we say about the SVN Difference, about Compensated Cooperation and about our Shared Value Network… It’s true. 100% true. Furthermore, SVN has been right about it for almost 30 years.

The NREI article gives you a taste of the argument. If you want to see the whole report that lays out the full analysis, including the stories, end notes, charts and graphs, click the image to the right.

The Best Way of Doing Brokerage

I think the most important part of this report is that the industry has proof to support that cooperation is the best way of doing brokerage... which just so happens is the way that about every other efficient market outside of the commercial real estate world works.

Believe it or not, it’s the first time that anyone has ever done this. We worked with an economics professor to check our numbers, and he did a review of the academic literature. No one has analyzed thousands of commercial deals to see if cooperation works. They’ve done it on the residential side, but never on our side, the commercial side of the business. So, at least for now, this is it.

The CRE (Not So) Secret Weapon

The Cooperation Report is a powerful tool for brokers to use when competing for listings. It provides an arrow in your quiver to support the argument that you, a cooperation driven real estate professional, the way you do brokerage, is proven to earn a higher sale price per square foot. Bottomline. There is no arguing with that. Happy hunting.

[bctt tweet=”Win that listing with this (not so) secret #CRE weapon. ” username=”svnic”]

SVN Specialty Awards: Humanitarian of the Year – Brent & Amy Miller

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

SVN Humanitarian of the year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Humanitarian of the Year 2015 – Brent & Amy Miller

If there was ever an office that makes community building a priority in our Shared Value Network it’s SVN | Miller. Led by Brent and Amy Miller, the group’s hard work to better their Salisbury, MD community is why we are giving them this year’s SVN Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Millers take doing well by doing good to heart and it is something that is reflected through every member of their team. We could say more, but I think that their SVN Difference video says it all. The SVN | Miller team picked up another honor at the conference, as this video won the “Best Documentary” category of our first annual SVN video awards. Check out the video below.

Brent and Amy Miller - SVN Humanitarian of the YearBrent Miller, CCIM, CPM, serves as Managing Director and Senior Advisor for SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate with offices in Salisbury, Annapolis, Bethesda, Maryland; and Rehoboth/Lewes, Seaford, and Wilmington, Delaware. Miller specializes in the sale, leasing, and management of retail, office, and industrial property. With more than 27 years of commercial real estate experience, Miller has closed more than 750 transactions, resulting in a career brokerage volume in excess of $250 million.

Amy Miller, CPM, serves as Managing Director for SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate & Property Management, Inc. in Salisbury, Maryland, where she acts as director of property management and chief financial officer. Miller has over 20 years of commercial real estate management experience.


The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Specialty Awards: Trainer of the Year – Tomi Jo Lynch

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Trainer of the Year 2015 - Tomi Jo LynchIf you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Trainer of the Year 2015 – Tomi Jo Lynch

Trainer of the Year 2015 Tomi Jo LynchTomi Jo Lynch grew her office the old-fashioned way. She went out and spoke to people with skills who needed help to grow their businesses. She brought them in and led them to SVN’s Broker Boot Camp (now known as SVN | Jumpstart), and she built an in-office schedule of training sessions and roleplays, taking advantage of the SVN System for Growth™. She executed and, because of that, she has built a much larger and more productive office. And it all started with training.

Tomi Jo is a Senior Advisor with SVN® | Gold Dust Commercial Associates, in Reno, NV, specializing in industrial properties with a focus on landlord representation. Her responsibilities are varied and include not only brokerage services but business development as well as overseeing and managing the brokerage team. Lynch serves on the NAIOP Board of Directors and assists the Programs committee with events and recruiting.


The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Specialty Awards: Collaborator of the Year – Tony Yousif

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Tony Yousif - Collaborator of the Year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Collaborator of the Year 2015 – Tony Yousif

Tony Yousif - Collaborator of the YearJust being with SVN means you are a collaborator. And one could say that when you specialize in national accounts, you would naturally be a good collaborator. However, when you run your national accounts in a manner where nearly half the company writes in to nominate you, it means that you are the company’s best collaborator. As we are a company founded on collaboration both internally and externally, it’s with great pride that we present this award to Tony Yousif.

Tony Yousif serves as Senior Director of National Accounts for SVN | Asset Advisory Group specializing in the management and sale of investment properties.


The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

Business Trends: Millennials Rejecting the Default

Millennials Are Rejecting the Default

… and It’s a Very Good Thing

We all know that Millennials are challenging our traditional work environments. But the big question is “why?” Why are Millennials challenging the system rather than assimilating like earlier generations? I struggled with finding an explanation other than demographics until I read a sentence written by professor Adam Grant in his recent book: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.

“The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better operation exists.” – Adam Grant.

Millennials are rejecting the default and it’s disconcerting, but necessary and in my view, a very good thing. When it comes to the work environment, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation don’t just represent the default … we are the default. This might be why so many of us take this personally. Why are Millennials so eager and able to reject a default that has been in place for generations?

Two reasons: technology and societal shift.

Technology. Millennials are digital natives. They grew up with technology and view everything through a technological filter. They look at our daily lives and think “there’s got to be an app for that.” It’s ingrained in them to use technology to question, dismantle, and reconfigure processes. They are rejecting the default option in search of a better way.

Societal shift. Generation X and Baby Boomers actually know people who worked 40 hours a week for 40 years at the same company, earned that gold watch and retired at 65 to play golf in Florida. We also know of people who had pensions; who were protected by unions; and for whom a single breadwinner could support a family even while working for a minimum wage. This is the default.

But, Millennials are not part of that default. Retire at 65? Not if they are still paying off their college loans. Pensions, funded 401ks, or a home with equity for retirement? Not likely. Even if we set aside monetary limitations, people are living longer. Retiring at 65 is no longer that appealing or feasible for most. The default no longer works, and this is why Millennials are forcing us to re-examine everything about our work culture.

One example of this came out of our recent SVN Millennials Career report (How Commercial Real Estate Firms can Attract and Retain Millennials) around the topic of flexibility in the workplace. According to our survey, flexibility of hours and location for work was a top five “must have” for Millennials and in fact, more men than women cited it as an important factor when choosing companies. This is quite a switch from 5-10 years ago when flexibility was a “woman” or “parent” issue. To even mention the word back then would set you on the Mommy track.

But, what is driving this new quest for flexibility? Part of it goes back to the technology filters. If technology allows us to work wherever and whenever we want, why can’t we? If culturally no one is racing to retirement and the other default rewards don’t exist, why do we have to stick to a 9-5, 5 days per week schedule? Flexibility does not mean Millennials want to work less. In fact, most want to work more, but they also want to work smarter… and to avoid rush hour. When the default is sitting an extra 30 to 60 minutes in traffic, when you don’t actually have to… why do we?

It’s not about a different work ethic. It’s about a different work style.

That’s an important distinction to make; especially because that different work style benefits more than just Millennials. Opening up the flexibility conversation beyond women and parents is a benefit to all employees, whether it’s the single employee who doesn’t have anyone to help them drop off a car for repairs or wait for a furniture delivery; the Gen X’er dealing with aging parents; or the Baby Boomer who wants to take a brief career pause or sabbatical.

If you look around, the default no longer works for the majority of us, and this is why the Millennials’ rejection of the default is a very good thing.

Please visit our SVNICorp YouTube page to see my recent keynote to learn more about the how Millennials are challenging and changing how and where we live and work.

[bctt tweet=”If technology allows us to work wherever and whenever we want, why can’t we?”]

SVN Specialty Awards: Ambassador of the Year – Alex Ruggieri

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Ambassador126If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Ambassador of the Year 2015 – Alex Ruggieri

Alex Ruggieri - ambassadorWhat can we say about Alex Ruggieri? Not only does he dress the part of an impeccable Ambassador – he is out there online and in person representing SVN on his radio show, at CCIM conferences and with clients around the country. Recently he’s been working with David Wilk on some leading-edge corporate service projects as well. He’s been a Partners Circle winner for four years in a row – from 2012 through this year. This is his second time winning the prestigious Ambassador of the Year award, as he also received this honor in 2013.

Alex Ruggieri serves as a Senior Advisor for SVN | Ramshaw Real Estate, Inc., specializing in the sale of investment properties and corporate relocations in Champaign- Urbana and Central Illinois. With more than 30 years of commercial real estate industry experience, he has built an array of valuable business, real estate, and banking community contacts that benefit his clients. He has secured a transaction career sales volume in excess of $500 million.


The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo Speaks at "Closing the Gap" Conference

Kevin Maggiacomo on Gender Balance and Shared Value 

In December 2015, Kevin Maggiacomo was invited to speak at the very prestigious Greene Institute “Closing the Gap” conference on achieving gender balance. Other speakers at the conference included New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair. Kevin used this opportunity to expand upon his earlier TEDx talk about including everyone in the American Dream. In his latest talk, he connects his message of inclusion with a transformative and profitable business strategy based on shared value.

Check out the 6-minute video here.


We believe our success at SVN comes from growing our network by intentionally recruiting women, minorities and millennials as franchisees, Advisors and employees. We believe their proven, innate drive for openness, collaboration and success will give SVN a distinctive competitive advantage.  To view new career opportunities visit our Careers Page. If you are interested in learning more about how your firm can join as a franchise, visit our Franchise Sales Page.

SVN Specialty Awards: Team Player – Steve Kawulok

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Team126If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Team Player of the Year 2015 – Steve Kawulok

Steve Kawulok - SVN Specialty AwardsSteve Kawulok, Managing Director of SVN | Denver Commercial has been with SVN since 2007 and under his direction, the Fort Collins office has been a top performing office for as long as we can remember. However, the fact that there were a number of nominations for Steve that came from around the country is a testament to his ability to be a true SVN Team Player. This year, Steve took it to another level when he was instrumental in building the SVN presence in Denver. To a quote one of the nominations that came in:

“His unique strong – yet soft-spoken – style made him the perfect candidate to blend the multiple Colorado offices and work together with the leaders from the Chicago SVN office to establish a regional presence in the Denver metro area. He is a real team player.”


The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

The New Generation of Conscious Capitalism in CRE

Diane Danielson on Conscious Capitalism & Real Estate

Towards the end of 2015 Diane Danielson, COO of SVNIC, co-led a live interactive talk for NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association to fill in for SVNIC’s CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo while he was on paternity leave. For this event, called “CEO Insight: Conscious Capitalism in Commercial Real Estate,” Danielson teamed up with Joy Hou, Co-Founder and CEO of MREN to conduct a structured open discussion about what motivates individuals, particularly Millennials, to jump into the commercial real estate industry.

Diane Danielson, SVNIC COO on Conscious Capitalism
Follow Diane Danielson on Twitter at @DianeDanielson.

First off, what isconscious capitalism” anyway? Conscious capitalism is the basis of your bottom line, as opposed to CSR — “Corporate Social Responsibility,” which is more of a program. What differentiates conscious capitalism is the “3 P’s:” planet, people, and profit. At SVN, this translates to a specific focus on diversity of all types: ethnic, gender, generational, and so on. From a business standpoint, this approach opens us up to new markets and to new employees who can offer fresh and valuable skills and opinions.

As Danielson and Hou pointed out, members of Generation Y (“Millennials”) have come to expect companies to practice conscious capitalism. In SVN’s Millennials Commercial Real Estate Survey, (results to be released later this month) 75% of the Millennial men and women who responded indicated that conscious capitalism is an important factor when considering where to work. Luckily, this value that Millennials place on conscious capitalism has the potential to work as an advantage for the commercial real estate industry. Danielson explains: “Real estate is uniquely positioned to work with communities,” especially those in need. Projects like eco-friendly “green” buildings can solve a lot of problems within communities. The conscious capitalist approach is about “people first” — building not just for profit, but to better the lives of the people in the community. Emphasizing this side of commercial real estate could be one solution to the “brain gap” problem: with senior leaders in the field approaching retirement, the commercial real estate industry will likely face an employment crisis, Danielson explained. “Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to capture these Millennials, to capture diversity.”

Conscious Capitalism in the Millennial Workplace

Conscious capitalism is just one of the many workplace preferences that will become increasingly important as the oldest Millennials, who are now 35, move into leadership roles. According to Danielson and Hou, in the next 10 years, Millennials will be in control of the money, and as the SVN Millennials CRE Survey preliminary results indicate, the vast majority of them consider “purpose” when making investment decisions. Clearly, there’s a social element at play. Our SVN CRE Survey further revealed that the traits Millennials value most highly in an employer are collaboration and flexibility in work location and hours. Younger adults don’t necessarily want to just work from home, but it’s not always convenient to go into the office. They want flexibility, which today’s technology can easily facilitate, even in the CRE industry.

With the increasing demand for highly skilled workers in the notoriously lucrative technology industry, what can our industry do to compete for the “brains” to fill the looming talent “gap”? As Hou emphasized, when looking for new Millennial hires, employers should try to convince them that what they do has purpose. This means taking away that corporate mentality of “I say, you do,” which most Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are accustomed to. Instead, the Millennial mentality is about “How do we work together?” In the dawn of the Age of Millennials, collaboration is key, and as Danielson said,”when you change your mindset, you see opportunities.”


Listen to the full audio recording of “CEO Insight: Conscious Capitalism in Commercial Real Estate” here.

To learn more about real-life examples of companies that practice conscious capitalism, check out the book Firms of Endearment here.

[bctt tweet=””When you change your mindset, you see opportunities.””]

8 Problem-Solving Tips for Leaders from The Martian

Leaders on Earth and Mars: To Infinity and Beyond?

If you have read the book The Martian by Andy Weir or seen the Matt Damon movie version, you can’t help but wonder, “Would I be able to survive alone on Mars?” Fortunately most of us won’t be stranded on a planet forced to solve problems that have life or death consequences. But, as leaders, we face a number of seemingly insurmountable problems that need solving on a daily basis. Here are eight tips that can help us all become better problem-solvers – and leaders – at work.

1. Reframe the problem

The bigger the problem; the greater the anxiety. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when juggling many problems at the same time. The first step is to stop thinking about them as problems. Instead, reframe them as challenges. This entails more than simply substituting the word, but seeking out the challenges within your problem. (Warning: SPOILER ALERT ahead).

In The Martian, Mark Watney, the main character, was traveling in a solar-powered vehicle across mars when he ran into a massive dust storm. This was an enormous problem. The dust blocked the sun he needed to power his vehicle. Instead of focusing on the problem, i.e. the dust storm, he found the challenge: he needed his solar panels to receive more light from Mars’ sun. By focusing on how he could get more solar energy, he eventually found a way to navigate out of and around the storm.

2. Break the big problems down into manageable steps.

Along the way to solving any big problem, there are always smaller steps. While it helps to understand and communicate the desired end result, focus on the first step. Steps are smaller and less anxiety provoking. For Watney on Mars, there was a point when he needed to find a way to get from one small airlock back to the main one. That was the big problem. But before he could even think about that, he needed to buy some time. The first step was to fix his Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suit to preserve his air. If he focused on the bigger problem and not the more immediate first step, he would never have made it.

3. Surround yourself with experts.

While Watney had a lot of time and problem solving by himself on Mars, whenever he had communications with Earth, he took their advice … at least most of the time. There were occasions when he went with his gut because as he noted, he was now the world’s expert at surviving on Mars. Regardless of your expertise, the best teams contain diverse experts who not only know their expertise but also their limitations. See 7 Signs Your Team is Functioning at Top Capacity for tips on how to build a team that works well together.

4. Science the sh*t out of it.

This is the most famous line in the movie (although it does not appear in the book!) and it applies to even us non-scientific types. The scientific method works by testing, observing and measuring; in other words, actual facts. Lay out a plan that helps you test and observe the possibilities. Facts are not as subjective; they help extract the emotion so you can handle the pressure and make the right decision.

5. Learn from failures.

If you are sciencing the sh*t out of the problem, that means you will be having one little failure after another. [bctt tweet=”Don’t dwell on failure. Reframe the failures as learning events.”]

6. Know when to switch to plan B

Any leader can come up with a Plan A and even articulate the plan to the entire team. A good leader will also have a Plan B in mind. A great leader will know when to abandon Plan A and switch to Plan B. This is never easy because a lot of time, money and resources may have gone into Plan A. Stakeholders may be personally invested in Plan A and leaders are only human and can get attached to their own plans. But if you are learning from failure and sciencing the sh*t out of it, it will be easier to identify when it is time to switch, plus you will have the data to stand behind your decision.

7. Be an optimist.

If you are stuck alone … on Mars … you need to be an optimist. The same goes for leaders, even when they don’t know the answers. If leaders are not optimists about their own businesses, then who else is going to be? Read more on 5 Reasons Why Optimists Make Better Leaders.

8. Keep your sense of humor.

In The Martian (book version) the astronauts’ psychologist opined that of all the astronauts to be left behind on that mission, Watney had the highest chance of survival, not due to his expertise as a botanist and engineer, but due to his sense of humor. In 2010, the New York Times covered research that connected humor to creative problem solving. As a leader, you don’t have to be funny. Trust me, if your team is under pressure, almost any chance to laugh off nervous energy is welcome. Humor is bonding. And it opens the door for the much funnier members of the team to chime in.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Do you think you have what it takes to be a leader in the commercial real estate industry? Visit the SVN Careers page here.

Appreciation Is the Best Motivation

Appreciation Can Be a Better Motivator than Money

I recently read an article in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal titled “It Pays to Give Thanks at the Office.” I was instantly drawn to the title as I was just coming off three days in Dallas attending SVNIC’s inaugural Managing Director Conference. One of our breakout sessions was called “Speed Best Practices — 60 Second Tips from Your Colleagues That You Could Use to Own, Lead and Succeed in Your Business.” There were well over 100 best practices shared from offices all across the country, with topics ranging from how to write a deployment plan to how to motivate a team with sales incentives.

One of my favorite best practices was shared by a Managing Director from NYC. Each week he asks his new to the business CRE brokers for a list of the people who would not take the rookies’ calls. He would then sit down in the open cubes with all the rookies and call that list of people they couldn’t get a meeting with. Role playing and sharing cold call techniques on how to get a meeting gave this team the training they needed. He was able to demonstrate to his young team unique sales and winning phone tactics from a seasoned, CRE industry veteran’s perspective. I like to think that commercial real estate offices today are becoming more diverse and multigenerational, where collaborating and cooperating together like this team is widespread. These rookies thanked and appreciated their Managing Director and the MD thanked them for making the calls. Collaboration and cooperation is the ethos of the SVN culture today.

[bctt tweet=”Collaboration and cooperation is the ethos of the #SVN culture today.”]

So I paused when the article I read in the WSJ quoted “It’s rare to find gratitude around the workplace, but appreciation is an even better motivator than money. Bonuses get spent, titles get old but a thank you lingers…” I would agree 100%. The article also referenced Google amongst other companies today that are setting a new trend because expressions of gratitude are scarce around the workplace. Not at SVN. I am going into my 4th year with SVNIC and some of the biggest reasons I work at here are our people, our leadership, and our culture. Everyone says “thank you” and I see our Managing Directors often thank their employees. It’s a reason to show up every day, it’s a real motivator to give it your all.

The article went on with a few quotes worth mentioning. “A sense of appreciation is the simple, most sustainable motivation at work… the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.” Be specific about what someone has done and “show honest and sincere appreciation.” I have sat with this quote written on an index card for years. I wrote that “quote” down 20 years ago when I participated in the Dale Carnegie Sales Training Course after reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. That book gave me the tools and key principles to practice when interacting with people in business and in life in order to be successful.

Why Would Someone Want to Work at Your Office?

I have a best practice to share – or rather it is more of a call to action for all Managing Directors at SVN and in the CRE industry. Sit down and write on a sheet of paper “Reasons why someone would want to work at your office.” Then hand out a blank sheet and ask your employees to do the same at one of your weekly team meetings. Collect them, they can be anonymous, and then discuss them with your team. Save them and bring them to the next SVN Managing Director Conference or our National Conference in San Diego and share with your peers. You might all learn a new way to show gratitude in your office resulting in employee loyalty and increased sense of appreciation.

I agree that “appreciation is the best motivator.” My work and the value I bring to our team is appreciated and respected at SVNIC. For me, that is the biggest reason I get excited to go to work — thank you everyone at SVN. I know myself and all SVN Advisors are looking to recruit “culturally compatible” CRE professionals who are also looking to work in a fun, positive, motivating and appreciative office environment.

To learn more about the SVN culture, check out our Core Covenants here.

svn-core-covenants

If you’d like to join a winning team, please contact me at Karen.Hurd@svn.com or 781.812.4272 and let’s talk.

International Students Share Their Thoughts on SVN and CRE

SVN & the International Entrepreneurship Center

Our industry has a problem. The average age of a commercial real estate agent is around 60 — which is an issue as Millennials like me are starting to outnumber other generations in the workforce. And with SVN growing internationally, we wanted to know how the brand and industry resonate outside of the U.S. — so we partnered with a group of Brazilian students through Boston College’s International Entrepreneurship Center to find some answers. On Wednesday, July 29th the students presented their ideas on how to make the SVN brand and CRE industry more appealing to Millennials, from an international perspective.

International Insights: 3 Ways to Reach Millennials

  1. It all starts with the website. As tech-obsessed Millennials, the first thing we do when we hear about a company is Google it. So no matter the size of your office, you’d better have a good website. To the Brazilian students, a “good” website is one that is light on text and heavy on visuals. The students also pointed out that they need to identify with the content on the site. Quotes, testimonials, and photos of young Advisors can help solve this issue.
  2. Let’s talk money. A commission-only job sounds risky, and it certainly can be. But the students were comfortable with the idea because starting a company or similar entrepreneurial endeavors are basically commission-only until you have funding.  Due to language barriers and their just learning the business, the Brazilian students were initially confused with the SVN concept of “compensated cooperation.” Once they understood the benefits of splitting commissions it seemed to fit right in with their view of open and transparent business practices in a sharing economy.
  3. Emphasize the benefits of a franchise. Franchises are big in Brazil and can translate well in international markets. To attract Millennials to work for a franchise business, it’s important to highlight the upsides like training, tools, and independence that the franchise model can offer. As the Brazilian students said in their presentation, with a franchise “you’re on your own but you’re not alone.” You’re in charge of your own destiny, but the franchise system has your back.

If you’re ready to take your CRE career to the next level with the SVN franchise system, visit our Careers page here.

[bctt tweet=”To attract Millennials to work for a franchise business, it’s important to highlight the upsides like training, tools, and independence that the franchise model can offer. “]

The Benefit of Listing Commercial Real Estate Properties

What’s the Benefit of Listing Commercial Real Estate Properties?

Let me start with some full disclosure… Every commercial real estate transaction that I have done was at a large, national real estate brokerage. The firm I worked with emphasized the value of listing commercial real estate properties and generally did an excellent job of adding value to its clients. So I’m biased, but for a good reason.

When they’re done the right way, commercial real estate listings work.

That being said, if you’re hiring a Broker that’s just going to talk to the same “usual suspects” then put your deal on LoopNet, I would say do it yourself. LoopNet memberships are cheap, and the “usual suspects” will take your call if you have a deal to sell them. Really. I promise.

So what’s so great about a well-executed commercial real estate listing? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Value of Listing Commercial Real Estate Properties with a Broker

  • A professional CRE Broker will value your property and tell you where it will sell. You might not like it, but it will be the truth. Actually, make sure it is the truth. Ask him what his average list price to closing price ratio is. Mine was 99% way back when.
  • If only the “usual suspects” see the listing, they’ll usually low ball you.
  • Good commercial Brokers track people in 1031 exchanges. If yours does, she should be able to get you good offers from great buyers.
  • There are lots of buyers that don’t do a lot of deals but, when they do, they pay good prices. They typically aren’t on the internet a lot and aren’t well-known enough to be in your database, unless you’re very active. A commercial real estate Broker with a good database should know them, though. Listing with THAT Broker will give you access to THOSE buyers.
  • A listing Broker will do a lot of work for you. They can run tours, coordinate advertising, and even do walk-throughs, letting you not only maintain a buffer from the buyer, but also save time.
  • Listing your property shouldn’t cost you much. When a buyer brings you an offer through a Broker, you’re either going to pay that Broker, or the buyer’s going to lower her offer to pay the Broker. If you have a Broker, you know what you’re paying and he/she takes care of paying the other Broker.

Ready to list your property? Find your nearest Sperry Van Ness® Advisor, who will always bring value to your commercial real estate listing, by searching our directory here.

Game-Changing Trends in Design and Collaboration

Each year, at our Sperry Van Ness® (SVN) National Conference, I talk to our commercial real estate advisors and business owners about game-changing trends. Game-changers occur when people are doing things (working, playing, living) differently than they used to just a few years ago. This year, we have four categories: Communication, Design, Collaboration and Distribution.

Trends in Design and Collaboration

The following video features the second portion of my 2015 talk on trends. Watch the video and read the takeaways below.

Main Takeaways in Design Trends:

1. Mobile first, mobile only. Tech engineers are no longer adapting desktop software for tablets and smartphones. Instead they are designing straight to mobile.

2. Different devices require different design elements. Desktop software can accommodate a longer attention span than something designed for a tablet, phone or watch.

3. Cybersecurity will be a key element and consideration of every new design.

4. The mass adoption of mobile technology has opened the door for innovators to bypass existing infrastructure. Uber, Airbnb, Bitcoin and Apple Pay are examples of innovative businesses that circumvented traditional infrastructure.

Mobile technology has massively altered design. Engineers are designing for shorter and shorter attention spans and developing systems that don’t rely on existing infrastructure. In underdeveloped countries, the combination of mobile adoption and lack of existing infrastructure, i.e. phone lines and banking systems, has sped up mass adoption of new business models. In developed countries, however, we are seeing slower adoption of alternative currencies (Bitcoin, Apple Pay) and lawsuits levied against new business models (Uber, Airbnb). The key for new technology to achieve mass adoption and acceptance is: access, affordability and accountability. As discussed in the video, the aforementioned Bitcoin, Apple Pay, Uber, and Airbnb are caught in the accountability stage for now.

The expansion of technology also comes with new risks. As we move towards the Internet of Things where our watches communicate with our thermostats (see Nest) as well as our banks, security will continue to become a bigger and bigger issue. New technologies will therefore be required to incorporate security protocols into all design elements.

Main Takeaways in Collaboration Trends:

1. One form of collaboration is crowdsourcing. In the commercial real estate industry we are seeing the crowdsourcing of investment funds (Fundrise, Realty Mogul) and in the case of Comstak, the crowdsourcing of lease data.

2. At SVN, we have been leaders in collaboration and here are two examples:

a. Crowdsourcing of knowledge. Our service and product councils bring together experts around specific asset classes and services, who partner on transactions and share knowledge both online, on calls and in person at our national conferences.

b. Crowdsourcing of demand. The SVN National Sales Call, where our advisors feature new properties they are marketing, is revolutionary in allowing participation by outside brokers, clients and potential clients. This is due to our founding principle that no one advisor, local firm or national company knows all the potential buyers for a property. Only when you drive up demand by exposure to the entire marketplace does a client achieve the best value for their property.

At Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, we are watching these trends to see how they affect the commercial real estate industry. Our goal is to capitalize on these trends so that our advisors are using the most powerful tools to the benefit of their clients.

To view the full speech please visit our YouTube page.

Choosing a Commercial Real Estate Advisor: What to Look for Beyond Experience

When you start looking for a commercial real estate advisor, everyone will tell you to work with an extremely experienced person. Many of the names that you get as referrals will be some of your community’s leading brokers. They are extremely skilled and extremely busy.

The Truth About The “Best” Commercial Real Estate Advisors

While it may seem like commercial real estate advisors are everywhere, the fact is that when you get to the top echelon of advisors, there are very few of them and they are in a great deal of demand. Because of this, many of them are very selective with how they spend their time. Their time management skills are one of the reasons that they are so successful.

If you have a very large transaction, they will give it a great deal of attention and, in most cases, do an excellent job for you. However, if your transaction is small they will probably hand it off to a junior member of their team. When you gauge the size of what you are offering them, bear in mind that what you think is a large transaction is likely a small transaction for them.

Another Option

Work with an established firm like your local Sperry Van Ness® office, and if you can’t engage a senior commercial real estate broker, find a junior Choosing a Commercial Real Estate Advisoradvisor who may lack in years in the business, but does not lack in tools, resources and initiative. Note that in commercial real estate, the term “junior” doesn’t necessarily refer to the age of the broker or advisor, but more likely the years in the industry. Many of our own top SVN advisors already had successful careers in completely different industries. Why work with a less experienced advisor? First of all, most established firms are relatively selective about who they recruit, so the odds are that you’ll get someone pretty good. Second of all, that advisor should be desperate to do a good job so that they can build their resume. They will give your deal much more attention than a more experienced advisor will. (We note this also works when selecting attorneys!)

At this point, you’re probably asking “What if they’re incompetent?” Here’s the beautiful thing about young advisors at good firms: they aren’t left alone. When you work with them, they will typically have a senior advisor or an experienced manager watching everything you do. This gives you the benefit of working with a top-of-the-line senior advisor while also giving you a very high level of personal service.

Working hard is what I did for my clients when I was a young advisor, and providing expert oversight is what I did for my advisors’ clients when I was a senior advisor and broker/manager. Now you can take advantage of this trick!

What types of commercial real estate advisors do you like to work with? Please tell us below!

The Sperry Van Ness® team is committed to always putting the client first. Visit our advisor directory to find your nearest Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisor®.

 

The Millennial Effect on Business Communications

Each year, at our Sperry Van Ness® (SVN) National Conference, I talk to our commercial real estate advisors and business owners about game-changing trends. Game-changers occur when people are doing things (working, playing, living) differently than they used just a few years ago. This year, we have four categories. Communication, Design, Collaboration and Distribution.

Trends in Communication

The following video features the first portion of my 2015 talk on trends. Watch the video and read the takeaways below.

Main takeaways in communication trends:

  1. It’s here: the generational tipping point. The oldest Millennials are now 35, which means by 2020, they will be 40 and it will be their workplace in which we are working. This is already changing how we communicate in business.
  2. We have entered a time where generational expectations of response times in business are mismatched. Millennials expect immediacy while Boomers are more comfortable with an hour or even a day.
  3. Texting has become a standard and accepted form of communication in many businesses.
  4. Every new platform now emphasizes pictures. Facebook keeps making pictures bigger than words, Twitter had to adjust to this reality to remain relevant. Instagram and Snapchat put pictures front and center rather than any text. Even texts contain emoticons and emojis. If you don’t know the difference between the last two … watch the video!
  5. Millennials and Gen Z also use different platforms for different types of communications. It’s not about blending the platforms together into a superplatform; it’s about accepting that there are multiple systems and platforms for communication.

In summation, the way we communicate in business is going to change drastically within the next 5 years as the Millennials grow into leadership roles and Generation Z enters the workforce. We will see more and more communications platforms being used within single organizations, each with a different purpose. These will include document sharing platforms and visual conferencing apps that will not just replace in-person meetings, but one-on-one telephone conversations as well. Email itself needs reinvention to remain relevant. Programs like Google Inbox are already attempting to do so, because as soon as we can easily share documents via texts and visual conferencing apps, email will lose some of its luster.

At Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, we are watching these trends to see how they affect the commercial real estate industry. Our goal is to capitalize on these trends so that our advisors are using the most powerful tools to the benefit of their clients.

To view the rest of the speech please visit our YouTube page.

7 Signs Your Team is Functioning at Top Capacity

As COO of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, my job is to make sure everyone in our company is working efficiently, effectively and creatively to exceed expectations and delight our franchisees. As businesses like ours expand around the globe, we’re all working longer hours and tackling more projects; yet sometimes the most productive thing a company can do is put down the work and have some fun.  The following article outlines a really fun way to check in with your commercial real estate  team to see if they are operating at top capacity.

Recently we had an operations summit in Atlanta. After a long day of meetings, my team took an evening off and spent it trying to find our way out of a “challenge room.” What was clear throughout this team-building activity was that we have a group of professionals who were not only smart but also high-functioning and very fun (even when locked in close quarters).

Faberge Egg
Our “Challenge Room” prize … a fake Faberge Egg. But the real prize was the teamwork that helped us beat the clock.

A challenge room is a new trend where you actually pay to be locked in a room where you have to work together to unlock Da Vinci Code type clues in order to accomplish a mission (ours was to find a Faberge egg) and then find your way out of the room within one hour. As a spoiler alert, we completed our task and escaped with 4 minutes to spare.

While I won’t go into details, because that would spoil the fun, it was clear that our team functions in a manner of which I couldn’t be more proud, and that I have confidence carries over with them into every workplace challenge.

This experience spotlighted the 7 things you need to have a finely-tuned, high-functioning team.

  1. A clearly articulated common goal.You need every single member of your team invested in and enthusiastic about your project. But they also need to understand the end goal and the bigger picture. In our challenge room, this was literally laid out for us; but if you are leading a team, you need to do the same.
  2. An overall strategic plan.As soon as we got in the room, one of our team members announced that when we hit 30 minutes, we would use our first “lifeline.” (We had a walkie-talkie where you could ask for hints.) We all agreed and that person temporarily became the project leader. She spoke up definitively with a strategic plan that made sense and didn’t wait for me or anyone else to take charge.
  3. Empowered team members ready to take leadership as needed.Throughout any project or challenge, whether it’s growing a company, or trying to find an object in a challenge room, different skills are required at different times. Some team members may excel at deciphering riddles, while others are better at running calculations in their head. Our team seamlessly passed the leadership torch from person to person as we moved through the challenge.
  4. No weak links. With the right team you can divide and conquer and never have to second-guess anyone or spend time micromanaging. At the start of our challenge, we quickly divided up the room and thoroughly searched our areas. With no weak links, no one was second-guessing anyone else. We may have doubled back over someone’s territory, but only to approach it from a different angle. Because we trusted everyone to handle their part of the challenge, morale stayed high and no one wasted valuable time and energy.
  5. Time management skills.With a literal clock ticking down in a challenge room, there is no time to waste and everyone has to be conscious of the deadline. On any project, wasted employee or management time is unproductive and costly to the entire organization. Team members who can’t manage their time wisely become weak links.
  6. No fear of asking for help.Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a function of time management and understanding that others might have different talents and experiences. It’s also a sign that I should remember my reading glasses so I don’t have to yell for help whenever I couldn’t read the numbers on some of the locks.
  7. A sense of humor. People like to work with fun people. In today’s corporate environments, there is constant pressure. A team that laughs together, bonds together. I can assure you that our challenge room team will be laughing about inside jokes from that challenge room task for years to come.

Diane Danielson is the COO of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, a commercial real estate franchisor headquartered in Boston, MA with over 190 offices covering 500 commercial real estate markets. Find out how you can be part of our team by clicking here.

SVN Core Covenants – Bringing Values to CRE

Most commercial real estate companies talk about culture and their value system, but none exhibit the emphasis on culture and commitment to their core values in the way that the Sperry Van Ness organization does. The Sperry Van Ness platform was founded on the Core Covenants that guide our daily decisions and our actions, both in business and everyday life.

The first of these Core Covenants states that SVN team members are committed to “cooperating proactively with all brokers and agents and always placing our clients’ interests above our own.” We do this by sharing commissions equally with the entire CRE industry. In fact, we practice Compensated Cooperation, guaranteeing that equitable co-brokerage fees are paid on all properties, and not only to brokers within the same company, but to any and all outside brokers involved. When fees and buyer pools are shared, properties generate a higher demand and price, resulting in the most value for our clients.

We also offer complete transparency of information. The CRE industry sees our latest properties at the same time that we distribute the information internally through our weekly open National Sales Call. All outside brokers and buyers are invited to this call to view these opportunities and are equally rewarded for their efforts and relationships.

Through these practices, our actions speak to our Core Covenants. We are so committed to a culture of collaboration and putting the clients’ interests first, that I believe the SVN organization is the only national firm that actually includes Core Covenants as part of our franchise agreements.

Want to learn more about our values and the culture offered to you as a part of the Sperry Van Ness team? Read the full list of our Core Covenants here or email me at george.slusser@svn.com for more information.