Five for Friday with Carlton Dean of Sperry Van Ness Southland Commercial

This week’s Five for Friday turns its focus on Carlton Dean, CCIM, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness Southland Commercial in Tallahassee, FL.

Carlton Dean
Carlton Dean, CCIM, Managing Director, Sperry Van Ness Southland Commercial


1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?

My team specializes in multifamily properties, 200 units and fewer.  We specifically focus on student housing investments and currently are working the Southeastern United States with a focus on approximately ten major universities.   I am based in Tallahassee, FL and some of our other office teams works retail, office and land deals in the North Florida Panhandle and into the lower rural markets of South Alabama and South Georgia.


2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?

Always spend time to prospect and fill your funnel, prospect smart with technology and outsourcing of labor. Always attempt to provide something of value to your prospect, even if it comes with no promise of immediate business. We closed deals this year with two groups that held on to something from our prospective efforts previous years and also picked up another active assignment because the property owner kept a newspaper article about us from three years ago. You never know what will stick with a prospect.


3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?

We have a tremendous focus on technology and the use of it for all aspects of our business. We are constantly trying new things, some of it works, some of it doesn’t.  One of the biggest changes for our business was the realignment of support staff. We eliminated over $80,000 in salaries, and have used technology to replace most of those functions. Not only is our bottom line better, my personal productivity has gone way up because I am not spending time ‘telling’ that staff what to do and how to do it.


4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?

I like Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Out of all the books I have read, the one takeaway I try is “treat others how you would want to be treated.” Mutual respect, even in a heated negotiation, is paramount to the ultimate ‘win win’ we all seek in our business.


5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?

I was a disc jockey for more than ten years.  I started when I was in college and the ‘night work’ allowed me to pursue the commercial real estate ‘commission only’ career right out of college.  Also, I am an amateur stand-up comedian (and no, it’s not because many sellers think I am funny when I break the news of what their property is really worth).


*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.