Top 3 Things that Keep #CRE Leaders up at Night

Recently I was asked to speak for the Society of Exchange Counselors at their marketing conference in Burlington, VT, where commercial real estate brokers, principals, developers, owners and investors were in attendance. I have adapted this talk for the SVN Blog so that our readers can find out what I think are the top 3 things that keep #CRE leaders up at night.

I know, because I talk to dozens of #CRE leaders every single day that there are 3 things that are always top of mind.

  1. Deal Flow
  2. Growth
  3. Happy Clients

Today I am going to show you how SVN can drive a lot more deal flow to you and your local market.

I am also going to tell you some exceptional ways how SVN is helping our Advisors grow.

Lastly, I will share how the SVN Difference has proven time and time again that our model of open communication, collaboration and sharing of information not only within SVN’s Shared Value Network, but the entire CRE community, yields a 9.6% higher price per SF on average on deals involving broker cooperation compared to deals that are double ended.

How does SVN do this?

Well, with regard to Deal Flow – Our advanced technology tools and marketing platform help Advisors be able to automate processes that in the past have been manual, labor intensive and time consuming, preventing more deal flow.

Growth – We all want to talk about this and know it’s important. SVN knows it’s important to you… and how it impacts your bottom line. SVN helps drive this growth in various ways: through SVN’s System for Growth which is our online training program, our award winning marketing platform powered by Buildout, recruiting assistance, education, product councils, deal making calls, national and regional seminars and conferences and more. Outside of training and recruiting tools that SVN provides, I personally help different markets grow through the relationships I have and the global marketing reach of SVN.

Happy Clients – Everybody wants a happy client. I want happy clients – don’t you? SVN knows how important it is to create amazing value for you as Advisors and your clients so they want to do multiple future transactions with you again. How? It’s the people at SVN who put clients’ interests first – it’s our culture. We’ve found in an independent study that deals sold through broker cooperation achieve a 9.6% higher price per square foot, on average, than deals that are double-ended. SVN is the only CRE firm in the country that invites outside CRE firms and their clients to a live open sales call each Monday morning and I invite you all to join.

SVN join the svn live call-01

The SVN Difference is a difference that will drive increased deal flow, growth and at the same time create a happier client that will want to do more transactions with you and send referrals to you in the future.

[bctt tweet=”SVN is the only #CRE firm that invites outside firms and their clients to a weekly live open sales call” username=”svnic”]

Breaking Down the Elevator Pitch

In my most recent blog post 3 Tips For Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch I provided an overview on creating a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. I don’t need to tell you why having sharp and perfected sales pitch is important. As a commercial real estate professional, I network a lot. In our industry having that elevator pitch in your back pocket is a necessity of the game and one that can make or break your success in it.

3 Basic Parts

There are three basic parts of your :30 or less sales pitch: (1) Say Who You Are, (2) Say What Your Product or Service Is, and (3) Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More. Below I delve further into these three areas providing my exact elevator pitch and how you can properly refine yours.

Say Who You Are

This shouldn’t be the bulk of your elevator pitch. Use the K.I.S.S. method and describe yourself in 15 words or less. For example:

Hi, I’m Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC.

Say What Your Product or Service Is

Here you will explain what you are selling. After you introduce yourself, it’s time to introduce your product and/or service offerings. Instead of focusing on your skills, your elevator pitch needs to describe your company and the people you serve. For example:

SVN is a full-service CRE firm and the 6th most recognized brand in the country with over 200 offices covering 500 markets, including Canada, Mexico and Russia. We provide property solutions to Institutional, Corporate and Individual Owners, Tenants and Investors.

Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More

You have to give your listener a reason to hear more. What does that sound like? Ask yourself, “What attracts your customers and their loyalty?” Be prepared to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at the news, adapt to what is relevant and important to your listener. Revamp and refine all the time! Example:

One of the more compelling reasons investors work with us is because we are able to assist them with their real estate investment needs in secondary and tertiary markets.

Refining the Elevator Pitch

End With a Question

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and tell people about yourself as your conversation evolves. Maybe you are the difference why people want to work with your company. For example:

Is there something we can help you out with today?

Be Yourself, Sincere and Most of All Genuine

At the end of the day, everyone is out working hard to build their network. It is all about relationships, and how you treat people is how they will remember you. Be yourself, sincere, and most of all be genuine; these are very important, key things to remember. For example:

One of the compelling reasons investors refer business to me is they know I am reliable and have immediate access to market information in secondary and tertiary markets.


One of the compelling reasons investors call me is trust. I am reliable and get back to people in a timely manner.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice, practice, 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. Here’s my full 30-second elevator pitch:

Hi, I’m Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC. SVN is a full-service CRE firm and the 6th most recognized brand in the country with over 200 offices covering 500 markets, including Canada, Mexico, and Russia. We provide property solutions to Institutional, Corporate and Individual Owners, Tenants and Investors. One of the more compelling reasons investors work with us is because we are able to assist them with their real estate investment needs in secondary and tertiary markets. Is there something I can help you out with today?

However you spin it, practice it on someone until it sticks! Once you get your general pitch down, remember to then adapt it to your audience. In a situation when I address a principal of a brokerage or property management firm, I say something different than the previous version I shared.

My name is Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC. SVN is a full service CRE firm with 200 offices covering 500 markets across the country including Canada, Mexico, and Russia. I focus on the strategic growth and development of the brand here in the US. I help owners of brokerage and property management firms achieve growth in their business. I do that by empowering our business owners with some of the most advanced tools, technologies, and training available in the industry today. Do you know anyone looking to change firms or who wants to own their own firm?

The Best Advice I Have Received

As you are out in the market every day meeting new prospects and relationship building, keep in mind these tried and true tips that I have received over the years.

  • First impressions make a difference…be prepared! Handshake, smile.
  • Make the focus on the person across from you, not yourself. Listen.
  • Call to action: Advancement vs. Continuation…Before you exit your mini-interview, ask people to take the action you want.
  • You won’t connect with everyone – know when to bow out.
  • Send a follow-up thank you in a timely manner.
  • Set up 30-minute coffee meetings and leave it at that…time is precious. If you know your prospect better, offer to buy them lunch.
  • Be prepared for your next meeting. Do your research.
  • Stay in touch. Keep up a good CRM system.
  • If you read something or have a newsworthy item, send it along.

It’s About Them Not You

Lastly, you always want to be able to learn as much as you can about the person you are speaking with so eventually you will be able to help further the goals of that individual. How you can help them? THEM not YOU. When you start thinking this way, your questioning and whole persona are genuine: Always be genuine and the person across from you will sense this. I believe and have found this is how you build credibility, rapport and trust. Happy pitching!

[bctt tweet=”In the #CRE industry having that elevator pitch in your back pocket is a necessity of the game” 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!

CRE Brokerage Firms: Should You Stay Independent?

Independent vs. National Commercial Real Estate Firms

To be, or not to be, that is the question…” goes the famous opening line of an act from the Shakespeare play, Hamlet.

That very same question is what a lot of CRE Principals ask themselves every day. “To Be Independent or not to Be Independent… and Be with a National Firm.”

The decision is not an easy one, especially for an Independent who may feel as though his/her niche in the marketplace would be disruptive to current business if they were to align themselves with a national platform.

If you’re someone who wants to buy and sell for their own gain and possible syndication, well, a national platform may not be the choice for you. However, if you are an independent CRE brokerage or property management firm that wants to step up their game and compete with the national players, then looking at a national platform definitely behooves you to take a little time to gather information so you can make a knowledgeable decision.

5 Factors to Consider When It Comes to Independent vs. National Firms

Let’s first consider the information that would allow you and your firm to make that informed decision:

  1. Technology: I know, I know. It’s always changing and it’s one of the biggest expenses an independent firm incurs. If not in hardware and software, in people or outside services. A few questions to ask are: “Does this national platform have the technology I will need today and position me for future growth without a seismic shift in how I do business or in training? Is it cloud-based or on premise technology? Will the firm help train, accelerate my transition to its platform? Is what I currently have working?”
  2. Financial: As Bill Clinton once said, “It’s about the economy, stupid.” Well, in our business some would argue it’s “Show me the money!” A few things to consider: “Do I see how this move to a national firm would enhance my bottom line? Will it allow me to reduce marketing expenses or greatly enhance my marketing efforts? Is my market demanding or is it asking for more of a national presence to be competitive? How can it help me with existing and new relationships? Can it help me do more deals? Can it help me recruit and retain top talent? And last but not least, what are the commission splits and what are the fees?”
  3. Personal: What will ultimately suit my business, my people, my family and my clients? What do the next 3-5 years look like in my business?
  4. Intangibles: What are the Unknown Unknowns? I like to call them the “unk unks.” To get this perspective, it is very important to talk to the current principals of the national platform you are considering and get a mix of their experience. Do your due diligence and spend a little time with principals who have been affiliated from 1 year to 5 years with the national platform you are considering. This is imperative before making your final decision. This will allow you to see what the “real deal’ is without all the marketing hype. “Looking under the hood to make sure there is an engine there” is necessary before your final decision.
  5. Why not you, why not now? – Only you have that answer…

Brand Identity and SVN® Commercial Real Estate Advisors

Last week I was asked by a prospective SVN principal: “I am concerned my brand identity will be compromised and I will lose the local flair with a national platform. What should I do about my brand?” My response: “I don’t know about that, we can talk about it; however what I do know is what I hear from owners of independent firms who were asking the same questions before they joined forces with SVN…”

SVNHere’s how SVN can address the Independent vs. National Firm concern, from the words of various members of the SVN community:

“With a national platform, we now harness the power of one of the industry’s 6th most-recognized names with the expanded reach of an international network of over 1,300 Advisors in over 500 markets. The brand has definitely given my firm the opportunity to grow my business and client base. I now sit at the table to compete with the other nationals in my market.”

“We now have unlimited access to industry leading-edge commercial real estate tools and technology that helps maximize our clients’ returns and saves us time and money.”

“We now have expanded visibility and marketing to reach the widest possible investor audience and access to a broader array of asset classes and so much more as part of a global network. It is the SVN Advisors that make up the difference…this is a global network where each person is committed to putting their clients’ interests first.”

If you are looking to “step up your game” – now is the time to gain information to help you make a knowledgeable decision so you are ready for growth in 2016. The best of luck to you with your “to be or not to be” decision!

Read more about Karen Hurd here.

[bctt tweet=”If you’re looking to step up your game – now is the time to gain information to help you make a knowledgeable decision so you are ready for growth in 2016! #CRE”]

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.


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.

Sperry Van Ness® CREW Network Spotlight

Sperry Van Ness International Corp. is a proud supporter of CREW Network, the premiere network for women in commercial real estate.  In an earlier blog post we included a great group photo of all the CREW members at our 2014 SVN national conference, where some of these high-achieving CREW Members were also SVN award recipients.  Below is more information about the various CREW Network members in our organization. They are CREW Past Presidents, CREW Committee Members, innovators, leaders, collaborators and known in their markets for their achievements and contributions.

If you are interested in finding out about CREW Network or about Sperry Van Ness franchise opportunities, please contact Karen.hurd@SVN.com.

Catherine House, CCIM
Catherine House, CCIM

Catherine House, CCIM     
Sperry Van Ness / SV Advisors (San Francisco, CA)

  • Catherine is the Sperry Van Ness® National Co-Chair for the Medical Office Product Council.
  • In 2010, San Francisco Business Times named her one of the “Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area.” She is a past CREW SF President.
  • At Sperry Van Ness she is one of the top-producing brokers, ranked in the top 10% of over 1,000 brokers nationally in 2013.


Karlin Conklin
Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness / Bluestone & Hockley (Portland, OR)

  • Karlin is a managing Principal Broker in Oregon and Washington. She oversees their office’s brokerage activities and is responsible for its marketing, recruiting, and training efforts.
  • Prior to joining Sperry Van Ness/Bluestone & Hockley, Karlin raised $234 million in acquisition equity and directed a team that closed 5,800 multifamily units.
  • On the brokerage side, Karlin led the company’s multi-state brokerage efforts, which included commercial real estate, REO, and note sales.


Mary Ridberg
Director of Leasing
Sperry Van Ness, LLC (Phoenix, AZ)

    • Mary has experience in retail tenant representation, trade area feasibility, brand development, public relations, media relations, and marketing consulting.
    • She has organized a Retail Networking Group with members from the most active retail brokerage teams in the Phoenix market.
    • Mary serves in the business mentorship program at A.S.U. and is a host at the college of business events.


Judy Jones
Judy Jones

Judy Jones
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness, LLC (Phoenix, AZ)

      • Judy specializes in the sale of retail land, freestanding buildings and shopping centers in the Phoenix Metropolitan area of Maricopa County, Arizona.
      • She has been active in commercial/investment real estate for more than 20 years as an investor and broker.
      • Judy has completed more than 400 transactions totally in excess of one billion dollars.


Maria Agon McCarthy, CCIM
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness / South Commercial Real Estate Advisors (Miami, FL)

      • Maria brings over 18 years of experience in commercial real estate brokerage and corporate real estate, with extensive knowledge of both leasing and sales.
      • Prior to joining SVN South, she worked as the Senior Vice President for Citigroup where she managed a portfolio of 215 office and retail buildings, representing 4.6 million square feet throughout the US and Caribbean.
      • Mary has been recognized as a “Top Broker” and received numerous awards for revenue production.


Shari A. Tucker-Gasser
Shari Tucker-Gasser

Shari Tucker-Gasser
Sperry Van Ness, LLC (Phoenix, AZ)

      • Shari A. Tucker-Gasser is the National Council Chair of Multi-Tenant Retail for Sperry Van Ness International and  Real Estate Forum named Shari ‘Women of Influence’ among top ‘Women of Influence’ in the commercial real estate industry for 2013.
      • Shari specializes in the acquisitions, disposition and leasing of multi-tenant retail properties throughout the Phoenix Metro, Arizona market.
      • With over fifteen years of commercial real estate experience, Shari has completed well over $2 billion dollars in retail sales transactions.


Diana Peterson

Diana Peterson
Sperry Van Ness / AuctionWorks (Chicago, IL)

      • Diana has more than 19 years of experience in law, real estate brokerage and auctions.
      • Recognized by the Chicago Association of Realtors as one of the top 5 producing realtors, having closed more than $130 million in residential sales and negotiated more than 500,000 square feet of commercial lease and sale transactions.
      • Known for her exceptional negotiation and legal skills, honed during years of practice as an attorney, Diana will be leading the Chicago AuctionWorks team.


Debby Skeans
Deborah Skeans

Deborah Skeans
CCIM, MAI, Senior Advisor/Co-Owner
Sperry Van Ness / Imperial Realty (Allentown, PA / Lehigh Valley)

      • Debby specializes in the sale of land and commercial property valued at over $350+ million and helps clients build value, strong CRE portfolios.
      • Licensed to sell at 19 and as a broker at 22, she has nearly 40 years working and investing in new construction, commercial appraisal, sales and consulting.
      • Career highlights: 470 acres of prime interchange land sold to St. Luke’s Hospital for $38.6 million in two transactions over the past five years; personally responsible for the disposition of 3,000+ acres (over 50 parcels) to various buyers for a wide variety of users; consultation regarding disposition of a key New York City property for redevelopment (transaction closed for over $200 million).


Laurie Ramirez
Laurie Ramirez

Laurie Ramirez
Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial (Chicago, IL)

      • Laurie has 5 experience years in the CRE industry and specializes in the sales and leasing and tenant representation  of retail property in the Chicago Market
      • She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), Commercial Real Estate Executive Women (CREW) and the Chicago Association of Realtors.
      • Laurie is a relationship-focused CRE professional focused on creating value for her clients.  She is also involved in the committees, Commercial Forum and the Chicago Association of Realtors Government Affairs Committee.


Krista Berger
Krista Berger

Krista Berger
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness / Finest City Commercial (San Diego, CA)

      • Krista has 6 years of CRE industry experience and has listed and sold properties valuing in excess of $20 million.
      • She specializes in the sale of commercial properties, including in multifamily, mobile home parks and land development.
      • In the past few years, Krista has been an integral part of the special assets team. With multiple financial institutions throughout the nation, she facilitated the site assessments and analysis of properties with most resulting in the list and sale of the asset.


Rita Meehan
Rita Meehan

Rita Meehan
Sperry Van Ness / SV Advisors (San Francisco, CA)

      • Rita has 17+ years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, specializing in the sale of investment properties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
      • She has closed more than $1.7 billion in commercial real estate assets comprised of over 6 million square feet of property.
      • Rita was recognized as a Top Individual Broker in 2008 and listed as a CoStar Power Broker in 2007 & 2008.


Barbara Brown
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness / Commercial Real Estate Advisors (Charlotte, NC)

      • Barbara has been active in commercial real estate since 1986, with extensive knowledge and expertise in office/medical sales, leasing, retail and warehouse.
      • She was a founding member of the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW).
      • Received the Commercial Board’s “Multi-Million Dollar Club” award for 10 consecutive years and in 1999, she was the recipient of its President’s Award.


Karen Hurd
Karen Hurd

Karen Hurd
Vice President, National Franchise Sales & Development
Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (Irvine, CA and Boston, MA)

      • Karen has over 18 years of experience in commercial real estate and financial services, and has been actively involved in sales transactions (across all asset classes) totaling in excess of $550 million.
      • She specializes in Section 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges for Institutional, Corporate and Private Capital Markets and Real Estate limited partnerships and syndications.
      • Deal Connector and Networking Guru who identifies new business opportunities for the Sperry Van Ness® organization, and contributes to brand development and growth nationally playing key role in managing the continued expansion of franchise ownership.


Diane Danielson
Diane Danielson

Diane Danielson
Chief Operating Officer
Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (Irvine, CA and Boston, MA)

      • Diane serves is Chief Operating Officer at SVN and oversees all operations of SVNIC.  Diane is responsible for overall planning and executing strategic growth initiatives for franchise development and the rollout of technological platforms to optimize SVN services globally.
      • She is a former attorney, accomplished speaker, published author, and widely recognized online marketing expert.  She launched the first Social Network for businesswomen in the US in 2006.
      • In 2013, Diane was named to the 40 over 40 Women to Watch list published in Forbes.com.


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

Top CREW #CRE Professionals Meet up at the Sperry Van Ness® National Conference

Diane Danielson, COO with fellow Sperry Van Ness CREW members

A little over one week ago, I was attending SVN’s National Conference which was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on San Antonio’s picturesque River Walk in Texas. Hundreds of SVN Advisors, staff and commercial real estate professionals from over 180 markets across the country came together for two jammed-packed days to learn how to “Win.EveryDay.” (our 2014 conference theme) in their business!

The hotel was abuzz, conference rooms packed, and breakout sessions were in full discussion with numerous deal-making and networking opportunities. We learned about everything you need to know from the top 60 must-have mobile apps, online auctions, how to be properly fitted for a business suit, to how to increase efficiencies to achieve growth and run a more productive business model.

One of many conference highlights was our own SVN parody video of the movie Moneyball, which hit a home run with our all our staff and Advisors. We outlined how we are taking a sophisticated Sabermetric approach and applying the concept of baseball metrics to the CRE business to build a competitive team to “Win. Every Day.” We even had Glenn Morshower, an actor who appeared in the film, reinforce the “Win. Every Day” message in his motivational talk. I am also proud to say we held one of the highest-achieving, Trailblazer Awards Ceremonies in Sperry Van Ness® history that celebrated SVN Advisor victories in 2013!

NC-CrewAmong the crowd of CRE professionals that gathered together, about ten CREW Network members seized the opportunity to talk about CREW, its value and mission. We also spent time together to discuss this year’s 2014 CREW Convention which will be held in Miami this October where SVN will host a booth. SVN/CREW Miami here we come!

SVN is looking for more CREW members. Are you interested? Do you know any fellow SVN Advisors who would be interested? Please contact me!

Authored by Karen Hurd, Vice President, Franchise Development. For more information about CREW Network or about Sperry Van Ness® franchise opportunities, email Karen.Hurd@svn.com.

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

George Slusser & Karen Hurd Attend ICSC New York National Conference 2013

George Slusser, Chief Growth Officer, and Karen Hurd, National Sales Director, represented Sperry Van Ness International Corporation at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) New York National Conference December 9–10 in New York, NY. An annual deal-making event, ICSC NY is a great opportunity for brokers, owners, developers and lenders to make deals and forge relationships.

Below we’ve interviewed George Slusser about his experience at the conference and his top takeaways.

SVNIC: George, why is it important to attend The ICSC New York National Conference?
George: The ICSC regional event in New York is second only to the annual RECon event in Las Vegas for its size and scope. Nearly 8,000 developers, brokers, vendors and retail company representatives were in attendance. ICSC combines a training and educational component with a very robust “deal making” opportunity.  Most of the major players in the industry are in attendance and our presence is important to develop deal flow and continue to promote awareness.

George Slusser, SVNIC's Chief Growth Officer, at the ICSC New York National Conference
George Slusser, Chief Growth Officer, at SVNIC’s booth at the ICSC New York National Conference

SVNIC: Share your best takeaway from the event for our Advisor team.
George:  There was a lot of activity in our booth as the traffic was very consistent. The SVN Advisors that were able to attend walked away with some very solid leads on buyers for specific properties they presented. They also created new potential business relationships that will lead to increased opportunities and closed transactions.

SVNIC: How did the Sperry Van Ness booth fare?
George:  We had over 100 visitors stop by the booth many looking to acquire property along the Eastern Seaboard. We have many leads and contacts that were established by the SVN Advisors that attended and we even have a few to forward around the country. The atmosphere was very positive and there were a lot of people in “deal making” mode.

SVNIC: We’re looking to expand, were you able to meet quality franchise prospects?
George: We had serious conversations with a number of quality individuals that were interested in the Sperry Van Ness platform. We met candidates who may join an existing office and others wanting to facilitate our aggressive North East expansion plans as a potential franchisee. We had traditional brokerage firms and property management firms requesting additional information on our value proposition and new PM offering.  Some who came by the booth had already visited svn.com and viewed our informative franchise site in advance.


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

Diane Danielson & Karen Hurd attend CREW Network Convention 2013

Diane Danielson, Chief Platform Officer, and Karen Hurd, National Sales Director, represented Sperry Van Ness at the annual CREW Network Convention & Marketplace October 9–12 in Dallas. Along with more than 1,000 real estate firms from across the country, attendees came together to shape the future of the industry and focused on this year’s theme–“The Power of Perspective.”

Below we’ve interviewed Karen Hurd about her experience at the conference and her top takeaways.

SVNIC: Karen, why is it important to attend The CREW Conference?
Karen: CREW Network is one of the CRE industry’s premier business networking organizations dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in commercial real estate. Personally, for me, the annual CREW Network Convention is a great opportunity to network, exchange ideas, refer deals, gain knowledge, hear from top industry professionals and collaborate with over 1000 CRE women and key decision makers from all over the country.

SVNIC: Share your best takeaway from the event for our advisor team.
Karen: My greatest takeaway from the convention is “The Power of Perspective” and how it shapes and impacts your life and your career as well as your future in commercial real estate. Always remember that perception creates reality. Take a look at my personal objectives that we post on the CREW 2013 Network Convention website.

Other great takeaways–get involved in a committee and building relationships in your local CREW Chapter. You may be surprised how easy it can be to find new business opportunities.

SVNIC: What was your favorite session?
Karen: That’s a tough one! There were so many great sessions at CREW. The Marketplace Opening Night Reception is always my favorite because of the energy and buzz that fills the room–you can see and hear about deals in the works and the strong desire to do business. The Impact Awards Dinner this year was especially outstanding as it touched home to me. I had the privilege to see fellow Boston NEWIRE members recognized for their Economic and Community Involvement for their roles in revitalizing the Dudley Square project in Roxbury, MA. It has been one of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s top priorities in recent years and is now well underway. Outstanding!

SVNIC: Who was your favorite presenter and why?
Karen: Barbara Corcoran for sure. She has a great story to tell. I do appreciate her candor and honesty. She is driven, shares great life lessons and her business savvy and work ethic is inspiring to me.

Diane Danielson and Karen Hurd attend the 2013 CREW Network Convention & Marketplace
Diane and Karen pictured with members of NEWiRE Boston, who also attended the conference

Diane and Karen pictured with members NEWiRE Boston, who also attended the conference

SVNIC: How did the Sperry Van Ness booth fare?
Karen: Exceptionally well. As SVN looks to grow in new markets in 2014, having a presence in the Marketplace was huge for us. With over 500 visitors to our booth alone and back-to-back appointments, the SVN Difference became known and we definitely “got the word out”. We were also searching for CREW Members to consider joining an existing SVN team or consider establishing their own franchise in a market where we do not have a presence. There were many CRE Brokers and Property Managers asking us a lot of questions! It was also great to hear about stories of collaboration with SVN Advisors in the field. One woman had recently done over a $10+ million deal with one of our advisors out of Salem, OR as a result of attending the Portland Oregon Regional Conference.

SVNIC: The theme of this year’s conference was–“The Power of Perspective?” What does this mean and how can we apply it to everyday CRE?
Karen: When you claim your power to perceive, you realize you have the ability to shape your life. Knowing how you want to be perceived is key to all your relationships and how you will communicate with others in your personal as well as professional life. When you have an intention, you can make decisions that will drive you closer to achieving that goal. What is your intention? You should always know the answer to this.

How you communicate with others and how you are perceived by others will impact business decisions. This can be a game changer for us all in all of our CRE careers. Always be mindful of what the person sitting across from is hearing from you and what their perception is. You have the power to create perception!


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

CRE Tech Talk Denver

More than 40 advisors from across the nation attended our “Tech Talk Denver” on Thursday evening, October 24. The event preceded the 2013 CCIM Live Conference.  Diane Danielson, CPO, Bo Barron, CCIM and Karen Hurd, Sales Director spoke about how the SVNIC team leverages the latest technology for profitability. They touched upon the importance of establishing an online presence and credibility using social media. Advisors from the following states were represented: CO, KY, MD, AZ, CA, OR, IL, GA and MA. Great insights, food and drink were had by all. Many thanks to those who attended.

CRE Tech Talk Denver

Sperry Van Ness was also a sponsor of the CCIM conference. See our Facebook page for photos by clicking here.


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

SVNIC Exhibiting at the 2013 CREW Convention & Marketplace

The 2013 annual CREW Network Convention & Marketplace will be held October 9-12 at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Tx. This 3-day event offers industry professionals access to top speakers, educational sessions, leadership training and industry exhibitors.

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation will be an exhibitor at the marketplace event at this year’s convention. This event is dedicated to networking, doing business, and sharing innovative ideas. In attendance from SVNIC will be Diane Danielson and Karen Hurd.

CREW Invite


















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