A Statement On Ukraine from Kevin Maggiacomo, SVN President and CEO

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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.

or

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!

The CRE Advisor's Guide to Surviving ICSC RECon 2016

Getting Ready for RECon 2016

As you’re probably aware, ICSC’s annual RECon is the event of all events for those in the commercial real estate industry, and an even bigger deal for those who specialize in retail. With over 40,000 attendees predicted to attend, and over 1,000 company booths, it’s a wonder how you will be able to see everything you want to see, learn everything you made the trip to learn, and network with the individuals you desperately need to meet.

Here are a few tips to survive Las Vegas this May:

  1. Plan ahead. If you haven’t already started thinking about this then go do it, like, now. The ICSC website has a list of all the attendees and booths that will be at the conference. Sit down and highlight which markets you would like to focus on, and who you want to meet in those markets. Find out if they have a booth, and schedule as many meetings as possible. Make a map of the convention center, highlight the booths you plan to see, in what order, and try not to get lost!
  2. Get the important things done first. As the conference drags on, many attendees will start to get bored or tired, and may not be hanging around for the last day and a half. Make sure you are scheduling meetings with the people you must see, and must talk to, first. Create a second “potential” list for the people you would like to speak with if you have time, or happen to run into at their booth. This way you are keeping your priorities in order, and making sure your time is well spent.
  3. Enjoy your time. There is no doubt that the conference can become hectic. Take advantage of this opportunity by introducing yourself to as many people as possible. The chances you are connected may be slim, but who knows who you will meet. RECon provides the best opportunity to expand your network and increase your business and deal flow.

Now that you’ve set up some meetings, take a deep breath and get excited for this action-packed weekend. And don’t forget to stop by SVN at booth C162F to find out what our Advisors have been up to! Click here for directions to the SVN booth C162F.

Oh, and amid all this preparation and excitement for #RECon2016, don’t forget to book your flights…

ICSC Recon Invite SVN

[bctt tweet=”Don’t forget to stop by SVN at booth C162F to find out what our Advisors have been up to! #RECon2016 #CRE ” username=”svnic”]

SVN Annual Conference 2016: Highlights From San Diego

My Top 4 Moments from the SVN Annual Conference

The 2016 SVN Annual Conference was easily the best reason to miss class. As a college student and the youngest member of the SVNIC team, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to San Diego, California for a three-day commercial real estate extravaganza: #SVN2016. The SVN Annual Conference, held in the Westin San Diego, proved to be the highlight of my entire year working at Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (so far). As you can probably tell, it was difficult for me to narrow down what I thought were the best parts of the event. While I’m sure everyone had a different set of high points, here are mine:

1. Kevin Maggiacomo’s Opening Address

Kevin Maggiacomo
Kevin Maggiacomo, SVNIC CEO & President.

SVNIC CEO & President Kevin Maggiacomo kicked off the conference talking about transparency, shared values and supporting women. As it always has, the commercial real estate industry currently lacks diversity, particularly in terms of including and promoting the interests of women – SVN aims to change this. As quoted in the Globe St. article about him, Maggiacomo says: “Having more successful women on our teams will make all of us more successful and generate exponential value and more profits.” Personally, as a college student interested in business, I was particularly interested in how hiring gender-inclusive talent as well as transparency across the organization (i.e., openly sharing fees with the entire brokerage community) can result in higher profits. As I better understood from Kevin’s opening speech, implementing a shared value strategy enables Advisors to have even more “meaningful conversations.” Kevin wants Advisors to strive to have five “real” conversations per day… every day. This is something that even us interns can try.

2. Advisor Headshot Session

SVN Annual Conference 2016 Poolside Roof Deck
The background: San Diego buildings and sunshine.

The 400+ SVN Advisors and staff from across the U.S., Canada, and Russia probably didn’t expect to have a professional photographer waiting for them at the hotel poolside – on the first full day of the conference. With the help of two extremely resourceful SVNIC assistants (yes, I was one of them), the photographer shot hundreds of new professional headshots for over 150 SVN Advisors and staff within that one day. Not only did dozens of SVN Advisors receive complimentary up-to-date professional headshots to help market themselves and their businesses – it was also an unexpected networking event. I met so many members of the SVN organization while helping them get ready for their photoshoots, and I’m happy to say I have 150 new friends.

3. Diane Danielson’s Business Trends Talk

Diane Talk – Annual Conference 2016
Diane updates the full house of SVN Advisors.

Yes, Diane Danielson is my boss, so at the risk of sounding biased, I’ll say it anyway: she nailed it. Her talk, which focused largely on Millennials (me!) was spot-on. We want flexibility in work hours and location, a clear path for advancement, a conscious capitalist mission, but we still want to work hard. It seems like Millennials are often accused of being lazy, self-absorbed, and all around not the sort of people cut out for the corporate environment that their Silent Generation, Baby Boomer, and older Generation X parents worked hard to cultivate. In her talk, Diane shattered this stereotype about my generation by emphasizing our desire for efficiency. While the business trends discussed spanned more than just Millennial issues, this part of Diane’s speech resonated most with me because as a Millennial, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Click here to see a video of the full talk.

4. Specialty Awards

Everyone likes winning awards. If you don’t, I kind of think you’re lying. What makes the SVN Specialty Awards so wonderful is that they recognize more than just good Commercial Real Estate Advisors – they recognize good people. 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. Yes, numbers don’t lie. But neither do the people – all members of the SVN organization were invited to nominate individuals for the SVN Specialty Awards. This year’s winners are a group of SVN Advisors and Managing Directors who motivate and inspire me and countless others to strive for excellence in every sense of the word. In case you were curious, here are the winners:

There you have it – my top highlights from the 2016 SVN Annual Conference. I’m sorry, professors – the experience I gained from my three days outside of class was worth its weight in California gold.

For other SVN Annual Conference news, check out the SVN Blog for additional content.

[bctt tweet=”I’m sorry, professors – the experience I gained from my three days outside of class was worth it. #SVN2016 #CRE”]

 

The 2015 Managing Director Conference: Top 3 Reasons to Register

2015 Managing Director Conference in Dallas, TX

The Sperry Van Ness® Managing Director Conference only happens once a year, so now is the time to register. At MDC 2015, Managing Directors will have the opportunity to experience the latest SVN tools and systems and learn from renowned commercial real estate speakers. By collaborating on projects and seminars, Managing Directors will make lasting business connections that are critical components of running a successful brokerage.

Top 3 Reasons to Attend the 2015 Managing Director Conference

1. Networking. Emails and phone calls can only go so far. In an industry built on interpersonal connections, face-to-face conversations can go a long way. Do you think a Managing Director would be more likely to collaborate on a deal with someone who reached out via email or someone she bonded with over coffee and bagels? With breakfast, lunch, and a surprise dinner experience included in registration, MDC 2015 offers countless opportunities to connect with your peers in the industry.

2. Experience. Like networking, relevant experience is gained through real-life situations. Everyone who attends this conference is experienced in his or her own way, since they are owners of brokerage businesses. This is a chance to compile all of this collective experience in one place and learn from it. Two days of training and networking is all it takes to gain valuable experience and connections.

3. Learning. With a full roster of engaging speakers coupled with multiple seminars and training sessions, participants can learn a lot from attending MDC 2015. By sharing best practices with other Managing Directors, participants are also able to learn from their counterparts in offices across the country. Need help managing those pesky Millennials? Not sure how to leverage SVN tools? Having trouble building your brand? MDC 2015 has you covered.

Register for the 2015 Managing Director Conference now by clicking here.

2015 Managing Director Conference

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.

Effective Business Networking: Collaboration at the Core by Karen Hurd

We talk a lot about collaboration at Sperry Van Ness®.  I believe effective business networking comes down to putting the interests of others first to build relationships. If you can find the time to help others, new business will often find you.

The organization Commercial Real Estate Women – widely known as CREW – has helped me expand my business network through the years. So when I was recently asked to speak on effective business networking at a CREW event in Memphis, Tenn., my immediate answer was yes to the panel — and yes to the fantastic barbecue down South.

Karen Hurd is sales director for franchise development for Sperry Van Ness International Corp.
Karen Hurd is the Sales Director for Franchise Development for Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

Here are just a few of the thoughts I shared as a member of that panel discussion:

Take an interest in other people

I like to keep index cards on my desk with some of my favorite points from the Dale Carnegie book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie reminds us of “Six Ways to Make People Like Us:”

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile!
  • Remember a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Take your networking to the next level (obtain the deal/business/contract)   

Beyond that first handshake, it takes hard work to continue building a business relationship. In our ever-changing tech world, take the time to send a handwritten thank you, drop a note, make a call, or forward an article of interest. You need to establish rapport and credibility so your referral source is thinking of you should an opportunity arise.  Prospecting takes time and I do it daily.

I understand we all get busy and take the path of least resistance.  Reach out and you’ll be amazed at what can happen.

How and when do you ask for business? 

Follow leads – and your gut.

Most of the time business and referrals will come to you because you’ve spent years building strong relationships. But you have to start somewhere.  It’s OK to reach out and ask someone if they may be able to help you.  Tell them you thought they may be a good resource.  Find out what they value and learn more about their needs.  Take an active interest in them. Other things to keep in mind:

  • How can you help the person sitting across from you?  I always ask this question.
  • Be genuine – all they can say is no.
  •  If they say no, ask them why. Ask them if they have existing relationships. Ask them gently for feedback or suggestions as you are trying to find ways to reach out and grow your business.  Ask how you can help them going forward.
  • Remember not to take it personally if they say no.  Sometimes we tend to beat ourselves up when rejected. Realize we are not meant to do business with everyone.  Move on.

Create a 30-60-90 day plan

Create a plan and work the plan!  When you’re done, compare it to your strategic business plan and look carefully at how you’ll overcome obstacles. Ask yourself what is holding you back.  Make a list of your accomplishments and know your value proposition.   Be prepared to answer why you should be considered for the business. Know the why and believe in yourself as you might just get asked.

Happy Networking!

– Karen Hurd

 

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