Tuesday Tip: Try One More

It’s Tuesday, and time for another great tip to help improve your CRE skills.

Today’s tip from Solomon Poretsky, Chief Development Officer, SVN International Corp:

When you think you’re done with a conversation, try asking one more question.


Think you understand the client’s motivation? Ask one more question and go a little deeper. You never know what you might learn. When the tenant is ready to write an offer that you know is too low, why not ask one last time if they can get closer to market value to avoid alienating the landlord? And if you are on the phone with a prospect who won’t meet with you, but who hasn’t hung up yet, why not bring up a new subject and see if you can get another bite at the apple?

Persistence pays off in the commercial real estate business.

Persistence means asking one more question, trying one more tactic.

What do you do to keep the connection going? Share your tips with us in the comments.

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”]

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”]

The Summer Season: Setting Yourself Up For Success

Summertime… and the Earning is Easy

When I picked up my kids from preschool, I noticed that just about every pair of snow boots was gone. (That’s right, in Minnesota, we keep snow boots handy well into May!). Summer is upon us. And, soon, you’ll hear people making the usual excuses for taking it easy:

  • No one does business
  • All of the clients are on vacation
  • I can’t make money

And they’re all untrue.

Now, let me be clear. If you want to take it easy this summer and can afford to, go for it. It’s your business and your choice. However, if you want to solidify your year and maximize your chances of going to Partners Circle, it’s time to buckle down. Think it won’t work? Well, let’s work backwards….

  1. December is, by far, the busiest month of the year for sales.
  2. Deals that close in December go under contract in September or October.
  3. Deals that go under contract in September and October usually get listed somewhere between July and September.
  4. Deals that get listed between July and September usually come from client contacts between June and September.

What does this mean? In brief, summer sets up the best month of the year.

Making the Most of the Summer Months

So what do we do about it? First, let’s face the facts. Yes, people are more likely to take vacation in summer. Yes, they’re more likely to kick off early on Friday. And, yes, some even spend the whole summer at a vacation home or cabin. So what?

If your client is someone who works for a living, they probably aren’t as flaky as you think. Call them any time other than Friday afternoon, and understand that they could be gone for a week or two out of the season. The rest of the time, it’s business as usual, especially if you have something good to talk about. Summer’s a great time for lunches at outdoor restaurants, playing golf with clients and the like. And if you have their cell phone, Friday afternoons can be a great time to reach them. If they’re heading to their cabins, odds are that they’re sitting in traffic and have nothing better to do than talk to you. While New York city traffic to the Hamptons is legendary, this happens everywhere – try taking the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday afternoon to leave San Francisco and get to Wine Country or going out I-94 or US 169 into the lake and cabin area in Minnesota north of the Twin Cities.

Clients who have more free time can be a little bit more challenging, but they’re still reachable. Believe it or not, cabins have phones, computers, and Internet connections. Furthermore, if you’re willing to make the drive to meet a couple of clients in their cabins, you might find that they’re completely different people. Wouldn’t you like to meet prospects that are more laid back, more open and more engaged?

In other words… Business gets done in summer. You just have to do it!

[bctt tweet=”In brief, summer sets up the best month of the year. #CRE” username=”svnic”]

Commercial Real Estate Retail Tenant Synergy

Tenant Synergy in Retail Commercial Real Estate

With ICSC’s annual RECon upon us, it’s about time to talk about retail tenant synergy. The original logic behind the large anchored mall was that people were unlikely to go out of their way to go to an in-line store, like a pretzel shop or a shoe store, but that they were willing to travel to go to a department store, like a Macy’s or a JC Penney. To take advantage of this, commercial real estate developers began building malls that had department store anchors at their corners and lots of little “in-line” shops in between. The department stores frequently got discounted rent, so it was a win for them, and the in-line stores benefited from having lots of “forced” traffic as people going between the department stores walked by. While the model of the mall has changed over the years, the concept of a synergistic relationship between tenants continues.

Retail Tenant SynergyLooking for more examples? Have you ever noticed that most neighborhood centers have a card store right near the supermarket? Or, for that matter, have you ever wondered why neighborhood centers typically have take-out focused restaurants like Chinese or pizza shops near the supermarket? It’s all about convenience.

What is going on here is that these commercial real estate owners have realized the benefit of synergy. Having tenants that fit well together is not only a way to keep their customers happy, but it is also a way to keep tenants happy. A dry cleaner located next to a supermarket, a card shop, a pizza parlor, a family haircut place and a day spa is very unlikely to leave. They benefit not only from their proximity to the supermarket but also from their proximity to other supportive businesses which make that center a one-stop shop. What could be a better place for them?

Retail Tenant Synergy Gone Wrong

On the other hand, commercial real estate landlords who get desperate can sometimes fail to achieve synergy. While this can be a way to keep occupancies high in the short term, it can generate greater vacancy down the line. Here’s a real world example of four tenants at a center in an overbuilt but demographically desirable eastern suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota:

  • High-end wine shop
  • Yoga studio
  • Gourmet food boutique focusing largely on cheese
  • Army recruiting center

I know of another center in an inner-ring northern suburb that has the area’s largest gun shop, a tobacco store, a rowdy drinking establishment and a large health clinic. It doesn’t have a pharmacy.

Over time, these centers will typically lose the tenant that doesn’t fit or will lose more tenants as their outlier tenant changes the nature of the entire center. While few commercial real estate marketing packages talk about this and many commercial real estate investment brokers are unaware of it, achieving tenant synergy is crucial for a retail center to be successful in the long term.

At SVN, creating synergy is a fundamental part of the principles that underlie our Shared Value Network℠. To learn more about how we help retail owners create markets for their properties, join us on our SVN | Live ℠ Open Sales Meeting.

[bctt tweet=”Achieving tenant synergy is crucial for a retail center to be successful in the long term #CRE” username=”svnic”]

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”]

Have Five Real Conversations a Day for CRE Success

Conversations Drive Commercial Real Estate Sales

Last night, I had to turn on my electric snow melting mats. Again. In March. So you’ll understand why I’m spending a lot of time this morning thinking about our Annual Conference in San Diego.

And what I’m thinking about is the challenge that our CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo, issued to everyone in the room: Have five real conversations a day, every day.

real conversations - lady on the phoneMany of you are reading this and thinking that this isn’t a challenge. After all, you talk to 10, 20, 30 people every day, right? As I write this, it isn’t even 7:30 am, I’ve already spoken to 3 people, and I’m not even in a direct sales position anymore!

Let’s look at what Kevin said one more time… “Have five REAL conversations a day, every day.” That one word – real – makes a big difference. A real conversation is one that you have with a person who is truly in a position to sign a listing, lease, or purchase agreement. Real landlords, real owners, real tenants or truly real buyers. To be clear, I define a real buyer as someone who already owns or leases commercial real estate.

And here’s another kicker… If you’re already doing a deal with someone and you have to talk to them anyways, they don’t count.

Now that we’ve narrowed down “real,” THOSE conversations are usually a bit more few and far between. So, if you aren’t talking to five of those people a day, starting to do that will revolutionize your business. And if you can talk to more than five (when I brokered, my goal was 10 and my average was 8!), you’ll do even better.

How to Have Five Real Conversations a Day

If you aren’t having five real conversations a day, you probably have two questions at this point:

  1. How do I find these real people?
  2. What do I talk about when I get them on the phone or in front of me?

First question… The real people are in your database. Anyone that you aren’t working with today is someone that you need to talk to today. And if you don’t have a database, there’s no time like now to get started (take a look at the first couple of lessons in the SVN System for Growth course on “Encyclopedic Market Knowledge” for help getting started). We can give you all kinds of strategies for how to strategically segment your database and build smart call lists.  But for now, here’s a simple three-step rule:

  1. Find someone in your database that you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  2. Call him or her.
  3. Repeat until you’ve spoken to five different people.

Second question… What do you talk about? Dr. Dotzour nailed it at the conference… Owners and landlords care about two things – will my building stay full and will my value go up. Anything that can impact values (or net operating incomes) or occupancy is fair game, and a great way to start a conversation. It’s that simple.

To learn more about how SVN can boost your brokerage skills and business, click here.

[bctt tweet=”Have five real conversations a day, every day. #CRE”]

How to Dress for Success in 2016 with Solomon Poretsky

The Unspoken Dress Code in Commercial Real Estate

There’s something I need to get out of the way up front. This article was not sponsored by the Dry Cleaners Association of America. But they’re going to love it.

As I’ve toured offices, here are some of the things I’ve seen:

  • Athletic shoes
  • Men without socks
  • Wrinkled polo shirts
  • Ripped denims

I haven’t seen these things in smaller markets where standards of dress might be relaxed. I saw them in markets where people dress for business.

And every time I’ve seen it, I’ve asked myself a silent question: How would that Advisor do if a conservative 60-year old client wanted him or her to come over right now? And I know the answer… Most of the time, they wouldn’t get the business.

Clothes Make the Advisor

Millennials Dress for Success
Not all Millennials shun traditional business attire. Pictured: Julia Taibl and Michael Malinconico of SVNIC.

You might say that Generation Y is changing the rules and making informality the norm. I’ll see you, and I’ll raise you Frank and Oak’s banner ads with a fully-bearded – and fully suited – Gen Y model. Add in all of the new Internet custom clothiers – who are clearly targeting Millennial customers – and you can see that business wear is ageless.

With perfectly adequate business wear available at Target and Costco and multiple discounts available at Macy’s and other retailers, it’s hard to argue that dressing for success isn’t affordable, either.

While this might all still seem a bit stodgy and old-fashioned, let’s think about what dressing for business every day means. It means that you are always ready for whatever comes. If a jacket is too much, you can take it off before a meeting. Same with a tie, scarf or other accessory. Long sleeves can even be rolled up on a hot day. It’s always easy to dress down. But it’s a lot harder to dress up on the fly.

It’s Smart to Dress for Success

And, here’s the really interesting thing…. Dressing smartly makes you smarter. Research now shows that formal business attire improves critical thinking skills (as does wearing a “doctor’s” coat).

Personally, I know that I feel crisper and sharper when I have a tie on. I’m able to work longer days. And focus harder.

To that end, if you’ve embraced a week-long “casual Friday,” I encourage you to think about starting off 2016 with a new, more professional look. You’ll look better, feel better and, most importantly, broker better. And your clients will thank you for it.

Happy new year, and I can’t wait to see you in San Diego for the SVN Annual Conference! Be sure to register now if you haven’t already. You know what I’ll be wearing…

2016: Making a Difference in YOUR Business

It’s Almost 2016…

Which Means It’s Time to Start Planning!

If you were at SVN, you’d hear me present my tactical business planning call. And you’d hear our CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo, teach you how to do a strategic plan in 60 minutes.

I love business plans and I think they’re important. When I brokered, I created one, reviewed it at least once a week, stuck to it and measured results quarterly.

In fact, that’s the secret to having a business plan. It isn’t that you have it. It’s that you stick to it and measure your ability to stick to it. That’s hard to do. I know. You’re busy. Sometimes you get lost doing deals. And you might even forget about your business plan.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. I’m going to make it easy on you. Go ahead and print this email out, because you’re going to fill in some blanks. Do it now. We’ll wait.

Welcome back! Now, please write what you need more of in 2016 here:  

  1. ________________________

Now, write what you need to do to get it: 

  1. ____________________________

For instance, you might have written “more closings” on line 1 and “more listings” on line 2.

Go back and add some numbers to what you wrote (or print this out again). For instance, you might want “8 more closings” and “11 more listings.”  Now put them together as follows:

To get the (1)_____________ I need, I will do/take (2)_______________.

For instance: To get the 8 more closings I need, I will take 11 more listings.

Now, run that one-sentence business plan by someone that you can count on – like a coach or your Managing Director. He or she can help you make sure that the goal is a reasonable one and that it can actually help you move your business forward.

Once you get it blessed, execute on it.

Here’s what I mean by “execute on it.” Every day, first thing in the morning, look at that goal and think about it. Then, do tasks that directly relate to that goal first and spend as much time as possible on those tasks – at least half of your day.  It’s that simple.

In a perfect world, you’d be at SVN and you’d create a big-picture strategic plan with Kevin. You’d also create a nuts-and-bolts tactical plan with me. And you’d create a one-sentence must-do goal. All three working in concert — with you at SVN — will give you the best results in 2016.

But, at a minimum, I know that you can do – and stick to – this super-simple one sentence business plan.

To your success in 2016!

See you in San Diego at the conference!

Finding the Perfect Apartment Building

Investing in Apartments Includes Some Benefits

Apartments are the hottest class of commercial real estate and are likely to continue being hot for a while. Independent of the unique demographic and economic drivers for their success in the current post-Great Recession economy, there are a few basic truths that make them attractive:

  • Housing costs usually move up and apartment rents can be adjusted on a regular basis.
  • Vacant units are easy to re-rent with little or no cost. In fact, tenant security deposits usually pay for cleaning and repairs.
  • Excellent financing with 80 percent leverage is readily available.
  • Relatively easy appreciation through making cosmetic upgrades to increase rents.

…But Apartments Also Include Some Downsides

For many investors, though, apartments have three key problems compared with other classes of commercial real estate. They have tenants that break things, complain and fail to pay rent. Apartments have kitchens that tend to start destructive fires. Finally, they have bathrooms that leak and cause damage to surrounding units. At the same time, many cities heavily regulate apartments and, in many cases, favor tenants over landlords. These problems make apartments challenging and time-consuming to own.

Imagine, for a moment, an apartment building without tenants, kitchens or bathrooms and with little or no government oversight. All that you would have are rooms with furniture, clothing and other items in them. If you have ever owned an apartment building, you know that a building like this one would be a dream to own!

The Solution: Self Storage Facilities

In fact, the perfect apartment building is a self-storage facility. Mini-storage facilities offer a similar ownership experience to apartments but without any of the drawbacks. Because they frequently serve apartment tenants, their performance tracks the apartment industry, as well. Furthermore, modern management systems make them much easier to own than many people realize.

Read more of Solomon Poretsky’s blog posts here.

[bctt tweet=”In fact, the perfect apartment building is a self-storage facility.”]

How to Make Sure You Are Always Making More Money at SVN

The following blog post is intended for Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors® and Managing Directors. It aims to highlight the multiple internal resources available to those within the Sperry Van Ness System that can be utilized to help grow income.

In the Sperry Van Ness Business of Making More Money

You have two routes to make more money:

  1. You can do more productive work, since more input equals more output.
  2. You can get better at what you do and earn more by doing the same amount of work.

We talk a lot about doing more, and it is an extremely effective way to grow your income. It’s also something that we can all be doing…

…but it isn’t the only way.

Make More Money by Investing in Yourself

Investing in skills improvement pays real dividends. Learning how to negotiate fees more effectively increases your earnings on every deal without much more work. 10% more up front (by getting 5% instead of 4.5%) and another 5% saved on the back-end by holding firm at the closing table is like doing 7 deals a year instead of 6. (By the way… There’s a video to help you do this – go to the Dashboard, click the S4G button, click “Brokerage Best Practices” and look for “Defending Your Fee.”)

Increasing your hit rates on listings from 50 to 60% adds another deal for every five you do. Need help doing that? Find the videos on “Stuck Listing Analysis” and “Is Your Seller Motivated.” You can also review “The Perfect Proposal” in S4G (since good proposals turn into good packages). And you can come to Boot Camp in San Diego where we have a new session on “Marketing with SVN” to show you a more effective way to get your listings sold.

[bctt tweet=”Investing in skills improvement pays real dividends.”]

Not sure about your negotiating skills? Getting to Yes  is still a classic – and still very worth reading. It was a seed change in how everyone thought about negotiations and can help you find true win-win solutions through principled negotiation instead of positional negotiation. We have a video on “Negotiating From Your Best Position,” too.

These are a few examples, but there are many ways in which each of us can sharpen our saws and get better at what we do. If you can’t make it to Boot Camp in San Diego in December, or can’t wait to get to the Annual Conference in San Diego in February, might as well get started now!

Interested in learning how you can access exclusive CRE tools and training to take your business to the next level? Contact us today.

SVN Annual Conference - Making More Money

Leave the Marketing to Us

The SVN Platform Simplifies Marketing

Earlier this week, I got a copy of an interesting post from the CRE Outsider blog on whether or not Advisors should do their own marketing (see the article here).

The short of it is that you should and shouldn’t do your own marketing. Yes, you should set the direction and have the knowledge to ensure that you’re going in the right direction. But, no, you shouldn’t be doing the actual work to execute on the marketing campaign. Like I’ve told many of you in person, your clients care that you show up with a perfectly prepared proposal book, but they don’t care who filled in the fields or who stood at the machine and bound the book.

And that’s one of the many reasons that, after almost 18 months, I’m still obsessively jazzed about being here at SVN. If you really think about our platform, what it does is give you the tools to get your activity and your brand out there without a lot of effort on your part. You set the direction (and we even help you do that!) and our tools and other features help you make the marketing happen. Here are just a few examples…

  • You can get your listings in front of buyers and brokers on a call, YouTube and SlideShare through our National Sales Call on Monday mornings
  • Qualifying deals can be shared with Advisors across SVN through the SVN National Blast system
  • The SVN 5 Minute Marketer will print – and mail – “Just Listed” postcards for you
  • Real Capital Analytics helps you generate buyer lists
  • BuildOut syndicates deals to multiple websites, getting your listing exposed to thousands or millions of users

Sure, you might have to click a few buttons, but the system is doing the heavy lifting of the marketing work for you. You get deals, and leave the driving – or is that marketing – to us!

To learn more about how you can spend more time making deals and less time making flyers, check out our Careers page here.

[bctt tweet=”Like I’ve told many of you in person, your clients care that you show up with a perfectly prepared proposal book, but they don’t care who filled in the fields or who stood at the machine and bound the book.”]

Solomon Poretsky Promoted to Executive Vice President

Key SVNIC Corporate Staff Earns Executive Vice President Promotion 

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation is pleased to announce the promotion of Solomon Poretsky to Executive Vice President of Organizational Development. Formerly the Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon has been serving in the capacity as a member of the SVNIC executive team. In his role as Executive Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon is responsible for helping to grow businesses at both the franchise and individual Advisor level. He develops and delivers commercial real estate training and provides strategic planning and consulting for both SVNIC and its affiliates. He also develops and implements SVN’s System for Growth online training system for Advisors and Managing Directors. In between traveling across the country to visit and train SVN franchises, Solomon is also a popular contributor to the SVN blog, where he shares his wealth of CRE industry knowledge.

SVNIC Executive Team
The SVNIC Executive Team (from left): George Slusser, Chief Growth Officer; Diane Danielson, Chief Operating Officer; Kevin Maggiacomo, Chief Executive Officer & President; Solomon Poretsky, Executive Vice President of Organizational Development

“Solomon has delivered an industry leading edge online and in person training system for Advisors and Managing Directors that is an essential part of our recent national and international growth and recognition,” says SVN President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “He is also a key member of our executive management team that sets the course for strategic growth of the brand.”

Before joining SVNIC, Solomon was a partner at Custom Skills Development, a commercial real estate consulting firm that provided coaching, development, and training services to agents and commercial real estate brokerages across North America. He began his CRE career at Marcus and Millichap, where he was involved in over $1.2 billion of listings, sales, and closings as both an agent and as a regional manager. While at that firm, he also received their prestigious National Faculty Member designation.

In addition, Solomon worked on the instructional design of one of the world’s first online master’s degree programs. He graduated cum laude from Columbia University in the City of New York with a bachelor’s degree and earned a second BA, with honors, from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

[bctt tweet=””Solomon has delivered an industry leading edge online and in person training system for Advisors and Managing Directors that is an essential part of our recent national and international growth and recognition,” says SVN President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo.”]

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.

The Benefits of Being an Early Riser in Commercial Real Estate

Early To Rise….

One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that you get to choose when you come to work, what you do and when you leave. Especially in Silicon Valley, tales abound of people working wacky hours, pulling all-nighters and doing just about anything other than a nine-to-five day.

When I visit offices, I’m frequently the first one there. It’s not uncommon for me to hand the newspaper to the staff member as he or she walks in to unlock the door. Here’s the funny thing: I’m not a morning person. Really. When I was a college student, I had a knack for still being asleep for my 4 pm classes.

So, what happened? What happened was that I became a broker and I learned that, while I was free to choose my own hours, my clients and prospects were going to dictate the choices that I made.

One of the great things about commercial real estate is that our jobs generally track the business day. Clients are either business people or individual investors that have earned the luxury of not having to think about their buildings outside of typical business hours. Furthermore, many of them are more likely to answer their phones and have time to talk in the morning.

You’d think that this means that if your clients are ready to rock and roll at 8:30 am, you should be too.

But that’s too late.

Think about it. When you get into the office, you need to take off your overcoat (assuming you live where they have winter), boot up your computer, get coffee, touch base with co-workers, check your email and do all of those other things that are a natural part of starting your day. Usually, it’s at least a half-hour until you’re able to do anything productive.

And, in that half-hour, your competitors – many of whom ARE up and running early – have already gotten ahead of you.

The solution? Ben Franklin nailed it… “Early to bed and early to rise makes a [person] healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Manhattan: Early to Rise

To learn how you can get involved in the commercial real estate industry, visit our Careers page here.

How to Effectively Market Properties

The Two Things You Must Do to Effectively Market Properties

2015 is well underway. You clients should be back in the swing of things, which means that you are doing more proposals and taking more exclusive listings. Great!

Now, it’s time to get those listings sold, and to turn them into paychecks. In order to get them closed, you need to market. Here’s the two things you have to do in order to effectively market your properties:

  1. Call every buyer you should know.
  2. Work the entire brokerage community to get them to do #1.

Let’s get down to the details because it’s important to completely do both steps if you want to increase your closing rate.

Call Every Buyer You Should Know

There’s an extra word in this heading – should – but it’s there for a good reason. Right now, most Brokers (and possibly a few SVN® Advisors), get a listing and immediately call their top buyers. Some even call a few more. What most brokers don’t do is to call every possible buyer that they can reasonably find.

I’m not talking about finding every possible buyer in the country – we’ll cover that in the next paragraph. I’m talking about calling the person two blocks down the street that no one else calls, but that buys a building once every 25 years. If you cover them, you’ll get access to qualified buyers that no one else will touch. And, really, isn’t that what your client is paying you to do?

Work the Entire Brokerage Community

In addition to doing your best to find buyers that no one else can find, it’s also your job to make sure that every Broker in the country finds the buyers that you can’t find. That way, your best pool competes with everyone else’s likely pools to find the best possible offer for your seller.

Syndication through our online marketing tools and through electronic mail blasts are also a part of the process, but they’re only a small part.

If you want to know what you can do to energize both the SVN community and the rest of the industry, take a look at the attached infographic. It’s a how-to of everything you need to do to get your deals sold. In fact, don’t just look at it. Print it out, tape it to your wall, and keep it handy to remind you how to get ALL of your listings sold.

To learn more about the Sperry Van Ness® marketing systems and tools, click here.

SVN Value Prop

Is New Development Good or Bad for CRE?

New Development – Good or Bad?

New DevelopmentOne of the most disruptive things in commercial real estate is new development. Just about any new project, other than the smallest and most inconspicuous new buildings, in an area can change everything. At times, it can help and at other times it can hurt. Don’t worry, though…. With good strategy, you can turn someone else’s project into a windfall profit!


There are a lot of good things that come from new commercial real estate developments:

  • Increased traffic, making your property more desirable
  • A freshening effect for the whole area
  • The potential for a new, higher, rent standard having a trickle-up effect on every other property
  • Increased land values


Of course, a new development can also royally screw things up….

  • Increased traffic makes it harder for customers or tenants to get to your property
  • New buildings make your property look tired
  • Aggressive discounting to fill the new building depresses rents and occupancies in the existing stock
  • The area’s standard for building or tenant quality gets adjusted upward, transitioning your property from an A to a B or C

Positioning Yourself to Take Advantage of New Commercial Real Estate Development

So what’s a landlord to do? The first thing is to research a market before you buy. Although its is impossible to predict what will happen on an unlimited timeline, you can usually get a good sense of what will be happening in an area in the coming five to ten years. After that point, you should be ready to sell the asset and move to your next investment.

Once you know what is likely to come to the area, acquire either a competing property in a different class or a property that will coordinate nicely with the next development. I’ll give more detail on exactly what to look for in a follow-up blog post.

How have new developments impacted your real estate holdings? Let us know below!

To read more on property management issues, download our Top Five Things That Keep Property Management Executives up at Night report here. 


Understanding the Retail Anchor

If you attended this years ICSC RECon in Las Vegas then you know retail is on the tip of the tongue of every commercial real estate investor. With acquisitions high,  it’s important to understand retail CRE concepts. One of the most important concepts in retail property is the anchor.

What is a Retail Anchor?

retail anchorA retail anchor is a store or other tenant that drives traffic to a retail center or area.

While large shopping malls typically use department stores as anchors, most private commercial real estate investors buy smaller properties. These strip centers are usually anchored by a grocery store like Safeway, Kroger or Piggly Wiggly or by a drug store like a Walgreen’s, CVS or Rite-Aid. Anchored centers typically carry lower cap rates due to the fact that investors usually prefer them.

Many anchored centers are actually “shadow anchored.” This means that an anchor store is present, but is not a part of the center. A good example of this would be a strip center with a Target store. Since Target almost always owns their stores, the center is shadow anchored by the Target. You can buy the center, and it can benefit from the presence of the Target, but you won’t own the Target itself. If you are considering a shadow anchor center, make sure that you have a good understanding of where the shadow anchor actually is. I have seen brokers describe centers as “shadow anchored” when the anchor is located kitty-corner across a major intersection.

Anchored and shadow anchored centers are some of the best commercial real estate investments. They offer the stability of a large tenant combined with a diverse income stream. Many anchored centers also have a tenant mix which performs well in both up and down economies.

What do you think about anchored retail? Please share your thoughts below.

To read more on retail markets in the commercial real estate industry, download the 2015 Retail Market Update report here.


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®.


Social Media Debate: Why It Does/Doesn't Matter in CRE

In the spirit of one of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) main ideals, collaboration, its Chief Operations Officer, Diane Danielson, and Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon Poretsky, team up for a healthy debate on social media. They were both asked, “In the world of commercial real estate why does, or doesn’t, social media matter?” Below you will find their arguments. (Queue the bell ring because these two know how to put up a fight.)

Social Media Doesn’t Matter – Solomon Poretsky

Solomon Poretsky - Vice President, Organizational DevelopmentLet’s start this with a two question quiz:

How many listing agreements have been signed via Twitter?

  1. 10
  2. 1,000
  3. 100,000
  4. None. You can’t sign a listing agreement with a tweet.

How many properties have changed hands through a LinkedIn status update?

  1. 10
  2. 1,000
  3. 100,000
  4. None. You generally can’t sell property without a deed transfer.

If you answered D to both, you’re right. You also know why social media doesn’t matter. But, keep reading, anyways.

Commercial real estate brokers need both marketing and sales activities to drive their businesses forward. The work that you do to MARKET yourself makes it easier to convert prospects into clients and put them into your SALES funnel.

Think about prospecting by telephone. If you don’t have anything good to talk about and the people in your database don’t know who you area, prospecting can be successful, but it’s usually hard to do. On the other hand, if people know you and have all sorts of things to discuss with you, prospecting is not only easy but also pleasant. That’s what marketing can do for you, and social media is a marketing tool.

However, the problem with marketing is that, by itself, it won’t create sales. Even if you have an excellent social media campaign and it gets people to start calling you, you will still have to convert them into clients. So, you still need sales activity to drive your commercial real estate business.

To understand why social media doesn’t matter, picture two dart players. One is blindfolded, knows roughly where the dart board is, and has lots of darts to throw. The second is an expert dart player – a tournament winner, in fact – but has no darts and doesn’t feel like playing. Which do you think is more likely to hit a bull’s eye? The first one might not be very good, but at least she’s going to try, and the odds are that she’ll eventually hit one. The second one, on the other hand, is guaranteed to not hit a bull’s eye since he isn’t even trying.

The second dart player is a lot like a commercial real estate Advisor or broker with an excellent marketing campaign who sits back and waits for the phone to ring. Lots of Twitter followers or Facebook Likes might look good, but social media isn’t where business gets done. The first dart player, on the other hand, is like a broker that keeps showing up. Sure, she might not be that polished, and she might be working harder than she needs to, but at least she’s closing deals. Ultimately, if you aren’t doing what you know is required to drive sales, social media won’t help you.

By the way, the best option? Be great at sales and at marketing, including social media. If you’re talking to people aggressively, and they know who you are thanks to both traditional marketing and a strong social presence, you’re more likely to not only succeed, but succeed with less effort.

Social Media Matters – Diane Danielson

Diane DanielsonSocial media matters in commercial real estate in much the same way email and telephones matter. It’s a form of communication. Whether you use it or not, doesn’t stop others from doing so, which means you might be left out of some of the conversation. This may matter more or less, depending on where you are in your career.


Whether social media matters or not is a sliding scale. For those who are younger or newer to the business, it’s a great way to build credibility.  If you start writing market updates and sharing them through social media, you will define yourself as an expert in your market or specialty.

For anyone more senior, you might already have that reputation with your existing networks, but doing the same could expand your expertise to newer networks; especially those decision-makers who are closer to 30 years old than 50 years old.  Shunning social media can make one appear out of touch to a growing segment of potential clients.

Finally, LinkedIn is the ultimate B2B platform with 300 million participants on it already; it’s the ultimate who’s who and a shortcut to get to almost everyone.  In many cases, your LinkedIn profile may not be just the first impression a client might have, but the only impression. At the very least, all brokers and advisors need to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile.


In today’s world, I assume that anyone who contacts me would have at the least, knowledge of anything on my LinkedIn profile.  I also expect that any commercial real estate Advisor or broker would be tracking their clients and markets via Twitter, as well as LinkedIn. Twitter can be a good resource for market information and not just from CRE individuals. Really knowing a market means knowing the local businesses and politics and Twitter is a valuable tool for following local press, planning boards, businesses, etc.  If you are not on Twitter, you could be missing real time information that could be valuable to your clients.


While there will always be the stories about deals being made strictly due to social media, this is unlikely to be the norm.  However, could it be the factor that gives a commercial real estate Advisor an edge? Of course, and who wants to be that Advisor who didn’t give him or herself that edge over the competition?  This is one of the reasons,  Sperry Van Ness® Advisors put their featured properties on our Monday Morning Sales Call, which is then pushed out through social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+) as well as featured in slide format on SlideShare and in video format on YouTube.

At Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, our Advisors don’t give just themselves an edge, they provide that same edge to their clients. And, that’s our secret to repeat business.

So, does social media matter in commercial real estate? It depends on whether you are the type of exemplary Advisor who appreciates the value of having an edge on the competition.

To find out more about careers at a Sperry Van Ness® office, visit our career center. If you are interested in learning more about owning your own Sperry Van Ness® franchise, click here.