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.


AuctionPoint 2013

Do you have CRE properties to sell? Represent qualified buyers? Since you’re here reading our SVN.com blog, we know you do. We also know that you rely on us to tip you off to new ways to sell your properties, and your business.

Well, we’ve got something big for you today. The very first large-scale industry open, collaborative online commercial real estate auction event: AuctionPoint2013. This huge liquidity event is open to the entire CRE industry, and will create the platform for hundreds of deals to be closed within a compressed timeframe. GlobeSt.com recently covered this exciting CRE event.

With a $350k+ advertising budget and advertising in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Financial Times, GlobeSt.com, local newspapers and numerous other print and online publications, AuctionPoint2013 is going to attract thousands of potential buyers worldwide.

With total transparency that helps streamline the sales process, auctions are poised to become the future of real estate sales.

By Brokers, For Brokers
Brokers from the nation’s leading firms have teamed up (yes, we are actually working together) along with title companies, REITs and banks to auction hundreds of quality properties held by motivated sellers to qualified buyers.

The event committee members include: Jerry Anderson, Sperry Van Ness; Joe French, Marcus & Millichap; Rosendo Caveiro, Cushman & Wakefield; Noel Davey, Grubb & Ellis; David Bolt, Lee & Associates; Gloria Neri, First American Title; Frank Diliberto, Diliberto Real Estate; and Dr. Sam Chandan, Chandan Economics.

What’s in it for me as a broker?

  • No costs – to brokers, or sellers. That means no placement fees, no marketing fees, and brokers keep their full commission
  • Use the event to secure listings and sell your existing inventory
  • Your listing is marketed under your name and company logo
  • With the lowest Buyer’s Premium in the industry, buyer traffic will be phenomenal

What’s in it for my clients?
For buyers, premiums are the lowest in the industry at just 2.5% thus directly saving buyer’s money. Every asset is underwritten by AuctionPoint2013 to ensure quality assets that are priced to sell. Required prior approvals for all properties mean that buyers can be confident that all assets are capable of trading.

For sellers, there are no fees. A nationwide marketing campaign guarantees extensive coverage and promotion. And prequalified buyers mean a streamlined sales process.

So How Do I Get Involved?

  • Submit an asset here with a quick questionnaire to see if the asset qualifies before March 15.
  • Talk to your buyers. The property list will be released to the public on March 29, at which time pre-auction offers will be accepted. The nationwide marketing campaign begins at the same time, as do property inspections and underwriting.
  • The online auction bidding will be held May 29-31.

Check out the AuctionPoint2013 website for more details for brokers, buyers, and sellers.


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


Retail market outlook: Increase in sales

Happy New Year!  While we wait for the official Fourth Quarter 2012 results to be compiled, I can attest to (and almost guarantee) that sales activity in the retail shopping centers sector flourished as sellers rushed to complete sales by the year’s end. Special servicers, lenders and distressed property owners were the primary sellers; users and opportunistic buyers were the primary buyers.  Annual figures are expected to show an overall increase of total sales in terms of dollar volume compared to 2012.

Distressed retail assets sold not on cash flow, but the demographic markets price per square foot comparables. Traditional sales (that of non-distressed properties) were primarily Class A anchored assets. These properties traded almost exclusively among the private and publicly traded REITS. Lack of inventory of stable retail centers in core markets demanded cap-rates not seen since 2005.

The expectation for 2013 is more of the same, as billions of dollars in loans become due and property owners find themselves unable to replace existing debt because of shrinking property values resulting from reduced rents and/or loss of tenants. In addition, the economic and governmental debt crisis uncertainty will play havoc on tenant expansion, job growth and lender motivation.  These conditions will once again drive sales as investors look to commercial real estate for yield and the belief that real estate values have reached bottom.


Shari Tucker-Gasser, National Director of Retail, Sperry Van Ness
Shari Tucker-Gasser, National Director of Retail, Sperry Van Ness

Shari A. Tucker-Gasser
National Director of Retail

Sperry Van Ness/dba Sperry Van Ness, LLC




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


Five for Friday with Justin Verner of SVN RealSite Commercial Group

For the last Friday of 2012, we are giving SVN’s Five for Friday spotlight to Justin Verner, Advisor, Sperry Van Ness RealSite Commercial Group in Baltimore, MD.

Justin Verner, Advisor, SVN RealSite Commercial Group
Justin Verner, Advisor, Sperry Van Ness RealSite Commercial Group

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?

I am active in the Baltimore Metro and specialize in multifamily.

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

Unwavering focus and comprehensive knowledge in your area of specialty. Direct mail pieces to targeted owners have been particularly successful in 2012.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade? Having started my career in Jan 2009 amidst the economic downturn I learned quickly that working very hard and smart, embracing technology, quickly developing an area of focus, along with going the extra mile and being detail-oriented were the only ways I would be able to make it in this business. Continuing those practices in an improving CRE market have proved to be successful.

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

Brokers Who Dominate by Rod Santomassimo.

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

I am a very active tennis player during the warmer months.  Also, I  have a passion for travel, particularly internationally.

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