Many a commercial real estate broker around the country have profited to a huge degree from having one, two, or even three or more “big commercial real estate investors” that use them exclusively. Sometimes these big commercial real estate investors are enough to literally allow the brokers to do nothing more than serve these few clients. Other agents often look on with great envy, because they are constantly prospecting for new clients, struggling to keep their pipeline full and wondering where their next commission is coming from.
Investor Turned Broker
I am going to give you the “must do’s” to earn, and keep an investors business. As an investor myself, I have forged relationships with many agents over the years with whom I have used almost exclusively in one market or another. I have been an investor for more than 15 years, and in that time I have, along with my partners, investors and clients, completed approximately $1 billion worth of real estate transactions of one kind or another. During the first 2/3rds of my career, I used agents on nearly every transaction, paid them full commissions, and I was happy to do so. I felt good having “go to agents” that I gave a lot of business to, knowing that I would be well looked after by them, and that they were people whom I trusted. It wasn’t always that easy…I worked with a lot of agents that didn’t work out, but I found a few gems that I kept on my team for many years, and several even to this day. It wasn’t that hard to earn my business, and I wasn’t that difficult of a buyer or seller to work with. But, like most investors, I had a certain level of expectations for people I did business with and especially those that I continued to do business with over and over again. Eventually, it became so challenging to find high quality people to work with, that I got my own license and began representing myself from time to time.
Make or Break
In addition to being an investor myself, I have also worked with many investors both in representing them and as partners of mine in various projects. I have represented and partnered with some very successful and high net worth people over the years, and people who expected the same things from me that I expect from the agents whom I gave the lion’s share of my business to. Today, I’m going to reveal the “make or break” things that you can do as an agent to land and keep big investors who will constantly keep your pipeline full.
First of all, finding these investors is not all that difficult, so long as you are active in the commercial real estate business. If you are active, then your path will eventually cross with theirs, and it will be up to you to start and forge a strong relationship with them, which is what this article is about. I cannot give you the “place” or the “way” to land big investors, but I can tell you how to recognize them or keep them. Generally speaking, it is relatively easy to find “big investors” in the commercial real estate world, because the dollars required to play in this game can be very significant.
There are 10 “must do’s” to land and keep big investors. I’ve broken it down into a three-part series, each focusing on three specific areas: The Mindset, The Interactions and The Business. Be sure to stay tuned for second and third parts as they are as critical as the first!
Let’s delve in:
- First and foremost, don’t pre-judge your clients or potential clients, or even clients of other agents who might like what they see in you, and call YOU next time they want to do a deal. When I’m not in my day to day Brioni suit, Hermes tie, and custom cuff links, you would never guess that I have any financial wherewithal whatsoever. I dress in blue jeans and worn out polo shirts, and I am anything but flashy. Most agents will judge a person by the car they drive, watch they wear, or where they live. This is a deadly mistake. Most high net worth individuals don’t flaunt it. Those who do, usually are worth less, and spend their fortune on lifestyle and image. Investors with means, on the other hand, do the exact opposite…They spend their money on investing and making more money. I recall years ago showing up to tour a property in a pickup truck. The agent almost immediately began quizzing me as to whether I was paying cash or needed to qualify for a loan, before I had even spent 60 seconds viewing the property. To people of means, that line of questioning and tact is incredibly…well, untactful. Forget what you read in magazines and see on TV, and whatever other perceptions you have of successful and wealthy people. I have friends and partners of mine that are worth tens of millions of dollars and drive a Hyundai…Literally. And some even drive 15-year old pickup trucks, dress in blue jeans and where plain white shirts with holes in them. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I have done hundreds of millions of dollars of deals with these kinds of investors, who don’t wear fancy watches and drive expensive cars. If you haven’t read “The Millionaire Next Door,” do it. The description in the book of a typical millionaire next door is the exact profile of most serious commercial real estate investors.
2. Even if you are a kick-butt agent with lots going on, never get the “entitled” and “arrogant” attitude that you have all the good deals, and if an investor wants good deals, they need to kiss up to YOU. I’ve seen this all too many times, especially with the egos involved in commercial real estate. Never forget, those investors have the money to write checks that put food on your table and pays your bills. Don’t treat investors with arrogance, or they will very quickly get tired of doing business with you, no matter how good you think you are.
Stay tuned for the next part in the series – “The Interactions”!
Photo Credit: “Businessman With Closed Eyes” by imagerymajestic FreeDigitalPhotos.net