Guest Blog Post – Originally published on the SVN Florida Blog
May 11, 2015 was an interesting day in commercial real estate brokerage. Many of my peers are buzzing about the latest Cushman & Wakefield/DTZ mega-merger announcement. Most of the industry suspected it was on its way to being finalized and yesterday the news struck and the CRE world went insane.
The reality though is that there are few beyond the Associates that work for Cushman & Wakefield or DTZ (and ex Cassidy Turley) that are directly affected. Yet the phone lines, social media and email were alive with comments and time wasting rhetoric. You can also bet that next week at RECON the chatter and opinions will be flying. Even The Massimo Group, a firm I respect and have hired for our Advisors in the past, wrote a long nine-point blog about the topic. Another respected CRE resource, Commercial Property Executive, published a blog on the impact the merger will have on our industry,
I, on the other hand simply brushed it off as interesting, but certainly not a business strategy altering event. Why? Frankly, it’s not our (Sperry Van Ness Florida) sandbox. I am a firm believer that if you truly understand the services you deliver and where it fits in the spectrum of client needs then you lend focus to improving those services, not the hallway buzz.
I view commercial real estate services as a silo shaped cylinder, viewed from the bottom up in deal size (say $100k to those huge $100MM deals). View the cylinder from above and it looks like a pie cut into slices. The slices (sectors) are retail, office, industrial, land, multi-family, leasing, corporate services, property management and a whole slew of smaller pieces such as NNN, self storage, hospitality and even data centers. Even the sectors have slices of expertise cutting the piece into smaller chunks.
So I ask, what sandbox are you in? Or put another way, what slices are your sweet spot? For us at SVN Florida, as we’ve grown statewide our sweet spot has become crystal clear and it’s NOT affected by today’s merger announcement. We like to brag about the numerous deals between $13MM and $25MM closed last year, but of the 685 deals we closed in 2014, the vast majority of them were in the $1MM to $10MM range for banks, institutions and private investor clients that are loyal repeat clients . . . I call it our sweet spot.
The following are actual quotes by clients and other CRE Brokers that will drive my point home. They also will make your stomach hurt.
- “We’ve done business with ______ in the past but they only want our easy deals and literally said they’d prefer assignments that were ‘not very complicated since surety of finding a buyer was a concern. We’re brokers not problem solvers’, was their parting comment. I blacklisted them at our company”
- “We listed our property with _______ and then found out the Agent had never been involved in a transaction of this size and he flatly refused to team up with a more experienced Agent”.
- The Broker said he was a “specialist in all property types regardless of size in any part of the region.” That is simply not possible and we know it.
- I asked a Broker, “What designations do you have or are you working on”? Broker said, “I haven’t had time to get any education requirements out of the way. I work both residential and commercial real estate so it’s hard to find the time.”
My advice in all this is to figure out where you play, know your competitors strengths and weaknesses, bring your “difference” to the table for the client and sharpen your skills where you can add value. You’ve heard it for years, clients work with you for three reasons, 1) if they like you, 2) if they trust you 3) and if you make them or save them money. Be true to your strengths and where you fit in the scheme of services.
So please ignore the hallway noise on this latest merger unless you are directly affected, and that’s a small number of CRE professionals. Cushman Wakefield and DTZ are fine firms with talented professionals, led by experienced leaders. They have a plan and want to be in a sandbox you most likely do not play in. Look at their website description of spectrum of services and decide for yourself if today’s announcement is a threat to your business plan.
About Jerry Anderson – Jerry is the Executive Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness Florida. He has played a major role in the development of the SVN brand. In addition to being an author, he has made CRE presentations around the world, and has been aired on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS and on more than 250 radio stations. Click here to view his full profile, or to contact him, you can email him at [email protected] You can also follow him on Twitter at @JAndersonCCIM.
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